How to Apply Stick Foundation Like a Total Pro

Wield your foundation stick like the beauty weapon it is with these master tips for choosing and applying medium- to full-coverage foundation—even on the go!

You can blend the perfect smoky eye, draw a precise feline flick or trace killer red lips, but if you don’t have a clean, fresh canvas—i.e., excellent foundation application—all your hard work will be for nothing. That’s because even-toned, fresh-looking skin is the best backdrop, whether you’re wearing a swipe of mascara with nude lip gloss or you’ve spent an hour painstakingly blending your eyeshadow. And if you’re looking for a medium- or full-coverage foundation that’s easy to use while out and about, a foundation stick will become your new go-to. Here are all the reasons we love it, plus how to apply foundation if you’re new to using stick foundation.

What are the benefits of using a foundation stick?

Aside from the typical benefits of a foundation—like evening out your skin tone, concealing minor imperfections and sometimes including SPF and skincare ingredients—the creamy stick format has a few extra advantages:


Foundation sticks typically offer medium to full coverage, so you get to choose how much coverage you want on any given day. Simply add more and blend to build on your entire face or on areas that are giving you trouble (like a red chin or dark under-eye circles).

Zero mess:

Unlike liquid, cream and mineral-powder foundation, you can’t spill a stick. That means your bathroom, make-up bag and purse are all safe, even if it’s quite a creamy foundation stick.

Easy to transport:

Travelling with a lot of beauty products? You don’t have to worry about this one exceeding 100 mL or taking up a portion of your one-litre limit since it’s a solid, not a liquid foundation.

Long wear:

Most stick foundations stay put longer than the average liquid or powder variety.

How to apply Stick Foundation?

Foundation sticks are the epitome of “foundation for dummies” because they’re incredibly easy to use. If you like, you can start by smoothing foundation primer all over your face to prep your skin—though it’s not absolutely necessary. Then twist the stick so the foundation peeks out over the edge of the tube and dot or swipe it over your face, adding more where you need extra coverage. Start with a little and build as needed, blending with your fingers, a sponge or a foundation brush. If you prefer a matte texture and aren’t using a matte foundation stick, you can dust translucent powder over your face to reduce the shine and set your make-up.

Other uses for stick foundation

Technically we’re talking about “foundation,” but you can use your stick for other things too. Try these applications:


Since foundation sticks tend to be buildable, you can use yours to conceal dark circles, blemishes, brown spots and any other areas that need a little extra attention.


If you didn’t already know, you can contour with foundation stick, choose one that’s a couple of shades darker than your skin tone and draw it on the areas that you usually contour (along your hairline, jawline, the sides of your nose and the hollows of your cheeks). Blend with your fingers or a brush for a slim-looking, sculpted face.


Choose a foundation stick in a hue that’s a couple of shades lighter than your skin tone and use it to add light to your complexion and complement the areas of shadow you created with the contour. Apply it in large inverted triangles under your eyes, on the centre of your forehead and on your chin, then blend it all out.

Which foundation stick should I try?

Chances are you’ll love (looooooove!) L’Oréal Paris Infallible Shaping Stick Foundation. It’s super-creamy and glides over your skin like butter, and it’s also a long lasting foundation—we’re talking 24 hours of weightless wear that won’t slide off your face, crack or look cakey. Use it to cover, conceal, contour and highlight in eight versatile shades that offer buildable coverage ranging from medium to full. You’ll have seamless, flaw-free skin and a sculpted-looking visage with a professional finish that lasts all day and well into the night. You can even toss it in a carry-on bag with no hassle. Total score, right?

Even if you’re married to your liquid, powder foundation or BB cream, a foundation stick will still make a versatile addition to your arsenal for contouring, concealing or touching up when you’re running errands or out at dinner. It’s the ideal foundation make-up for the gal on the go. Happy shopping!

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