Can You Layer Foundation?

Do you struggle with getting your makeup to look flawless?

I know that feeling very well. That’s why I want to share my secret for achieving a flawless complexion. It’s all about foundation layering.

Applying foundation in thin layers can give you more coverage without making your skin look cakey. It also helps prevent any creasing of makeup throughout the day so that your face always looks fresh and natural.

This technique will give your skin full coverage that lasts longer. Plus, if done right, layering foundation can make your skin look flawless by evening out any imperfections while still letting some of your natural glow shine through!

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How Can You Layer Foundation?

Follow the steps below to achieve an even skin tone and hide imperfections.

Prepare Your Skin

wash skin

The first step to do before applying makeup is to prepare your skin. Invest in a good cleanser that will cleanse your skin gently without stripping it of its natural oils.

We love this cleanser with hyaluronic acid. It has a light formula that isn’t too harsh on the skin, and it leaves the face feeling fresh and clean.

Next, hydrate your skin with a lightweight moisturizer. Avoid using a thick moisturizer under makeup, as it might cause your foundation to look patchy. Opt for a light formula instead.

After letting your skin absorb the moisturizer, it’s time for primer. Since we will be layering the foundation for more coverage, using a primer is necessary to get a long-lasting look. We like this Smooth and Blur Primer because it hides fine lines and large pores, leaving the skin with a smooth finish that acts as an excellent base for foundation. Apply a thin layer of primer focusing on your problem areas, and then pat until fully absorbed into the skin. You can also layer many face primers depending on your skin concerns.

Read More: Best Silicone Based Primers of 2023

Select The Right Foundation Formula

No matter your skin type, it’s always best to choose a lightweight and buildable foundation that can be layered without looking heavy.

If you have combination or oily skin, go for a matte foundation with a lightweight texture. Choose a formula that gives light to medium coverage and avoid thick foundations as they might crease into fine lines and wrinkles.

clinique stay matte foundation

Since we will apply foundation on top of foundation, we don’t need to use a full coverage one, and we can opt for a light to medium buildable formula instead. Layering a full coverage foundation can give the skin a heavy look, and it might be more difficult to blend the foundation.

If you have dry skin, I recommend using satin or dewy light-to-medium coverage formula that won’t cause your makeup to look dry. A lightweight water-based liquid foundation like this natural finish foundation works best for this skin type since it has just the right amount of moisture to give you that luminous glow without looking too matte.

cover fx foundation

You can also use a light coverage foundation and apply a powder foundation on top for more coverage. If you have dry or mature skin, choose a lightweight powder foundation and avoid using a heavy one as it might settle into your pores.

Read more: Liquid Vs Powder Foundation

The trick is to choose a foundation that works for your skin type and then use it right, applying it in thin layers to build up coverage.

If you have a thick foundation that looks cakey on your skin, there are many tricks you can try to make it thinner:

Mix your foundation with water to make it less thick. You can also mix it with a moisturizer or face oil for an even thinner consistency. If you have a matte foundation that makes your skin look flat, you might want to try mixing it with a little bit of illuminator instead.

Related: How To Add A Face Oil To Your Foundation?

How To Apply Foundation In Layers

face brush

Here are the steps you need to follow when applying foundation in layers for a flawless skin:

Step 1: Start by applying one or two dots of foundation to the back of your hand. Swirl the product gently with your fingers. The warmth of your finger can help the foundation to blend better on the skin.

Dab the foundation on your face starting with the areas that need more coverage.

Concentrate on anywhere with blemishes or redness. Avoid applying too much foundation on the areas where the light hits your face, such as the high points of the cheeks. These parts should have as little coverage as possible to give the skin a cakey look.

Many people need extra coverage on the area under and around the nose, where the skin looks more red. Make sure to apply a thin layer of foundation on these areas to avoid makeup from separating on your nose. The skin around the nose is slightly more delicate, so using a lot of makeup might look cakey on this area.

Blend the foundation by buffing the brush to avoid getting a streaky finish. If you’re using a makeup sponge, bounce it gently on top of the skin. Avoid dragging or rubbing the foundation on the skin, as it will make your face look patchy.

makeup sponge

Once you’re done, wait for the foundation to set before applying another foundation layer. This allows the foundation to melt into the skin for a more natural look.

Step 2: Next, apply another foundation layer using the same technique. We want to build coverage where necessary without adding too much product to the skin, resulting in a cakey finish. Focus on your problem areas, such as any blemishes or redness that might be peeking through.

Wait for the foundation to set before moving on to the rest of your makeup.

Step 3: If you want more coverage, repeat the same application process until you get your desired result. This last step is optional, depending on how much coverage you’d like to get.

Remember not to apply too much foundation at once since it can look cakey.

Finally, make sure your foundation is blended seamlessly around the jawline and neck. Check if there are any harsh lines on the hairline, and go over those areas with a sponge or stippling brush to blend any harsh lines.

No matter what tools you use, make sure to dab the foundation on the skin and avoid dragging it. This will help you avoid getting a streaky finish and make the foundation look more natural on your skin.

The key is to apply thin layers of foundation only where necessary and blend it well. Apply more foundation gradually until you achieve the desired look. This technique is used by many makeup artists to achieve a smooth base. You can leave some areas bare or let freckles show through for those who have them.

Related: Sponge Vs Brush For Foundation

Apply a Setting Powder

setting powder

Besides applying foundation in thin layers, you might need to set it with a loose or pressed powder. Applying a setting powder helps get a long-lasting look that doesn’t rub off throughout the day. The trick is to apply a finely milled powder that doesn’t look heavy on the skin.

If you have oily skin, you can opt for a matte-finish setting powder since it helps keep the makeup in place by absorbing any excess oil.

Use a Setting Spray

NYX setting spray

A setting spray can also come in handy to ensure your makeup is set for hours. This will help prevent any creasing throughout the day.

I usually don’t use any setting spray every day because I have dry skin, but it’s still good to have one around. Setting sprays typically have alcohol in them, so I like to use them only on special occasions. They help get rid of any powdery look that can result from using a lot of setting powder.

This setting spray is one of my favorite. It has a fine mist, and it sets the makeup beautifully without running the foundation underneath.


Applying foundation in layers can help you build coverage from sheer to full. This way, you can slowly build your foundation and use it where necessary until you’re satisfied with your result. This technique gives the skin a flawless but natural finish, and it will help you avoid the cakey look.

The key to applying foundation in layers is the proper application technique. Start by applying foundation to the areas where you need more coverage and blend it gently. Wait for the foundation to set, and then go over with another thin layer to hide any remaining blemishes or redness. This is how we can achieve a flawless skin like finish by building up coverage gradually instead of putting a lot of foundation at once.

After you’ve blended the foundation, it’s essential to set it properly with a setting powder. This helps avoid getting a shine-free look and will ensure that your base stays put all day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many layers of foundation do you put on?

The number of layers depends on the amount of coverage you want. Generally, one to two layers are good enough to cover any blemishes and give your skin a smooth finish. It is always a good idea to take a minute or two in between layers to check if you need more coverage. Remember to apply foundation only where necessary and gradually build up your coverage according to your skin needs.

It’s important not to apply too much product at once, so your makeup doesn’t look cakey.

Can you wear two foundations?

Yes, you can wear two foundations.

The key is to use a light coverage foundation all over your face and pair it with a medium coverage foundation to cover your problem areas. Apply these two foundations in thin layers, and make sure to choose the right shade that matches your skin tone to avoid your foundation from looking pink.

You can substitute the second foundation with a full coverage concealer if you have some minor blemishes. Just use a small precise brush and dab the concealer on the areas where you need extra coverage.

Read more: Foundation Vs Concealer

You can also mix two foundations to get your exact shade match. Add some of the lighter foundation to the darker one and mix them well.

Dewy Vs Matte Foundations

Why is foundation looking patchy on your nose?

Why is your foundation separating on your face?

How to prevent foundation from creasing?

Best Silicone based primers

Best silicone based foundations for oily skin

Can You Layer Foundation?

Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

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