We Tried 5 Of TikTok’s Most Viral Foundation Application Hacks — & We Have Clear Favourites

If there's anything I learnt while devouring YouTube makeup tutorials in my teenage years, it's that how you apply your makeup is often more important than the product itself. Fast forward to 2023, and TikTok has truly taken the reigns when it comes to viral beauty content — and it constantly delivers when it comes to breaking and re-writing the makeup rulebook.
As an avid scroller, foundation application hacks always make their way onto my FYP. So, given that we're always trying to make our products go further and elevate our makeup looks, I decided to test five of the most hyped hacks I've come across to see what works and what falls short.
To prep my skin for the experiment, I cleansed, moisturised and used Smashbox's Original Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Primer. The formula is light and non-drying without feeling oily and really grips the skin for coverage. And to test the hacks, I used a bottle of Smashbox's brand-new Always On Skin Balancing Foundation (which is available exclusively at MECCA, FYI).
Here's how it went...

Finger Application

@ytnashaatbello The BEST foundation application technique! Minimal blending, maximum flawlessness #foundationtechnique #foundationhack ♬ original sound - Nash
As a proud lazy girlie, I'm well acquainted with the finger application for all of my makeup. This method involves applying foundation to the face with your fingers, lightly blending it in before spraying a generous amount of setting spray, and then buffing it all out with a sponge or brush.
The Verdict: I personally love the 'finger-spreading' method as I feel it helps 'emulsify' the foundation with the skin. This application method definitely helped achieve the most 'natural' look of the lot, and the setting spray mid-process really helped the skin absorb and work with the buildable formula. I used a moist beauty blender to buff it all out, which left little-to-no texture on the skin, which is a huge win.

Hailey Bieber's Palm Trick

@kellystrackofficial Replying to @laceycieslak #greenscreenvideo Hailey Bieber foundation hack pumping foundation into palm of the hand instead of on the backside so it doesn’t sink in! Such a good makeup hack #fyp #makeup #beauty #makeuphacks #makeuphack #foundationhack #haileybieber ♬ original sound - Kelly Strack
On BeautyTok, when Hailey Bieber breathes, it causes shockwaves, so naturally, I had to give her hack a go. It's one of the more simple tricks on the list, and involves pumping your foundation into the palm of your hand rather than the back so it doesn't sink into the skin.
The Verdict: I didn't feel like placing foundation in the palm of my hand really did anything. Although, while using the push-and-press method to blend out the foundation, I did notice how effortlessly it melded with my concealer, which is a testament to the creaminess of the new Smashbox formula.

Powder Before Foundation

@beautylooks_ls Replying to @midsizefashioninspo ♬ original sound - Beautylooks_ls_
This was a hack I was more sceptical of. It involves applying a setting powder to the face first, then setting spray, and finishing with foundation. The results are supposed to create a longer-lasting and stronger base, given that powder neutralises any oil on the skin. I haven't worn a setting powder in years, so I was curious to give this one a go.
The Verdict: I didn't love the results of this. Overall, the look came out very textured (almost clumpy in some areas) and overly matte — I feel the look would probably work best for an OTT-stage look or photo shoot, but I wouldn't try this again for everyday wear.

Spoon Application

@hannyalice Foundation hack with a spoon ✨ #fypシ Ib @ROSE ♬ A&W - Lana Del Rey
In the words of that TikTok sound, "Everybody's so creative!". While spoons have found a place in beauty for many years as eye de-puffers and eyelash extenders, I would've never thought they'd make their way to the foundation space.
The Verdict: WOW — I did not expect to love this as much as I did. I was so impressed at the thin, slick and even coverage. Once I'd applied it, the foundation blended out so smoothly and melted into the skin with hardly any texture.

Foundation In Water

Once again, this method gets points for creativity. This hack blew up on TikTok last year, and given our friends over at Refinery29 UK raved about the hack, I had to try it. The method removes the excess oil from the foundation, which allows the foundation to appear 'transfer-proof' and more sheer. All you need to do is fill up a cup of water, pump in as much foundation as you need and let it soak up the moisture for a few minutes before applying.
The Verdict: Given the Smashbox foundation is for a medium-full coverage look, this method quite literally waters down the formula to give it a more shiny and sheer glow — it brought out the natural highlight in my skin, which I loved. While the method might not be the most convenient, I'll give it a go again when attempting something that sits perfectly in the middle of a dewy-natural and glam look.
While I probably won't be using most of the hacks as my go-to foundation application method, it's always fun to mix things up and experiment with makeup. And as long as TikTok exists, I'm sure there'll be plenty more hacks that come and go — all you really need is a long-wearing, super hydrating foundation, and a little willingness to try something new.

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