The Exact Order You Should Be Applying Your Makeup
The back of a foundation bottle might give you some direction on how to apply the liquid-y solution to your face, but it definitely doesn't indicate where it falls within your routine.
Makeup order is a tricky topic, mostly because there are differing opinions on what product lands on your face first. But if you're tired of stressing over when to apply concealer or asking yourself if you should really do your eye makeup before sponging on foundation, you've landed in the right place.
To clear up the confusion, we talked to the experts and makeup artists to get their advice. Keep scrolling to discover their best tips.
Step 1: Skincare
How many times have you read about the importance of prepping the skin before applying your makeup? Sure, the advice is repetitive, but it's legit.
While the exact products applied will vary based on an individual's skin type and needs, a thorough skincare routine helps the makeup adhere to the skin better, reduces the chances of it flaking off, and can even help your skin appear more glowy.
"I typically start with a hydrating or luminizing eye cream, and a good lip balm," makeup artist Neil Scibelli says. Then, he moves onto moisturizer: an oil-free version or just a hydrating primer if the client has oily skin, and a creamier, more emollient moisturizer if the client has dry skin.
Makeup artist Tara Lauren agrees, adding that she also makes sure to layer on some sunscreen after applying moisturizer. "I am loving the Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30," she shares.
But you also want to make sure you're applying the lighter products first in order to help the ingredients absorb better, says PÜR Cosmetics esthetician Lynnette Cole. For example, apply your serum (if you use one) and moisturizer before your SPF. Cole loves the PÜR 4-in-1 Cloud Cream Moisturizer.
To shop: $28; sephora.com
To shop: $38; ulta.com
Step 2: Primer
Using a primer is pretty optional, says Scibelli, but for the sake of this explainer, it falls directly after your skincare routine.
Oily skin types tend to benefit from the long-lasting, oil-reducing qualities of a primer, while other primers are specifically made to help the skin appear more luminous, hydrated, and even enhance your foundation's glow-boosting effects. Not to mention, Cole adds that it's like "velcro" for your foundation, concealing, and setting powder.
She recommends applying the PÜR 4-in-1 Correcting Primer to even skin tone, blur blemishes, and create a makeup-ready canvas.
Queen of statement eye makeup, Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy says to apply eye primer to your eyelids in order to keep your eyeshadow and liner on all day long and prevent creases. She loves using the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Eyeshadow as a base and primer.
To shop: $33; ulta.com
To shop: $23; ulta.com
Step 3: Brows and Eyes
OK, so this rule isn't set in stone, but there's solid reasoning for completing your eye makeup and eyebrows before applying any type of complexion products. "I can clean up under the eyes if need be, without disrupting concealer or foundation, especially if it's a heavier eye look," says Scibelli.
Davy shares that in the case of fall out from eye makeup, she'll remove it with a cotton pad and Bioderma micellar water. She adds that she'll go back in and re-apply moisturizer under the eyes as needed before applying SPF all over the face. While letting the SPF dry, Davy recommends curling your lashes and applying your mascara. For all-day wear and zero smudges try the L'Oréal Double Extend Lash Extension Effect.
PÜR makeup artist Nydia Figueroa agrees, saying she always recommends apply mascara as the last step in your eye makeup because color from the eyeshadow "can fall onto the lashes." Her favorite mascara is Be a 10 Be Separate Mascara.
All that said, Lauren says that this step will vary depending on the type of finish you're going for. "I usually begin on what will be the look's focal point," the makeup artist says. "If it's an eye look, I'll begin there. If the look is about skin I will begin there. This gives me more time to develop the look, then connect the other elements — like the lip, cheeks, etc. — to make it cohesive in the end."
To shop: $12; ulta.com
To shop: $26; bea10.com
Step 4: Foundation
"I work on foundation, and blending the overall complexion [before concealer], first," says Scibelli. This is where you'll see the coverage of your foundation and its finish really come into play.
Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Foundation as well as Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation are among Lauren's favorites.
To shop: $68; sephora.com
To shop: $35 (on sale for $18); sephora.com
Step 5: Concealer
"Sometimes you'll be surprised how much your foundation can layer and cover without adding concealer," notes Scibelli. After he assess what areas of the face need more coverage, he goes in with concealer. This usually consists of the under-eye area, redness, blemishes, etc.
To shop: $30; sephora.com
To shop: $32; sephora.com
Step 6: Bronzer/Blush/Highlighter
After the skin has been evened out and set with complexion products, feel free to add a pop of color on cheeks, some shimmer on the high points of the face, or give yourself a bit of contouring with bronzer.
Figueroa interchanges steps six and eight by adding bronzer, blush, and highlighter after setting the makeup to add color and glow back into the skin. She often reaches for the jane iredale Glow Time Blush Stick and the FENTY BEAUTY Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer.
To shop: $38; ulta.com
To shop: $30; sephora.com
Step 7: Lips
If you're wearing a gloss, you might want to apply your powder and setting spray first. However, Scibelli says that it all really depends on what type of look you're creating. "You may be basing your look on a certain lip color, so maybe applying that first is a great guideline for you," he suggests.
For a lasting but creamy finish, try the MAC Cremesheen Lipstick.
To shop: $19; nordstrom.com
Step 8: Translucent Powder and Setting Spray
You can use one, both, or neither, but each of these products are designed to help your makeup last longer and look better as the day goes on.
"I like to use a light loose powder and press it into the skin only in the places that I want to protect from shine and movement, like the temple, side of nose, mouth, and chin," says Lauren. "I love for the skin to show and glow but not have excessive shine."
To shop: $39; sephora.com
To shop: $38; sephora.com
However, if it's particularly humid out or the makeup needs to have at least 12-hour wear, Scibelli suggests spritzing on some setting spray to seal the deal. And as a film and television makeup artist, Davy skips the powder and opts for a spray in order to avoid the look of makeup. "Powder tends to make my makeup look like makeup rather than skin," she says. "I'm hyper-focused on skin texture and hiding any makeup [on screen]." Try the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray for makeup that lasts, well, all night.
To shop: $33; sephora.com
And there you have it: Eight steps to your perfect look, in perfect order.