The Exact Order You Should Apply All Your Makeup

Let's settle this once and for all.

Makeup Skincare Order
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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 reached out to makeup artists Neil Scibelli and Tara Lauren to get their expert opinions. 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," 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.

Lauren agrees, adding that she also makes sure to layer on some sunscreen after applying moisturizer. "I am loving Bolden SPF 30 Skin Brightening Moisturizer and Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30," she shares.


To shop: $27;

Mario Badescu

To shop: $28;

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.

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.

While this method helps eliminate the mess of fixing fallout or mascara smudges, you can also apply eye makeup after your complexion products (making it Step 5).

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."

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.

Pat McGrath Foundation

To shop: $68;

Fenty Beauty Foundation

To shop: $35;

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.

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.

VIDEO: How To Use a Beautyblender

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.

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."

She likes to use Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder or the Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Setting Powder.

Laura Mercier POwder

To shop: $40;


To shop: $39;

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 there you have it: Eight steps to your perfect look, in order.

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