The Exact Order You Should Apply All Your Makeup

While the back of a foundation bottle might give you some direction on how to apply the liquid-y solution to your face, it definitely doesn’t indicate where it falls within your routine.

Makeup order is a tricky topic, mostly because there’s differing opinions on what product should be applied when and in what order. If you’re tired of stressing over when to apply concealer, or if you should really do your eye makeup before sponging on foundation, fear not as in this post our resident makeup artist Cara Shaver clears up the confusion on the true order to apply makeup. Keep scrolling to find out if primer is needed at all, when you should reach for that eyeshadow palette, and more.

Step 1: Skincare
How many times have you read about the importance of prepping the skin before makeup application? Sure, the advice is repetitive, but it’s legit. Always start with skincare, and a primer, explains Shaver.

While the exact products applied will vary based on the client’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 by cleansing the face with a product such as Environ Mild Cleansing Lotion (for normal, dry or sensitive skin), Sebu-Wash Cleanser (for oily to problematic skin) or Hydra-Intense Cleansing (an exceptional all around cleanser).

Next a toner should be applied. Skin toners are vital in supporting the acid mantle of the skin as well as helping to increase hydration and improve the appearance of uneven skin tones. Any of the Environ Toners are excellent options, including Botanical Infused Moisturizing Toner, or Concentrated Alpha Hydroxy Toner, to help encourage exfoliation, and finally Vita-Peptide Toner to help smooth the appearance of wrinkles while enhancing elasticity.

A hydrating or luminizing eye cream such as Vita-Peptide Eye Gel, and a good lip balm,” explains Cara. Then, she moves onto moisturizer: Vita Complex Super Moisturizer+, is an excellent all around moisturizer, or just a hydrating gel if the client has oily skin such as Vita-Antioxidant AVST Gel, SebuGel A for problematic skin, and a creamier, more emollient moisturizer such as Vita-Antioxidant Hydrating Oil Capsules if the client has dry skin. In the evening she recommends all of this be proceeded with a makeup remover, such as Environ’s Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover.

Step 2: Primer
Primer is important because it will sit on the surface of the skin and create a barrier between skin and makeup, says Cara, but for the sake of this explainer, it falls directly after your skincare routine.

Primer will help keep your skin looking silky while refining pores and helping with imperfections. Depending on the primer it can also produce a subtle glow (obviously you won’t get this with a matte primer). To find the right primer, you need to determine your end goal for your face and overall look while also considering your skin type: Oily, Normal, Dry or Combination. For those with oily skin Cara recommends a more matte finish and Kevyn Aucion Primed Skin Developer for Normal to Oily Skin, while those with normal skin could do a varying day and evening look, which might include two separate primers. For those with dry skin she recommends a primer oil, such as Kevyn Aucoin Neo-Elixir, a weightless beauty oil designed to nourish the skin and create a dewy finish.  But a primer should be used to balance your skin, so again if your skin is dry use a primer that boosts moisture levels, and if your skin is oily use a product that will help to control oil and produce more of a matte finish

Step 3: Brows & 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 typically complete brows and eyes before applying foundation,” explains Cara. “This is because I can clean up under the eyes if need be, without disrupting concealer or foundation, especially if it’s a heavier eye look.”

“If you’re looking for a sharp brow, I recommend carving them out: to reveal the shape. With the brows, start a little past the inner corner of the eye then work your way to tip, brushing them out every so often. You also want to start at the top and use hair like strokes. Go in the same direction as your brows to give them a more natural look. Always use concealer as your primer for eyes and set with a translucent powder which will serve to set it all in place, and no, I repeat no creasing when doing this step. This will guaranteed that your eye shadow will last longer.”

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).

Step 4: Foundation
“I work on foundation, and blending the overall complexion, first,” she says. This is where you’ll see the coverage of your foundation and its finish really come into play.

Step 5: Concealer
“Sometimes you’ll be surprised how much your foundation can layer and cover without adding concealer,” notes Cara. After she assess what areas of the face need more coverage, she goes in with concealer. This usually consists of under the eyes, areas prone to redness, blemishes, etc.

Step 6: Bronzer/Blush/Highlighter
After the skin tone is evened out and set with complexion products, feel free to add a pop of color on cheeks, a shimmer on the high points of the face, or a bit of contouring with bronzer. If you mess up, you can always use a beautyblender that already has leftover foundation on it to quickly fix the mistake.

Step 7: Lips
If you’re wearing a gloss, you might want to apply your powder and setting spray first, but in my opinion, lipstick is always a solid last step when applying color cosmetics because it’s the easiest to reapply as the day wears on it. However, Shaver 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,” she adds.

Step 8: Translucent Powder and Setting Spray
You can use one, both, or neither, but both of these products are designed to help your makeup last longer and look better as the day goes on. “I always apply powder as a last step, typically after the entire look is done, just so the skin can wear into itself for a bit while I finish the rest of the look,” explains Shaver. “It’s also freshest when applied before heading out the door.” If it’s particularly humid out or she knows her client has a long day planned, she’ll sprtiz on some setting spray.

While this might annoy you, the real truth is there’s no definitive rule on when you apply certain makeup products. It all depends on your skill level, the look you’re going for, and how you’re comfortable applying makeup. The only hard-and-fast rule? SKINCARE FIRST!

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