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Makeup

How To Prep Your Skin For Flawless Makeup

by Hannah Johnson

@steph_shep

• By Hannah Johnson

How many times have you spent precious minutes applying your favorite foundation and concealer only to find — upon closer mirror inspection — that your makeup looks sort of … “blah”? The truth is, even the most expensive makeup can look cheap if your skin isn’t properly prepped for application. Knowing how to smooth and prime your complexion will ensure that whatever makeup you choose to wear will only enhance, not hide, your natural beauty. Read on to learn exactly how to prep your skin for flawless-looking makeup, every time.

Target texture

Dry, flaky skin and clogged pores are pretty much a guarantee for patchy makeup. Be sure to properly exfoliate the surface of your skin for the smoothest application. An exfoliating toner, like PCA Skin’s Smoothing Toner uses lactic and citric acids to swipe away dead skin cells and leave behind silky soft skin that is calmed thanks to aloe and botanical extracts. If a scrub is more your thing, reach for Avène’s Gentle Exfoliating Gel which uses gentle jojoba beads to slough away roughness and unclog pores.

If you’re dealing with rough texture from acne scarring, you may want to look into microneedling for a smoother, more even complexion. By creating tiny “micro-injuries” into the skin, this treatment triggers collagen and elastin to help target deep scarring and pigmentation. You can always book a consult with a trusted provider to find out what’s best for you. 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

The best way to prime your skin is to ensure it is deeply hydrated. After exfoliating, lightly pat a hydrating serum, like Facile Skincare’s Dew You Hyaluronic Acid Serum onto damp skin for maximum absorption and lock it in with a nourishing moisturizer. Hydrated, plumped, and soothed skin will allow for makeup to glide on easily and wear without clinging to dry patches throughout the day.

Mix with caution

Have you ever layered your favorite primer over your moisturizer or SPF, only to discover a rough, balled-up texture? If your products are pilling, it probably means one of two things: they haven’t had enough time to absorb into the skin, or the ingredients in each product are clashing. If it’s the former, proper exfoliation (step one!) will ensure your skin care products fully penetrate the skin and allow for better layering. If it’s the latter, be aware that silicones, like dimethicone, can cause pilling if layered with richer products. Be sure your skin care has had time to absorb before applying any silicone-based primer, and use these primers in moderation with a light tapping motion to apply, as opposed to rubbing them in.

Keep it juicy

Pro makeup artists know that to get the best base makeup, you’ve gotta let things marinate. Between your application of foundation, concealer or powder, let the natural warmth of your skin do the work to set everything right. Work in light layers (less is more!) and mist skin lightly with a hydrating spray like Avène’s Thermal Spring Water between steps to ensure everything looks natural, not cakey. A damp — not soaking — beauty blender bounced over areas prone to creasing, like laugh lines and under the eyes, will ensure that product doesn’t settle into any lines.

Lock it in

Setting sprays are key to achieving a lasting, glowy look without the use of heavier setting powders. When you’re happy with your final makeup look, mist skin generously with your preferred spray. We love Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray — this ultra-fine mist has antioxidant green tea to protect the skin throughout the day and film formers that lock in makeup for all day wear, so you don’t have to worry about touch-ups.

And a final bonus? By taking these extra steps to ensure your skin is happy and healthy, you’ll likely find you end up using less makeup altogether. Don’t be afraid to let your natural glow shine through!