Skin Prep Before Makeup

Why Prepping Your face is Important

Skin Prep cover

Prepping your face is the most important routine before applying all that makeup and here is why.

It is not about what makeup brands you bought (or how many beauty blenders you have), it’s about taking care of your skin!

Maintaining the radiance and great skin is why you need to prep your face. It’s vital to prepare your face whether you’re applying a light layer or even a heavy layer to avoid greasiness or dryness. It’s also important on how your foundation will look.

You can spend hours on your makeup routine with the most expensive products and brushes, but if your face is not prepped correctly (or at all) then you’re wasting your time and money. By prepping your skin, it will look its very best and will ensure that your makeup lasts all day.

Prepping Your Face and Skin

Skin Types: Oily, Dry and Combination (or Combo)

Let me start off by saying that no matter what kind of skin you have, always wash your face before putting on makeup. Just like an artist starts off with a clean canvas for great results, start off with a clean face for best results and better skin!

Dry Skin Prep


Dry skin should be moisturized with creams, oil-based moisturizers or balms. With areas that are extra flakey, you can apply skin oil or serums before your moisturizer. Make sure you moisturize well under your eyes to disguise wrinkles and combat creasing when you apply concealer!

Exfoliate: This will get rid of dead skin cells allowing your face to be smoother and when applying makeup it will not give you that “cakey” effect.

Hydrate: Makeup will only look as hydrated as the skin is underneath. If you correct dryness first, your makeup will have much better luck getting your makeup to glow longer.

TIP: DO NOT just use any moisturizer because they can sometimes contain petroleum-based ingredients that just sit on top of the skin without hydrating, giving you a greasy look.

TIP: Look for a serum or oil with a consistency that will actually absorb into the skin, like Olay Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil.

Spend Extra Time on Your Eyes: The delicate skin around your eyes can get flakey on the eyelid, even in the winter (or under the eyes if you’re returning from a midwinter getaway and your skin is recovering from the sun). You can use Lancôme Genefique Eye Light Pearl-Eye Illuminating Youth Activity Concentrate.

Avoid Tinted Moisturizer: You might think you are getting two products in one, but “you’re actually getting one product that gives you only half the coverage and half the moisture that you need”.

Oily Skin Prep 

Oily_Skin 2

When prepping your face for makeup, you want to keep in mind that this excerpt is for people with oily skin all over (not just on the T-zone. Combination skin is a whole other process).

Things that can happen if you don’t prep before applying your makeup is if you’re done applying your foundation and you’re on to concealing. You apply the concealer, and the makeup can move on your face leaving a smudge. You can apply your foundation and your powder, you turn away and look back, suddenly the oil from your face is seeping through, eating away the makeup.

Removing Surface Oil: So to begin, remove the surface oil, starting on a clean canvas. (Do Not forget about your eyelids). Keep in mind if you are using topical creams due to acne (like proactive, which leaves your skin oily) use a highly pigmented foundation. Reason being is because you do not want the topical cream and the foundation to clash, causing your foundation to look an orangey color.

Toner: Sometimes after washing your face, you still have residue , so you can put on a toner with a cotton or pad to remove any left over cleanser, dirt or oil. Use gentle toners with ingredients such as Rosewater, Chamomile or Calendula. These can remove residue all while soothing your skin.

TIP: Try to stay away from witch hazel, it can actually irritate your skin and stimulate oil production.

Moisturizer: Consider using a gel cleanser, which is often gentle and doesn’t have excess oils. A lot of times you do not need to add moisturizer because the skin is already oily. Be sure to look for patches. If they look dry or dehydrated, you can use a moisturizer on that area. If you decide to add moisturizer, you can gently press the cream across your face (avoid rubbing the moisturizer in a harsh manner). Be sure the moisturizer is Oil-free.

Finishing Mist: Before applying your makeup, lightly spray on a water or rosewater mist. This can give extra hydration and absorb oil, as well as helping the makeup meld on your face more effectively to give you a “natural” glow.

TIP: Spraying too much can cause your moisturizer to melt off. Allow it to dry for a few minutes.

Primers: Primer are great, but not a lot of them are good with oil control. Primer is used as a barrier between the skin and the makeup, which gives you that smoothing effect. Using primer with oily skin is actually not a good idea because the oil builds up under the primer and it will shift the makeup, leaving that blotchy, smudge look if you touch your face or touch up your makeup. If you decide to use a primer, find one that’s specifically made for oily skin.

TIP: So you want to go for a matte look when putting on your makeup. Try to stay away from anything dewy and you want to prevent from adding oil to the oil you already have on your skin. So stay away from products that contain oil.

Combination Skin Prep

Combination Skin

One of the complicated skin types, but no biggie! Combination skin is where you have areas that are normal, oily and dry at the same time. (I, myself, have combination skin). With combination skin what you want to do is cleanse your face to start off. I personally use the Garnier – Micellar Cleansing Water. It has no added oils, alcohol or fragrance and it’s great for all skin types.

Secondly, I apply an oil-free moisturizer. I use Tucker-Ashley “Perfecting Moisturizer”. It’s an oil-free moisturizer that contains ceramides and all natural water binding mechanisms for the skin. It improves the skins barrier function and provides long-lasting moisture reservoirs. I use moisturizer right after cleansing my face to lock in the moisture. If I do not have a moisturizer, I use the Mario Bedescu “Rosewater Mist”.

Generally people with combination skin do not really know how to take care of their skin. I have combination skin so to speak. We are very confused because sometimes we are oily, sometimes we are dry and then we break out. Sometimes when applying makeup we encounter problems because of our skin, so skin care is very important! At times we can work on our faces separately in “zones”, for example: Our T-zones and middle of our forehead can be oily and our cheeks and the perimeter of our face is dry. So we can work our face in zones and deal with it that way.

Working Combo Skin in Zones:

You can separate your zones in this order if it helps you – Perimeter of Face, Cheeks and T-Zone.

Perimeter of Face: When working on this area, you will notice it’s pretty normal. No pore visibility and not oily, nor is it dry. You can use hydrating products for that area, but try not to use heavy textured products, so hydrating serums and creams work best.

Another problem with people who have combination skin is that they go nuts with oil eliminating cleansers and acne prone products all over the face.

Before applying any hydrating serum or cream, I like to exfoliate the skin lingering on the surface of my face. It’s a really great process because my makeup does not sit on top of any dry, flakey skin that’s already there. You can soak a cotton pad or a baby wipe that has texture with Garnier – Micellar Water and spot exfoliate some of the noticeable dry, flakey areas.

T-Zone (Usually the middle of your face): Within this area, which is normally the oily area, you can use a bit of hydration and a bit of oil control.

Take a light hydrating serum and apply that all over the face, and for that bit of oil control down the center of your T-Zone, you can use a mattefying gel and apply that in the areas that get shiny or oily.

If you are excessively oily in the T-Zone, you can use something that is hydrating, but has that oil control, like the Bioderma Pore Refiner. The Bioderma Pore Refiner tightens up the pores enough where it controls the oil on those oily areas and a tiny bit of hydration.

Cheek: Another option is where you can hydrate the cheeks and use a mattefying gel right down the center on your T-Zone.

TIP: Experiment with the products that work right for your face.

Next Problem is where some people with combination skin that have huge pores down the middle of their face, especially on the cheeks. Sometimes the foundation sinks into the pores and at this moment before you apply any foundation. what you can do is use a primer that is pore refining. Benefit Porefessional can be used on those larger pores. The product fills in the pores. Tap it into the areas where you visually see large pores. Do Not overwork this product into the skin because it’s going to start balling up and it can also start to peel off, that’s not what you want.

The ideal way to work with Combination skin is to deal with the skin in sections because it will make your life easier. Learning how to skin prep properly is your make or break for good makeup.

-What are some Tips & Tricks you do or products you use for prepping your skin?


4 comments on “Skin Prep Before Makeup

  1. Very useful guide. I have combination skin myself and it took me a while to figure out what products work best for me. Thanks for sharing!
    Ioanna |

    Liked by 1 person

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