On your quest to improve your makeup skills, there’s something most people in the industry fail to mention: Your initial skin prep is what’s going to really take your makeup from looking amateur to professional.
Yes, sure, everyone says you have to start with a clean, blank canvas; but what does that entail? What are the steps to really get your skin looking radiant and glowing, before layers of concealer and highlighter? There are a few things more frustrating than trying to put on foundation, only for it to look flakey or uneven.
For this part of the series, I’m going to be covering in-depth skin prep; the kind I would do before a big event.
(side note: I am not a skin specialist, and everything mentioned below is based purely on personal experience. I struggle mainly with dry, dull skin so that’s what I will be covering, with a few tips for breakouts/acne prone skin).
STEP ONE: EXFOLIATE
Getting rid of dead skin cells is vital if you want a good base to work with. I can immediately feel and see the difference in the way my foundation applies after I’ve exfoliated. The main purpose of a scrub is to get rid of the uppermost layer of dead skin, that makes you look tired and dull. I prefer to exfoliate the night before, because my skin can sometimes become red and patchy (although this settles in no longer than 10 minutes). I recommend the Garnier Even and Matt Instance Radiance scrub that seriously makes your skin feel extremely soft and prevents dryness. I love that it’s not very harsh, and I love using scrubs more often than not, so I need something gentle.
If you’re acne prone, I recommend the Eucerin scrub (not pictured, but tried and tested); it’s also one of my favourite scrubs, and has slightly grainier particles than the Garnier one so it will be able to cut through oil well.
Aside for your skin, your lips need some love too. If you’re anything like me, winter runs havoc for your lips. A sugar scrub is perfect for this. If you haven’t heard how much I am obsessed with Lush (that opened right opposite me!), my favourite product by far is the Bubblegum lip scrub. It smells amazing and really leaves your lips incredibly soft! You use the tiniest amount so it lasts super long, making it worth the price. If you’re into DIY, mix a bit of brown sugar with raw honey and massage into your lips.
STEP TWO: MOISTURIZE
If you’re doing this routine at night, use a hydrating mask. The Glam Glow range is really worth all the hype! My favourite is the Thirsty Mud that you can leave on and sleep with. It’s extremely hydrating, especially in winter. Plus, it smells like coconut so you’re bound to dream of paradise ;)
If I leave the mask on overnight, I still use a hydrating moisturizer to use under my foundation. Hydrated, healthy skin is what really makes your makeup look that much more amazing. I love the Clarins Bright Plus Brightening Hydrating Day Lotion. It’s lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly, which means less time to wait for the moisturizer to sink into the skin before starting with the other steps.
STEP THREE: PRIMER
I always use a double primer under my makeup to protect my skin from the foundation (that can seep into my skin).
I have the large pores that, unfortunately, I still haven’t found a solution for. There are two primers that genuinely work to minimize the appearance of them: The Kiehl’s Micro Blur and Benefit Pore-fessional. I love that the Kiehls Micro Blur doesn’t feel like I’m just slathering silicone onto my face, and it claims to improve the skins appearance over time. The benefit packaging is always my favourite, and it really does hide pores the way it should. If you’re looking to purchase a primer, try both! (You can find both brands at selected Edgars).
I also use a normal primer to make sure that my makeup stays in place in all day. I love the L’Oreal Infallible Primer for its affordability and just how it makes my skin look and feel insanely smooth. I use the micro blur/pore-fessional on my cheeks only, where I have pores (this makes the product last longer as well for a more expensive product) and use the L’Oreal Infallible on the rest of my face. A primer wasn’t always my favourite product; I always thought it was such a waste of money, until I realized how much my foundation is affecting the appearance of my skin. I looked tired, my skin texture was getting wrinkled and foundation only made it look worse because it enhanced everything. Having a primer creates a solid base to work with; it fills all the fine lines, pores and creates an even, flawless canvas to work with.
STEP FOUR: EVERYTHING ELSE
I always do my lipstick right before I head out the door when applying makeup, so it looks fresh and stays in place. After I’ve primed my face, I always apply a good dose of lip balm to sink in and moisturize my lips. Maybelline Baby Lips will always be my favourite, and this unscented, uncoloured Dr Rescue version is amazing. It’s the only thing that properly moisturizes my lips in winter and keeps them soft and chap-free.
For my eyes, I use the Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original. I seriously don’t know how I lived without this product before. Although I have dry skin, I have very oily lids, which means my eyeshadow gets creased within a couple of hours instead of lasting all day. With the Urban Decay Primer Potion, it stays put right until the evening, without even needing to be refreshed. I apply this to my eyelids right up until the brow bone, and also extend it to where I think my wing liner will be, to keep that in place and prevent it from smudging.
The MAC Prep + Prime powder is one product I purchased that seems to never run out in a hurry, even though I use it for a million things. It’s a mattifying, translucent powder that holds your makeup in place as well (basically a dream). When prepping, I apply some of this over the Primer Potion on my eyes to seriously keep my eyeshadow from budging.
Then, I apply a tiny, thin layer to my entire face with a fluffy brush. It may sound strange, especially to those who know a bit about makeup. We’re always taught that liquids go before powders, so to use a powder before applying foundation, especially if your foundation is liquid or cream would really mess up the rule BUT, I heard about this tip from a YouTube blogger years ago (and cannot for the life of me remember what his name was!) and tried it out. The concept is that it sets your primer, moisturizer, etc. and really makes your foundation look that much more amazing. It again, fills pores and fine lines making them look much less prominent.
I also use the Prep + Prime if I’m applying eyeshadow that isn’t too dark but may cause fall out, and don’t want to waste a Shadow Shield. Simply add a layer underneath your eye area and brush away gently once your done with your eyeshadow.
Hope these tips helped, and if you haven’t seen Part 1 yet, you can check it out here.