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Makeup Product: Which comes first?

Makeup Product: Which comes first?

 Sunday, 29 November 2020


Foundation, highlighter, blush, concealer, eyeshadows,…… The number of products available to build up our makeup looks can be overwhelming. We love makeup and some of us use makeup daily. Makeup makes us feel pretty and gives us the self-assurance we need to face our day to day tasks (or at least is like that for me….). But there are lots of products to apply and the order in which we apply them can make a huge difference in the final result. I am going to share with you the order I follow. I am sure different people will apply the products in a different order and what works for me maybe will not work for you, but the order I am going to mention in this post is the one I found better for me after trying different ways of applying makeup. There is an infography at the end, click on the image to download as a pdf.

Picture by Hana Brannigan

Prepare your skin

There is something very important which makes a big difference in the result and it is having clean skin. It is not enough to wash it with soap as our grannies say. You should carry out your morning skincare routine with double cleansing, toner, moisturizing and sun protection at least to be sure your skin is clean and radiant. You are going to paint your face, literally. Do you think a painter will paint a picture on a dirty canvas?

Once you have your canvas ready you can start the artistic job. The best choice is to start with a primer. Primer is very important because helps to fix foundation and can modify certain aspects of your skin as minimizing pores, redness, moisturize and give a glow effect, mattify, etc. I have different primers and use them depending on how my skin is that day.

Improve your skin

Normally, after the primer is time to apply foundation. And I say normally because if you are going to use a new eyeshadow or an eyeshadow which falls under your eyes, you should apply eyeshadow before foundation to avoid “racoon eyes” and spoil the whole makeup. The job of the foundation is to unify your skin tone and hide most of the imperfections. The foundation shade should be similar to your neck skin shade. Foundation comes in different coverage, from light to full coverage and can have matte or super-glow dewy finish. They can be in mousse, powder, liquid, stick,…. The foundation type you choose will depend on the type of skin you have (matte is better for oily skin while dewy are better for dry skin) but mostly will depend on what you like (of course, it will be applied on your skin…..). On spite of having dry skin, I like full or high coverage and I normally prefer a matte finish (if I want a glow finish I can always mix my foundation with some glow effect primer).

After the foundation, only if you need, apply concealer. The function of concealer is to cover the imperfections your foundation did not cover. That is the reason why you should apply it after the foundation, even if a lot of people prefer to apply concealer underneath foundation. Normally you should choose one shade number lower than the foundation shade. There are other types of concealers as green, violet, red,…. but you should have a lot more knowledge and experience to use and sometimes it is better not use a product than using it wrongly.

Picture by Emma Bauso

It is time now of doing a bit of contouring. I don’t like contouring for a day to day makeup, looks like very heavy makeup for going to the normal activities and only do real contouring when I am making up for an event. However, if you like this is the right time to do it.

If you like to use liquid or cream highlighter and blush you should apply them now. Something you should always keep in mind and which never fails is that “similar goes with similar”. That means that all wet product goes together and dry product will go after them.

To finish with the wet product part of your makeup and have a perfect finish you can apply setting powders, lose or compact. They are normally transparent or translucent but the banana powder is becoming very popular. Apply them with a powder brush on all your face. I advise you to avoid them if you have dry skin or if you want a glow finish, the main function of these powder is fixed and mattify your makeup and if you have dry skin foundation can crack during the day.

Eyes makeup

It is time to move to the eyes. I divide the eye’s makeup into 3 parts: brows, eyelids and lashes. Opposite to many people, I think it is better to start with the eyelids. Apply some concealer as a primer and set it with translucent powder. That helps the eyeshadow to stay longer and avoid it to fall on your face. The use of setting powder avoids creasing of eyeshadows. Concealers are greasy and the can fix really well the eyeshadow shortly. However, after some time, this greasy product will make the eyeshadow form the hateful creases. I am not going to say much about eyeshadow, there are tons of palettes, quads, single, pressed pigments and products to use and you can find all imaginable colour you want. I will simply advise something, think in your undertone when choosing eyeshadow colour and keep in mind the colour wheel when combining eyeshadows.

Picture by Venus HD Makeup & Perfume

After applying the eyeshadow, you can move to the brows. There are powder, pen, gels, liquids and a huge variety of brow products. My favourites are powder or pens, preferably powder. Apply the powder with an angled brush, remove the excess with a clean mascara wand and finish with some fixing gel. Gels and liquid products normally come with an applicator and pens are simply pens and everybody knows how to use a pen…… It is better to choose a shade similar to your own bros colour to have a natural look.

To finish with the eyes, apply eyeliner and mascara. Eyeliners come also in very different formats, as kohl pen, felt tip pen, liquid and even you can use eyeshadow applied with an angled brush. It blends really well with the eyeshadows and gives a natural look for the day-to-day make up. Clear eyeliner applied on the waterline makes your eyes look bigger and it is a good idea to apply that before going to the mascara. After eyeliner, apply mascara and false lashes if you like a “happy cow” look…..


Cheeks makeup

There are three types of powder products you can apply: bronzer, highlighter and blush.

For the day-to-day makeup, bronzer can make your face look bit thinner and give some tan aspect. There are bronzers in warm and cold shades and with and without shimmerApply bronzer from the ear to the side of the mouth, on the shin and both sides of the forehead, the typical “3” you have read everywhere.

In a line parallel above the bronzer, you can apply the highlighter. Highlighters give a wet, shiny effect on your face and make your skin look healthier. Apply it above the bronzer but also on the nose, cupid arc and above the brows. A fan brush is a good option to apply to this product. To finish with the checks, apply some blush to blend bronzer and highlighter together and unify the colour. To apply the blush, smile and blend it with circular motions to give a natural effect.

Picture by Suzy Hazelwood

Lips makeup

We finish our makeup with the lips. There are two options, gloss or colour lipstick on any of its formats. If you are going to use a gloss, I advise you to first fill your lips with a lip pencil and apply the gloss on top. In that way, you will have a glossy effect but with some colour. If you want to keep your lipstick longer on your lips, you can apply a lip primer. There is a tip that works really well for me. I apply foundation on my lips and set it with fixing powder. Then I apply the lipstick and remove the excess with a tissue. I apply a second layer of lipstick and normally the non-permanent lipstick lasts most of the day without touch up.

Final Touch

The very last product I apply is the fixing spray to give that unity the makeup needs and to help to keep all the day in place.

There is no wrong or right way of applying the makeup. That is how I do and how it works for me but you will read others which are also good. The best advice I can give you is: try, try and try. You don’t know what will fit you unless you try, you can be surprised. The most important thing, enjoy with your makeup.


Leave in the comments if you apply the products in a different order or if you apply any product I didn’t mention. See you in the next post.



Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

I love beauty and skincare, try new products, and share my opinion with you. All my knowledge comes from years of experience and reading articles. I have dry skin, Fitzpatrick type IV, warm undertone, and my main concern is hyperpigmentation. Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you. We are all different and products can have different results on your skin. Want to talk? Email me at contact@irenebeautyandmore.com

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