How to apply your base makeup in the right order according to a professional


We all apply makeup differently. Hence why watching complete strangers layer their base on Youtube can be so damn fascinating.

And it’s also one of the best things about makeup (or beauty as a whole for that matter); there’s no one way or ‘right’ way to do things. Makeup is incredibly versatile, it’s forever being reinvented and at the end of the day, it’s about what works for you.

But if you’ve ever been curious as to how a professional makeup artist applies base makeup (and in what order), you’re in luck.

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Hayley Dutton, Head Makeup Artist for Rimmel London AU and Makeup Director for Covergirl AU, let us grill her on all things complexion – from foundation to concealer, blush and bronzer.

As someone with seven years experience painting faces for runways, magazines and advertising campaigns, a gorgeous, glowing base is her bread and butter.

Here’s exactly how she nails it every time, with plenty of golden advice you can incoporate into your own routine…


You’ll rarely see a makeup artist dive straight in with makeup, and Hayley is no different. “I really feel that skin needs to be in good condition for really smooth makeup application”, she says. “I always kick off my makeovers with a beautiful hydrating serum  to ensure the skin is completely hydrated. Sometimes I’ll use a hydration eye mask too, if the skin looks like it needs a good hit of moisture. Usually my celebrity clients have just come off a long haul flight so hydration under the eyes is a great wake up trick.”

When starting with skin care, Hayley says it’s a good idea to wait a few minutes for the products to settle before continuing with makeup. “Usually just after the skin is tacky, and it has absorbed the products, is a good time to go in with makeup.”

“I will usually start skin care, move to hair and then get back onto makeup if I am not pressed for time.  At home you can always pop on your skin care, grab your coffee or brush your teeth and then get into your makeup. “

bh recommends:Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II + Skin Republic Brightening Eye Mask


For a smooth transition from skin care to makeup, Hayley’s next step is primer. “I like to use primers to go in and correct any skin issues, for example if I need mattification or extra glow,” she says. Similar to skin care prep, allow your primer to settle before moving on – although Hayley says she finds most ‘penetrate through the skin pretty quickly’.


With the skin prepped and primed, it’s (finally) time for foundation. Hayleys says she’ll start with ‘a light coverage over the whole face’, which then gives her an idea on what’s easily covered and which areas might need concealer. “I find by going in with concealer first, you can run the risk of really layering up the face too much,” she says.  “At the end of the day we want to see beautiful skin, not cakey skin.”

The two most important things to keep in mind? Use the right shade and blend. “Choosing the wrong foundation colour is the first place people can go wrong, so it’s really important to test your colour before buying and ensure it suits,” she says. “I always suggest having a couple of colours in your makeup kit to ensure you have your correct shade all year round.  We are always a little darker through the warmer months and a little lighter through winter, and if you have one of each you can always mix them to get a good ‘in-between’ shade too.”

If you tend to suffer from streaks, keep on buffing. “Foundation needs to be blended really well so that it looks like part of the skin rather than a product sitting on top. Make sure to soften any edges, such as the hair and jaw line for a completely undetectable finish.”  And if streaks are still a problem, try using less product. It’s possible your foundation isn’t blending well because there’s too much of it. 

bh recommends: Rimmel London Lasting Radiance FoundationCOVERGIRL Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation and The Real Techniques Stippling Brush.


Concealer is the next cab of the rank, for both under the eyes and any skin imperfections. But Hayley’s method for each is different…

a) Concealer for dark under eye circles

When applying concealer to cover dark under eye circles, Hayley has a two-step approach. “I’ll start with a peach concealer over the area first to neutralise the colour, then go in with a concealer one shade lighter than the foundation I am using, so that it doubles as a highlight,” she says.

“If you don’t have a peach concealer, your favourite orange lipstick mixed in with your concealer can work a treat.  As long as it’s orange to help balance the purple-blue shade under the eyes.” In terms of application, Hayley favours the elongated triangle technique ‘to help give the illusion of that area coming forward’. “This acts as a mini face lift to the area,” she says.

As for formula, Hayley prefers liquid to avoid highlighting any fine lines. “The liquid formulas tend not to crease as much and they hydrate the area to keep it looking more fresh and youthful.”

b) Concealer for blemishes

Unlike the under eyes, when Hayley is covering a blemish with concealer she says it’s “really important to ensure the colour of the concealer matches the foundation – rather than a shade a lighter, which can actually make the blemish appear bigger.”

“I always change up my concealer formula and coverage depending on what area I’m covering,” says Hayley. “For example,  if I am working on quite an oily skin, I opt for a heavier coverage in usually a cream formula, so that it melts into the skin with more of a satin finish, rather than looking too oily and sliding off the skin.”

bh recommends: Bobbi Brown Corrector in ‘Peach’ +Rimmel London Lasting Radiance Concealer for under eyes and M.A.C Studio Finish Concealer for blemishes.


Where to contour and/or apply bronzer can be particularly confusing because it’s different for everyone and  largely dictated by your face shape. But Hayley has a couple of foolproof angles that should work for most:

1. Use the angle from the ear to the outer corner of the lips to really carve out the cheekbones.

2. Use the angle from the bottom of the ear along the edge of the jaw towards the chin to contour the jawline.

If you thought pulling the ‘fishy face’ was a hard and fast hack to find the angle easier, Hayley says she’s never asked a client to suck in their cheeks to for contouring. “Essentially what this does is bring the skin down, so then if I were to apply the contour, once they relaxed the skin it would move back up again, moving the contour into the wrong spot.” Her advice is to just follow the natural angles and contours of the face, keeping it relaxed as you do so.”

bh recommends: L’Oréal Paris Back to Bronze – Matte Bronzer and MCoBeauty Bronze Shimmer Brick.


The last step in Hayley’s complexion how-to also happens to be her favourite: blush.

When used right, she says it’s a wonder for “giving the face a fresh, healthy and youthful glow.” Application, again, depends on the face shape. But for the most-part, Hayely says to “apply onto the high points of the cheekbones and then blend it down across the apples of the cheeks.”

“Applying to the high points of the cheekbones assists in giving the cheeks a lifted illusion, and then sweeping the product down softly onto the apples keeps it natural and fresh.”

Choosing a flattering colour is also key, so make sure to check out our guide to finding the right shade of blush for your skin tone if you’re unsure. 

Do you apply your makeup in the same order as Hayley? Did you pick up any handy tips?

Share your thoughts

Comments 13

  1. Waiting until your serum is absorbed before applying your moisturiser and then waiting for your moisturiser to be absorbed before applying your primer is good advice. I used to apply my products too quickly but not now.

  2. I clicked on two of the links under the photos of foundation and I got the message: “Attackers might be trying to steal your information”. I haven’t seen such a message on Beautyheaven before.

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