How to perfectly prep your skin for make-up

How to perfectly prep your skin for make-up

We all want different things from our base make-up, and while choosing the right foundation plays a big part in this (which is why we created this whole big guide about it), what you do before your foundation is also pretty important.

Depending on the look, feel and finish you’re after, there are certain prep steps that can help you get the perfect result

How to prep your skin for… DEWY MAKE-UP

When prepping the skin for a dewy finish, you might assume that the more moisture you add, the better. But there’s a fine line between hydration and your foundation sliding off as soon as you head out the door, so you need to nail the balance of being glowy, yet grabby.

Start by spritzing your face with a hydrating spray instead of applying a cream moisturiser. “It gives vitamins and minerals and hydration and that delightful dewy summer-skin look,” says Zoe Foster-Blake in her book Amazing Face. But the fine mist will also absorb quickly into your skin, meaning no slippery slidey residue.

bh recommends:

  1. La Mer The Mist
  2. Planet Eve Organics Rose Hydration Mist
  3. Botáni Soothing Facial Mist

You can also add a spritz at the end for extra sheen or carry it with you to refresh your finish throughout the day.

Once your hydrating mist settles, add some luminosity to your complexion with an illuminating primer or strobe cream. The shimmery pigments will come through once your foundation is applied, for a natural-looking glow.

bh recommends:

  1. M.A.C Strobe Cream
  2. essence Brit-Tea Illuminating Base
  3. Shu Uemura Stage Performer Glow Creator
  4. Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer

How to prep your skin for… MATTE MAKE-UP

If the reason you prefer a matte finish is because you have oily skin, start with a toner. It will give you a super speedy cleanse and tighten your pores. “Just make sure it doesn’t leave any residue as this will affect your make-up,” says make-up artist Rae Morris.

bh recommends:Dove Face Care Toner and anumi Clarifying Toner.

You then have two options for primer, a mattifying one or a water-based one. If you have relatively ‘normal’ skin, go for a mattifying primer. But if you are oily through and through, Rae surprisingly recommends opting for a water-based one. “I prefer not to use matte textures as it’s too different to your natural texture [and] what will happen is that as soon as your T-zone starts to shine, the contrast with the rest of your ‘matte’ skin will be very obvious.”

bh recommends:

  1. BECCA Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector ($55,
  2. Models Prefer Perfect Canvas Mattifying Primer
  3. INIKA Cosmetics Certified Organic Pure Primer (water-based)
  4. Too Faced Hangover Primer ($48, – water-based)

Instead, carry blotting papers with you to easily remove sheen and set your foundation at the end with a mattifying powder.

How to prep your skin for… LONG-LASTING MAKE-UP

The trick with long-lasting make-up is to take your time. If it’s for a big event, you can even begin prepping the skin a day or two before by treating it to a face mask. This will make your skin plump, smooth and ideal for foundation application.

bh recommends:Skin Republic CoQ10+ Caviar Face Mask SheetMirenésse Dermal Firm Face Mask and SK-II Skin Signature 3D Refining Mask.

Then on the day, Zoe recommends following the one-minute rule, which is to wait a minute in between applying your moisturiser, primer and foundation. “This allows the moisturiser ingredients to sink in and do their thing before you slap on a layer of silicone [and] allows the primer to spread evenly and settle into all the little cracks in your face, therefore creat[ing] a flawless canvas before you put on your foundation,” she says.

If you’re heading to an outdoor event like the races or a wedding, try to find a day cream or primer with SPF so you don’t have to layer on an extra product. “The more cream on your face, the harder it is for your make-up to sink in,” says Rae. And when you want it to last all day, the last thing you need is for it to simply sit on top of your skin, ready to slide right off.

bh recommends:

  1. Dermalogica AGE Smart SkinPerfect Primer SPF30
  2. Rimmel London Fix & Protect Makeup Primer with SPF 25
  3. LACURA ® Daily Defence Face Care SPF 30+
  4. asap Moisturising Daily Defence SPF50+

What prep steps do you take before applying foundation? Do you prefer a matte or dewy finish?

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