In What Order Should I Apply Makeup Products?

Should you apply foundation or concealer first? Should you apply eye makeup first or last? These are some of the constant questions that come up when applying makeup. Find the answers here!
In What Order Should I Apply Makeup Products?

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Applying makeup is a process that requires certain tactics for a flawless and long-lasting result. However, some people overlook the proper order in which they should apply makeup products.

Smudging eyeshadow or having a stiff effect on the skin are some of the consequences of not applying makeup correctly. This suggests that the order in which the products are applied does alter the result.

And although some women work well with their own application method, if you want to achieve that the products blend better and that your makeup lasts longer, it’s best to follow the following step-by-step to apply makeup products.

The right order to apply makeup products

Although you can find the indications for its application on the back of the product or its packaging, these often don’t inform you of which part of the routine you should apply each product. For this reason, it’s advisable to know in detail which ones go first and why.

Let’s take a look!

1. Prepare your skin

For optimal absorption of the products, your skin must be clean of any residue. So the first thing to do is to wash it.

Then, it must be moisturized, since moisture must be retained inside the cells. Even so, if you have oily skin, it’s best to opt for an oil-free version.

This step also includes a lip balm and sunscreen, which are very useful to prevent the signs of aging and sunspots.

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Apply makeup products to your lips next
Lip balm is useful to preserve the skin’s hydration and to prevent long-term deterioration.

2. Primer

Although this is an optional product, a primer or prebase helps apply a makeup base. Then, it’s better unified. It also helps the product to stay on the skin for longer. However, remember that this type of makeup usually comes in cream or gel.

The function of a primer is to smooth the irregular texture of the skin and minimize open pores, making the epidermis look smoother and lusher.

3. Apply makeup products to your eyes next

Making up the eyes before your skin is not a golden rule. However, it’s a trick used by experts to apply this makeup without affecting the rest of the face. In fact, this step is key to applying a powder shadow or a strong shade.

Eyeshadows are a universe of colors. Still, it’s best to apply complementary shades, which means using one shade that’s lighter and one shade that’s darker. The first goes where the lash line begins and ends just above the crease of the eyelid. Meanwhile, the second goes just below the brow bone, but without darkening the corners of your lids.

4. Foundation

In the order in which makeup products are applied, one of the first tasks is to choose a foundation that’s as close to your skin tone as possible. There are different ways to know which color is the right one. However, the most common trick is to apply it on the forearm and check if it blends with your skin.

Similarly, to apply the foundation on your face, you should put a small amount of product on your forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and neck, and then spread it evenly with small taps with your fingers or with a tool.

If the foundation is powder, you should remove excess product from the brush and then sprinkle a light layer all over your face. Finally, sweep it over the skin with long, arching motions.

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5. Concealer

This product is ideal for covering blemishes, acne scars, and redness, as well as some imperfections. Concealers should be used after foundation to prevent the skin from looking dry.

One of the steps to follow is to apply concealer in an inverted triangle under the eyes to give the eyes a well-rested appearance. Also, don’t forget that stick and compact concealers are perfect for more intense coverage.

6. Bronzer, highlighter, or blush

The goal of these three products is to define the face. Bronzer can be applied in the hollow of the cheeks and around the temples as a contour.

After this, you can highlight the cheekbones with a little blush. This should be spread on the cheekbone with circular movements and a thick brush.

Meanwhile, an illuminator gives light to the face, which is why it can be applied in the arch of the eyebrows, the tip of the nose, and the top of the cheekbone.

7. Mattifying powder

This type of powder is intended to give a uniform matte finish and eliminate shine. They’re also useful for sealing a foundation.

To start, use a large brush and go to the top of the cheekbone. Then, go over our nose, forehead, and chin area.

8. Apply makeup products to your eyebrows next

There are several products to make up the eyebrows. However, we recommend first combing them and highlighting them with an eyeliner or color product. A very practical hack to define the shape of the eyebrows is to use an angled brush.

9. Apply makeup products to your lips

This process involves marking the lip first with lip liner, then lipstick, and finally gloss. Even so, the look can vary, so it’s not necessary to use all three products.

The last trick for full, thick lips or lips that you don’t want to stand out so much is to apply the lipstick with your fingertips.

It's important to apply makeup products in the right order.
The lips are best approached last in this suggested order to apply makeup products. This is the easiest way to avoid mistakes or messing up the rest of your makeup.

10. Setting spray or translucent powder

These products help to set makeup for longer. Although they’re not a strict step to follow, they’re an optimal procedure to make the applied makeup look better throughout the day. If you’re going to use spray, it should ideally be placed in an X and T shape on the face.

Final Facial Care Routine

It’s necessary to wash the face both at night and in the morning. Before going to bed, your makeup should be removed, either with an oily or water-based cleanser (gel or foam).

After all of the above, a toner should be applied, which helps to accelerate skin hydration. In other words, it leaves the skin more receptive to the products that will be applied later.

Although it’s not mandatory to follow this order to apply makeup products, the proposed tips can help you avoid mistakes and help you look your aboslute best!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Natalie Beausoleil. Many Mirrors: Body imagen and social relations [Internet]. Capítulo Makeup in everyday life. United Estates: Editor Nicole Sault; 1994 [consultado septiembre 2021]. Página 33. Disponible en:
  • Natalie Beausoleil. Appearance work: woman`s everyday makeup practices. A Bell & Howell Information Company [Internet] 1992 [consultado septiembre 2021]. Disponible en:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.