Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

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Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

A lot of women don’t know the steps to apply makeup properly. When I check beauty forums, I see a lot of questions like “Should I use foundation first before concealer? Or is it the other way around?” or “Do you apply primer or sunscreen first?”.

So to give you a basic idea of the proper steps in applying makeup, I decided to write this post.

Remember that you always have to start your makeup routine with a clean and well moisturized face. So, the first step in prepping your skin is to wash the face. You can also exfoliate your lips so you’ll have a smooth base to apply lipstick on. Followed by your regular skincare routine.

You might also want to apply a moisturizing lip balm at this stage, so it will do its magic while you do the rest of your makeup. Once you’ve prepped and moisturized your skin and lips, you’re now ready to start applying makeup.


Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

STEP 1: Base Makeup

The first thing you need to apply is sun protection. You can skip it if you are applying evening makeup. But if you are doing a daytime makeup, the first step you should do is apply a good sunscreen or sunblock. Even if your foundation or BB cream has SPF in it, it’s not enough to protect you from the harmful effects of the sun.

I recommend using a sunscreen with SPF50 and PA+++ for effective sun protection. If you can find one that is also Anti-Pollution like Chanel UV Essentiel Anti-Pollution SPF50/PA+++ or Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution SPF50, then it would be better for your skin as it blocks the harmful effects of pollution as well. If you have oily skin, you can opt for an oil-free sunblock like Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Daily Face Shield. Clarins UV Plus is also oil-free, so it would be a great sunscreen for oily skin as well.

Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

The next layer to put on is primer. If you wish to use a CC cream instead of a primer, then this is the time to apply it as well.

I sometimes skip this step when I’m in a hurry, but if I want my makeup to last longer on my oily/combination skin, then I do apply a good primer like Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer. I have been using samples of the Skin Equalizer, but once I use them all up I’m going to buy a full-sized one. I like it better than the old HD primer which was previously my holy-grail primer.

After the primer (or CC cream) had set on the skin, you can now apply your favorite foundation or BB cream. Remember that they are only meant to even out the skin and not to cover up blemishes. My favorites are Make Up For Ever HD Foundation and Laneige Cushion BB cream. If the foundation or BB cream is able to cover up blemishes without having to apply too much of it, then it’s great. But if not, you can use a concealer like NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer to cover up blemishes, dark spots, as well as undereye dark circles.

I do apply concealer after foundation. But I know that some women apply concealer before applying their foundation. I have tried their method before, but I find that my foundation tends to get cakey where it’s applied over the concealer. So now, I apply concealer after I’ve applied and blended my foundation. Personally, I think that it’s better when done this way. 😉

The last step in the base makeup is to set all of them with a setting powder. You can use either compact powder or loose powder to set your makeup. I love using a translucent setting powder like the Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder.

Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

STEP 2: Eyebrows

I sometimes skip this step when I’m in a hurry. But when I have time, what I do is first tame my brows using a brow brush. Then I apply eyebrow pencil followed by eyebrow powder. I brush it again just to make sure that everything’s in place. Then set it with an eyebrow mascara. You can also apply highlighter to the bottom and top of your eyebrows at this point.

My favorite brow products are K-Palette 24h Real-lasting Tattoo.

Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

STEP 3: Eye Makeup

For the eyes, I sometimes use an eyeshadow primer, but most of the time I just start with an eyeshadow base. I like using Chanel Illusion D’Ombre as an eyeshadow base, but you might also use MAC Paint Pot.

Then I apply eyeshadow on my lids, crease, outer corner, undereye area and inner corner of the eyes.

After everything’s blended, I tightline and apply liquid eyeliner along my upper lashline. When I’m not too lazy, I also apply a brightening eyeliner along my waterline.

Then it’s time to curl the lashes using a trusted lash curler like Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. Apply mascara or false lashes after you’re satisfied with how curled your lashes are.

Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

STEP 4: Face Color

Note that if you’re using a cream bronzer, blush or highligher, then you can apply it right after your foundation or BB cream and before setting with powder. But if you use powder blush, highlighter or bronzer then you can apply it at this point.

I used to apply them in the order Bronzer > Blush > Highlighter. But I now do it the other way around. Because when I apply the blush after the bronzer, it tends to mix with some of the bronzer causing it to get a bit muddy. So I decided to apply the bronzer last, and so far, I’ve been really happy with this order which is Highlighter > Blush > Bronzer. 😉

Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

STEP 5: Lip Color

The first steps for the lips are exfoliation and application of lip balm which should be done before applying any face makeup (STEP 1).

Before applying a lip primer, make sure to blot the excess oil or shine from your lip balm. Then apply a lip primer or just a lip liner, or both before applying your lipstick.

For gradation lips, you can apply a lip concealer (or a nude lipstick) before applying a bright lipstick at the centre of your lips. Then blend the color so there won’t be any harsh lines or edges.

You can also apply concealer around the lips to really bring out the lip color, especially if you’re using a red lipstick. Concealer can also be applied at the cupid’s bow to make your lips appear fuller.

I usually skip this, but for a glamorous lip makeup, you can apply lipgloss at the center of your lips. This will also make the lips appear fuller and juicy. 😉


The last step you might want to do is use a makeup setting spray. This also helps the makeup to last longer. Some setting sprays can even mattify your makeup or add a dewy glow.

Steps To Apply Makeup Properly

Always remember that, while you need to correctly apply your makeup, you also need to thoroughly remove it at the end of the day or the night. Especially if you used a long lasting foundation, sunscreen and primer.

I hope this had given you an idea on the steps to apply makeup properly. If you have something to add or clarify, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.



  1. Natalie Brown on

    I also like to start with my base. I know some people do their eye make-up first but this has never worked right for me. Although, I apply my concealer and then my foundation. These are some great tips! I like the highlighter/blusher/bronzer order quite a bit. 🙂

    • Thanks Natalie! I also know some people who do their eye makeup first. They want to be able to start over if they make a mistake with their eye makeup. But I can’t do it their way, so I always make sure to apply my eye makeup carefully. 😀

      What concealer are you using? How are you able to apply it before foundation without it going cakey on you? The only time I can apply concealer before foundation is when I mix some concealer with my moisturizer. I do this when I don’t have any breakouts to cover and when I’m in a hurry. 😉

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