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Prep Your Skin for Flawless Makeup with 6 Tips from a Pro Makeup Artist

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We’ve all experienced it. That moment when you look in the mirror and realize your once beautifully applied makeup is faded, smudged, and in desperate need of a touch-up. When you spend precious time perfecting your foundation, seamlessly blending your concealer, and applying bronzer and blush with zero streaks, it can be disheartening to see your look melt away. But the truth is, your makeup routine is about so much more than actually applying makeup—it’s about prepping your skin, too. Think of your skin as a blank canvas. It needs to be properly prepped before it can take on your beauty products or your skin’s natural oils and outside factors like rain and humidity can easily erase your work.

If you’re looking for your makeup to last all day and still look flawless, we’ve got you covered. We asked Los Angeles-based professional makeup artist Ruby Vo for tips on prepping your skin for makeup that looks gorgeous and won’t fade fast. Continue reading and get ready for makeup that’ll wow from morning to night (and beyond).


About the Expert:

Ruby Vo is a Los Angeles-based professional makeup artist.

1. Gently Exfoliate

When dead skin cells build up on your skin’s surface, it can lead to clogged pores, dullness, uneven skin tone, and more. Using an exfoliator or an exfoliating cleanser is a surefire way to help keep your skin smooth and bright, and to give makeup an even base to grip onto. Vo says, “I recommend that my clients gently exfoliate before makeup application. Generally, exfoliating 2-3 times a week will help remove dead skin cells and leave your face smooth and ready for flawless makeup. If you have dry skin, exfoliating will help remove dry patches that you may have and if you have oily skin, exfoliating will help remove excess dead skin cells which tends to clog pores.”

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2. Pop on an Eye Mask & Cream

If you’re looking to keep your under-eye area looking bright and for your concealer to last, Vo says eye prep is a must. “It will help your foundation and concealer apply and blend out more smoothly and it will even help with the longevity of your makeup. You just have to make sure you are using products that are appropriate for your skin type. I like to prep under eyes with an eye cream that I apply with light pressure using my ring finger, and then I apply under-eye patches for hydration and to catch eyeshadow fallout.”

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3. Apply a Toner and Serum

Toners, serums, toners and serums—oftentimes we settle for one or the other. According to Vo, each serves its own purpose when it comes to flawless makeup. “I like to apply both a toner and serum,” she says. “Toners help restore the pH of your skin, provide an initial layer of hydration, and help your skin absorb your moisturizer completely. Depending on your skin type, using a serum is great because you can use a hydrating and illuminating serum to hydrate your face and create a glowing makeup base. If you run more oily-to-combination, you can use a serum to minimize your pores and to help control oils, which will also help with the longevity of your makeup.”

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4. Make Sure You Moisturize

Moisturizing is one of the most important steps before foundation ever touches your face—even if you’re using a hydrating one. “Applying moisturizer will help your foundation and concealer apply more seamlessly, help with the longevity of your makeup, and add a natural radiance under your foundation,” says Vo, who adds that it’s important to choose one that’s right for your skin type. “If you have oily skin, I recommend using an oil-free or matte moisturizer. If you run more dry I recommend using a hydrating and nourishing moisturizer. I like to apply moisturizer with my hands and let it sit on the face for a couple of minutes before applying foundation or primer.”

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5. Apply Primer

Think of primer as insurance for your makeup. Just like you wouldn’t apply a coat of paint to your walls, or your nails without it, you wouldn’t want to cut the life of your look short by skipping this step. If you’re not a fan of primer, according to Vo, proper prep means you can skip it—but applying it helps depending on your goals. “Primer is important, but I also find that if you prep your face properly you don’t need to use it. But depending on someone’s skin type and the makeup application they are wanting I will use primer,” Vo says. “If someone has oily skin, I like using a gripping primer or an oil-controlling, pore filling primer on their T-zone. If someone is more on the drier side, or wanting a glowy, dewy makeup look I will use a hydrating, radiant primer all over the face.”

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6. Spritz on Setting Spray

We love setting sprays for so many reasons—they make sure our makeup stays put and they feel so fresh on our skin. “I like using setting sprays during and after the makeup process,” says Vo. “It will help with longevity and it melts your powder products into your skin for a more natural look. Sometimes I will even spray a makeup sponge with a setting spray and apply it with the sponge for a flawless foundation/concealer application.”

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Article Last Updated August 26, 2021 12:00 AM