How to Prep Your Skin for Makeup, According to the Pros

September 08, 2022
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
makeup artist applying makeup to a face

It’s hard not to look at the glowy, luminous faces posted to makeup artists’ Instagram pages and wonder how they got their skin to look that good. Of course, access to fancy spa treatments and genetics could play a  role, but there are other, more accessible ways that we can all use to achieve smooth, radiant  skin. Makeup artists spend a lot of time prepping the skin before they apply even an ounce of makeup, and those extra steps make a big difference in the evenness and radiance of the skin. To find out how you can prep your skin like a makeup artist, keep reading. 

Start With a Mist

“I always start my skin with a moisture mist,” says celebrity makeup artist Kasey Spickard. He recommends the Jouer Cosmetics Hydrate + Repair Moisture Mist

Apply Moisturizer

Once the mist settles into your skin, it’s time to top it with a moisturizer. Since you’re going to layer makeup on top, opt for a lightweight formula that absorbs quickly. Your choice of moisturizer will vary based on your skin type, but one of our favorites for makeup prep is the Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream. Its airy, whipped texture layers beautifully under foundation.


Gently Massage It All In

Both makeup artists we spoke to swear by massaging the products into the skin to get the blood flowing and make the product absorb better. “Really take your time; this helps bring out the glow and also gets rid of dullness,” says celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose. “Sometimes after I do this, I use damp warm washcloths to gently exfoliate to get rid of dead skin on the face [and] around the mouth, neck and ears too.

Prime Your Skin

You’re almost done — now it’s time to prime. No matter what primer you choose, make sure it plays well with your foundation. Most silicone-based primers have pore-smoothing and mattifying properties, like the NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler Targeted Stick. Silicone-based primers work best with silicone-based foundations. 

For a glowy finish, we love the Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, which is a water-based formula. Water-based primers pair best with water-based foundations. Check out this guide to determine whether your favorite foundations and primers are water- or silicone-based.


Apply Foundation

“I love putting liquid foundation on with a foundation brush,” says Barose. “Then, I like to use a damp sponge to gently pat and blend it in all over so it’s really seamless and undetectable. Go easy on powder, and only use a light dusting of it where you need to.” 

Barose recommends the Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation, a radiant, water-based formula that mimics a natural glow. If you’re using a silicone-based primer, try the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Care & Glow Foundation instead.



Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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