What Order To Apply Your MakeupI have been a makeup lover for nearly 20+ years now and can apply a full face in my sleep at this point. LOL But it took me a long time of trial and error with techniques and application for me to find a method that worked for me. Applying your makeup in a certain order is key and I have a step by step makeup routine that I follow nearly every day. Following these steps helps me maximize the effectiveness of the products as well create a look that is polished and well blended.

I know it can be confusing if you are just starting out or aren’t as familiar with makeup application, so I will share my step by step routine of exactly how I apply my makeup each day. What products I use first, second, third, etc. Obviously this is my personal preference and other people could have differing opinions on the correct order. But this has been working for me for nearly 20 years so it’s tried and true for me. Here is a step-by-step application guide that you can follow to help clear up the confusion and streamline the process.

What Order to Apply Makeup

What Order To Apply Your Makeup

Step 1 – Prep Your Skin

This may seem like an inconsequential step, but ensuring your skin is nicely prepped before makeup is key to longevity and having your makeup look more natural overall. I will do my entire morning skincare routine first thing but I like to make sure my skin is well hydrated immediately before I apply any primer or foundation. For this step, I have been using the Rhode Glazing Milk to prep my skin and add some moisture. That added bit of moisture really helped my foundation apply so much more smoothly. Another product that I will use is a lightweight moisturizer or even give my face a few spritzes of a setting spray.

Step 2 – Apply Your Primer

Please note that you do not HAVE to wear primer if you don’t have one you love. But if you do use a primer, this is the time to apply it. There are a ton of different primers available that do all sorts of things so it’s important to find one that suits your skin type and your skin’s needs. Since I have dry skin, I love adding an illuminating primer to give my skin a bit of a glow before adding my foundation. If you have oily skin or plan to be out in the heat, opt for a mattifying primer or a primer that has a good “grip” to keep your foundation from moving all around during the day.

Step 3 – Apply Foundation

This step is one of the most important steps of my entire makeup routine because my foundation will create a blank canvas for my face. No matter what other products I put on, my foundation will play the biggest role in how my makeup looks throughout the day. My biggest tip in applying foundation is to start with a small amount and build up as you need it. Some people only apply foundation where they feel they need it, and others (like myself) apply foundation over my entire face.

I like to apply my foundation to the four main parts of my face and blend it out from there. I will put a bit on each cheek, my forehead and then on my chin. You can use either a brush or sponge depending on your preference and begin the blending process in the center of the face and work your way out.

Step 4 – Apply Concealer

The foundation/concealer application step is often one that can be the  most confusing because everyone has an opinion on which way works better but for me personally, I like to apply concealer after my foundation. I typically only use concealer to cover dark spots or areas that my foundation did not. If I apply concealer first, I will often use too much because I’m trying to conceal a ton of different areas and then adding foundation on top of that is way too much for me. My foundation usually will cover everything I need and I will only use concealer under my eyes to brighten my dark circles or if my foundation did not cover a specific blemish, then I will dab on a touch of concealer. If you use a color corrector under your eyes, this would also be the step to apply it.

What Order To Apply Your Makeup

Step 5 – Eyeshadow Primer

I use an eyeshadow primer nearly every single day to help my eyeshadow stay on longer so this always goes on first.

Step 6 – Apply Eyeshadow

My chosen eyeshadow often dictates my entire makeup look so I will usually begin there. The only time I will choose to do my eyeshadow before my foundation/concealer is if I am doing a dramatic eye look and I am worried there could be fallout on my cheeks. If that is the case I will do my eyes first, clean up any product fallout and apply my foundation + concealer. However my daily makeup looks are quite natural, so I will do my eyeshadow after my complexion routine.

Step 7 – Apply Mascara

After I have completed my eye makeup, I will add a few coats of mascara.

Step 8 – Brows

Doing my brows is actually my least favorite step of my entire makeup routine (getting them even is always a challenge LOL), but it has to be one so I will apply any brow product after mascara. This is the final step of my entire eye makeup look.

correct order to apply makeup

Step 9 – Loose Powder

I don’t apply loose powder every single time I do my makeup. But if I plan on doing so I will apply it at this step. Most of the time I will only apply loose powder down the center of my face (t-zone) because that is where I will get shiny (if I do). If my foundation is especially dewy or moisturizing and I want to apply a powder bronzer/blush on my cheeks, I will also apply loose powder there because I find that a powder bronzer/blush blends better when there is already powder on the face.

Step 10 – Bronzer

I like to wear a bronzer nearly every day to give some warmth to my complexion and this is the step that I will apply it. I usually will use either a cream bronzer OR a powder bronzer but if you want to use both, it is best to apply the cream bronzer first and then set that with the powder bronzer.

 Step 11 – Blush

I like applying blush right after bronzer normally applying it to the apples of my cheeks and blending out towards the hairline. I will use either a cream or powder blush depending on my preference for the day. Some people will use the same technique with blush as they do with bronzer, going in first with a cream blush and setting it with a powder blush to help make it last longer. I have tried that occasionally but often it can be too much product for me to wear so I prefer to choose just one formula to apply – either a cream or powder blush. The bronzer formula that I have used can dictate the blush I choose because a cream blush blends better with a cream bronzer and a powder blush blends better with a powder bronzer.

 Step 12 – Highlighter

I am a three step cheek gal regardless of the type of makeup I am doing. I always love to apply a bronzer, then a blush. And finish with a touch of highlighter on my cheekbones. I like to add it after I have finished my entire cheek look and tap a bit of it on my cheekbones and slightly over my cheeks to add some glow. I don’t like to add it too close to the corners of my eyes so it doesn’t emphasize any fine lines. Highlighters used to be so bold and intense when they first became popular. But over the years so many sheer and natural formulas have come out that give the skin a soft summer makeup glow.

lip products

Step 13 – Lip Liner

To be honest, I was never a huge lip liner user for most of my life. It always felt unnecessary and an added step that didn’t really make a difference. As I have gotten older, I do feel that a lip liner is a must have daily to help define my lip line better and give my lips more definition. You can either use lip liner just around the edge of your lips. Or if you want to help your lip color last longer, apply it all over the lips. Typically lip liner formulas are quite pigmented and long wearing. So even if you gloss or lipstick has worn off, your lip liner is still there.

Step 14 – Lipstick

For many people that aren’t fans of lipstick, they would probably skip this step and throw on a gloss or lip oil as the final step. I love blending lip formulas together so I love applying a lipstick before an oil or gloss. Adding a medium to full coverage lipstick can also aid in ensuring your lip combination lasts longer throughout the day. You can apply it directly from the tube but another great tip to add just a hint of color is to dab your lipstick on the lips for a softer look.

Step 15 – Lipgloss or Lip Oil

If you are a three step lip lover, this would be the final step – adding your lipgloss or lip oil. I am not a huge matte lip lover so I prefer a tad bit of shine most days. Adding a lipgloss or lip oil can definitely decrease the longevity of your lip combination because it will make the product move around. If this is a concern, my best advice would be to add it only to the center of your lips and blot it around. This will add just a hint of shine but not enough to really disrupt the rest of the formulas you are wearing.

Step 16 – Setting Spray

If you are a setting spray user, this is the step where you would apply it to your completed makeup look. Some setting sprays are great for helping your makeup last longer. And some are great for simply adding some moisture back into your skin. Especially if you have used a ton of powder products on your face, using a hydrating setting spray can help minimize that overly powdered look.