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How to Prep Your Skin for a Smooth Makeup Application

March 11, 2021 3 min read

How to Prep Your Skin for a Smooth Makeup Application


Applying makeup to winter skin can be tough...literally. If your skin feels dry or looks flaky during this season, you’re not alone. Say goodbye to winter skin and hello to soft and supple! We have all the tips you need for a smooth sailing application no matter what season you or your skin are in! Follow these steps and your skin will be smooth, plump, and makeup-ready!


start with clean skin

Start with clean skin

First thing’s first: you should always wash your face or use a toner before applying makeup. Applying products to oily or unclean skin can result in buildup or breakouts, so make sure to start with a fresh canvas. If you have oilier skin like me, use a cleanser that focuses on oil control. If you have dry or sensitive skin, opt for a cream based cleanser, ideally with hyualuronic acid to trap in moisture. I typically go in with an exfoliator if my skin’s texture isn’t great that day to get any excess/unwanted oil (and whatever else may be clogging my pores) out for a fresher feel before applying my makeup.

Pro Tip:Don't layer too many skincare products before applying your makeup! The more products you mix and match, the higher the chance that some ingredients won't work well together, or may cause additional buildup on your face. Our blog can help you figure out your skin type, what ingredients work best for your skin, and more!


How to Prep Your Skin for a Smooth Makeup Application

Moisturize your face

Moisturizing your skin is essential for achieving a flawless makeup look, just make sure to use the proper amount! Applying too much moisturizer can make your skin look and feel greasy or heavy. Apply about a dime-sized amount to your fingertips, lightly massage it into the skin, and gently pat it around more sensitive areas such as your eyes and cheekbones. This will lock in essential oils, keep your skin hydrated, and help prevent your skin from flaking.

Pro Tip:Not sure which moisturizer is best for your skin type? Check out this blog to learn about what ingredients you should look for, and stay away from!

prime your skin before makeup application 
Prime your skin

Primers are a great way to minimize the look of pores while also locking your foundation or concealer in place throughout the day. If you have oilier skin, opt for a mattifying primer. For dry or sensitive skin, make sure to use a hydrating primer such as a priming mist before applying makeup to your face. I religiously add an eye primer to my makeup routine when I’m applying any type of makeup to my eyes (oily skin probz). Some can be/feel overdrying, and if that’s the case for you, try using a mattifying concealer! The Subtl Beauty Cream Concealer works great as an eye primer before applying eyeshadow, eyeliner, or even just to keep oils at bay.

Pro Tip:If priming the skin is a new step for you, we’ve got more insight for you on primers, misting sprays, and other pre-makeup applicators to determine what’s right for you!

Exfoliate your lips for a smooth makeup application 
Exfoliate your lips for smoother lip application

Although I tend to have more oily skin, my lips get dry in the winter like everyone else, so it’s important to 1) always exfoliate and 2) always hydrate the lips! Applying a lip scrub to your lips helps to get rid of dry skin, creating a smooth and soft surface. You should use a lip balm or even a hydrating chapstick before applying any lip products to make sure it doesn’t dry or cake on your lips.

Pro Tip: We all love a glossy, pouty, natural lip, and it’s easily achievable! Try our DIY lip scrub, follow our lip tips, and melt over the results!

Wash and clean your makeup brushes
Pre-wash your brushes and applicators

Ever try to blend your foundation, and it seems to just get cakey? Or maybe it looks splotchy, or uneven? This could be due to the buildup on your brush, sponge, or whatever applicator you’re using. If you’re a daily makeup wearer, oil buildup from constant use without cleaning can cause your application to look less smooth, and can cause breakouts, too. If you’re a once-in-a-blue-mooner when it comes to applying makeup, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, either! Using old applicators and sponges means potential bacteria, and just like most products, makeup has expiration dates, too! Make sure your products are clean (and dry!) before applying makeup to your face, and you and your skin will be happy with the results.

Pro Tip: Did you know you should clean your makeup brushes/applicators every 7-10 days? We’ve got an easy tutorial that shows you how to clean your makeup brushes in just four easy steps!

Now that you've got a super smooth base let's dive into makeup application. In this tutorial, Niara talks us through her best tips to help your makeup blend and melt into the skin. And don't you dare think about swirling that makeup brush.

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