Basics: The Order of Makeup

Ever wonder if concealer comes before or after foundation?

I had a text chat with a friend recently who was asking me about BB creams, foundations, and concealer, and she indicated to me that she wasn't quite sure in what order different makeup goes. There are no hard and fast rules, but it occurs to me that some people might need some direction, so I thought I'd provide it.

Let me reiterate that there are no rules, and different people put their makeup on differently. Even I do it differently depending on the day, so let me be clear that this is the order of makeup I usually go with, and I'll tell you why as we go!

It also occurred to me to mark some of these "optional" for those of you who probably aren't going to go as far as contouring or lip liner, but honestly, everything is optional. It's up to you and your face. You don't have to wear anything (you should wear moisturizer/sunscreen, though), just what makes you feel good.


This is crucial, don't skip it. It helps your makeup go on better, and it makes it stick longer. Try to let it soak in, and try to pick one with sunscreen for regular, everyday use (or wear sunscreen also).


This goes second, after your moisturizer. Again, let it soak in a little bit before you start slapping on foundation.

Foundation/Tinted Moisturizer/BB Cream

This is the base for the rest of your makeup, evening out your skin tone and creating a canvas. If you have awesome skin, you may not need to put this all over, just in a few places. Best tip for this step: make sure the color matches the skin on your neck as closely as possible. Then start with the areas of your face that need it the most. You may find the other areas don't need any at all — you'll be able to use less foundation & let your natural beauty shine through!

Eye Primer/Powder on your lids

Eyes will be up next (I'll tell you why in a minute), and if you put any foundation on your lids or you have naturally oily eyelids, some powder on your lids and/or some eye primer on your lids will be good to help your shadow stick longer and will keep it from creasing.


It's always good to do your eyes before you do the rest of your face, especially concealer, so that if your eyeshadow gets powdery and falls down, you're not messing up your concealer when you wipe it off. You can go ahead and do shadow on your lower lashline (if you do that kind of thing -- I do), or you can wait until after you do your concealer.


Logical next step, no particular reason why. I guess you could do your brows instead, if you want.

Top mascara

Go for it. Or do your bows first. Whatever. Don't do the bottom yet, since you haven't done your concealer and you don't want concealer to get in your lower lashes.


It really doesn't matter when you do your brows, to be honest. I do them sometime while I'm doing my eyes because I start to feel like I look funny with my eyes done but not my brows.


Now that you've done your eyes you can go ahead and do concealer. This comes after your eyeshadow in case any of the shadow fell down under your eyes -- you'll mess up your concealer cleaning up the shadow, so you might as well wait. Your foundation also probably provided a little bit of coverage in the places where you normally put concealer, so use it sparingly (it can look cakey if you use too much) only in the places you need it: under-eyes, blemishes, redness around the nose, etc.


If you have dry skin you might not need this step, but I use it to keep my makeup in place-- especially my concealer. You do not need to overload your face with powder, just pat it on lightly where you tend to get shiny!

Lower Lashline Mascara

Go for it.


If you're gonna go this route, now is the time to do it. Highlight and contour your face, or apply bronzer for a sun-kissed glow.


Yay! Some color in your face! Just don't go overboard.


You can either outline your lips with lipliner, which will keep your lipstick from bleeding outside the line of your lips,  or you can fill in your lips completely with the liner before applying lipstick, which will help your lipstick last longer. You also don't have to use liner.


Slap it on, or skip this step and go straight to lip gloss.

Lip gloss

You can wear this alone, or you can put it over lipstick to add a glossy finish.

And you're done! Like I said, most of these steps are optional, it totally depends on your face and how you want it to look. Play around, try different things, and see what works for you. Questions? Comment below!

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