The Correct Order To Apply Makeup, 8 Steps Used By Makeup Artists

the correct order of makeup

Have you ever wondered if you are applying your makeup products In the correct order? What is the correct order to apply makeup? Many do wonder, especially makeup beginners.   

This quick and informative guide on the best order of applying makeup will make your daily routine a whole lot easier. This is a general and basic order of makeup application as I see it. Some steps may be modified if that’s best for you.   

Step 1. Prep Your Skin

Before applying any makeup product, be sure to start with a clean face. Applying moisturizer will help provide a smooth base for your makeup. It’s best to apply your makeup just after your skincare routine.  

You can apply a face makeup primer after your face moisturizer. This is optional, but some find it helps makeup apply better and last longer. This is the time to do that.  The face primer can also keep any pesky dry patches from showing through.

Don’t forget your lips! This is the time to prep your lips by applying a thin layer or two of the Rallye Balm for well-moisturized lips.  

the correct order of makeup application - women cleansing face

Step 2. Apply Foundation & Concealer


The first makeup step in the correct order to apply makeup is applying foundation. When choosing a foundation, make sure to pick one that suits your skin type.   

  • Dry Skin types– choose a hydrating and moisturizing foundation formula, like a cream or liquid foundation.  
  • Oily Skin types – avoid anything too dewy and shiny. Try a powder foundation.   

Make sure, also, that you go with a shade of foundation that matches your skin tone and undertone. You want your face to match the rest of your body, especially your neck.  


If you have areas that need more coverage (such as blemishes, dark spots, or dark circles), you may choose to use a concealer to cover those.  Choose a shade that matches your skin tone and closely matches your foundation shade. 

Applying concealer on trouble spot areas instead of more layers of foundation will keep your makeup application light and help prevent ending up with cakey-looking foundation.  

Setting Powder:

Depending on your preferences, you may want to set your foundation and concealer with a setting powder. These are meant to keep foundation in place, preventing it from rubbing off. 

They also help reduce shine and oil buildup, making them great for oily skin types. Lightly dust, using a fluffy powder makeup brush, on top of your foundation/concealer to set them. 

You can either use a translucent powder or a tinted one that works with the color of your skin tone. 

Now, if you are going for a more natural look or have a clear complexion or an even skin tone, you can skip step 1 altogether or just use a little bit of concealer where needed.  

Step 3. Bronze the Complexion

After applying your base products, you want to add back some color and definition to the complexion with powder bronzer. The Sundrop Bronzer does just that as it is a buildable, natural, warm matte color that all skin tones can use.  

Using the Vegan Blush Brush, or a similar brush, start applying lightly and build up to the desired color intensity. For more on how to apply bronzer, check out the How to Apply Bronzer–And Still Look Like Yourself and the How to Apply Blush & Bronzer for Your Face Shape articles.  

Step 4. Apply Blush

Complete your face makeup by adding a natural flush of color to the cheeks with RAL’s powder blush. Start by applying a small amount and build the color up until you reach the color intensity of your liking.  

For more in-depth details on how to properly apply blush, head on over to the How to Apply Blush- The Basics and How to Apply Blush & Bronzer for Your Face Shape articles.   

the correct order to apply makeup - when to use brushes

Step 5. Eye Shadow, Eye Liner, Mascara

Eyeshadow Primer:  

Always start your eye makeup by priming your eyelids with the Prime Time Eye Shadow Primer. An eye makeup primer will help your eyeshadow last longer without creasing while also helping the colors pop more.   Use just a small dab. A little is the prefect amount. If you use too much primer then you increase the risk of eye shadow creasing.


Once your primer has dried, apply your eyeshadow. To learn more on how to apply eyeshadows or how to choose eyeshadows colors, make sure to check out the 7 Different Ways to Apply Eyeshadow and How to Choose Eyeshadow Colors with Confidence articles.  


You do not always need to line the eyes, but applying eyeliner is a good way to add definition to the eye and make your lash line look fuller. If you are going to line the eyes, you want to do so after applying eyeshadow if using any.  

Pencil eyeliner is the easiest to work with, check out Red Apple Lipstick’s selection by clicking here. If you would like to learn how to do a winged liner, head on over to the How to Do a Winged Liner article.  


Finish your eye makeup with some coats of mascara.   

Some people prefer to start their makeup routine by doing their eye makeup first, I prefer to do so myself. A makeup artist will usually do their clients’ eye makeup first to prevent any eyeshadow fallout from messing up the face makeup.  If this works better for you, feel free to begin with eye makeup first and then proceed with the rest of the steps as mentioned.   

Kelli Bartlett of Glamsquad is all team eyes. She says “Work smarter, not harder”. She says that when creating heavy or smokey eyes, she will do them first in order to avoid the fallout on the foundation.

Step 6. Fill in the Brows

This step is completely optional as not everyone likes to do so nor is it always necessary. Some even like to fill in their brows before applying makeup to the eyes. You can always switch these 2 steps if you prefer.   

However, we do highly recommend filling in your brows after applying your base products to prevent foundation from messing them up. Not sure how to fill them in? No problem, check out Andrea’s tips here.  

Step 7. Apply Lip Color

Last but not least, you want to complete your makeup look with lip color. Before applying any lip products, apply a bit of lip balm to prep the lips if you haven’t already. Then go in with lip liner, lipstick or lip gloss, or all three.   

If you need help to perfect your lipstick application, we highly recommend checking out Andrea’s Lipstick Basics 101 series.  

the correct order of makeup application - lips now

Step 8. Set Your Makeup

Another completely optional step, but you may choose to set your makeup application using either a setting spray or finishing powder, or both. Doing so can help your makeup stay on longer throughout the day. 

And there you have your proper makeup application order for a flawless makeup look. Although some of the steps can be switched around a bit to suit your needs and preferences, in general, this is the correct order to apply makeup.

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