“Most of us are guilty of quickly slapping on our serums and creams without much thought. There’s an art to applying them though.”
STEP 1: Calm Your Cleanse
Don’t be tempted to overlook your choice of cleanser. A decent formula will get rid of any dirt or debris that would otherwise be trapped under your makeup potentially irritating skin or causing spots and ensure your base sits better. “Skincare is everything when creating the perfect canvas and a gentle cleanser will help remove any residue,” explains Rachel Hardie, Lead Artist at NARS. Opt for a calming cleanser, such as
Hourglass Equilibrium Rebalancing Cream Cleanser, £25 with warm rather than hot water to help prevent redness or inflammation.
If you’re a fan of longwear foundations or waterproof formulas, kick off your evening routine with Nars Aqua-Infused Makeup Removing Water, £22 – it removes oil and makeup without stripping your skin.
Insider trick: Add a muslin cloth into your evening routine to ensure you don’t miss any patches of leftover makeup or dirt on your face and neck. Invest in at least six, so you can have them on constant rotation.
STEP 2: Smooth The Surface
Regular exfoliation helps your skin to better absorb your serums and treatments. Perhaps even more alluring though for makeup lovers is the immediate smoothing effect it has on your skin’s texture. So much so, you might find yourself opting for a lighter coverage foundation. As Olivia Chantecaille testifies, “a smooth surface is ideal for perfect makeup application.” Olivia recommends manually exfoliating with
Chantecaille Bamboo and Hibiscus Exfoliating Cream, £73, which contains tiny bamboo beads to buff skin.
Alternatively, try an exfoliating acid product to slough away dead skin cells revealing the newer plumper skin underneath. is a favourite among both skincare experts and makeup artists for its radiance-boosting results and it’s gentle enough to be every day. Medik8 Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA Tonic with Enzyme Activator, £9 is another great option for daily exfoliation.
Insider trick:If you prefer to take a pared back approach on weekdays, use Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, £67 on a Sunday evening to set your skin up for the week ahead and supercharge your glow.
Step 3: Raise Your Application Game
Most of us are guilty of quickly slapping on our serums and creams without much thought. There’s an art to applying them though. Perfect it and your skin will be noticeably more radiant. “Work your fingertips up and out over your cheeks in an angel wing motion, and then tap in a pitter-patter motion over the forehead, nose and chin, to help promote lymphatic drainage,” says makeup artist and brand founder Charlotte Tilbury. “This is a magic trick I’ve used backstage on models since the very beginning of my career as a makeup artist, over 27 years ago.” She employs this trick when using both
Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Cream Moisturiser, £25 and
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, £26.
Insider trick: If your skin soaks up foundation leaving your complexion patchy by midday, add a hyaluronic acid serum into your routine. Try or Oskia Isotonic Hydra Serum, £64 to top up your hydration levels.
STEP 4: Hydrate Eyes & Lips
“Never forget your lips and eyes — hydrating these areas helps prevent makeup from creasing,” explains Olivia. The delicate skin under the eyes is one of the first places to show fine lines and makeup can congregate here, highlighting and weighing down the area. Try reviewers’ favourite
Chantecaille Stress Repair Concentrate +, £186 to help hydrate and smooth, while also creating a perfect surface for makeup. New kid on the block,
IT Cosmetics Confidence in An Eye Cream, £32.5 is also worth trying if you want an energising formula to wake up the eye area in the mornings.
When it comes to your lips, balms are great in the evening but can often be too oily under lipstick and result in smudging. For help restoring fullness to lips before makeup, look to the unique Veneffect Anti-Aging Lip Treatment, £68 which blurs fine lines and helps to re-plump.
Insider trick: If you tend to be overly generous with your dispensing of product, daub any leftover eye cream onto lips to help moisturise before you swipe on your lipstick.
STEP 5: Amp Up The Moisture
“Makeup glides effortlessly on to the skin when it’s super hydrated,” explains Charlotte, whose Magic Cream is specially formulated to create a hydrated, smooth base for perfect makeup application. Choosing the right moisturiser for your needs is paramount. Mature skin is thinner with less collagen, water and oil present to plump out the surface, so look for oil-rich creams like
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream, £65.
For those with sensitive skin, look to IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Cream, £26, which is jam-packed with soothing aloe vera, avocado and oatmeal, as well as colour correcting coverage to help camouflage redness. Put simply, it’s a game-changer.
If you’re looking for a glowy finish that looks great when photographed then take a tip from Rachel Hardie: “I always opt for ,’ she says. “It has a light reflective complex, that will create a vibrant skin from within, as well bouncing the light without the dreaded flashback you get from most light reflective products.”
Insider trick: When your skin is feeling particularly parched, swap out your usual night cream for a hydrating cream mask, such as . Be prepared to wake up to softer, fresher looking skin after using this.
STEP 6: Prime Time
Finally, to that makeup/skincare hybrid, the primer. As well as locking makeup onto the complexion for longer, in recent years priming technology has favourably advanced, so it could be time to try one again. Look for a formula that suits your skin’s needs, we suggest the unique
to disguise visible pores and impart a warm glow. For dull skin, try an illuminating product such as
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Illuminating, £35.5 (it’s so good, you can forego foundation) and if its lines you want to disguise, look no further than
Rodial Instant Filler Primer, N/A which does exactly what is says on the tin.
Insider trick: For the best results, press your primer onto skin with clean fingers. If you usually use a brush, try a damp Beautyblender The Original Beauty Blender, £17 instead to fix the formula in place.
Words by: Hayley Grove
Image Credits: Jason Lloyd Evans