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How to Best Prepare Your Skin for Makeup Application?

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So, you’ve spent time carefully applying your makeup, you feel a million dollars with the finished look, then a couple of hours pass…you notice peeling around your nose and slightly crusty, lack-lustre patches of skin on your chin. It’s not ideal. And why does it happen? The usual reason for this deterioration of base makeup is a lack of skin preparation before your makeup application. While makeup can boost your confidence and make you feel incredible for your big night out, the skin underneath is still vitally important and having a well-prepared canvas is the key. Today we’re going to talk through the necessary steps to prep your skin for the perfect base makeup.


Cleanse Thoroughly

You cannot apply makeup over old makeup or last night’s skincare residue! Even if you don’t see it, remnants may still be on your face and could cause your fresh application to look patchy or uneven. If you still have sunscreen or makeup on your face, a double cleanse could be necessary. Double cleansing is a Korean skincare method of cleansing skin with an oil-based cleanser to remove the oily product from your skin, followed by a water-based second step cleanser to thoroughly ensure everything is clean. You should make sure you thoroughly cleanse your entire face, including into the hair line and ears, as well as down your neck.

Our favorite cleansers include Dr Ceuracle Pro Balance Pure Cleansing Oil, for a no-fuss first step, followed by Sioris Cleanse Me Softly Milk Cleanser, for a gentle yet efficient second step cleanse. Both options fully remove any oily residue without stripping the skin of its natural oils, ensuring skin is clean but not dried out. This helps prep for the following hydrating skincare steps before our makeup application.

 Dr Ceuracle Cleansing Oil


The best way to achieve a smooth face before makeup is to do a gentle manual exfoliation after your cleanse. This means a product that uses physical particles within a formula to remove dead skin cells from the surface of skin. This will help prevent the flakiness or peeling you may have experienced after hours of wearing foundation or BB cream. The key here is to use something gentle in order to avoid over-exfoliating and damaging your skin. If you have sensitive skin, please be extra careful.

For long-term exfoliation, incorporating a chemical exfoliator into your routine is important. Chemical exfoliation can help keep pores clear and skin smooth, simply by using a liquid product. Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is a popular option and for good reason - after cleansing, simply apply to areas of the skin where pores are clogged and leave for a couple of minutes. Regular use of the liquid will help exfoliate the pores, reducing sebum production and helping pores appear smaller and clear of gunk.


Hydrate & Moisturize

No matter your skin type, hydrating and moisturizing are extremely important to prevent any flakiness and to retain a plump, glowing complexion that will filter through your makeup. Taking these steps seriously will ensure your base makeup is as fresh as possible for the entirety of your day or evening.

Patting a hydrating toner or essence into the skin immediately after cleansing/exfoliating gives skin an instant refresh and will help build that hydration glow. We love Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner, enriched with botanical extracts to nourish, plump, and help the skin absorb subsequent products. Sioris Time Is Running Out Facial Oil Mist is another product that is easy to grab and spritz over the face. It leaves the skin feeling instantly moisturised and supple, with a noticeable glowy finish that provides a beautiful base to makeup application.

If time is at hand during your makeup base preparation, incorporating a sheet mask into these prep steps can be hugely beneficial. The sheet encourages the skin to absorb as much of the mask essence as possible and often results in an instant brightening and plumping effect. These are fantastic to use in the hours before a special event. Dr Ceuracle Hyal Reyouth Lifting Mask is a perfect option for intense hydration and a youthful glow. It contains 6 different hyaluronic components as part of the brand’s 6 Hyaluronic Complex for long-lasting hydration. The cotton and gum tree extract sheet material provides a soothing effect on the skin, helping to reduce redness and promoting bright, clear skin after removal.

We then “seal in” all that hydration with a good moisturiser for long-lasting radiance. Your moisturiser choice will depend on your skin type, but I personally prefer a lighter, gel cream if I’m applying makeup over the top. This avoids too much heaviness or excess oil on my skin.

 Sioris Time is Running Out Mist

Prime & Protect

Many people enjoy using a primer before makeup, usually with the intention of “blurring pores”, moisturising dry skin, or for helping makeup “grip” to the skin and last longer. There are many fantastic primers out there and it’s up to you which you feel are best for your skin.

If you’re prepping your face for day-time makeup, please don’t forget sunscreen! We often hear that sunscreen is too heavy or greasy to wear when you’re aiming for a polished makeup look, but if you pick the correct product that is not the case. Korean sunscreens are typically cosmetically elegant and much more suited to daily wear than European options. They’re often light on the skin and absorb quickly, meaning these sunscreens really don’t affect the makeup process, yet provide your skin the protection it needs. Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream provides high sun protection with a light, soothing formula that works well beneath makeup. No worries about a white cast nor greasy residue, and you can trust your skin is taken care of!


I hope these tips and tricks are helpful for preparing your skin for base makeup. I used to deal with a lot of flakiness and uneven base makeup issues, yet following these simple steps reduces the problem and helps my skin look smooth, radiant, and healthy. Understanding these skincare steps and the importance of skin hydration ensures my skin is always well prepared, no matter how much or how little makeup I choose to apply!

Katherine Spowart from

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