You Asked: "In What Order Should I Apply My Makeup?"

The definitive answer to this common question, plus five ways to break the rules.
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The definitive answer to this common question, plus five ways to break the rules.

Hi, everyone! Happy Friday! Today’s question is from Diana Ross, who asks: “This might be obvious, but what order do I apply my makeup in? Concealer before or after foundation? Where does primer go? HELP!”

The answer to this is a quick one: it goes sunscreen > primer > foundation > concealer > powder > blush/matte bronzer/contour > shimmer powder/shimmer bronzer.

So neatly organized!

So neatly organized!

Quick answer, right? But you know I’m not going to leave it there.

The best thing about learning the basic rules about makeup is that once you know them, you can break them. Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun, as we learned in the criminally underrated Uptown Girls, and there are a lot of cool things that you can do if you change up a few of those steps.

Today I’m going to show you a few of them. Get ready to throw some controlled chaos into your makeup routine and do some things out of order!

Powder Under Concealer 

When I got sick, I had terrible cystic acne. One of the ways that I dealt with it was by layering my powder UNDER my concealer for extra coverage.

Say you have a gnarly zit. Prime and foundation your skin like normal. Cover up the spot as best you can with a layer of concealer (step 1 in the illustration below) and blend well, then powder all over (2). Go back in and apply another layer of concealer atop the powder (3), and then powder again to seal (4).

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Congratulations! Your pimple is now officially hidden!

Hardly visible at all!

Hardly visible at all!

I don’t have any cystic zits right now (thank GOD), but trust, this was a life saver when I did.

Powder Over Contour

Sometimes I want to rule Cheekbone Planet without obviously LOOKING like I rule Cheekbone Planet. Instead of layering my contour overtop of my powder where it can look really dramatic, I apply my primer, foundation and concealer, then my contour, then the powder overtop.

Alle on the left is wearing contour atop her powder. Alle on the right is wearing the same amount of contour with her powder on top.

Alle on the left is wearing contour atop her powder. Alle on the right is wearing the same amount of contour with her powder on top.

This softens the color and prevents it from looking too dark, which is sometimes what you want. This is also a really good way to turn the volume down on matte bronzer--which may be relevant to your summer interests.

Concealer Under Foundation 

This is my second concealer secret, and again, it was a total lifesaver for me when my skin was being ravaged by cystic acne.

Start out with primed skin (step 1 in the illustration below). Then, using a fairly thick concealer, roughly cover any spots that you may have (2). Don’t stress if it isn’t perfectly blended (that is the last time I’ll ever say that). Now apply your foundation overtop, and make sure THAT’s blended well (3). Your zits already look less red and angry. It’ll only take a wee bit of additional concealer overtop to hide them completely (4), then finish with powder.

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Zits gone! This is also a great way to hide any redness or broken capillaries.

Well hidden!

Well hidden!

Primer Over Powder And Under Blush

This was recommended to me by one of our amazing commenters, and at first I was skeptical. The theory is that tapping on a little primer atop your foundation and powder will make your blush more vibrant, and stop it from fading away.

Imagine my surprise when it totally worked! All you do is tap a tiny amount of primer on your cheeks, let it dry...

This is all you need. Tap it on with two fingers, don't rub or use a brush.

This is all you need. Tap it on with two fingers, don't rub or use a brush.

...And then apply your blush as normal. The color will be intense rather than powdery, and seriously will not budge. It’s awesome.

Left cheek: medium pink drugstore blush on normal skin, powdery and almost invisible. Right cheek: medium pink drugstore blush on top of primer, way more visible!

Left cheek: medium pink drugstore blush on normal skin, powdery and almost invisible. Right cheek: medium pink drugstore blush on top of primer, way more visible!

This is a great way to give a boost to cheap blush that maybe doesn’t have as much color impact as you’d like.

Highlighter Under Foundation / Bronzer Under Powder

A one-two punch of natural looking shimmer, guys. Get into it.

On skin that’s been primed (step 1 in the illustration below), apply a very thin dusting of highlight powder. Then apply your foundation straight overtop (2). On top of that, brush on some bronzer (3). Finally, put a small amount of powder on top (4).

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The end result is a lit-from-within complexion that is both radiant and natural, without looking sweaty.

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I hope this was helpful. Maybe you’ll be inspired to take some more beauty things out of order and see what amazing results you get!

If you have a question for me or you’d like to request a video, tell a spider a knock-knock joke and I shall interpret it using DARK MAGIC. Or you can message me via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on Tumblr or right here in the comments!

In what order do you apply your makeup? Do you have any chaotic makeup secrets? Does anyone want to talk about Uptown Girls with me?