Skin-Care Tips

The Skin-Type-Specific Ways to Lock Foundation Onto Skin

Photo: Getty/Westend61
In the beauty world, we often talk about our skin-care and makeup routines as two separate entities. First, you go through the XYZ number of steps it takes to get your base glow, then you dress it up with your favorite glam. But really, when it comes down to it, these two routines should be working in tandem. The way you get your skin ready for makeup is just as important as the makeup itself, but figuring out how to prep your skin for foundation can actually differ based on the type of skin you have.

"Everyone has a different skin type, so it’s important to prep your skin before your makeup application according to that,” says makeup artist Jillian Dempsey. "You’d hate to make an oily face even oilier or prep a dry face with a mattifying lotion, only to dry it out more. Acne, skin sensitivities, and so much more play into how each person should prep their skin prior to makeup.”

As someone with dry skin, I wouldn't dream of using any sort of powder on my face, ever, but my oily and acne-prone friends tend to balk when I tell them that my pre-makeup routine involves a hefty dose of facial oil. As proven by our real-life regimens (and subsequent "no, I'm doing it the right way!" arguments) we all clearly need different things to get our skin ready for the makeup that follows. To get right down to exactly what, I chatted with the pros about the best ways to prep skin for makeup based on skin type—and gathered up a whole lot of product recommendations in the process.

If you’ve got oily skin…

If your skin is overproducing oil on its own, you're going to want to dry it out a little bit before putting on any makeup. "Oily skin types should use a powder base because it’ll give you a more matte look," says Dempsey, who's a fan of Chantecaille Compact Makeup ($72), which she suggests dusting on with a large fan brush. Makeup artist Marie-Josée Leduc, however, says that too much powder can actually make even the oiliest skin look too mattified and parched, so it's important to use the right amount of the right product. "I tend to stay away from a powdered finish look as I like to see the skin glow," she says, adding that you can avoid this by simply applying the powder ahead of the foundation. The one exception? "If you’re going to have your picture taken, use a translucent powder to tone down only the shiny areas." Her pick?  Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Naturali Finish Loose Powder ($52).

If you’ve got dry skin…

People often worry that a facial oil will make their skin look like the bottom of a pizza pan (AKA greasy AF), but these buzzy beauty products can actually be a game changer for dry skin—especially when they're used under makeup. "People with dry skin are the perfect candidates for facial oils," says Leduc. "It is important to use a product that is dry oil concentrated though. You don’t want to use slippery oils under any foundation as it will end up looking greasy." Frequently argan and jojoba oils tend to be drier options and good picks for pre-makeup application. She recommends her own Odièle Rose Serum ($125), which I personally use every day underneath my foundation and am over-the-moon obsessed with. Some other favorites? African Botanics Pure Marula Oil ($100), which Demspey says is moisturizing without leaving an oily residue.

If you've got acne-prone skin...

Foundation, FTW.  "Skin types that need coverage should use foundation as a base for their makeup," says Dempsey, calling out Armani Luminous Silk ($64) and Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation ($70) as her picks for those who tend to have blemishes. "It’s a great way to even out the skin tone." No matter what type of skin you have, you can use foundation to set a base, add a little extra coverage, and up your glow all at the same time.

Once you've got your makeup on the right way, you've also gotta take it off properly. Here's one makeup artist's fool-proof trick for getting rid of eyeliner that just won't budge, because FWIW, you should never (ever, ever!!) be using your makeup removing wipes more than once. 

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