Everyone’s needs are different and there are so many skin types and concerns that consumers have, so it’s only natural some may need more prep than others.
This is where the power of consultation comes in to play and the ever-so important conversations around product likes/dislikes, skin habits and behaviors to determine what skin prep products would be best for your client to create a flawless base when applying makeup.
Why Skin Prep?
Makeup is only as good as the skin underneath. Now if you haven’t heard that before, I’d be shocked, but I have been around the industry for 20 years, so it’s been drilled into me. Boy, is it true! In my work as a celebrity makeup artist, there is a not a skin concern, condition, type, tone or age group I haven’t worked with. I could possibly say the same with products and brands. Okay, well maybe only 70 per cent in that category, but basically I have seen it all. My 10 years working in the retail cosmetics industry really helped me understand the most commonly asked questions from consumers about how makeup wouldn’t sit right, or it creased, or was too noticeable and it always came down to their skin prep before makeup application.
Before a big glam look, especially if a client is attending an event and needs makeup for long wear, skin prep is vital for products and textures to connect with the skin to last the distance. Key word, connect. I spend a good 15-20 minutes of skin prep before these big glam moments. That could include a sheet mask, exfoliating or a hydrating essence, different serums, moisturisers or oils. I then use any makeup primers necessary to get the skin to that perfect level, where products can bond into the skin and not look visible sitting on top.
How to Skin Prep?
Over the years I have perfected skim prep before applying makeup down to a tea, but it does alter slightly depending on the persons skin type and skin texture…
So many consumers often blame foundation or the makeup products they are using for not sitting correctly or wearing away too soon. But 99 per cent of the time, it is incorrect or lack of skin prep prior to makeup application that is the issue. It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive or the ‘best product’ out there, if it’s not right for your skin’s needs, then it will be a waste of time and money.
A lot of people also buy skin products that are actually correct for their skin type and needs, but apply too much or too many different products, which can unbalance your base. When it comes to moisturiser, it may be best to apply at night and ditch it for the day – you don’t want anything too creamy or heavy texture in texture. A light, hydrating formula that gives skin instant plump and bounce is much better for use under makeup.
The three biggest concerns that appear after makeup application are pores, shine and wrinkles. If these relate to you or your clients, then they need to be discussed and addressed in ‘skin prep’ to reduce the appearance and create a smoother base for lasting results.
The best thing to always remember is that the product steps you apply before makeup. All make a difference to the end result. For example, a foaming cleanser may be a great way to start a skin routine for someone who wants to minimise pores and shine, but not so good for someone that has wrinkles, as it could be too drying.
If the skin has large pores, and therefore shine is a big issue, maybe try using a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) for really oily skin, or an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) for combination skin, as a toner before your serum/moisturiser to really smooth the surface of your skin.
Someone with dry, sensitive or wrinkled skin would prefer a moisturising or hydrating essence, as this will soften the surface of the skin to allow your next products, including a serum and/or moisturizer, to absorb better.
Hyaluronic acid has been a beauty buzz word for a while now and it gives lots of important hydration to the skin. But if oil and shine are concerns when wearing makeup, then try a niacinamide product instead, as it can reduce shine, smooth skin and protect the skin’s barrier function.
As a rule, I never apply really rich, heavy, oil-based creams pre makeup application, as it can leave to much residue on the surface and appear overly shiny. It also creates a barrier between the skin and the foundation, meaning it won’t bond seamlessly and can result in the product moving around or slipping.
However, if very sensitive skin is visible with redness and dry patches like eczema, no actives are to be used (I generally only recommend these at night anyway). Only certain barrier creams can work to literally create a barrier between the skin and the foundation, so they makeup will not sit into the dry areas on the face caused by sensitivity.
Lastly, for wrinkles, shine or pores, using the correct primer after a moisturiser and before foundation is crucial. The primer will smooth, mattify or blur out these issues.
If super oily, opt for a pore-refining, shine controlling primer and for anyone else with small pores and wrinkles, a blur primer is where it’s at. It can literally work its magic so the foundation appears like a second skin.
Next time you are with a client and they are wearing or are purchasing makeup, have a little conversation about skin prep, as a slight switch up or add-in of a product can really make makeup last the distance.
This article was published in the Winter issue of Retail Beauty. Read the current issue of our digital magazine here: