What Comes First: The Ultimate Makeup Checklist

Is there a right order when it comes to applying makeup? This may be one of the oldest questions in the beauty book. The topic is much debated, even among professional makeup artists. And while there's no hard and fast rule when it comes to your beauty routine — different things work for different people — there are some general guidelines. So, to help you with the sequence of events, we've come up with an easy-to-follow makeup checklist.

Makeup checklist



First things first. Before anything else, start with primer. This includes primer for your eyes and lips (although concealer can be used for those, if you don’t have specific products). This step is key because it creates a clean, smooth working space for the rest of your makeup and will help product stay put longer.

Get the Look: Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion, Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime



After primer, you want to focus on your eye area. Shape and fill in your eyebrows first, as a well-defined arch will help serve as a guide when you're applying eye shadow. If you need some help in the brow department, take a look at a few of our fave tutorials:

Why You Should Also Be Contouring Your Eyebrows

The Secret Trick to Full Brows

Brows 101: Everything You Need to Know About Brow Products

Eye Shadow

Eye shadow should be done before the rest of your face in case any spills occur and you need to do a little clean up. The last thing you want to do is mess up your perfectly contoured face, right? The eye shadow breakdown goes like this: lid shade first, followed by crease color, then swipe a little highlighter along your brow bone. Here’s a little eye shadow inspo to play with:

The Best Eye Makeup Tutorials

How to Use an Eye Shadow Palette (Like an Adult)

Color Theory: The Best Eye Shadow Combos


Eyeliner is much easier to apply when your lashes are bare, so do your liner after your shadow but before mascara.

Get the Look: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Eyeliner, Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl


The last step in doing your eyes is mascara. After you apply, wait a few moments until you move on to the rest of your routine so the mascara can dry completely.

Get the Look: Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Waterproof, YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll



Now onto your face makeup. Foundation should always come first because it literally creates a foundation on which the rest of your makeup will live. If full-on foundation is a bit heavy for your day-to-day routine, opt for a BB or CC cream.

Get the Look: Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Cream, L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup


Next, apply concealer under your eyes and over any blemishes. Foundation does a good job of covering up, but concealer will get in there and make the any stubborn imperfections non-existent. 

Get the Look: Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Concealer, Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil 


Whether you're using bronzer to contour or to just get a bit of glow, make sure it comes before blush.

Get the Look: YSL Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones, The Body Shop Honey Baked to Last Bronzer


Your blush should sit atop your bronzer. Otherwise, you risk getting a muddy, splotchy look as opposed to a natural flush.

Get the Look: NYX Ombre Blush, Giorgio Armani Cheek Fabric


Highlighter is the final step to your face makeup. Apply it to your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose — and anywhere else natural light would touch and reflect.

Get the Look: NYX Illuminator, NYX Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter



Lipstick or gloss should be one of the very last steps, as you don't want it to smudge while trying to do the rest of your makeup.

Finishing Touches

Setting Spray

Finally, the last step! Spritz on a setting spray all over your face to help your makeup last.

Get the Look: Dermablend Set + Refresh, L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray



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