How to Prep Your Skin Like a Makeup Artist

April 16, 2021
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
person wearing box braids

Prepping your skin before you apply makeup is vitally important. A professional makeup job often only looks so flawless because of the preparation that goes into skin before application. We spoke to pro makeup artists Gabriel Almodovar and Sir John to get to the bottom of how exactly to achieve this at home in just a few steps. Read on to find out what we learned.


First, make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed. The CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser provides enough lather to wash off any leftover makeup and oil, but the cream formula feels comfortable even on dry and combination skin.
cerave hydrating cleanser


“Exfoliating your skin is one of the most important things you should do in general and especially before applying makeup,” notes Almodovar. “Exfoliation should only be done about twice per week. You need to let your dead skin cells build up before you can exfoliate them.” Follow up your cleanse with a great exfoliator to really get rid of excess buildup and gunk, leaving your complexion silky and refreshed. 

You do want to be careful to not over-exfoliate, however. “You still want to keep your skin healthy and smooth, but when you over-exfoliate you can actually strip away too many layers and cause oiliness,” Sir John says. The Lancôme Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Milk Peel is a gentle, bi-phase peel that uses lip-hydroxy acid (LHA) to exfoliate and vitamin E to add moisture back to the skin.

Treat and Moisturize

For a smooth, hydrated base that won’t crack or flake under foundation, moisturizer is key. For dry skin, try the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream. Normal to oily skin types might want to choose a lightweight gel instead, like the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream.
lancome renergie milk peel toner


Finally, the last step in achieving the best makeup prep possible is by using a really great primer. “Primers can be really helpful to help your makeup glide on more smoothly and make it last longer,” says Almodovar. The NYX Professional Makeup Marshmellow Smoothing Primer is a godsend for smoothing out texture and keeping makeup out of dry patches. 
Photo: Jonet Williamson

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