The Best Skincare Products To Prep Skin For Makeup

We tend to see makeup and skincare as two separate things, but really, when used together, that’s when the magic happens – makeup always looks better when your skin is healthier. Fact. There’s a reason why the best MUAs spend time exfoliating and hydrating clients skin before they start on their base – after all, priming is about more than just slapping on a primer; it’s important to properly ‘prime’ your skin using skincare before you even think about your makeup. 

This is especially the case if the condition of your skin effects your makeup. For example, if you have an oily T-zone, redness, dry patches, or exposed pores, it’s going to take more than one product to solve these concerns.

The night before

Start with exfoliation to remove any unwanted texture from skin. Dry, rough patches will become even more obvious when you’ve got makeup on, but using a chemical exfoliant like Peter Thomas Roth’s Un Wrinkle Peel Pads will help to buff them away and leave skin smooth. Exfoliating will also help to clear dead skin cells and expose your pores so you can give them a deep clean in the next step. 

To minimise the chance of breakouts and the appearance of blackheads, use a clay-based mask like Sand & Sky’s Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask to free pores from clogging impurities like dead skin and excess sebum (which trigger blemishes and make blackheads look super obvious). Leave on for 15-20 minutes before removing with warm water and a face cloth.  

Finish with some extreme overnight hydration using Starskin’s 7 Second Overnight Mask. Applied via a pre-soaked pad, this mask is the equivalent of a seven-step skincare routine, so it leaves skin glowing. Simply swipe the dual-sided pads over skin to soak it in the silky serum, which uses botanical extracts like white water lily and jasmine to improve skin texture, heal damaged skin, and improve elasticity.

In the morning

To keep skin in check throughout the day apply a hardworking, multitasking serum like The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. This is a water-based serum, so quickly absorbs into skin and won’t disturb your makeup. What it will do is strengthen your skin’s defense against UV and pollution, prevent dehydration, and act as an anti-inflammatory to calm and prevent blemishes. 

For a final layer of hydration before your makeup, use Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentre. This MUA favourite is used backstage at fashion week and on photo shoots to prep models’ skin for makeup. Many MUAs use it instead of a primer, thanks to its ability to smooth and plump skin, creating the ideal base for blending concealers and foundations onto. What’s more, it works for all skin types, so won’t cause any unwanted shine if you’re prone to oiliness. 

Some primers can feel think and heavy on skin, and actually end up building a layer which can easily clog pores. Skindinavia’s Makeup Primer Spray is a refreshing (literally) alternative which dispenses primer in a weightless mist enriched with vitamins. This is a real skincare-makeup hybrid so it’s the perfect final step before you go in with your foundation.