You've probably been applying your makeup in the wrong order

When applying makeup, does the order of the products matter?

Yes and no. (That’s helpful, huh?)

Some things are obvious. Some things are less obvious. Some things are even a matter of personal preference!

Here’s the order in which I apply makeup, and why.

Primer. Step one, always. Creates the perfect canvas.

Foundation. Yes, foundation before concealer! Give your foundation the chance to cover as many skin imperfections as it can before moving on to …

Concealer. If you apply concealer before foundation, you’ll end up using way more product, which leads to the dreaded cake-face look. Dab concealer under the eyes and on any lingering spots of discoloration.

Powder. But wait! This comes with a caveat. If you’re going to apply any other liquid or cream products, like a cream blush or liquid highlight, you need to do it now. Once you’ve applied powder, you can’t put any liquids on top, or your face will turn into a clumpy mess. 

Contour. Carve out those cheekbones!

Bronzer. Not only will you warm up the face, but applying bronzer after contour will help blend it so your dramatic cheekbones look totally natural. (Wink, wink.)

Blush. Applying blush after any bronzing products allows the color to really pop on your cheeks and makes the flush look more natural.

Highlight. Applying this last will let it shine without being muddied by other products.

Brows. If you fill in your brows before you’re done with powder products, you’ll end up with a fine dusting of powder in your brow hairs. If you do your eyeshadow first, you’re likely to apply a little too much as you subconsciously try to compensate for your missing brows.

Eyeshadow. A caveat here, too! Some people can get messy when applying their eyeshadow, and so prefer to do their eye makeup first. That way, they can use a makeup wipe to clean up any mess on the cheeks without messing up their foundation. I don’t have this problem, and I prefer to have a smooth base of foundation under my eyeshadow.

Eyeliner. Comes after the shadow, to keep the line crisp.

Mascara. Apply it after almost every other product, so no powder gets stuck to your lashes.

Lipstick. I always finish off with my lipstick, so there’s no chance of smudging it while applying any other products.

Alison Smith wants you to know that if you want to apply lipstick first, she won’t mind. (Though you may get eyeshadow stuck in your lip color!) Makeup is a judgment-free zone! Got a burning beauty question? Email asmith@philly.com.