Prepping My Skin for Makeup

I love makeup so much. All the colors, the scents, the textures. I love the shiny things, and the crazy things. As any makeup lover knows, makeup isn’t magic. In order to get the most out of your products, your skin should be as good as it can get. Wanna know what I don’t love? My skin. My skin is a beast of it’s own. I have large pores, redness, acne scarring, and uneven texture. Sound a treat? It isn’t.  In my teens, I had moderate acne. Bad enough to go through all the topicals, antibiotics, and other dermatological treatments, but never bad enough to do Accutane (although parts of me know wish I had).

Now that I’m older (31 cough* cough*) my skin has settled down to a much more manageable and predictable pattern. I still have breakouts, and I still have uneven texture, but mostly I can keep wild fluctuations under control.

After years of experimenting, I now know what it takes to take good care of my skin, and how to best prep it for a full face of makeup

As the goddess of skincare Caroline Hirons recommends, I spend the most money on the ingredients that go on my skin first. As many of us acne sufferers can attest, I spent most of my teens and twenties washing my face with acne wash AND I NEVER USED MAKEUP REMOVER *shudder*. No wonder I was always having break outs and my skin hated me. Quick rant- I went to endless dermatology appointments and no one ever talked to me about proper makeup removal. Argh the years I spent abusing my poor face. – rant over.

Anyway, I always start with a good ol’ cleansing. I love Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Since I changed to oil based cleansers, my skin has miraculously done a 180. Oil dissolves oil. Brilliant. Where was this knowledge a decade ago… Another great tip that changed my skincare routine is from Karima McKimmie from Shameless Fripperies. She said if you love putting on makeup, and it takes you 20 or more minutes to do so, then you can’t expect for it to come off in 1 minute. You should take the time to properly remove your makeup. This means your skincare routine may take you 10 or more minutes to do properly. It may involve several steps. My point is that a cleanser like the Liz Earle one is meant to be massaged on for at least a minute. Probably two. Or more. It takes that much time to activate the product and help it melt into your skin. I massage it onto dry skin until I feel it start to pull a bit, then I remove it with a hot washcloth.



Next, I layer on a serum. My serum of choice is this one by Ole Henriksen This is one of those products that I have no idea if it’s doing what it says it does, but I use it anyway. It does help my skin feel hydrated, and if I’m coating it in vitamins and such, then can it be a bad thing?


Next is a bit of eye cream. This is a new addition to my pre-makeup routine. It’s been in my nighttime routine for a long time now, but only recently I started to do it in the morning as well. A light layer helps my foundation sit more comfortably, as my foundation tends to dry as the day goes (and hydration is an ongoing battle for me).


After the eye cream, I add a few drops of this night treatment to my skin. It’s probably a step I’ll skip come summer, but right now my skin is dehydrated and dry to the max. A few drops of this keeps my dry patches at bay, but it also doesn’t bleed through my foundation as some of the more intense oils can. I’m constantly on the lookout for lightweight oils for pre-makeup prep.



As my last and final step, I put a nice coating of moisturizer. I love this one by Aveeno. It’s mild enough that it doesn’t break me out, or feel greasy, but heavy enough that it actually moisturizes. I’ve used this for so long now. I’ve tried a few other brands and types, but I always come back to this one.



As a bonus, and final step, I put on a coating of this lip balm. This is the BEST for pre-lipstick. It’s very thick, very matte texture. When I put it on at night and sleep, it’s still there in the morning. Even my husband will put it on when his lips are chapped or irritated. By the time I put makeup on, it’s set on my lips, and keeps my lipstick looking fresh. A little goes a very very long way. I put it on more thickly at night, but in the morning, a very light coat is perfect.



And finally, here they are:


This picture includes my favorite makeup remover- Clinique’s Take the Day Off balm. It’s the only additional step I do for nighttime (as well as occasionally acid-toning depending on my skin condition). I’ll do another post about nighttime and makeup removal at some point.

Here is a quick snapshot of me from bare skin to full face:

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As you can see, my skin is quite red and uneven in tone. I’ve given so many products a go over the years, but I’ve been with my current routine a solid 6 months and I’m thrilled. Makeup sits great on my skin and can do its job.

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