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The Correct Order to Apply Makeup

Putting on products in the proper order can upgrade your makeup look.
August 25, 2023

If you’ve ever wondered whether you should apply foundation or eyeshadow first, you’re in good company. Makeup order can be a tricky topic because there are many variations that ultimately lead to the same end. Add in all the TikTok beauty trends and hacks that flood our timelines, and things can get complicated pretty quickly.

Some yield better results than others, and by that, we mean the order of your makeup application can affect the result. When you have the right order, you’ll know because it can lead to better-looking makeup. As for what the right order is, sometimes it depends on the look you’re going for (we’re looking at you smoky eyes), but there’s a basic model you can follow to help streamline the process. Whether you’re new to doing your own makeup or you just want better results, read on as we share a step-by-step routine that includes the cheat codes to applying your makeup in the right order in order to craft the perfect look every time.
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What Order Do You Put Your Makeup On?

Ready to uplevel your makeup application? Here is the correct makeup order to follow. 

1. Skin Care and SPF

Skin care and SPF are the unspoken primers of any solid makeup routine, as ensure that you’re starting with a clean, hydrated and protected base. A typical skin care routine before applying your makeup for the day usually includes cleanser, a serum like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, moisturizer and SPF. The L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion is a great choice for daytime; it contains UVA and UVB filters to protect against aging and burning, plus it doesn’t leave a visible residue. 

To condense your routine, consider a moisturizer with SPF to prime and protect your skin in a single step. As a general rule of thumb, look for formulations with SPF 30 or greater such as the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30. While it’s great to wear foundation with SPF, that alone does not offer ample protection from UV rays (you would need to apply at least a nickel-sized dollop to get the full sun-protection), so it’s best to still wear sunscreen under your foundation with SPF.


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2. Primer

Makeup primers are different from your skin care because they focus on specific complexion issues like blurring pores, adding a radiant glow or mattifying the skin, and they also help to extend the wear of your makeup. To kick start your makeup look, apply a thin layer of the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Pore Minimizer. If pores aren’t a concern for you, try the Redness Eraser, Dullness Reducer or Matte Setter from the Prime Lab line.  

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3. Color Corrector

Addressing discoloration and blemishes is the last step before applying foundation, and it’s best achieved with a color-correcting concealer.

The rules of color correcting align with the color wheel and opposite colors cancel each other out. Green neutralizes the appearance of redness caused by blotchiness or blemishes whereas peach, bisque and orange diminish the appearance of dark circles, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Apply the appropriate color of concealer where needed (sparingly) and use your fingers to blend it in until it’s even.

4. Foundation

Foundation is meant to give your face a flawless base and act as an even canvas for the rest of your makeup. Foundation is not one-size-fits-all, so choose the one that’s best for your skin type. Dry skin might reach for the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation, which provides medium, buildable coverage and a natural finish, whereas oily skin may prefer the matte and long-wearing formula of the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder. The type of foundation you choose will dictate how you apply it: liquid foundation works well with a makeup sponge while powder foundation pairs better with a brush.

Editor’s tip: If you’re going for a smoky eye or any type of dramatic and dark eye makeup look, you might want to do your eyeshadow before your foundation to avoid getting shadow fallout on your base. If you still prefer foundation first, bake your under-eyes with a generous helping of translucent powder to catch any fallout and brush it away once you’re finished.

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5. Concealer

Concealer follows foundation because when you apply it this way, you need less of it. Concealer is great for brightening up certain areas of your face and adding extra coverage to areas that need it, like blemishes or dark circles. You can also use to contour your face and add dimension. The L’Oréal Paris True Match Radiant Serum Concealer is a great choice for your makeup routine; it offers medium coverage that neutralizes dark circles and visibly depuffs under-eye bags.

6. Bronzer, Highlighter and Blush

Bronzer, highlighter and blush are like the cherry on top for your base and really take your makeup to the next level. You don’t need to use all three but the best time to apply them is after you’ve perfected your base and concealer. Applying bronzer like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer (this one works to bronze or contour), is a great way to add some sun-kissed color and depth to your complexion. 

After bronzer comes blush, and it’s a great way to add some flush and vibrancy to your skin. Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Blush; it has a long-wearing formula that resists sweat, transfer and smudging. Plus, the soft matte finish is easy to blend, pigmented, and doesn’t emphasize texture. 

Finish everything off by adding some shimmery highlighter to your cheekbones and the high points of your face. If you’re opting for a liquid formula, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer, use the warmth of your fingers to lightly tap it into the skin. If you’re using powder formula, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Nude Highlighter Palette, use a fluffy brush to lightly blend it onto the skin.

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7. Eyebrow Makeup

Once your complexion is just how you like it, remove any leftover foundation from your brows and get started on perfecting your arches. Use a brow pencil like the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Mechanical Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil to shape your brows and make them look thicker. Or, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Volumizing 24H Wear Brow Mascara to thicken your brows and set them in place. 

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8. Eyeshadow

Next is eyeshadow and if you’re looking to really upgrade your look, this is the step to make that happen. A neutral palette, like the Paradise Enchanted Eyeshadow Palette, is a great option to keep in your makeup bag because it works for day or night looks. 

Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to apply shadow all over your lid and crease. Keep it simple with a crease shade for the daytime and use the darker shades to smoke out your lid and lower lash line for a nighttime look. If you’re looking to brighten your lids with shimmer, try the Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow.

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9. Eyeliner

After eyeshadow comes eyeliner and enhancing the shape of your eyes. If winged eyeliner is your go-to, try the L’Oréal Paris Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner. This liquid eyeliner is waterproof and transfer-proof, and the precise felt tip is perfect for drawing the sharpest of wings. For the waterline, opt for the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner. This gel formula comes in classic shades, like black, brown and nude, as well as trendier colors, such as turquoise and emerald green. 

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10. Mascara

It’s much easier to get the perfect winged liner when you apply your eyeliner before your mascara. Plus, a few coats of mascara brings the whole eye look together so think of it as the perfect finishing touch. Curl your lashes and sweep on a few coats of the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Washable Mascara to score voluminous, lifted and lengthened lashes without clumps. 

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11. Lipstick

Much like the way mascara brings your eye look together, lipstick or lip gloss brings the whole makeup look together. Start by lining your lips with the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner. Then, decide if you want to top it off with a lip balm, lipstick or lip gloss. 

For everyday wear and a comfortable hydrating finish, try L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick with Pomegranate Extract or L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip Balm-in-Gloss Pomegranate Extract. If you prefer lipstick, try the velvety L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick, or the long-wearing L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick.

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12. Setting Spray or Powder 

The final step is to set your face so all the work you did to perfect your makeup lasts. Setting powder helps your makeup last longer throughout the day, it also helps to manage shine; oily skin types can attest to this. The L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Powder provides extra coverage with a natural finish that suits all skin types. Choose the shade that corresponds with your True Match Foundation shade to get the perfect match. 

In addition to your setting powder or in its place, seal your makeup look with setting spray. Spritz your face four to six times with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray in an “X” and “T” motion. This spray will keep your makeup looking fresh all day long without settling into fine lines.

NextDo You Apply Concealer or Foundation First?


Photographer: Stephanie Price

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