The Correct Order to Apply Make Up

by Caroline Hurley

The Correct Order to Apply Make Up


Make up is make up no matter the order you apply it right? Wrong. I’ll try to explain this in a way I would paint a picture. When I paint a picture I typically work with the darker colors and shadows first. Then I apply highlights and lighter shades on top of it. When blending colors together I again start with the dark and go to the lighter shades. This is how I was always taught in my art classes. Applying make up is essentially “painting” your face and the same rules apply.

Many of us apply make up in the order that seems most natural to us and honestly there are no rules. Whatever works best for you is right. But I recently changed up my make up routine to match the rules I was taught for painting. Highlighting and contouring is a great principle in make up application. Dark shades are used to add or accentuate shadows and highlights are used to bring out the prominent features. In order for this to work you need to pay attention to the correct order to apply make up.

This is the order I applied make up until the last year or so.

Which Order of Applying Make Up is Better?

The problem with this is when you apply eye shadow you can get some of the colors around your eyes. This is especially a problem if you are using dark shadows and they fall underneath your eye making you appear to have dark circles under your eyes. Sometimes mascara can do the same. Also, if you are using a liquid or cream concealer and a powder bronzer, the areas where you applied the concealer will attract the bronzer. This is not what you want to happen. This leads to a much less natural looking make up and can make your face look all one shade. In reality our faces are many different colors due to shadows, highlights, and where the sun naturally hits our skin.

Instead, try this make up order for the best results.

Order 1


You should apply any foundation first and then apply your eye make up. By applying the foundation first you have an even canvas for eye shadow and you won’t have to worry about messing up any eye shadow when applying foundation. Then you want to go ahead and use your bronzer or contouring shade while you have an even coat of foundation. You can be less precise with bronzer application because you will be able to go back and clean it up later. Top your cheeks with blush and finally apply your concealer followed by finishing powder. By saving concealer for last this allows you to clean up any mistakes and make sure there aren’t any smudges under your eye. It also does a better job at highlight.

Go ahead and give it a try if you’re still applying your make up like the first. You’ll be amazed at how big a difference the order makes! Obviously this is the order for a heavier make up application. For a lighter application follow the same order with just the  products you are using.


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