Tuesday Tip: apply moisturizer before Your face primer

ready to moisturize, blot and prime!
I know I say this all the time, but that’s because it’s freakin’ true! — it really does take a village, so to speak, when you’re trying to do the whole smooth/flawless skin thing, or as close as you can get to it.

Oh, my goodness, yes, it would be SO nice if it were possible to do it all in one easy step, but that hasn’t been my experience. There are lots of steps involved in getting as close as possible to perfect-looking skin for me, and it takes a lot of work, especially upfront prep work at the beginning of the process.


But here’s something that helps, and I always do it, without fail: I always apply moisturizer before my face primer.

When I do, my skin looks smoother, my makeup lasts longer, and everything I apply on top of moisturized skin just seems to work better.

I really don’t know why… maybe the moisturizer plumps the skin and makes whatever I apply on top of it look smoother. colors also look richer and more intense.


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Here’s my basic process…

Step 1: Moisturize

First, I moisturize, and it’s the first step when I’m applying my makeup (before this, however, right after washing my face in the morning, I apply any skin serums and products with SPF).

My combination skin is more dry than oily (but it’s also oily on my forehead and around my nose and chin), so I reach for rich moisturizers, and I like ones that don’t contain SPF, in this case, to avoid the telltale white cast that can happen when you mix SPF-containing products and flash photography. I also like moisturizers that don’t pill or clump when I apply other products on top of them.

Once my face is fully moisturized, I give the moisturizer enough time to fully absorb and sink in, which is usually around five minutes. Note: this step is very, very important because if the moisturizer is still wet in spots, products applied on top of it won’t last as long as they should/could.

Step 2: Blot

Next, just to be safe, I’ll blot my skin with a tissue or paper towel to lift away any as yet unabsorbed moisturizer.

Step 3: Prime

Now it’s time to prime. It goes right on top of my moisturized skin, and then I also give that enough time to set (about another five minutes).

While I’m waiting, I’ll do other things, like fill in my brows, fix my hair or harass my cat.

Finally, I put on my foundation, concealer, powder and all that fun stuff.


I know it sounds like a lot work, and it is, so I don’t do it when I’m super insanely pressed for time (instead, I’ll just mist my face with Fix+ and apply primer on top), but I really do think it makes a big difference in the way my skin looks when I wear makeup.

Product recommendations

For moisturizers, I use and like…

Neutrogena Oil-Free moisture sensitive Skin Ultra-Gentle Facial moisturizer ($13)

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate ($16)

Clarins Multi-Active Day cream for All Skin types ($59)

Bobbi brown extra Illuminating moisture Balm ($63)

For primers, a few of my favorites are…

Make Up For ever Smoothing primer ($36)

Smashbox photo finish Oil free foundation primer Pore minimizing ($39)

MAC Prep + Prime natural radiance ($40)

Hourglass No. 28 primer Serum ($65)

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