How To – Makeup Running Order

Another frequently requested post coming to your eyeballs this week in the shape of a makeup running order. (Thank you so much by the way to all of you that request specific topic blog posts, it’s so helpful in terms of ideas and me knowing what you’d like to read about. I will try and get around to doing as many as possible!) Makeup running order?? I hear you ask…it’s exactly that! The order in which I apply makeup products, both personally and on clients. Now obviously, this can vary depending on the look, client requirements, personal preferences etc etc, there is no right or wrong as such, more so this is the ‘general rule’ running order that I choose for any well put together and long wearing makeup!

So first things first, before any makeup finds its way on to your face, the real focus is your skin! Not just long term regarding the general condition of your skin, but the way you ‘prep’ your skin before makeup, plays a massively important part in your routine and effects how your makeup will apply, sit and ultimately, how it’ll last! I’ll link my dedicated and recent skincare routine blog post here if you haven’t read it yet and want to find out more about my favourite skin essentials.

Next up (and no, I don’t prime my face at this stage. Let’s give our skincare chance to sink in properly!) I prime the eye area and do brows. Anyone who knows me, both personally and professionally, knows brows are my thing. Not in a crazy dark, ultra sculpted way, but a properly groomed brow can make such a difference to your whole face and make you, even on no makeup makeup days, look groomed and more together! I’ll link my current brow routine post here as although I switch up colour/ products sometimes, it’s pretty much always this and goes in to more detail. I prime from lash to brow and also underneath, along the lower lash line (we prime the top, why not the bottom??) most days using the Urban Decay Primer Potion in the shade Enigma (Read my blog post about this here), I just find it works the best for keeping shadow on all day. Having your brows done at this stage too, creates definition and a map/ shape to follow when you move on to your eye makeup. It makes life so much easier.

This is the bit, no matter what kind of look I’m going for, that takes the longest and the bit I enjoy the most! I have a few eye makeup focused blog posts, will leave one of my most worn here and check out my Instagram here if you want to see some more close up examples, as I do post quite a few different looks on there. My eyes are primed and ready to go, so what do I do next…

★ I dust a bit of face powder or skin toned shadow from my crease/ socket and all the way up to my brow. It takes down the tackiness from the primer, gives you the perfect base to begin your look and will help everything to blend more evenly for a seamless finish.
★ Buff a transition colour (normally a little darker than your skin tone, and a matte texture shadow) in to the crease using a large fluffy blending brush (Morphe M504* is perfect for this step). This gives you a smooth gradation between colour and helps ‘transition’ smoothly from light to darker.
★ At this point, I apply pencil liner to the top (tight line) waterline which will fill in any flesh tone gaps and make your lash line look thicker. I also do this on my bottom waterline and smudge through the lower lashes too, but this obviously depends on the look you want to go for.
★ Next up, the main event, whatever shadows I want to use, they go on now. Pack colour on with a smaller, denser brush ( I like the Zoeva 231 Luxe Petit Crease* and/ or a MAC #217) and blend out with the large and fluffy. The thing to remember, as a general rule…the darker the colour, the smaller the brush! I normally take shadow underneath the eye too, subtly or strong and blown out, either way, it’ll define and really frame the eyes!

★ More pencil on the waterline if needed. If you want to make your eyes look bigger/ don’t want to go too dark, use a flesh tone pencil like the Makeup Geek Full Spectrum Liner in Nude*, if I’m going for a smokier look, I might even apply a bit of waterproof gel liner on the waterline to intensify and make sure it stays put all day! The Inglot AMC Gel Liner in #77 is by far the blackest and most long wearing there is, perfect for this!
★ If I’m using liquid liner/ going for a wing, now is the time! I have a detailed liner post here if you need any tips/ technique or product recommendations. There’s a few different ones I like to use, but it’s the Kat Von D Beauty Tattoo Liner* that has top spot!
★ Mascara next, top and bottom and lashes maybe, but more often than not, unless I’m going out out, I don’t bother. Plenty of coats of the Too Faced Better Than Sex* does the trick for full, fluffy lashes! Eyes done!

Now your eyes are done, you’re skincare has well and truly worked it’s way in to your skin and you’ve wiped away any eyeshadow fallout from under the eyes, it’s primer time. Only ever use a small amount, I’m taking half a pump, no more than one and less than a petit pois amount (see, even smaller than a regular pea, ha ha!) or it’ll have the opposite effect to what you’re using it for, it’ll create an extra slippy layer for your base makeup to slide off! By using a small amount, you create more of a slight ‘tackiness’ than slip, so your products will adhere well and stay in place. Also, don’t be afraid of mixing primers/ using different ones for different parts of your face to suit the needs of each area. My favourite combo is Too Faced Hangover Primer* (read more here) over my forehead and cheeks and Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimising (read more here) on my nose and chin.

You don’t have to wait for primer to sink in, the whole point is so it gives makeup something to stick to on the surface of the skin. Pick your application weapon of choice, I use brushes and Beauty Blenders* and get your favourite foundation on your face!

Conceal next! So this often causes confusion on a grand scale. The easiest ways to think about it…foundations of a house are the first to be placed, not bricks and building comparisons aside, imagine if you carefully conceal any problem areas, precisely placing the concealer, only to then apply foundation and end up smearing you concealer around everywhere you don’t need it! By applying your foundation first, it means you’ll probably need less concealer for one and you can apply it exactly where you need it!

So immediately after concealer, I’ll set the under eye with setting powder to prevent creasing. The Kat Von D Beauty Lock It Setting Powder* is perfection (read more here) and feels so light on the skin! I then lightly set the rest of the face with the same powder, or something with a little more coverage if needed, the MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Powder is brilliant if coverage is what you’re after!

Now if you prefer a cream contour (which I personally don’t), this step would fall in between foundation/ concealer and setting powder, basically cream blends better over cream rather than powder. Because I prefer powder contour, now is the time. I love the Makeup Geek Contour Powders*…blendable, well pigmented, great range of shades to suit all skin tones and affordable. I’m not going to go in it to in depth here as I have a whole blogpost about my favourite contour powders and brushes if you’d like to find out more.

You can do both or either or when it comes to contour and blush/ bronzer. Contour gives shape and definition, it can also correct/ slim down if needed, bronzer gives overall warmth and blusher gives a lift and ‘pop’ of colour. I’m not hugely in to blusher myself, but do like a bit on bronzer to warm up my pale skin slightly. My most reached for has got to be the Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion*, so natural and textureless on the skin!

If I’m using a setting / complexion spray, this happens next. Depending which you use, they’re great for sealing everything in place, giving a bit of extra glow or refreshing and just taking away the powdery finish. Urban Decay B6 Complexion Spray* is a great allrounder. (Read more here)

There’s a reason I use setting spray pre highlight…so if you’re not shy about having a blinding glow, apply it soon after your setting spray, it’ll enhance the glow and give it a more intense finish. If you prefer more of a glow from within type of highlight, wait until your setting spray has dried down and then dust it on to the high points/ anywhere the light would naturally hit. Cheekbones, nose, cupids bow, brows, inner corner of your eyes…everywhere, anywhere or nowhere, you do you!

A lip product of choice and you’re good to go! Doing what I do, I’m obviously in to makeup, but as well as obviously loving applying it to clients, I actually really enjoy (for the most part…no makeup days are great too and totally called for sometimes!) the process of putting my makeup on. It’s thinking time, relaxing time, game face time, me time!

‘Makeup is part of my daily routine. It’s the time in my mornings, when I can concentrate on me and me alone. Giving yourself that kind of attention is important and is something that is definitely glossed over by too many women’ – Kat Von D.

Do you apply your makeup this way or similar, or maybe something completely different! What’s your favourite part of the makeup routine/ process??

Lyd x



I’m now based in Cork, Ireland. Although I do still take select bookings for North Wales/ Cheshire and Dublin (get in touch for more info) and am available to travel country wide…I’m mainly taking makeup bookings for Cork City and surrounding areas. 

As a bridal makeup specialist, I do get booked up well in advance so if you’re looking for wedding makeup in Cork contact me asap to check availability, secure your date and avoid disappointment! I’m freelance and travel to your home/ venue of choice.

Also available for makeup for any occasion/ event, lessons and master class makeup…find more information and a full list of services here.

Contact us for enquiries/ bookings and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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