You're Probably Putting On Makeup All Wrong


I’m definitely a mutant, but surely I’m not the only mutant-human hybrid surprised to learn that concealer goes on AFTER foundation. Next you’ll tell me that you’re supposed to do eyeshadow FIRST? (You are.)

Makeup schmakeup. Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated. Makeup is the greatest thing ever, or the biggest con of all time, technically both. Regardless, there’s rules to the great bag of tricks we call armoring up, and you should know them, even if it’s just to break them, even if it’s just to be the slickest new face-haver that can’t actually just give yourself a new face.

As someone who has only ever had one solid foot perched gingerly in the makeup aisle, I can tell you that the following things have blown my mind when it comes to learning about makeup, many of which I have only learned more recently than I care to reveal:

  • The difference primer makes
  • The difference moisturizer makes
  • The difference eyeshadow primer makes
  • The difference tinted moisturizer makes
  • BB creams, wtf.

Remember we learned collectively as humans that you could dab white sparkly eyeshadow in the corner of your eyes and become alienesquely alluring? Ga-zowa.

The way many of us first learn makeup is basically folklore — traditions passed down to us by our mothers or sisters or culture or giant Barbie heads, for better or for worse. Once, I stole my very olive-skinned older sister’s foundation and slathered it onto my pale face one morning in terrible light before school in the 8th grade, and learned the three-shades-darker way about the true meaning of base face from literally everyone I encountered all day long.

I now have a slightly better grasp of the mechanics of makeup application, and so I am easily impressed by places in Los Angeles like Blushington where you can get your makeup done by someone who knows immediately what to do about your nonexistent eyebrows. Which is why I’m so easily mind-melted about learning the proper order to put makeup on. To a lot of people, it seems intuitive — foundation first, THEN concealer, because it covers up all the stuff your foundation didn’t. But overthinky people such as myself can tell you that it also seems just as logical to put on concealer over all readily obvious spots, and then fill in the rest with the lighter coverage of foundation. Who is to say? And why? No really, why?

Likewise, primer is supposed to be a no-duh first step, but to me it’s weird to think that you’d prime your face before putting on a tinted moisturizer, because shouldn’t you let the moisturizing part sink into your skin rather than sit on top of the primer on top of your skin? Stop me before I get too far down this rabbit hole.

Today, I saw this guide at for what order you’re supposed to apply makeuppy stuff.

It says:

  • Primer
  • Makeup
  • Brows
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Setting powder
  • Bronzer
  • Blush
  • Finishing powder
  • Lips

Uh, there’s two powders? Jesus H. Powder.

Obviously, you can do whatever you want, but not before you become perplexed at this order over here that Real Simple suggests:

  • Eyes
  • Concealer for dark spots/circles
  • Concealer for blemishes
  • Foundation
  • Powder (bronzing)
  • Blush
  • Lip color
  • Lip gloss
  • Brows

Uh, there’s two concealers? Jesus H. Concealer.

Seriously, you can do whatever you want. Just end on the cheeks. Says Beautylish:

  • Primer or moisturizer
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Powder
  • Eyes or Lips (eyes: shadow then liner then mascara; lips: balm then liner then lipstick then gloss
  • Cheeks

Oh, and did you know about


“easy mapping technique” for eyes? We know what conceal is, but what gods of diceyness would suggest we aim to illuminate, brighten and highlight different regions of the eye WHEN THOSE ARE ALL THE EXACT SAME THINGS I TELL YOU.

Illuminate: to supply or brighten with light

Brighten: to add more light to (something)

Highlight: to throw a strong light on


So how did you learn how to put on makeup?

Do you or don’t you know these rules?

Why don’t you?

And what order do you do your makeup in, and back it up with logic with the quickness.

Image via Getty.

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