Prep, Don’t Paint: How to Build the Perfect Flawless Skin Base for Foundation

prime skin

“When your skin is looking healthy, there’s less need for foundation and cover-up,” says A-list makeup artist Lee Pycroft. “Just a few products will make you look relaxed and in flow,” she adds. The key is to focus on the skin prep, rather than piling on the makeup. By layering products, using complementary finishes and creating a beautiful base before you even start applying makeup, your complexion will look radiant, healthy and fresh. Here’s our step-by-step makeup order tutorial with all the trademark tips and flawless fixes you need for dreamy skin this season.

Step 1: Stay fresh
“Makeup can only do so much, and the basis of beauty is having good skin. It means you can feel confident, even without makeup, and any makeup you do apply will look even better,” explains makeup artist Christabel Draffin. She suggests upping your consumption of fresh fruit and veg, staying hydrated and ensuring you get enough sleep and exercise. “At the risk of sounding boring, this makes such a big difference. If you have a skin condition such as acne or rosacea, it’s worth seeing a nutritionist to ensure you don’t have any underlying issues.”

To help keep your skin healthy, make sure to work with its natural textures. “Keeping the surface of your skin as hydrated and plumped-up as possible is key for those with dry skin,” says Draffin. Whereas if you have oily or combination skin, ensure you use a moisturizer which combats shine before applying your foundation. Try WASO Color Smart Day Oil Free Moisturizer, which adapts to your skin’s natural color for a seamless look. In fact, this WASO moisturizer is a smart, simple two-in-one daytime emulsion which moisturizes and gives a makeup effect so you may not need any foundation. Try the moisturizer containing carrot for combination skin or the moisturizer with loquat leaf for oily skin.

SHISEIDO Pureness Refreshing Cleansing Sheets

Step 2: Keep it clean.
Cleansing is vital to ensure you’ve removed any traces of dirt or excess oil that can build up on your skin. If left unchecked, this can lead to skin imbalances and blemishes. On the shoot, our expert makeup artist used SHISEIDO Pureness Refreshing Cleansing Sheets —which are oil-free and alcohol-free – to wipe our model’s face clean after applying a cleansing foam. Try WASO Quick Gentle Cleanser, which will leave skin soft rather than stripped of its natural oils, so your face won’t feel tight.

Applying SHISEIDO Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum

Step 3: Replenish and refresh
Apply a serum to plump up your skin and even out the skin tone. SHISEIDO Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum adds radiance, smoothes fine lines and helps to combat signs of aging, including redness. “Don’t forget to be gentle when you apply your serum,” advises Draffin. “Tugging at the skin is never a good idea.” Pat it in using your fingertips and wait for a few minutes before applying your moisturizer to allow the serum to properly sink in.

Applying WASO Color Smart Day Oil Free Moisturizer

Step 4: Stay hydrated
Using a moisturizer designed for your skin type is an essential step for creating a flawless base. On the shoot, our makeup artist used WASO Color Smart Day Oil Free Moisturizer, which is a mattifying emulsion that harnesses the power of the loquat leaf, renowned for its antioxidant and redness-reducing abilities. This easy-to-apply moisturizer also changes color to suit your skin’s natural tone and offers an SPF30 protection for daily use.

Simply pat the moisturizer into your face gently, being careful not to use too much as this will overload the skin.

Applying moisturizing primer as a base

Step 5: Prime time
“Primers are great for helping your makeup last longer and also for an added layer of skincare benefits that are tailor-made for your skin type,” says Draffin. “A great primer gives a smoother surface for the makeup to adhere to and makes wrinkles look less pronounced.” Apply the primer using a brush or your fingertips, and leave for a few minutes to soak in before you put on foundation.

Step 6: The extras
A beautifully sheer makeup base calls for some extra helpers when it comes to ensuring your complexion looks flawless. Layering products will give a more natural look than applying thick formulas. Draffin agrees: “One of the most important lessons with makeup is using thin layers of product, in the correct order. This ensures that your makeup will last and that the products go on correctly.”

Right before your foundation is the correct time to apply any concealer if you need it, or to tackle issues such as large pores. Our shoot makeup artist swears by SHISEIDO Pore Smoothing Corrector to cover enlarged pores.

The result? Dewy skin you’ll want to show off
“Dreamy skin that shines through any foundation you now put on top is the goal here,” explains Draffin. By thinly layering the right skincare products before you apply foundation, you avoid that “fake base” effect and instead allow your natural skin tone, texture and color to be showcased. This means you need less foundation, less concealer and less powder – but end up looking more flawless and fresh-faced. What’s not to love?