Priming the Canvas: Getting Your Face Ready for Makeup

Before you ever put makeup on your face, there are certain other products you need to use. I call this ‘priming the canvas’ because getting your face ready for makeup is a lot like getting a canvas ready for paint. This way, when you do put makeup on, it will go on smoothly and stay put much longer than it would if you hadn’t primed at all.

The following is two routes that you can go with this: The Works, or The Minimalist.

The Works

This is everything that you could possible need to get your face ready for some makeup. Be sure to click the image to get an even bigger view. Here’s what to do, step-by-step:

  1. Eye Makeup Remover: Before you can put new makeup on, you need to take off your old stuff! Try to find remover without any alcohol or ammonia, otherwise you may come out with irritated, red eyes. I use Luzier Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.
  2. Cleanser/Face Soap: Next, you’ll need to clean your face. Look for cleansers that are made for your skin type. If you choose a product that is made for oily skin when yours is dry, zits attack! I use Luzier Cleansing Creme with Wheat Germ.
  3. Toner: Toners are used as sort of the last-ditch effort to get all of the gunk off of your skin and out of your pores. It also helps tighten your pores so you don’t have those dirt-sucking chasms all over your nose and face. I use Luzier Skin Freshener (Fragrance Free).
  4. Lotion: And I don’t mean just any lotion. Face lotion. While you may love your hand or body lotion because it smells so good, it can only cause problems if you put it on your face. The harsh fragrances in other lotions can make you break out, I promise. Also, make sure that you get a moisturizer that’s right for your skin type. I use Luzier Mira Moist.
  5. Foundation: While this is technically makeup, you will likely end up using the same combination of foundation, concealer and powder every time you put on makeup. You may need to try out several different brands and types of foundation before you find the one best for you and your skin. I use Almay Smart Shade Makeup.
  6. Concealer: Not everyone needs concealer. That’s why it’s not pictured here. I don’t need it, and I don’t own any. But there are plenty of people with dark circles or blemishes that need the help. Remember to put this on after the foundation. Not before.
  7. Translucent Powder: And now the finishing touches! All you have left is to use some powder. I suggest applying this with a wide makeup brush (pictured above) rather than a puff. This way, it looks more realistic. Powder will set your foundation and concealer so that they last longer. It will also leave a nice smooth surface for when you apply your eyeshadow. I use Luzier Famous Translucent Powder Compact.

There! That’s everything you could possibly need. You don’t need all of it though! If you want less steps, then you can go minimalist.

The Minimalist

The Minimalist

If you don’t like any of the steps in The Works, you can always take them out. If you’re like me, you don’t use concealer. Then you would just go from foundation to powder. Or maybe you don’t have toner, so you can skip that step, too. But before you go eliminating everything, there are three steps that you absolutely need:

  1. Eye Makeup Remover: Seriously. You don’t want to put new makeup over old. You can do this right before you do the rest of your face, or you could do it at night before bed. At night is best for people who break out if they leave their makeup on overnight.
  2. Lotion: Some people skip this step. You can catch them on the street because their makeup will be flaking off all over their clothes. When you don’t moisturize, your makeup won’t go on well because of your dry skin. Trust me, you’ll look much better with this step.
  3. Translucent Powder: As I mentioned above, powder sets your makeup. It also gives a nice smooth surface for your eyeshadow. If you skip this step, your makeup will look splotchy. You’ll also be unpleasantly shiny.

There. That’s all you need. If this is all you plan on using, you may want to splurge for some really great products.

Why all the Luzier? You may have noticed that most of my primer products are Luzier brand. If you don’t know, Luzier is a cosmetics company like Mary Kay or Avon. I have so much of it because, for decades, my grandma has sold the stuff. (She just sold her business. 🙁 ) I’ve found that they’re great for skin care. They carry other makeup, like eye shadow and liner, but other brands are better at that than them. So, no, I’m not a Luzier affiliate. No worries!

Now that you know how to prime your face, you’ll be ready for all of the makeup tutorials I’ll have up on the site. Whether you use The Works, The Minimalist, or something in between, your face will be ready to receive that great makeup!


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  1. If anyone has trouble finding Luzier products, Lancome makes a fantastic eye makeup remover called Bi-Facil. It’s a little pricey for a bottle (28 bucks or so at Sephora) but you don’t need much for it to be effective. It’s also super gentle; it’s no more irritating than water.

    Stay away from the generic drugstore stuff, BTW. It’s no better than a bar of soap.

  2. Leah:

    This is a very good point. With certain products, it’s better to spend the extra money.

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