Concealer Before Foundation? SPF Before Primer? Our Guide to Prepping Your Skin Like a Pro

This week we've been talking a lot about moisturisers and foundation. Sure, one is skincare and one is about coverage but they are both part of the same equation. The first step is to prep the skin, while the second stage is to choose the coverage that works for you.

But sometimes we can get confused with all the different steps? Does SPF go on before or after moisturiser? Should concealer be applied before or after foundation?

So before you start whipping out the stippling brush, make sure to read our guide to preparing your skin.


  • Exfoliation

The first step is exfoliation. No matter what your skin type, you need to exfoliate. Not often, once a week is plenty. This eradicates any dead skin cells and creates an even base for your foundation. My favourite exfoliators are Kiehl’s Epidermal Retexturing Micro-Dermabrasion, made of micronized shells (so fancy!) and so good you only have to use it once every two weeks.



Or you could try Origin’s Modern Friction which is made with rice starch and lemon oil to help illuminate the skin.



If you have acne prone or hyper-sensitive skin, however, conventional exfoliators may not be for you. Try Kiehl’s Over Night Biological Peel - this is oil free and very gentle. It works by almost dissolving the dead skin, therefore improving the texture and refining pores.

  • Moisturiser

To maintain a healthy skin barrier it is essential to use moisturiser. Make sure to use one that you are comfortable with and that suits your skin type. If you are putting make up on immediately after your moisturiser, it would be preferable to go for one with a lighter texture. Favourites for my slightly oily skin are Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (which can also be used on combination and dry skin types).


  • Primer

This step is optional. There are so many different types of primers, keeping track of them all can be exhausting. There’s pore minimising, luminosity adding, oil controlling, long lasting foundation, colour correcting….I feel dizzy just typing all that.

So choose one that’s right for you. For instance, I use Urban Decay’s Pore Perfecting Primer when I feel particularly oily, to smooth out my skin’s texture. However, my absolute favourite primer for all skin types is Clarins’ Beauty Flash Balm. It illuminates your skin, makes your foundation last longer and generally makes you look like the best version of yourself! You can apply most primers with a brush or your fingers.

  • SPF

Wearing a high SPF every day is the absolute best thing you can do for your skin. If you decide to invest in a high SPF go for Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defence SPF 50. It’s oil free and so light you won’t feel it on your skin. Or Benefit's Dream Screen is another good option.


  • Concealer

There are two schools of thought here, use concealer after your foundation to cover up anything your foundation hasn’t or use it before so everything blends better. I always put concealer on before my foundation because I like everything to blend.


But do whatever is comfortable for you - the trick with concealer is to get the right colour. A good tip is not to choose a colour lighter than your foundation because you don’t want to highlight blemishes. You can use a brush but I like use my fingers to really press the product into the skin. My favourites are MAC’s Select Cover Up and Benefit’s Boi-ing.

So tell us, what are is your skin prepping routine? Is there one step that you just cannot be without? Tell us in the comments!

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