Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Makeup Prep

Sally Stone has kindly written a series of articles about makeup and makeup application that is specifically targeted for girls like us. The second installment of her series addresses prepping your face before applying your makeup.

By Sally Stone

Prepping the face for foundation is a process that begins way before sitting down in front of the makeup mirror. The daily facial regimen should include cleaning, toning and moisturizing and it’s important to do this even on the days when you won’t be wearing makeup, so that on those days you do, your face will be ready.

Another consideration for keeping your face ready for makeup is to use some type of wrinkle cream. I have used Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair for as long as I can remember and while I haven’t noticed any reduction in the wrinkles I already have, it is possible regular use has staved off any additional ones – who’s to say? What the anti-wrinkle cream has done for me though, is to significantly reduce the coarse appearance of my male-pattern skin and I believe this is the real magic of any anti-wrinkle cream.

File ID 94537684 | © Dmytro Flask |
The next part of the process is to ensure your face is free of facial hair. I won’t go into the various ways that you can make this happen, but obviously, being whisker-free is pretty much a necessity if your objective is to have a flawless complexion.

I moisturize every day, whether I’m putting on makeup or not, but I also moisturize right before I start applying makeup and just after shaving. On makeup days, I recommend a moisturizer that is formulated to wear under foundation. Generally, it should absorb completely into the skin and not feel greasy afterwards. Beyond it being compatible with your foundation, I can’t really recommend one brand over another.

Moisturizer hydrates and plumps the skin, which helps prepare it for makeup. You might be inclined to believe that because moisturizer is important you should use a lot of it. Actually, less is more. Apply just enough to cover the entire face and neck, but not so much that the skin can’t absorb it all. It will take a few minutes for complete absorption, but in the end, your skin should be a little dewy, but not tacky or sticky.

Next comes primer. For the longest time, I didn’t put much stock in primer. Perhaps my youthful skin didn’t need it, but as I’ve aged, primer has become my best friend. It really does help my foundation go on easier and adhere more firmly to my skin. Don’t be fooled into thinking primer has to be expensive to work well. It doesn’t. I rarely spend more than ten dollars for the primers I used and they have never failed me.

Most primers look like lotion, but do not apply them like lotion. Instead, press primer deep into the skin. You want it way down into the pores, not just clinging to the surface of the skin. It can be pressed in with the fingertips or it can be pressed in with a brush. I have a special stippling brush that I use only for my primer. And where primer is concerned, less is once again, more. Prime all of the skin where you plan to apply makeup and then let it dry completely. You’ll know it is dry when it is no longer tacky.

A lot of makeup artists actually mix primer in with the foundation. It could be that for male skin, mixing isn’t a compatible option because I haven’t had much luck with the method.

There is an additional prepping step that may be necessary for those that tend to have a darker beard shadow and that is, some form of beard cover. Those of us that still have facial hair, will always have some beard shadow even after a close shave. The darker or coarser the facial hair, the more noticeable the shadow.

Beard shadow can be covered with foundation, but if the shadow is pronounced, it will require a lot of product, which would ultimately look unnatural. The more effective tactic for dealing with beard shadow is to neutralize it, because neutralizing requires a lot less product. Beard shadow is blue, so to cancel it out, you need a color that lies exact opposite from blue on a standard color wheel. Blue’s counter-color is orange.

You’ve no doubt seen or heard of girls using red lipstick as a way of camouflaging beard shadow. It’s effective because red has orange in it. The problem with lipstick is it tends to be somewhat greasy, keeping it from blending effectively with foundation. Because of this, lipstick often leads to premature failure of the foundation it is blended with.

Orange concealer is sometimes not easy to find because it is not a color most cis-women need. Still, it is readily available from many online makeup vendors and some of the larger brick and mortar stores.

Apply the concealer sparingly, but be sure to cover the entire area where beard shadow is present. Then, using a stippling brush, work the concealer way down into the pores. Orange concealer is also perfect for hiding under eye circles or other dark areas around the eye. When the concealer is stippled in good and deep, let it dry, usually around ten minutes and then you are ready for foundation. The foundation tutorial will be in the next installment.

Don’t undermine your makeup routine by skimping on the preparation steps. If your objective is to have a flawless complexion after putting on your makeup, your skin must be in the best possible condition beforehand. Prep also contributes greatly to the ease at which your makeup goes on and it helps make it longer wearing.

Source: Rue La La
Wearing Rue La La

Hermann Thimig
Hermann Thimig femulating in the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria. which was remade as USA film in 1982 titled Victor Victoria.


  1. I have debated long and hard about my need (or not) for beard concealer. My GFs are not too helpful about it as well; usually they are very straight forward about helping me with my appearance, but on this issue they seem to be divided. And to be honest, if I can skip a step in getting ready . . . :) So is there a sure fire way to tell whether you need it or not???

    1. With your makeup on, take a photo of yourself using the camera flash. The flash is notorious for revealing beards under makeup. If you see your beard in a camera flash photo, then use beard cover. If not, then you are good to go.

    2. Thanks, Stana! Good tip.

  2. I am so glad that I learned about primer (and setting spray) a few years ago. I do moisturize every day, even though I haven't put on makeup since last November. Thank goodness for light, fine hair - I've never needed beard cover.

  3. Although I wish I had lasered my beard when it was still dark I am thankful that grey whiskers do not leave shadow!