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Women applying PCA SKIN serum to face
Woman applying makeup in the mirror

Ask any professional makeup artist what the secret to flawless makeup is, and they'll say the same thing: skin care prep. Why? Because skin care before makeup is a game-changer. It's simply impossible for your makeup to look its best when the skin underneath isn't properly cleansed and hydrated.

Case in point: when your complexion is dry and flaky, your makeup will end up looking that way, too. The good news is that creating the perfect canvas isn't complicated. Here's how to prep your skin for makeup step by step, no matter your skin type.


Step 1: Cleanse

Gently cleansing your skin helps kick-start your complexion by removing excess oil and debris. The key is to keep it super gentle so you don't strip the skin of the essential oils that help keep it healthy and hydrated. PCA SKIN Creamy Cleanser is an excellent formula for dry and sensitive skin, effectively removing impurities while hydrating skin. Hero ingredients Rosehip and Sunflower Seed Oils protect skin from water loss while Aloe Vera Leaf Juice calms and soothes.

If you prefer a non-creamy formula, you can't go wrong with PCA SKIN Facial Wash with Lactic Acid and Allantoin. Perfect for combination and sensitive skin, this formula cleanses without leaving skin feeling stripped or tight. Its gentle exfoliating properties also help your skin feel extra smooth and supple.


Step 2: Gently Exfoliate

Part of understanding how to prep your skin for makeup depends on your skin type and where you're at in your routine. For example, if you've exfoliated recently and your skin is still feeling soft and smooth, you may be able to skip this step. You don't want to risk over-exfoliating, especially if you have sensitive skin. But if it's been a few days since you last exfoliated, try using a gentle chemical formula like fan-favorite PCA SKIN Daily Exfoliant. As the name implies, it's gentle enough for daily use, and it leaves skin baby-soft, smooth, and radiant without risking irritation.


Step 3: Apply Serum

Incorporating a highly concentrated serum into your skin care before makeup application will help ensure your complexion stays well hydrated—not just for a couple of hours but for the whole event. While your skin is still damp, apply a hydrating serum to help nourish and soothe skin. Try a targeted formula like PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum, a serum that is designed to offer instant hydration and smoothing on the surface of your skin by increasing the skin’s own hyaluronic acid production.


Step 4: Moisturize

Apart from cleansing, moisturizing is the most essential step. It seals in hydration and creates an even canvas for makeup, helping it go on smooth and making it easier to blend. If you prefer a nongreasy, lightweight moisturizer, try PCA SKIN ReBalance with Vitamin E, Niacinamide, and Evening Primrose Seed Oil for feather-light hydration. If your skin craves a richer formula, opt for something like PCA SKIN HydraLuxe moisturizer.


Step 5: Give Extra Care to Your Eyes and Lips

The skin around your eyes and on your lips is thinner than anywhere else on your face, so it's more prone to dryness and irritation. This can also cause makeup to settle into fine lines and wrinkles. Give special attention to these delicate areas to achieve that flawless look.

For visible plumping and soothing benefits, PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster deeply hydrates lips and fills in fine lines and wrinkles, while PCA SKIN Vitamin B3 Brightening Eye Cream protects the areas around your eyes from drying out.


The Beauty of a Clean Slate

Follow these simple skin care steps before applying your makeup, and you'll be surprised at just how stunning it looks—not to mention how long it lasts. The secret to your next best look is putting skin care first.


Kaleigh Fasanella
Kaleigh Fasanella is a New Jersey-based beauty and wellness reporter with over a decade of experience writing for both digital outlets and brands. She previously worked at magazines like Allure and Teen Vogue before going freelance to write for a variety of publications. While she loves all aspects of beauty, she's especially passionate about skin care and helping others learn about and care for their skin.