How to Apply Makeup Like A Pro – Skincare Edition

By March 8, 2019Top Tips
top tips for applying makeup

Top tips for applying makeup like a pro

Where would we be without makeup? At The Skin Nerd®, we wouldn’t be of the belief that makeup is an absolute necessity. If you prefer to wear makeup, you prefer to wear makeup. If you don’t, you don’t. One of our goals is to help people feel comfortable without it, even if they still want to choose to wear it. Makeup should give you that feel-good factor where you strut down the stairs like Naomi Campbell herself and that is much more achievable when you know the tips of the trade.

Team Nerd have worked at London Fashion Week for the last two years now, prepping Paul Costelloe models for the catwalk before they’ve had their makeup done. You may see your skincare and your makeup as two separate entities but if your mattress isn’t in good nick, your duvet isn’t going to settle onto it evenly. Not the most glamorous analogy ever, but it does the job.

For the absolute crème de la crème of makeup application, the skin needs to be hydrated and smoothed out so that your makeup will “meld” with your complexion evenly and not sit on top of it or split. So, if you’re looking to wave goodbye to caking, dullness and splitting foundation, keep reading to find out how to apply makeup like a pro.

Prior to applying your makeup   

Hydration & plumping

Before you even touch your makeup bag, you want to soothe, hydrate and condition the skin. If you want a truly beautiful finish, a hyaluronic acid sheet mask will change your life, or at least your makeup life. About 30 minutes before I’m due to go full artiste, I pop on a hyaluronic acid sheet mask (usually the Seoulista Super Hydration Instant Facial, €9.00) and go about my business. I whip it off after half an hour and gently tap the remaining serum into my skin. I personally don’t mind there being serum residue left behind, but you can leave it a few minutes to soak in if you like.  

top tips for applying makeup

Hyaluronic acid, whether in sheet mask form or serum form, is so fantastic pre-makeup for a number of reasons:

  • It hydrates the upper and lower layers of the skin
  • This surface hydration gives an instant plumping effect
  • It is a known skin-soother, so can help to reduce redness or angry spots

The IMAGE Ageless Pure Hyaluronic Filler (€72.50, Nerd Network store) is an absolutely elite hyaluronic acid serum, as it contains high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (ie. plumping, surface hydration) and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (ie. long-lasting hydration deep in the epidermis), as well as cross-linked, super long-lasting forms of hyaluronic acid.

De-puffing & soothing

For de-puffing and skin-soothing, I whip out my jade roller (€18.00). Jade rolling may be new to the Western world but using jade stone on the skin is a mainstay of Chinese beauty and medicine. It is incredibly cooling and works to improve lymphatic drainage, bringing down puffiness in no time.  

top tips for applying makeup

Bringing down spots

For those with acne and congestion, you may feel that popping spots before applying your makeup will make them less noticeable. If you’ve ever done this, you know that this is not the case. Squeezing the bejaysus out of a very angry, risen spot will just anger it further, driving the infection deeper into the epidermis, causing more swelling and redness and increasing the possibility of scarring. Even if you do force something out, your skin will need time to form a scab so your makeup application process will have to grind to a halt.

top tips for applying makeup

My advice would be ice, ice, baby. At some point, we’ve all heard of the spot icing technique and probably thought it to be an old wives’ tale. It genuinely is not, and there is science behind it. Just as applying ice to a swollen ankle helps to reduce inflammation, so does applying ice to a spot. The change in temperature will temporarily constrict blood vessels surrounding the spot, helping to bring down the swelling. Sceptical? Try it out the next time you have a whopper.

Priming & mattifying

Some world-renowned makeup artists don’t even believe in primers but as an oilier hooman myself, I want and need something to help mattify my skin and keep it that way throughout the day. However, my slightly less-than-traditional mode is to use a mattifying SPF as my primer. Why double up when you can do two jobs with one product?  

At night, you don’t need SPF protection and some SPFs (though not all) give you the type of photo flashback that makes you look like a big smiley moon. To be honest, I believe that if you’re going to use a primer, it should be giving back to the skin too. REN have a fabulous product called the Perfect Canvas Skin Enhancing Serum Primer (€58.00). It does the mattifying, smoothing, silkifying job of a primer with the benefits of topical probiotics, alpha-glucans and agave extract to balance, smoothe and lock in skin moisture.

When applying your makeup

When it comes to actually applying your makeup, the best mode depends on the formulation of foundation (or concealer) that you’re using. For example, full coverage foundations or BB creams that have a smooth, hydrating feel, such as the Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream (€54.00) are sometimes best tapped on with fingertips to help it meld into your skin.

On the other hand, powder formulations or light, sheer or buildable foundations tend to go on better with a fluffy brush gently buffed across the skin. When you’re looking for as much coverage as possible without looking like you’ve got layer upon layer on you, you really do want to build it up slowly. This is especially true of fully mineral powder!

Those with congestion can have a harder time when it comes to keeping their makeup looking smooth whilst covering redness and texture. Our resident nerdie makeup artist, Ben, says that the best route in his eyes is a wet beauty sponge – not necessarily the brand name Beauty Blender – or a stippling brush, and going back in with more foundation or a concealer for extra coverage in particular areas.

Finish with a Spritz O’Clock (aka a hydrating mist) to get rid of any powderiness and “awaken” the pigment of your makeup.

Our favourite skincare makeup products

We are biased, but we will always choose makeup that gives back to our skin, meaning antioxidant-enriched makeup and mineral makeup, and this is all the way from foundation to blushers and contour too.


One that is highly adored in Nerd HQ and by all Nerd Networkers who have tried it out is the Glo Luminous Liquid Foundation SPF 18 (€50.00). This is the quality of your fancy “only for nights out” foundation but with the benefits of vitamins A, C, E and green tea extract to give your skin antioxidant protection, as well as a boost of SPF too. It builds up to medium coverage, and is suitable for those with dry, normal or oily skin. It has a light, natural, demi-dewy finish, and is highly comparable to Nars Sheer Glow or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk.  

top tips for applying makeup


Have you been looking for a full coverage, fully mineral concealer? Well, the Nerd’s got you covered – get it? Fuschia Correct & Perfect Concealer (€16.95) is a liquid concealer that won’t exacerbate breakouts, which is a dream come true. With Fuschia being an Irish brand, they have an extra light shade for the icy, porcelain hoomans. As it is fully mineral, it does dry onto the skin quite quickly so we recommend applying and blending straight away, or blending with a damp makeup sponge.

Your full kit

If you want to get into mineral makeup but want to dip your toe before committing fully, Fuschia’s Buff & Glo Mineral Kit contains a Mineral Foundation, Rice Setting Powder, their Glow Mineral Blush (a natural, rosy hue) and a mini of their signature Buffer Brush all for €39.95.


Your eye area is the easiest place to have fun with makeup and probably the fastest way to make an impact with your look. Glo Cream Stay Shadow Sticks (€22.00) are a one-step creamy, hydrating shadow that last yonks and are perfect for time-poor hoomans who like to do their eye makeup on the bus. Because they’re only one teeny stick, you can pop ‘em in your coat pocket or the most compact of clutches for touch-ups but realistically, you won’t even need to top up. They’re just that good.

Some extra bonus quick-fire nerdie makeup tips

  • If you are a sexy specs-y hooman like me, do not underestimate the worthwhile investment that is a mini suction-cup magnifying mirror. Eyeliner is hard even with perfect vision, so make your life easier.
  • A Spritz O’Clock will keep your makeup looking fresh throughout the day.
  • Using a salicylic acid cleanser on the regular will help to control oil production.
  • Pull a tissue into thin layers for DIY blotting paper. 
  • You can usually use mineral blushes on your eyes too – just check that they’re eye-safe.
  • Pat a serum or facial oil on as you would a highlighter for a natural, holibobs glow.
  • Switch to mineral lip products if you’re experiencing blackheads along your lip line.

Want to find out which makeup shade will be best for you from our range and more about how mineral makeup will benefit your skin? Book in for your first consultation with our team of qualified, expert skincare Nerds and Nerdettes.

top tips for applying makeup