Do You Put on Eyeliner or Mascara First?

Make-up with black eyeliner close-up
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The order in which we apply makeup is an age-old question with endless variations.

Is it eyeliner or mascara first? When should you apply concealer? When do brows factor in?

At the end of the day, applying makeup involves creativity. It’s an art form! And ultimately, there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it.

However you want to apply your makeup, whatever your preferences are will work just fine.

That being said, there are a few tips and tricks to applying makeup in an order that makes life a lot easier and helps avoid mistakes. 

Keep reading to learn the order in which experts say makeup should be applied.


Do You Apply Eyeliner Or Mascara First?

Many people find that liquid liner can get caught in their lashes, causing clumpiness when applying mascara.

This then leads them to apply mascara before eyeliner.

Others prefer a clean slate so they can focus on applying their liner without long lashes getting in the way.

So, should you apply eyeliner or mascara first?

It can come down to preference, but most experts recommend that you apply your eyeliner before your mascara.

It can come down to preference, but most experts recommend that you apply your eyeliner before your mascara.

Mascara is meant to be the final piece in your eye makeup puzzle. It makes your eyes pop, adds drama, and creates a frame that makes your eyes look deeper and more majestic.

Have you ever applied your makeup but forgotten to apply mascara? It completely changes the look, taking away the drama.

Applying mascara first can be a problem as your longer, darker lashes can get in the way and make it more difficult to see what you’re doing.

While some people like to use their lashes as a guide, it can restrict your ability to get close to the lash line and draw an even line.

Not only that but even fully-dried mascara likes to smudge. When you’ve got your hand on your face, your wrist-twisting into different angles to get the best lines, you can easily swipe your mascara and smudge it down your cheeks or across your eyelids.

Urgh! There’s nothing worse than completing an eye look, only to find mascara smudges have ruined it.

When it comes to pencil liners, the same rules apply. Whether you’re tight lining or underlining your eyes, you’ll want to do this before applying mascara.

Should You Apply Eyeshadow or Eyeliner First?

Now you know to apply mascara after eyeliner, but when does eyeshadow come into the mix?

It may be tempting to want to apply eyeliner on a clean surface. With no eyeshadow on your lids, there’s no fear of messing up and having to restart everything from scratch.

All it takes is one wrong swipe and you’ve got a smear of liquid liner across your glittery shadow. It can be frustrating to take a cotton swab and wipe away your hard work.

But despite this, it’s best to apply your eyeshadow before everything else.

Your eyeshadow is your base, contouring your eyes and drawing attention. You compliment your shadow and eye shape with your liner, whether liquid or pencil.

If you apply liquid liner before eyeshadow, you’re covering and overpowering the shape you’ve drawn. 

Eyeshadow can be heavy and will easily cover whatever line you’ve drawn. It’ll buff away the sharpness of the liner, causing it to look muddled.

Your eyeshadow is your base, contouring your eyes and drawing attention. You compliment your shadow and eye shape with your liner, whether liquid or pencil.

The Correct Order To Apply Makeup Products

The correct order to apply makeup products is in constant debate. It’s a controversial topic, as everyone has their views on what should be used and when. It’s constantly searched, and we have several articles on this site discussing the pros and cons of using Product X before Product Y.

The order often depends on what kind of products you’re using.

For example, you can change an entire makeup routine by using cream instead of powder blush.

Here we’ll take out the guesswork so you can quickly and flawlessly apply your makeup. Of course, there’s lots of nuance to all of this, but here’s a great jumping-off point.

Step 1: Primer & Color Corrector

After washing your face and moisturizing, it’s time to prime and color correct.

If you choose to use a primer, you’ll want to apply it directly after your skincare routine.

Primer will help smooth out your skin and eliminate texture while also helping your base last throughout the day.

Once your skin is primed, you can use a color corrector to help even out your skin tone if needed.

Step 2: Foundation, Concealer, and Creams

The next step is starting your base.

If your face products are cream-based, you’ll want to start with those. If they’re powder-based, then things change.

To start, apply foundation all over your face. Foundation acts as its name suggests: it is a foundation for the rest of your makeup.

It’ll even your skin tone and give you a clean slate to work with.

If you’re using powder foundation, you’ll want to use it after creams. Use your cream-based products first, such as concealer, blush, and contour, then apply your powder foundation.

Next, apply concealer to any areas you want to cover or highlight. Use a lighter shade of concealer to highlight the high points of your face and a color close to your skin tone to cover spots and hide dark circles. 

If you use a cream blush, contour, and highlight, these will be applied next, before finishing powder.

Apply your contour wherever you want to chisel, such as your cheeks, jaw, and nose.

Once your contour is blended, apply your cream or liquid blush. Finish with your liquid highlighter on the high points of your cheekbones, brow bone, nose, and cupid’s bow.

Step 3: Base Powders

Once you’ve finished with all your liquid and cream-based products, it’s time to apply a finishing powder.

Whether you use loose or pressed powder, apply it along with the parts of your face that need to be set. You don’t want to use too much powder, as you’ll start to look cakey.

Apply powder to your chin, nose, forehead, and under the eyes. 

If you didn’t use cream blush or contour, now is the time to apply their powdered form.

Start with bronzer on your cheeks, temples, and forehead. Once that’s blended, apply blush to your cheeks. Follow with a highlighter on the high points of your face to finish your base.

Step 4: Brows

Shape and fill your eyebrows with a brow pencil or pomade so that it compliments your makeup and face shape.

Finish with a brow gel to keep the hairs in place all day.

Step 5: Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, Mascara

Apply a primer to your eyelids and let them dry.

From there, you’ll apply your eyeshadow. Start by blending lighter colors and work your way to a darker crease color. Smudge and blend your shadow along the lower lash line for a dramatic finish.

Apply your liquid liner next, followed by a pencil liner.

Lastly, apply your mascara to the top and bottom lashes.

Step 6: Lips

The lips are your final step! Because they’re so easy to apply and reapply, lipstick should come last in your routine.

To keep your lipstick on all day, apply a lip liner as close to the color of your lipstick as you can get. Follow with your lip color of choice.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).