Proper skin prep will make or break your makeup application. As we venture into the winter season—hello holiday parties—we rounded up the best tips for flawless makeup application. The main secret? Great skincare. We chatted with fashion and celebrity makeup and hair stylist Francesca Maria, fresh off her whirlwind circuit at this year’s New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, about the must-know tips for positively glowing skincare prep.
Meet Francesca Maria
After starting her career in Miami, Florida, Francesca relocated to New York City with her husband and signed with Imaj Artists. This year alone she has worked with Tom Ford and many other amazing brands—including at New York and Paris Fashion Week. She is fluent in makeup and hair styling and uses her talents in fashion, celebrity, commercial, and skincare campaigns.
Francesca uses HydroPeptide both on her own skin and on her clients. She graciously spilled some industry secrets on how to best prep your skin for flawless makeup application.
How Did You Get Introduced to HydroPeptide?
“When I first tried HydroPeptide products, it was because they came highly recommended,” says Francesca. “I incorporated them into my routine and stuck to it for two months—they were so easy to use! They feel amazing, smell amazing, and they make any basic skincare regimen into a routine that feels good for you. Plus, I started seeing the results and I was like ‘Ok, these are really good.’”
How Important Is Skincare for Makeup Application?
In a word, crucial. “Makeup without skincare doesn’t exist,” says Francesca. “For your makeup to last, for any longevity at all, skin prep is the most important factor.”
She explains that when makeup is applied directly onto dry or flaky skin the makeup cannot permeate into the epidermis to stay intact all day. Instead, makeup will just sit on the very top layer of skin. “That’s when you get that cakey look. Makeup also doesn’t blend right when it’s applied onto dry skin—you get streaks, blotchiness, and parts of makeup lifting off while others stay on.”
Francesca related skin care preparation to art: It’s important to apply paint to a clean canvas to get an even coat and the same is true of skincare and makeup. But to know which products to use, she says it’s key to know what your skin type is.
Make Determining Your Skin Type a Priority
Since every person has a unique skin type, Francesca begins each makeup application by analyzing her client’s skin to determine which products—both skincare and makeup—will work best.
“First, I gently cleanse the client’s face to balance their skin. Next, I literally use my hands to press against the skin to see if it’s oily or dry. I’ll also analyze the client’s face for things like acne, redness, and any dry patches of skin. I also make sure to ask about sensitivities or allergies.”
Francesca assures us that you can do this for yourself, too! She recommends doing so every season since weather and temperature have such an effect on our skin. “When I lived in Miami, the products I used were vastly different from the ones I use now during the winter, in New York.”
What Is an Easy Skincare Routine to Best Prep the Skin for Makeup Application?
1. Cleanse. “I cleanse my clients’ skin to remove all the excess dirt,” says Francesca. “This way, I ensure that I’m applying product onto a clean canvas.”
2. Exfoliate. “If you’re prepping for a big event or a special occasion, I recommend getting dermaplaning done the day before. This is a great service that I recommend to my clients,” says Francesca.
“Otherwise, you can use a chemical exfoliant like the Clarifying Toner Pads that have lactic acid in them. These are great for removing any excess dirt and dry and dead skin cells. For clients that have acne, or healing acne, I use these pads because it softens the rough texture of the skin and provides a more seamless makeup application.”
3. Tone. “Toners are great for clarifying the skin and getting deep into the pores,” says Francesca. “There are hydrating toners or clarifying toners—I choose based on my client's skin type.”
4. Moisturize. “In the winter months, I love a thicker consistency for my moisturizer. Power Luxe is so great because it both feels amazing on the skin and it smells incredible,” says Francesca. If your skin needs a lighter moisturizer, Francesca recommends swapping the cream for a face oil like Moisture Reset.
5. Sunscreen. “I love using Solar Defense Tinted because it creates a fabulous base for the rest of the makeup process.”
What Are Your Go-to HydroPeptide Products to Use With Clients and Why?
“This is such a great tool for wetting your makeup sponge to give your makeup a dewier finish,” shares Francesca. “This spray helps blend and emulsify the makeup onto the skin. I will wet my beauty blender with water first, squeeze out the excess and spray the Optimist on top.
If you want a bouncy, youthful glow, this is great to spray on your sponge or to use as a setting spray once you’re done with your makeup.”
“I love the consistency of Power Luxe not only as a moisturizer but also as an undereye cream,” says Francesca. “On clients, I’ll cocktail Power Luxe with Vital Eyes for a beautifully bright undereye.”
Solar Defense Tinted
“It’s so important to keep your skin protected from UV rays and damaging free radicals—but I love this sunscreen because it doubles as a fantastic makeup primer and sets your skin up beautifully for makeup application.”
What’s Your Personal Favorite HydroPeptide Product?
After initially using these three products on both herself and her clients, Francesca knew she would stay a loyal HydroPeptide fan.
What Is Your Favorite Holiday Makeup Look?
Bring on the bold lip! “Holiday looks are all about the red and berry shades,” says Francesca. “With a bold lip, I like to keep the eyes classic: A cat eye, and a cleaner lash.”
She also gives us this sparkling pro tip: For some drama, add a few subtle jewels to the eyes. “Adding a little glimmer to your bold lip is a nice balance, but still fun for a holiday event.”
How Do You Best Prep the Lips for Makeup?
Francesca notes that just like the rest of the face, it’s key to exfoliate the lips before makeup application. “Post exfoliation, I always put on a balm like LipLock Hydrator immediately after. This creates a nice even lipstick application and helps keep lip products on all day.”
Who Is a Celebrity You Would Love to Work With?
“People have strong opinions about her, but she’s truly such an icon. I would love to work with Kim Kardashian,” shares Francesca. “She’s a trendsetter. It would be so fun to get her ready for an event one day. Many of my clients reference her looks for inspiration, and so do I! And if not Kim, then her kids. They are future icons.”