We’ve managed to quickly fix botched eyeliner or even smeared lipstick, but if there’s one step in your makeup routine that you really don’t want to mess up, it’s laying down your groundwork, a.k.a., your foundation. One wrong move and you have to wipe the slate clean and start all over again. This means you might as well call in late to wherever you’re going because this could take a while. To ensure your foundation is right on point every single time, follow these ten rules of application that will make the whole process a lot smoother.

  1. Start with a smooth canvas: If your skin is flaking, peeling or oily, you can’t expect your foundation to go on smoothly. Exfoliating once or twice a week will help slough away any dry patches, dead skin cells and excess oil to ensure your foundation goes on just right.
  2. Hydrate your skin:It’s all in the skin prep. No matter your skin type, moisturizing before applying makeup is the key to an even looking application. Skip this step and your foundation could “cake up” in certain areas. For an extra dewy- and supple-looking complexion, spritz your skin with a face mist after applying your daily moisturizer.


  1. Wait for your moisturizer to dry: This is huge. If you apply liquid orpowder foundationbefore your moisturizer has completely absorbed, you run the risk of streaky, splotchy makeup.


  1. Don’t forget primer: Have you noticed how amazing your foundation looks in the morning, only to find that, hours later, it basically evaporated? That’s probably because you skipped out onprimer. If you want a flawless-looking application that can actually outlast your busy work schedule, incorporating this step into your routine is crucial.


  1. Find the right formula for your skin type: There’s a good reason why foundations come in liquid, gel, powder and cream form. Each one serves a different purpose. You don’t want to layer on a pressed powder if your skin is ultra dry, the same way you wouldn’t want to use a heavy cream on oily skin types. To help narrow down your search, we’ve put together the ultimate foundation guide so you can find the right formula for your skin type.


  1. Find the right shade for your skin tone: Next time you go foundation shopping, have your skin tone matched at the makeup counter, or try mixing shades if you fall in between.
  2. Use the right tools for application: Different foundation formulas respond better to some application techniques than others. To find the right tool, take a look at our foundation application guide.


  1. Apply your color corrector: If you’re trying to cover up a pimple or under-eye circles, concealer alone may not do the trick! After your foundation application — but before concealer — dab on the appropriate color corrector (we love the NYX Professional Makeup Color Correcting Palette) to neutralize any dark spots or redness.

  1. Foundation first, then concealer: This one can be confusing, and while different techniques work better for some, your concealer is supposed to be applied after your foundation to make sure it doesn’t budge or get too blended out.
  1. Set it: Just like a primer is designed to hold onto your foundation, a setting powder seals it all in. Once you’ve applied foundation and concealer, give your face a light swipe using a translucent powder likeDermablend Setting Powder for flawless and budge-free makeup in a snap.



Face Primers: What to Know Before You Cover Up

Painting your face isn’t that different from painting your nails. Or even painting a house. Sponged or brushed on, pigment is layered to give rich, long-lasting coverage—and most of them need some sort of primer to look their best. They’re must-haves on our walls and nail beds, yet so many forego them on our own faces. When building a personal makeup routine for yourself, or even selecting the right products for your professional kit, face primers are often the overlooked base to your makeup regime.

Back from the golden age of Hollywood to the dawn of reality TV, makeup artists didn’t have high-tech face primers capable of amazing effects. It was only recently that companies began launching primers that could work magic tricks on your skin: refine texture, color-correct the complexion, minimize fine lines and pores, mattify and prevent fading, and serve as the 24-7 holding agent to your foundation. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not only oily skin that can reap from a primer’s capabilities—in fact, all skin types stand to benefit in some way. “Depending on the formula, primers can add a bit of moisture on dry skin, can even out textured skin, and help acneic skin with added skin care properties,” says renowned makeup artist James Vincent, who believes in using primer on a case-by-case basis.

Selecting the right primer is as hard as choosing your perfect shade of foundation. It takes trial and error to find something that feels weightless, doesn’t clog your pores, and gives your skin just the right texture. How do you navigate the overwhelming world of makeup prep? It’s easy if you ask yourself the right questions first.

Why do I need primer?

Think about how your primer can help you or your client’s skin. Will it be used for high-definition or bridal makeup, where camera-ready durability is priority? Or maybe you want an everyday base with a bit of SPF? “Look at the job at hand first,” advises James. “A primer with a bit of silicone is great at keeping the skin fresh-looking, but it may show shiny hot spots on the face in photography.”

Anyone with coloring issues can enlist the help of color-correcting primers. A light purple or mauve will cancel out sallow tones, a hint of green evens out ruddy tones from rosacea, and a subtle pink can brighten a dull complexion.

What kind of face makeup do I have already?

When pairing your foundation with a new face primer, remember that like attracts like. If you use a water-based foundation, it’s best to opt for a water-based primer. Same goes for silicone- and oil-based products. “It just makes sense for durability,” says James. Oil and water can break down silicone, so be sure to check the ingredients label before you purchase.

Can my moisturizer substitute for primer?

Many save that extra step in the morning and use moisturizer as face primer, but both products bring different valuable qualities to the table. Primers are formulated to smooth uneven skin texture, whereas a moisturizer’s main purpose is to bring hydration, protection, and polish to the skin. Of course, with today’s hybrid BB and CC creams (and maybe someday even DD creams), there’s overlap to both. “I think they can be both used together, but it really depends on the client,” weighs James. “Primers might make it easier—you might skip it in winter and layer a moisturizer instead, but it could help your foundation stay on in hotter weather as an extra barrier.” If you say the more steps the merrier, remember to layer your moisturizer underneath your primer first.

If you’re ready to take the extra step in your makeup routine, browse some of the best face primer picks for every skin need below.


Face Primers: Tarte Cosmetics Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hr Brightening Primer

Tarte Cosmetics Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hr Brightening Primer, $30

Lightweight and hydrating, Tarte’s formula works on all skin types. “I love that this doesn’t change the texture of your foundation, and it works really well for getting rid of fine lines,” says Vincent.

Face Primers: Benefit Cosmetics “That Gal” Brightening Face Primer

Benefit Cosmetics “That Gal” Brightening Face Primer, $29

This silky-smooth texture and sheer pink tint are ideal for livening up dull skin throughout the day. “I even love putting a little of it on the collarbone for a subtle sheen,” suggests Vincent.


Face Primers: Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer, $38

Considered the grandfather of face primers, Smashbox’s wide range of silicone-based primers (including green, lavender, and apricot color-correcting formulas) work well to even out complexions.

Face Primers: NYX Cosmetics Studio Perfect Primer

NYX Cosmetics Studio Perfect Primer, $12.99

One of the better formulations we’ve come across at the drugstore, NYX’s line of primers is an ideal inexpensive color-correcting option, and the lavender tint is amazing on sallow skin.


Face Primers: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè, $28

Makeup artists have raved about this skin care/makeup hybrid for years, and with good reason—it’s a primer all-in-one. Dehydrated skin will will stand to benefit its simple yet emollient formula.

Face Primers: Korres Face Primer

Korres Face Primer, $28

For those sensitive, allergy-prone complexions who have hopped on the silicone-free bandwagon, Korres has your alternative—a primer made with jojoba oil and without any potential irritants. A pro favorite for men’s grooming.


Face Primers: Too Faced Primed  & Poreless and Primed  & Poreless Pure, 

Too Faced Primed & Poreless and Primed & Poreless Pure, $30

A Beautylish community favorite that leaves skin silky soft and minimizes the appearance of pores. The non-greasy formula ensures all-day wear with any silicone-based foundation on top.

Face Primers: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil-Free

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Oil-Free, $32

Laura Mercier’s oil-free must-have has long been the standby solution for oil slicks and makeup meltdowns. Acne-prone complexions will love this!


Face Primers: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15, $52

A little goes a long way with this velvet-textured primer. A small dose of SPF in a waterproof formula makes this an ideal option for outdoor makeup.

Face Primers: MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35

MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35, $30

Another fantastic option for the open air (but not the camera), MAC’s high SPF hybrid makes a solid tinted mattifier for oilier complexions.



Combat Dry Skin with These Tips for Ultimate Hydration

Dry skin is probably one of the most unpredictable complexion types out there. Some days you might have minimal flaking and others you’ll be wrestling with all-out alligator skin.

As someone with skin that becomes parched whenever it pleases, I’ve researched and sampled countless moisturizing products. Here’s a basic dry skin regimen complete with my favorites, so you can enjoy more supple skin days.

Reach for an ultra-hydrating cleanser

Face feeling chapped or tight after washing? It’s time to switch up your soap. Go for a moisture-inducing, pH-maintaining cleanser that gently cleanses without stripping your skin of necessary oils.

My recommendation: Avène Ultra-Rich Cleansing Bar , $10

I recently ditched my facial wash for Avène’s moisturizing bar and I’m officially hooked. Made with healing thermal spring water, this miracle soap infuses skin with a wave of deep hydration while thoroughly cleaning pores. I like to suds up a loofah pad, gently exfoliate, and watch as dryness virtually disappears.

Don’t skip out on toner

If you think toners further exacerbate flakiness and irritation, you haven’t met “the one” yet. As long you avoid drying ingredients like alcohol, toners can be great skin hydrators. After cleansing, swipe on water-based toners that remove leftover debris and moisturize dehydrated skin.

My recommendation: Bioderma Hydrabio Tonic Lotion , $14.90

Formulated with skin-balancing niacinamide and nutrient-rich apple extract, this soothing toner keeps skin hydrated and radiant-looking.

Pat on a reparative eye cream

Stick with eye creams packed with essential fatty acids such as avocado oil as well as nutrient-rich ingredients like moisturizing argan oil and skin-repairing echium. These healing components will delicately treat dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles.

My recommendation: Pai Skincare Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream , $54

This is my Holy Grail of eye creams. Pai Skincare’s feather-light formula quickly absorbs onto my eye contour without that greasy residue that makes your concealer slip and slide. The silk-textured formula is packed with essential fatty acids for comfortable nourishment that lasts all day.

Add hyaluronic serum to the mix

Hyaluronic acid is a dry skin savior, plain and simple. It’s best known for drawing moisture into the skin to protect against dryness, plumping the outer layers of skin, and offering long-lasting hydration—so definitely make this ingredient a staple in your routine. Add it to your daily moisturizer or apply directly for softer skin.

My recommendation: Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid Serum , $6

I’m still shocked that this super potent hyaluronic serum only costs six dollars. Great skin takes time, but after just a couple days of use, my skin felt softer, plumped and hydrated. Instant results at that price? I’ve definitely found my go-to serum.

Consider using a moisturizer/sunscreen hybrid

Dry skin needs both SPF protection and a rich moisturizer to help combat dryness throughout the day. But layering foundation over heavy lotions and SPF might set you up for a makeup meltdown. Go for a lightweight moisturizer that contains skin-saving ingredients like essential fatty acids, phytosterols, vitamin E, and SPF to avoid foundation fails.

My recommendation:COOLA Classic Face Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30 , $32

Infused with vitamin E-rich safflower oleosomes and anti-aging açaí oil, this SPF 30 moisturizer quenches extremely parched skin while delivering UVA/UVB protection. The sheer, weightless formula makes it great for wearing underneath makeup without ruining foundation.

Wear a rich facial oil to bed

Pick a moisturizing facial oil and apply directly to your skin before catching some Z’s. This overnight treatment will quench thirsty skin, so you can wake up to a soft and hydrated complexion. So start incorporating facial oils into your nightly routine—it’s a dream come true.

My recommendation: Good Molecules Ultra-Hydrating Facial Oil , $10

Made with a highly concentrated blend of antioxidant-rich camellia oil and nourishing sea buckthorn oil, this fast-absorbing potion revives parched skin while you rest for a dewy glow come morning. Did I mention it’s only $10?

Use a weekly hydration mask

At least once a week, make sure that you treat your complexion to a moisture-replenishing facial mask. Think of this as your time to relax and deeply rejuvenate your complexion so you can start over with a clean slate. Much like those deep conditioning hair formulas, complexion-conditioning treatments improve texture, prevent dryness and strengthen skin against damage from free radicals.

My recommendation: Farmacy Honey Potion Antioxidant Hydration Mask , $38

This massage-activated formula nourishes and repairs skin in just fifteen minutes. Infused with a healing cocktail of locally sourced honey, royal jelly, and potent antioxidants, the gel-to-cream mask warms up when gently massaged into the skin (that’s how you know it’s working) for hydrated radiance after rinsing.



7 Best Moisturizers with SPF, According to Beauty Experts

Make your morning routine work double-time for your skin.

By now you should know just how important it is to protect your skin from the sun — no matter the weather. Our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts recommend wearing sunscreen every single day (yes, even when it’s cloudy out). That’s because the best defense against aging and sun damage is a solid, broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays.

But it can be difficult to remember to apply sunscreen on the days you’re not basking by the pool or hiking a sunny trail. We have the solution: everyday moisturizer with SPF baked right in. Formulated with sun protection, these lotions offer the best of both worlds: hydration and protection. Plus, if you’re already in the habit of applying a daily moisturizer, you won’t notice a change in your routine — but you will notice a change in your skin’s health.

How to Choose the Best Moisturizer With SPF

Before you get to shopping, let’s answer some of your top questions on how to find the right SPF moisturizer for your skin:

Will a moisturizer with SPF give me the same hydrating benefits as a one without SPF?
Not quite. “Our evaluations found that day creams with SPF typically provided lower moisturization than night creams,” explains GH Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek. These daytime formulas are likely omitting some moisturizing ingredients to make space for SPF. Skin feeling extra dry? Use a night cream or an overnight mask — these offered the biggest boost of hydration in Lab tests!

Can I use sunscreen instead of my moisturizer?
In the summer, yes. “Facial sunscreen has emollients and other oils that can be effective to deliver moisturization and hydration,” explains Steven Q. Wang, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “However, in the winter, I recommend using both sunscreen and a facial moisturizer, especially if you have very dry skin.” Or you can try one of our Beauty Lab’s two-in-one picks below.

In that case, what goes on first: sunscreen or moisturizer ?
Here’s a cardinal rule of applying skin care: always put your thinnest products on first, and layer on the rest in order of thickness for optimal absorption. If you opt for a two-step sunscreen-and-moisturizer combo instead of a moisturizer made with SPF, apply your normal moisturizer first, then layer sunscreen (with an SPF of 30 or higher) over it.

Will SPF or sunscreen dry out my skin?
Maybe. “Some sunscreens may also contain alcohol which tends to dry out skin,” explains Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology. “Look for formulas without alcohol to avoid dryness or irritation.” Check out the ingredients label for culprits: drying ethanol can sometime be written as “SD alcohol” (specially denatured alcohol) or “alcohol denat.” But here’s a loophole: if you see cetyl, stearyl or cetearyl alcohol, don’t panic. These are actually fatty alcohols that can act like emollients, softening the skin.

What’s the best drugstore moisturizer with SPF?
Our GH pros’ Top Lab Pick is L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30 (target.com, $9.99). It earned the top spot in our anti-aging day cream test, delivering visible improvements in skin’s appearance alongside preventative sun protection in just four weeks.

An important note on safety: The FDA is currently proposing big changes to sunscreen regulations, and only physical sunscreens with the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are recognized as generally safe right now. “Until they reach a more robust conclusion in late 2019, we’re including a range of formulas (both mineral and chemical) that we’ve found to be effective against sunburn during our testing,” explains Birnur Aral, Director of GH’s Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab. “These picks also earned positive feedback with our consumer testers,” so you’ll love applying them every morning.

If we’ve convinced you to swap your old moisturizer, check out some winning products from our Beauty Lab, GH Seal stars and top dermatologist picks:


Top Lab Pick

L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30



$9.99 (44% off)

The winner of the Beauty Lab’s anti-aging day cream test, this L’Oréal moisturizer with SPF 30 delivers the most bang for your buck. It proved super-effective at evening skin tone, reducing visible spots, and moisturizing skin. Lab tests found the vitamin C and glycolic acid lotion raised skin’s hydration 28% and decreased UV spots by 11% in four weeks. “It decreased the appearance of my wrinkles and made my skin brighter and more radiant,” said a tester.


Best Value

Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Facial Moisturizer With Broad Spectrum SPF 35



$8.69 (23% off)

A winner in our 2018 GH Beauty Awards, Neutrogena’s daily moisturizer is great for all skin types, especially if you’re worried about your sunscreen feeling too oily. The glycerin-rich classic lotion is oil-free, and proven to feel light, and won’t irritate skin. Consumers found the formula lightweight and non-greasy on skin, and it’s hypoallergenic. Plus, it’s backed by the GH Seal!


Best for Dry Skin

Mary Kay TimeWise Age Minimize 3D Day Cream SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen



Mary Kay’s lightweight lotion will keep your skin hydrated for up to 12 hours. Backed by our GH Seal, a clinical study found it immediately boosted skin’s hydration levels by a whopping 238%! Plus, the formula is packed with potent ingredients like niacinamide, peptides, and resveratrol to help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. We also love that it comes in two versions — this one for normal to dry skin and another for combination to oily skin.


Best for Oily Skin

RoC Multi-Correxion 5-in-1 Daily Moisturizer



RoC’s lightweight day cream with SPF 30 is the personal favorite of GH Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek. While it didn’t have the best hydrating power in our tests, she explains that makes it “perfect for anyone with oily skin who isn’t looking for heavy moisturizer.” The gentle, non-greasy formula was also a heavy hitter for smoothing fine lines and skin texture.


Top Dermatologist Pick

CeraVe AM Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30



Recommended by Dr. Lortscher, this CeraVe lotion is “a great budget-friendly option.” Not only is it packed with SPF, it’s also formulated with skin-perfecting ingredients like niacinamide and super-hydrating hyaluronic acid to keep even sensitive skin moisturized all day.


Best Multitasker

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer SPF 30



This GH Seal star may be the only product you need in your morning skincare routine. It is an anti-aging serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen in one, with line smoothers (like peptides), hydrators (like glycerin) and broad spectrum SPF 30. Lab tests found it increased moisture levels in skin by 31%, which is more than any facial SPF 30 previously evaluated. Testers said the “quick-absorbing,” “non-greasy” formula firmed skin, diminished wrinkles, and brightened complexions.


Best for Brightening

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15



Packed with powerhouse skin brightener vitamin C, this featherweight Garnier lotion lights up dull skin. Testing showed that it helped stimulate cell turnover, making skin brighter, and 91% of users’ complexions looked healthier after eight weeks. Not to mention, it’s a GH Seal Star!



8 Best Face Masks for Dry Skin, According to Beauty Experts

You’re going to want to plan a self-care Sunday (or any day) ASAP.

The elements can wreak havoc on your complexion. Until spring, cold winter air and dry heat indoors can leave skin parched, but in the summer, hot sun and wind off the water can result in irritated dry skin, too. A soothing face mask can work wonders on thirsty skin — and it’s a great excuse for taking some time for self care to chill and reset.

Traditional cream-based, rinse-off masks are great, but there are new kinds of masks on the market that are ideal for hydrating skin. Here’s the lowdown:

Overnight masks: As the name suggests, overnight masks are applied before bed. Instead of rinsing them off, you sleep in them and wake up with dewy, hydrated skin. Most formulations are thinner, lighter, and easily absorbed, so you don’t have to worry about them transferring to your pillowcases in the middle of the night. As far as moisturization, it’s serious: Our Beauty Lab tests found some overnight masks were even more hydrating than past night cream winners.

Sheet masks: Sheet masks might look silly, but they’re highly effective. They’re made of pieces of paper, cloth, or gel-like substrates that are saturated in single-use packets with serum-like active ingredients. Fit them over your face and just chill for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. For extra soothing power, pop one in the fridge for a few minutes before you use it.

We tested face masks in Good Housekeeping Beauty Lab for moisturization ability, and consulted experts and beauty editors for the best masks on the market. Below are our top-tested picks, as well as expert and editors picks for the best face masks for dry skin.



Top Lab Performer

Amorepacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque



Amorepacific’s overnight mask won the Beauty Lab’s test, upping skin moisture level by a whopping 49%. The no-rinse mask is like a super-strength night cream. Swap it for your go-to product before bed whenever you need an extra hydration boost.


Top Sheet Mask

Skin Laundry Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask

skin laundry


A great fast-fix for moisturizing and plumping skin in minutes, Skin Laundry’s mask boosted hydration 25% — the best in our Lab’s sheet mask tests! We also like that it has just the right amount of serum in the package so it’s not too messy.


Best Value

Bliss In The Honey Mega Moisturizing Lavender Honey Mask



GH beauty director, April Franzino, recommends this bargain pick if you’re looking for a mask with moisturizing honey. Also formulated with soothing lavender oil, this is a great before-bed mask. Use it up to three times a week!


Best Splurge

Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask



Yes, it’s pricey, but this Fresh pick is one of the best face masks GH beauty director, April Franzino has ever tried. It’s super-rich and indulgent, made of real honey and shea butter, and full of botanical oils (meadowfoam, jojoba, sunflower seed). “I have super dry, flaky skin all year long, and always apply a face mask in the shower for extra nourishment,” she says. “This feels soothing and pampering, like a mini spa treatment, and never irritates my skin.”


Daytime Formula

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

summer fridays


This is associate beauty editor, Pia Velasco’s go-to mask. No need to rinse it off: “It doubles as a primer in case your skin is really dry, so whenever I feel like I need an extra hydration boost I just apply a thin layer before putting on my makeup,” she says.

6 Julep Night Shift Sleeping Mask



A richer version of night cream, this no-rinse night mask (formulated with a mix of shea butter and natural oils) raised skin’s hydration levels by a near-record 43% in Lab tests. Our experts liked it so much they gave it a 2018 GH Beauty Award!

7 Clark’s Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask

clark’s botanicals


$36.00 (50% off)

Another GH beauty editor favorite is this one from Clark’s Botanicals. “On days when my skin feels extra dry, I leave it on overnight, and my skin is super-soft by morning,” says assistant beauty editor, Paige Stables.

8 Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Night Mask

paula’s choice


This overnight mask from Paula’s Choice is a light, gel formula. It goes on silky smooth and leaves skin super-soft when you wake up. Great for all skin types, use it once a week or swap it for your night cream every day.