Quick Tips: Should I apply my makeup before I style my hair?

By: Jennifer Cohen
woman with red lipstick
Jonathan Knowles /Getty Images

You've got your outfit on, your hairstyle planned and your makeup brushes at the ready. But which should you do first -- apply your makeup or style your hair? "It depends on what needs to be done with the hair," says makeup artist Marcella Cardinal. "If it's going to require more than just flat ironing or curling, then I prefer to do the hair first, especially if it needs to be washed. This will prevent any water or product from dripping on the face and either staining the face or causing the makeup to run."

Blasts of heat from a blow-dryer can make you sweat, especially if it's already warm in the room. Not only can perspiration melt off your foundation, it can also smudge your mascara, create an oil slick in the T-zone and clog your pores with pigment, leading to breakouts. That's why makeup artist Christina Farrell recommends doing the hair first and taking a breather before tackling your skin. "You can cool off your face with a nice facial mist before you start your makeup routine," she says. "I recommend keeping a face mist in the fridge during the hot summer months."


But what if circumstances require you to heat-style your hair after you apply your makeup? Start with a layer of primer for extra staying power. Look for products that guarantee your makeup will last like waterproof mascara, long-lasting shadow, liquid or gel liner, and oil-free, transfer-resistant foundation. Then, if you break a sweat while drying, curling or ironing your tresses, use blotting papers or powder to spot-treat shine. A high-powered fan aimed at your face can also dry up moisture and help keep you cool.

If you're going to let your hair dry naturally or just need to freshen up yesterday's style, you might want to apply your makeup first. "When I'm on set getting talent ready, or if I'm going out, and the hair just requires a touch-up, I prefer to do the hair last so it's fresh and perfect," Cardinal explains. Use a headband or bobby pins to keep your hair off your face and out of your eyes until you've finished the final touches.

For more makeup and styling tips, check out the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Cardinal, Marcella. Personal correspondence. July 7, 2013.
  • Conde, Crystal. "How to Wear Makeup When You Exercise." YouBeauty. February 27, 2012. (July 8, 2013) http://www.youbeauty.com/face/sweat-proof-makeup
  • Farrell, Christina. Personal correspondence. July 7, 2013.
  • Gluck, Didi. "How to Make Your Hair and Makeup Last All Day." Real Simple. (July 8, 2013) http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/makeovers-tips/timesavers/how-to-make-makeup-last-all-day-00100000067441/index.html
  • Rubin, Courtney. "Summer Beauty: The Best No-Sweat Makeup." Washingtonian. July 11, 2012. (July 8, 2013) http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/style/no-sweat-makeup/
  • Shapouri, Beth. Glamour. "10 Ways to Sweat-Proof the Heck Out of Your Summer Beauty Routine." June 10, 2012. (July 8, 2013) http://www.glamour.com/beauty/2012/06/10-ways-to-sweat-proof-the-heck-out-of-your-summer-beauty-routine
  • Warren, Ellen. "No-sweat summer makeup." Chicago Tribune. (July 8, 2013) http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/tribu/sc-cons-0609-warren-shopping-makeup-m20110610,0,1179582.column