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5 Ways to prep your skin for makeup application

Sommer Caraway is a freelance writer and public relations specialist based in Arizona. Follow her updates on Twitter @sommerPR or check out her blog at SommerCaraway.com.

Ready, prep, go!

Want that flawless model makeup look every day? Follow these five steps to prep your skin for runway-worthy makeup application.

1. CLEANSE AND PH BALANCE YOUR SKIN

Choosing the right cleanser is the first step to getting a makeup-ready canvas. If your skin is sensitive, be sure to stay away from cleansers with strong ingredients like Witch Hazel and hydroxyl or glycolic acids – ingredients that may induce redness and irritation. Find something gentle enough to accomplish your desired results.
Also look for a pH-balanced cleanser. The skin's natural pH typically stays between 4.5 and 6. The lower the pH number, the more acidic, and the higher, the more basic, with 7 being neutral. Skin requires a certain acidity to fight off bacteria, so if you don't have problem skin, find a cleanser that matches your pH balance. If acne is a concern, look for one that is slightly more acidic, as bacteria is more prone to grow in alkaline (or basic) conditions. Thoroughly rinse your skin after cleansing so no residue remains, ensuring smooth makeup application.

2. EXFOLIATE YOUR FACE AND NECK

Nobody likes clumped up makeup, so get rid of the main culprit to this beauty faux pas – dead skin cells! Exfoliating says hasta la vista to the dead skin cells that have not already left your skin's surface, uncovering the new smooth skin below.
Look for a gentle daily exfoliator scrub with small granules that are circular in shape. Irregular, rough ingredients may cause more harm than benefit by tearing or damaging your skin. And don't forget to exfoliate your neck! Rinse well so your makeup doesn't cake or thicken when applied.

3. APPLY A SERUM

This is a commonly skipped step, but an important one. Use a serum before applying a moisturizer to infuse additional rich vitamins and minerals into your skin. Post-exfoliation is the perfect time for applying a serum because the pores, which tend to trap in makeup and excess oil, have just had a deep cleaning.

Buy a serum that contains Vitamin C for smoothing the skin and sodium hyaluronate for sealing in moisture, or for herbs that firm and hydrate the skin, minimizing aging.

4. HYDRATE YOUR SKIN

Use a moisturizer that suits your skin type and offers day-long hydration. This will plump up your skin, providing a smooth, even surface for makeup application. A little goes a long way! Remember to use a moisturizer with SPF or apply sunscreen afterward.
Press the moisturizer onto your skin instead of rubbing it in. This will stimulate the skin cells and allow the ingredients to properly seep into your skin without compromising the product's properties.

5. PRIME FOR RUNWAY TIME

A face primer is one of models' best kept secrets. For the final pre-makeup skin treatment, look for a primer with silicone as a main ingredient. This will fill in any unwanted crevices, leaving your skin perfectly smooth for makeup application. An added benefit is that a primer acts as a protective barrier preventing your moisturizer and skin's oils from mixing with your makeup. A primer sets the stage for flawless makeup application.

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