Dr. Pimple Popper and celebrity makeup artist Ash K. Holm discussing how to prep skin for makeup

How to Prep Skin for Flawless Makeup

Tips and tricks from Dr. Pimple Popper and celebrity makeup artist Ash K. Holm.


2 minute read

Whether you're gearing up for a festive holiday soirée, a special occasion, or just aiming for everyday glam, perfecting your makeup starts with the canvas — your skin. In this guide, we're spilling secrets from two of the most respected names in the game: dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) and celebrity makeup artist Ash K Holm.

These trusted pros reveal their top makeup prep techniques, ensuring your radiant glow steals the spotlight, no matter the occasion. Let's dive into the art of prepping your skin for makeup magic, because who says the holidays are the only time to sparkle?

Dr. Pimple Popper’s tips for prepping skin for makeup

While makeup can disguise a multitude of skin concerns, the best strategy, says Dr. Lee, is to take care of your skin with an effective routine. Her signature cleanse, treat, moisturize technique is a simple way to keep your skin healthy and balanced, which will ensure a smooth, clear, even canvas for your makeup application.

  • Cleanse: Wash your face with a pore-penetrating cleanser to remove impurities and excess oil. Dr. Lee’s favorite is salicylic acid, which is great for unclogging pores.
  • Treat: Dr. Lee favors an alpha hydroxy acid exfoliating treatment here to slough away dead skin cells and create a more even look. If you’ve got a blackhead or pimple, sparingly apply a bit of spot treatment that dries clear.
  • Moisturize: Look for hydrating ingredients (like hyaluronic acid) to help plump up skin to provide a balanced, dewy canvas for makeup.

SLMD Skincare to try: Salicylic Acid Cleanser, AHA/BHA Swipes, BP Acne Spot Treatment, Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment, Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer, Facial Moisturizer w/Vitamin C

Dr. Pimple Popper's Skin Prep Picks

Ash K. Holm’s top makeup tricks

Celebs and models — from Ariana Grande to JLo — rely on the talented Ash for flawless makeup looks. Here, the makeup artist shares her beauty secrets.

  • Start with eye makeup first so there is more room to mess up and you won’t be damaging any work done on the rest of your face!
  • Always tap your eyeshadow makeup brush so there is no fallout.
  • Have a clean eyeshadow brush handy that you can use for blending and softening up the edges of your eyeshadow.
  • Try your best to choose a foundation that matches your skin tone and be mindful of your face matching the color of your skin below on the neck so your look is cohesive.
  • Look at the tones in your skin and use that to make a decision regarding your foundation shade. If you have red skin, know that olive tones will cancel that redness out!

Ash’s favorite makeup products:

  • Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Concealer
  • Dose Of Colors Powder Brush
  • Sigma Essentials Palette Pat McGrath Lip Liner (uses as a lipstick)
  • Buxom Extrovert Mascara
  • Lorac Tanlines Eyeshadow

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