Of all the hassles of winter, few are more frustrating than applying a final sweep of makeup in the morning, one foot out the door, only to find that your layers of skin care and foundation soon begin to pill off of your face like balls of cashmere from an old sweater. In an attempt to resolve our biggest beauty peeve—which cold, dry air tends to aggravate—we turned to makeup artist Christian McCulloch, who has perfected the faces of Drew Barrymore, Kate Hudson, and Emma Stone, for advice.
“The layering process of skin care and makeup is a bit like layering a cake,” explains McCulloch. “It should be done with great delicacy and sensitivity.” He suggests putting on products in order of texture, starting with thin, liquid consistencies. “Apply an essence and oil straight out of the shower, then let that sink in while you dry off and cool down,” says McCulloch. “The lighter texture is less likely to melt or sweat off than other products.” Moisturizer, SPF, and primer are next in line, followed by foundation and setting powder. Masks that don’t need to be rinsed off after application—like the cult-y Korean sheet versions—should be applied at night before bed, as the ingredients often disturb cosmetics and cause pilling.
Sound like too many steps? McCulloch’s pro-approved shortcut could save a few minutes of beauty rest: “On shoots, I often mix foundation with moisturizer, primer, and SPF in my hands,” he says. “That way, you get lightly pigmented skin care that can easily be built upon if more coverage is needed.”
Below, McCulloch’s step-by-step prescription for a velvety-smooth, pill-free finish.
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