Bobbi Brown’s Guide To Prepping Your Skin for Makeup Application

Bobbi Brown holding Augustinus Bader products

Bobbi Brown / KCM

The short answer? Hydration, hydration, hydration.

We’ve all experienced our fair share of bad makeup days, especially when the seasons change and dry skin creeps in. To help you avoid flaky, cakey, or creased makeup, we asked our resident beauty expert Bobbi Brown how to make sure our skin is primed and ready before we begin applying. The core of her strategy is keeping your skin healthy and hydrated inside and out by drinking plenty of water and using the right moisturizer for your skin’s needs on any particular day, and she has a few key ingredients and extra tips to keep in mind as well.

Read on for Brown’s straightforward pointers and favorite products for achieving smooth makeup no matter the season. 

Katie Couric Media: Why is it important to prep our faces for makeup application?

Bobbi Brown: Makeup looks best on healthy, well-hydrated skin, and there are three simple steps to maintain that: Use a great moisturizer that works best for your skin type and needs, drink lots of water, and wear sunscreen every day.

What do you do as part of your daily routine to hydrate your skin?

My skincare routine is very simple. At night, I wash my face with a non-drying natural cleanser. My skin is dry, so either a cleansing oil or a moisturizing cleanser works best for me. I love The Cleansing Balm by Augustinus Bader because it’s very hydrating and never leaves your skin feeling tight or dry. I’m also obsessed with the Jones Road Cleansing Stick. It’s a solid oil stick — TSA-friendly! — that you just roll onto your face, and it instantly removes makeup and any impurities on the skin.

I then apply an eye cream and finally, a rich moisturizer like Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream. It works like an intense overnight moisturizing mask, and I’ve noticed a major change in my skin since I started using it. If I’m really dry, I’ll sometimes apply some of The Face Oil from Augustinus Bader on top of the cream before I go to bed.

hand dispensing Augustinus Bader product into other hand
Augustinus Bader

And in the morning?

In the morning, I splash my face with warm water and assess my skin to determine what I need to use next. Your skin changes daily based on factors like the weather, what you ate or drank the night before, or how you slept that night. I’ll always apply an eye cream first, and then I’ll use either a light moisturizing cream or something richer if my skin feels really dry. Finally, I finish my morning skincare routine with sunscreen, which should always be your last step before applying any makeup. My favorite is Supergoop.

What other steps should we take before applying makeup?

One of the best things you can do for your skin is to drink enough water throughout the day. When your body is dehydrated, the first place it shows up is in your face. Before I leave the house in the morning, I fill up a big water bottle and take it with me everywhere I go. I actually set reminders on my Apple Watch that buzz throughout the day — that’s how important this is to me. You’ll see a big difference in your skin, and you’ll feel better overall.

woman putting Augustinus Bader product on her face
Augustinus Bader

What are the most common mistakes people make when prepping their faces for makeup?

You don’t want to ever skip the sunscreen, and you want to apply it at the right time. Sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine before you put on any makeup. This is a non-negotiable.

Do we need to use a primer?

If you’re using the right moisturizer, you don’t need it. Well-hydrated skin is the best canvas for makeup.

What causes, and how can we avoid, makeup that’s cakey or flaky, or that settles into fine lines?

Flaky makeup happens either when you’re using a formula that is too drying for your skin or you haven’t properly moisturized before putting your makeup on. Always apply an eye cream before applying concealer or eye shadow so the color doesn’t crease. And hydrate your skin with a good moisturizer. If your skin is normal to dry, try the Rich Cream by Augustinus Bader. For a lighter option, the Jones Road Light Moisture Cream is the perfect everyday moisturizer.

Augustinus Bader

What ingredients do you look for in masks, cleansers, and moisturizers?

I look for clean formulations that soothe, hydrate, and instantly make your skin look better. Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream has something called TFC8 in it, which is a patented technology that supports your skin’s cellular renewal through natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins, and synthesized molecules naturally found in your skin. Jones Road’s skincare products contain essential oils and vitamin-rich ingredients that moisturize the skin like jojoba oil, vitamin E, and coconut oil.

What’s your favorite pre-makeup moisturizer, and why?

It depends on what my skin needs that day. If I’m very dry, I’ll use a rich moisturizing cream like The Rich Cream for next-level hydration. On other days, I might just use a skincare hybrid product like Miracle Balm, a multi-purpose balm loaded with skincare ingredients that also gives the skin a healthy glow.

Why is The Rich Cream so Special? Why make the investment?

I’ve been using the Augustinus Bader Rich Cream since I discovered it during the pandemic. I noticed a big difference in my skin. It’s smoother, more hydrated, and frankly just looks better — with or without makeup. It’s most definitely worth the investment!