Prep, Prime and Finish for Flawless Skin

I am asked, almost on a daily basis, what type of makeup I’m wearing or how I get my makeup to last all day.

It seems to be a common struggle among all beauty lovers: How do I get my face to look as great at the end of a long day as I did in the morning? Is it because I only use expensive makeup? No, in fact my professional makeup kit and my makeup station at home contain as many drug-store and inexpensive makeup brands as they do department store and high end items. The secret isn’t how expensive the foundation or blush is, the secret is how well it’s applied and how well the skin was treated before makeup application. Remember, everyone’s skin is so unique, and it’s really important to pay attention to your trouble areas and treat them daily.

It’s also important to mix and match products and customize your own skin routine, don’t just buy something because your favorite makeup artist or celebrity uses it. I have about 25 different primers and setting sprays in my kit because each client have different needs and concerns to tackle.

To make it easier on you, and your wallet, I’ve laid out the best in skin prep, primers and finishing sprays for all skin types and have given you some tips on how to use them. Why so many steps? Well, it’s impossible to ask one item to combat and correct all the concerns your skin has. Korean beauty has more steps then I can count and I don’t believe every woman has that much time to dedicate to makeup application when trying to run out the door and start the day, that’s why I broke it down to the three most important steps that I know everyone can tackle. If you use one item from each of these categories, that fit your skin concern, I promise you’ll notice an immediate difference!

Good luck, have fun & feel beautiful! Xoxo Marianne


1. Mehron Skin Prep (All skin types) $12.95

SKIN Prep PRO™ is a clear, fragrance-free liquid for use on all skin types that extends the life of your makeup under any conditions. SKIN Prep PRO™ acts as a moisture barrier between skin and makeup while maintaining that sought after fresh finish. Pro Tip: Use sparingly and let dry completely before makeup application.

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2. Votre Vu Peau Equilibree (Oily Skin) $52

A concentrated gel-sérum of plant and marine extracts that diffuses inflammation, regulates sebum production, and restores the equilibrium of your natural pH level. Pat this gel serum into skin rather than rub in circular motions. Pro Tip: Use after moisturizer has settled into skin and absorbed completely.

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3. Amarte Aqua Mist Toner (All Skin Types) $67

Amarte Aqua Mist Toner restores skin’s delicate pH balance as it hydrates for a renewed appearance. Arbutin and elemental sulfur target and prevent hyperpigmentation. Hyaluronic acid binds lightweight moisture to your skin for an instant brightening effect. Rosemary, chamomile and witch hazel extracts calm inflammation and diminish large pores. Pro Tip: Use this toner before AND after makeup application to see lasting results all day.

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4. Hydropeptide Pre Treatment Toner (All Skin Types) $42

This age-defying treatment toner balances skin and gently exfoliates while brightening and evening out skin tone. Helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightens and evens out discoloration and tones and balances without over-drying.

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5. Kopari Coconut Rose Toner (All Skin Types) $24

Spritz all over face after cleansing to provide a clean prep for face cream and makeup. Revitalizes and restores skin’s natural balance and reduces the appearance of pores and redness. Formulated with Witch Hazel which calms and soothes skin without drying it out.

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6. Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner (Normal to Dry Skin) $32

An alcohol free, skin-balancing toner formulated with the powerful antioxidant CoQ-10. The hydrating and refreshing mixture diminishes the appearance of pores and balance the skin’s pH level using Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid.

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7. Circell Dew PH Perfector (All Skin Types) $60

Combining the benefits of a perfecting primer and hydrating serum, this multi-tasking formulation uses a complex of amino acids, lactic acid and botanicals to balance the skin’s pH, refine pores and restore radiance for an enviably fresh and radiant complexion. Pro Tip: Press into skin with a cotton pad and leave on affected areas for at least 5 seconds at a time.

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8. Vapour Stratus Luminous Skin Perfecting Primer (Normal to Dry Skin) $48

Vapour’s complexion-enhancing primer instantly balances skin, smooths texture and diffuses lines. Available in three shades that go on clear to even and perfect skin tone. Stratus features a Deep Moisture Complex of rich organic Pumpkin and toning Elderberry. Pro Tip: Suitable for those with combination and oily skin, too, just apply after using your favorite mattifying moisturizer.

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9. Cover FX Custom Blot Drops (Oily Skin) $42

Formulated specifically for oily skin, these innovative drops weightlessly blur pores and mattify the skin without adding color or texture. Wear alone on bare skin or before makeup application or mix into your foundation or skincare product to impart a matte finish. The drops can also be applied throughout the day on top of makeup to absorb oil and mattify the skin like a liquid blotting paper. Pro Tip: Have Combination Skin? Apply to T-Zone by lightly pressing onto bare skin or applied makeup, leaving the dry areas alone.

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10. Stila One Step Prime (Normal to Dry Skin) $36

This helix serum primer combines a crystal clear base with the perfect balance of skin-conditioning silicones. It fills in pores and fine lines, creating a smooth canvas that is specially formulated with a Youth Revival Mineral Complex – an exclusive synergistic combination of 15 bio-available vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, which are great for those who tend to be on the dry side.

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11. NXN Matte Flash Matte Primer $19.99 (Oily Skin)

The exclusive formula by NxN is enriched with Java Tea Leaf to minimize pores, Licorice Root to even skin tone, and Grapeseed to prevent redness and nourish skin with powerful antioxidants. Apply to clean skin in small circular motions, blending evenly into a weightless veil.

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12. Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray (All Skin Types) $35

This lightweight, silicone-free primer mist delivers a smooth canvas for impeccable, long-wear makeup application, and offers long-term skin benefits you’ll love as well! Pro Tip: Spray evenly after moisturizer but before makeup application. Skin will feel slightly tacky to the touch which is the perfect texture to have for long wearing makeup that won’t slip.

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13. Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Pore Revolution & T Zone Mattifier (Combination to Oily Skin) $28

This powdery cream works instantly to control shine and reduce large, clogged pores resulting in fresh, pure, matte skin with a velvety-soft feel. Salicylic acid stimulates cellular turnover and penetrates pores to sweep away blockage while watercress extract helps clarify the skin. Natural soothers such as willow leaf extract calm even the most irritant prone skins.

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14. AOA Studio Wonder Skin Mattifying Primer (Normal Skin) $1

The AOA Wonder Skin Mattifying Face Primer minimizes shine and creates a smooth and matte canvas for flawless and long lasting makeup application! Apply a small amount to clean moisturized skin prior to concealer, foundation and powder application. Pro Tip: While this can be used for all skin types, I didn’t think it held up on oily skin for all day wear, but at only $1 it’s a GREAT deal for those that aren’t an oil slick like I am.

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15. Make-Up Designory Face Primer (Normal, Combo and Dry Skin) $30

Lightweight creamy gel Face Primer works beautifully with Cream Foundations to create a flawless, long-lasting finish. Apply directly to the skin prior to foundation using a sponge or fingertips to create an extra smooth surface or mix into foundation for a creamier consistency.

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16. Mehron Velvet Finish Primer Serum ( Normal to Dry Skin) $24.95

An enriched blend of vitamins and antioxidants help to create the appearance of flawless skin all day long. This unique formula is infused with an emollient and anti-oxidant complex, this rich serum mattifies shine and protects skin with Aloe Vera Extract and Vitamin C. Minimizes the appearance of fine lines, and helps makeup stay on longer.

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17. Crown Pro All Day Setting Spray (All Skin Types) $9.99

Keep your makeup looking polished all day long with the new Crown Pro All Day Setting Spray! The lightweight, non-sticky formula helps to prevent the natural creasing and shifting of cosmetics for up to 12 hours. Use after makeup applications to set the face or mist on throughout the day to help reinvigorate the skin. Pro Tip: This setting spray, which is brand new on the market, is a game changer in my makeup kit and my daily personal use. The best part: no funny smell and it literally lasts all day.

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18. Melanie Mills Hollywood Gleam Body Sealing Spray (All Body Types) $40.00

Gleam body sealing spray delivers a light, ultra-fine, botanically infused mist that provides ultimate transfer resistance with a lavender essence and matte finish. This spray perfectly sets bronzers and highlighters that have been used on the body so you don’t leave any makeup behind or give away your glowing secrets. Pro Tip: Not recommended for facial use but I have used it on my shoulders, neck and décolletage.

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19. Jane iredale Hydration Sprays (Balance, D2O & Pommist) (All Skin Types) $30

These Hydration Sprays have been reformulated and awarded ECOCERT’s Natural and Organic certification! Each spray has their own, unique scent that helps to hydrate and plump skin cells, calms and protect your skin. These work great to set mineral makeup and can be used to wet brushes to turn powder eye shadows into eyeliner. Pro Tip: The Pommist is my favorite! I use it in the morning and I keep the travel size in my purse to freshen my makeup throughout the day.

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20. a2o UHD Pro Setting Spray (All Skin Types) $3.50

A refreshing, weightless micro-mist that locks in makeup for a long lasting finish. Skin stays comfortable with a blend of naturally refreshing ingredients for an instant boost. It feels totally undetectable on the skin, with no tightness or sticky residue. Pro Tip: I use this spray in conjunction with the Amarte Aqua Toner Mist for the perfect set that lasts on clients all day.

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21. Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray (Normal to Oily Skin) $22

Lock in your makeup look and look flawless for hours with this cooling, oil control mist that increases the look and longevity of your makeup. Available in 10 scents. Pro Tip: for super oily skin, the Green Tea (pictured above) is the best bet for your skin. Also available in mini sizes for on the go travel.

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22. Urban Decay Chill Cooling And Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray (Normal to Dry Skin) $32

Chill Makeup Setting Spray features cooling time-release Temperature Control Technology that actually chills the surface of your makeup—to keep it looking gorgeously just-applied for up to 12 hours. Perfect for all skin types, this weightless spray mists on to keep makeup from smudging or settling into fine lines. Pro Tip: I use his setting spray on clients with dry skin and it really keeps the skin hydrated. Try pairing it with Skindinavia’s Prep Spray for added longevity.

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23. boscia White Charcoal Mattifying Spray (All Skin Types) $12

Binchotan white charcoal controls excess oil, detoxifies the pores, and balances the skin’s moisture content. Artichoke leaf extract and black tea visibly minimize the appearance of enlarged pores instantly and over time increases skin elasticity. Vitamin-rich, antioxidant black tea also works to protect skin against free radical damage. Pro Tip: Shake the bottle a few times to turn the white liquid grey so you know the charcoal has been activated.

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