Bright, smooth skin is the ultimate canvas for makeup. If you don’t believe us, just ask a pro.
“Without great skin, you cannot execute great makeup,” confirms Leo Chaparro, a self-taught makeup artist best known for creating show-stopping statement eyes, inspired by glamorous villains, like Poison Ivy, Cat Woman, and Cruella De Vil.
As far as Chaparro is concerned, ample hydration is the most important factor when it comes to setting the scene for an attention-drawing look.
“We want to give the skin moisture to give it life—and to avoid flaky bits or uneven application, we also want to make sure that we’re exfoliating regularly,” he explains, adding that these universal rules apply whatever your skin type, age, or pore size. “It’s so important to put in the work with skincare, because then when you put makeup on you can really see the magic.”
Ahead, find Chaparro’s personal cheatsheet on how to best prep the skin for a full glam look.
“A perfect face of makeup should look moisturized, glowing, and even, so to achieve that I always start with cleansing the skin so the canvas is blank and clean,” says Chaparro, adding that diligent makeup lovers should aim to regularly exfoliate as part of their nighttime regimen. His picks? Youth To The People’s Superfood Cleanser AM and PM, and the Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial a couple of nights a week.
Keep it light
To ensure the skin responds well to its sources of moisture, Chaparro takes a layered approach.
“Right after cleansing, I apply the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum for brightness, and then the Superberry Dream Eye Cream. Then comes either the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream or Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream, which are my go-tos for any skin type,” he explains.
When you need a lift
Even after applying moisturizer, Chaparro is on a hydration mission to keep his work looking camera ready—and for that, he uses a mist.
“I love to use the Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist on top of and before the serum, but I love it even more throughout the day to refresh makeup for continually beautiful, dewy skin. I’m obsessed with it.”
Progress, not perfection
Chaparro’s non-traditional training means he’s happy to forgo contouring or other industry-based makeup trends in favor of a more personalized approach.
“I have space for every type of face and person, and I love to keep skin looking natural, so I don’t do full coverage or matte foundation—and that means celebrating lines, pores, and wrinkles,” says Chaparro, adding that in makeup, there really are no rules. “If you have really dry skin and notice a flaky patch after you’ve finished your look, don’t panic. Just mix a little oil with some foundation or concealer to bring some moisture back and dab it in!”
Written by Elsa de Berker for Youth To The People