Having perfect makeup is not just a matter of nailing the application, it's about priming the skin, lips and lashes so makeup goes on smoother, lasts longer and looks better. It will take a few extra steps, but if you want to look utterly polished at your next wedding dinner, office party or soirée, here's what you need to ace your face.

A good skin primer
Try: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Oil-Free, US$60
You've probably heard this before, but a primer will help minimise pores, conceal redness, wrinkles and lines. Using it before your foundation will help your makeup last longer as well, so it doesn't slide off your face when you're outdoors. This one wins on texture. It feels weightless and won't 'ball up' your subsequent makeup. It's also oil-free, with SPF15 so it keeps skin fresh-looking and protected throughout the day.

Hourglass Veil

A lip serum
Try: Sulwhasoo Essential Lip Serum Stick, $50
The skin on your lips is just as delicate as that on the rest of the face, but doesn't get as much TLC. This serum comes in two shades, Apricot and Blossom, protects the skin's barrier function and can even be used as a 'lip mask' at night. Use it before lipstick — this smoothes the lips so your bright lippie looks even more kick-ass.

Sulwhasoo Lip Serum

A translucent powder
Try: Make Up For Ever High Definition Microfinish Loose Powder, $62
A dusting of loose powder sets your foundation and blush so it doesn't transfer as easily. It also reduces shine on oily or combination complexions and, in this case, imbues the skin with a soft-focus finish so flaws aren't nearly as obvious. Just remember to use it sparingly so that powder does not show up chalky and noticeable in flash photographs. 

HD Microfinish Powder

A brow stain
Try: Clio Kill Brow Tinted Tattoo Pen
If you have sparse or ultra-light brows that tend to fade out, or worse yet, disappear by the end of the day, a temporary brow stain is a godsend. This one gently tints the skin and the brow hairs with a plant-based ingredient, so its effects last a few days. Perfect brows that stay that way? Yes, please!

Clio Tinted Tattoo Kill Brow

A mascara primer
Try: Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer
Have lashes that get more tired and droopy than Manny Pacquiao after a twelve-round bout? Battle lash fatigue with a primer that prepares lashes by adding weight so your mascara has something to hold on to. This also helps mascara glide on smoothly.

Subversion Primer