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Makeup primer came to be when makeup artists wanted to support foundation and other makeup by prepping the skin. There was only so much a moisturizer could do, so the makeup industry began to pick up on the demand for creating a smooth, balanced canvas of skin before applying anything else to it.
Now makeup primers are all the rage. But the debate is still out–is primer necessary?
Everyone is going to answer this question differently. Makeup artists who have been in the industry for decades have created flawless looks long before primer existed. But now that it’s here, is primer the holy grail we’ve all been missing?
What is the Purpose of Primer?
Just as a painter primes a canvas, or priming a wall before painting, priming nails before their color-– makeup primer is a base coat meant to enhance or maintain makeup that is applied on top of it.
Before primer, makeup went directly onto the skin. This can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and reactions if the skin is in any way sensitive.
Creating a thin layer between your skin and makeup can create all the difference. Primer can balance the skin to prevent excessive oil or shine from peaking out of our matte foundation. It can also smooth and blur the appearance of texture.
But the most sought out benefit of makeup primer is that it holds makeup in place. Come rain or shine, the primary function of makeup primer is to keep makeup from slipping, smudging, or melting.
Different Kinds of Makeup Primer
Makeup primer preps the skin to help the makeup perform differently, to a certain extent.
If you want the coveted glow-from-within, a shiny, silky, illuminating primer with specs of shimmer can be applied to the base or even mixed with the foundation. This may add a subtle radiance to even the most mattifying foundations. This layer of natural dewiness makes this kin look extra glowing and healthy.
A mattifying primer will do the opposite. Meant to subdue shine, mattifying primers tend to aid in oil and sweat control and can prevent foundation from breaking down. Mattifying primers are typically made with silicone because the texture prevents makeup from creasing.
Hydrating primers are great for seasonally dry skin or if your skin naturally tends to be more dry or flaky. There are hydrophilic properties that pull the moisture into the skin doubling hydrating primer as skincare. It can keep your foundation for become patchy or sticking to dry parts of the skin.
Color correcting primers include a tint of orange, green, or red depending on your color-correcting needs. Blurring primer can be used to treat a variety of needs including oil control, texture, and inconsistent pigmentation.
And finally, there are primers for all parts of your face, not just where you apply foundation. Lip primer and eyelid primers are becoming increasingly popular notably for their ability to intensify pigments applied on top of the primer. They are also known to help lip and eye products last longer.
Primers For Different Skin Types
While you may reach for a primer for its touted blurring, mattifying, or illuminating benefits you have to consider your skincare needs too.
Primer does not replace pre-makeup skincare and should be applied over your skincare right beneath your makeup.
If your skin is dry and non-oily a mattifying primer may exacerbate your skin’s dry tendencies. This can have a negative result on your makeup outcome. Similarly, a person more prone to sweat through their makeup or is naturally oily may not get desirable results from a water-based, hydrating primer.
Always consider how your skin behaves before selecting a makeup primer.
Additionally, if your face has a range of needs or is considered “combination” skin, you can use multiple primers. For example, my t-zone can become very oil while my forehead and cheeks are very dry. I use a mattifying primer on my t-zone and a hydrating primer everywhere else.
You just have to be precise about the application.
How to Put on Primer
Applying primer is the fun part. Once you’ve found the one that works well with your skin and compliments your makeup look, putting it on is easy.
To perfectly prime your skin, it only requires a dime-size amount of product. This isn’t moisturizer so you do not want to lather.
Work primer into the palms of your hands then pat and slightly press the primer onto your face. Primer won’t melt into the skin as it’s meant to create a barrier. Give it 1-5 minutes to dry down. Fanning with your hand or a magazine helps set the primer quickly. Once it’s no longer wet or slips, apply makeup directly onto your primed skin.
Primer helps prevent makeup from moving, but you can and should still finish the look with setting spray.
When Not to Prime
Priming is perfect for a full face of glam. But are there are instances where priming is a bad idea?
If you are in the throws of a breakout or your skin is being particularly sensitive, use as few products as possible. Ditching primer will make less of an impact on your look and it’s one less thing to irritate your skin until your skin is back to normal.
If you plan on being in the sun, skip the primer and go straight for a BB or CC cream with SPF. Primer can withstand a lot but excessive sweating could just leave your skin a slippery mess.
Is There a Real Difference?
Primers have created some of the most glamourous air-brushed looks and have certainly taken social media makeup trends by storm. To know if they make a difference for you will require a little experimenting.
Here are some top-reviewed makeup primers that are a hit with users.
A semi-mattifying primer that’s enhanced with restorative antioxidants. Blurs blemishes and texture and is ideal for combination skin.
Lock-in lasting glow with this all-day primer. Lightweight with a fresh finish, your radiance stays from morning to nighttime.
Silicone-free and detoxifying this protective barrier cares for your skin so you can be care-free with your makeup. Pack it on and wear your look all night knowing your pores won’t get clogged. Prebiotic-peptide works to enhance the skin’s microbiota to help improve epidermal barrier function, boost hydration and protect the skin.
Lightweight and perfect for all skin types, the Vapour essential daily primer increases the longevity of foundation while making application smooth and effortless. Formulated with nourishing macadamia and jojoba oil, antioxidant-filled cranberry water, and baobab extracts, and ginger water to help improve and even skin tone.
Whatever primer you choose, I am sure you will find that it takes your makeup game to the next level! What do you think about makeup primers?