Last updated on March 6th, 2019
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Show of hands- how many of you use primers?
I’m glad this is only a virtual show of hands, because even I, the makeup aficionado, can’t honestly say that I know everything about primers, or that I even wear them all the time. Even when I know I should.
Primers definitely aren’t new, but like visible-from-space highlighters, they’ve hit their stride in the last few years.
Wanna see what exactly I mean when I say a highlighter is “visible from space?” Check out this post all about Becca Champagne Pop. You’ll see >> Becca Champagne Pop By Jaclyn Hill Review + Swatches
Now, let’s just address the most obvious question right now- Do I really even need makeup primer?
Yes, you do. And so do I.
Let’s get into why makeup primers are so important, and how you can choose the best ones to suit your needs. Plus, I’ve got a ton of awesome recommendations on the best primers and where to buy them!
General face primers: They do what, exactly?
These generalized makeup primers used to confuse me till no end. You’re probably thinking the same things I was- “Why do I need a primer that doesn’t do anything specific? Why wear primer just for the sake of wearing primer?”
We’ve all heard the “Primer makes your makeup last forever,” spiel. Totally true, by the way, but we need more than that. What if I told you that using makeup primer could make your makeup application faster, easier, and more enjoyable? Well, it can, my friends.
They’re like Dobby, the house elf. (Haha, e.l.f…)
They work hard behind the scenes smoothing, moisturizing, and prepping my skin so when I apply my foundation on top, I don’t run into those irritating little problems like patchiness, dryness, foundation pooling in my pores, etc.
You know, all the little makeup pleasures we often take for granted.
E.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer >> Purchase at Elfcosmetics.com
How to choose a makeup primer
If you don’t have any major skin issues that you need taken care of, then lucky you! Basically any primer has a good chance of working out for you.
To avoid adding unnecessary layers of makeup to your skin, select a thin, liquid-y primer. It’ll give you all the smoothing and makeup-holding benefits you need, without adding a ton of unnecessary texture.
Along with the Laura Mercier primer mentioned above, the Houglass Veil Mineral Primer is my favorite for this.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
Makeup primers can correct specific issues
So what if you’re one of the many people with less than perfect skin? *Raises hand*
Using a makeup primer offers tremendous benefits in helping your makeup look better overall. Hashtag #makeupgamestrong
And don’t worry, so many exist to choose from, that regardless of how far-fetched your skin issues may seem, I can almost promise you there is a makeup primer (or combination thereof) perfect for you.
Pore filling & smoothing primers
Visible pores and fine lines are probably the most commonly complained about issue surrounding foundation. I mean, I’m barely into the second half of my twenties and I’ve already got unwelcome creases and craters in my face.
These “filler” primers, as I lovingly refer to them, sit on top of your skin and help disguise any textural imperfections. Definitely try one if you struggle with enlarged pores or fine lines.
My favorites are the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer and the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. For a more inexpensive option, try E.l.f Poreless Face Primer. You really can’t go wrong with any of these.
Benefit POREfessional Face Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
Smash box Photo Finish Foundation Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
E.l.f. Poreless Face Primer >> Purchase at Elfcosmetics.com
Mattifying makeup primer
Oiliness plagues the best of us, especially in the summer. Mattifying primers become my best friend.
Mattifying primers often have many similar benefits to pore-filling primers, included the smoothing effect. Depending on how oily you are, sometimes a primer like the ones mentioned above are enough to keep your oil under control.
I always go for those for oil control first. The formulas prove less heavy and less likely to clog your pores.
But if you’re very oily and those just aren’t enough, several “heavy-duty” mattifying primers exist on the market.
Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment goes one step beyond the usual pore-filling primers, and it’s my personal favorite. The anti-acne treatment adds a nice touch.
For super bulletproof oil control, you’ll need Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer. This stuff is like putty for your face; you’d have to have bionic oils to break through that. I find that this one works well for ultra-special events where I need to look flawless for hours, but it’s too much for everyday, and it clogs my pores if I wear it too many days in a row.
Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment >> Purchase at Sephora
Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
Hydrating makeup primer
For my dry ladies out there, (especially those of you that live somewhere cold,) hydrating primers are your best friends. ‘Aint nobody got time for scaly winter lizard skin.
To be completely honest, I don’t have much experience with hydrating primers. I live in the tropics, plus I have oily skin, so I’m always well hydrated without one of these primers.
I have heard good things about Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer, but I haven’t personally tried it, so I can’t vouch for it. If anyone has used it, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below 🙂
Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
Luminizing makeup primer
Luminizing primers may seem like mattifying primer’s polar opposite, but they actually complement each other very nicely.
For someone with dry skin, luminizing primers are life savers because they add some glow back into their dull and lifeless skin. It’s common sense, really.
But for the oily-skinned ladies, luminizing primers have the amazing ability to save you from your own necessities. You wear a mattifying primer, ultra matte foundation, then top it with a generous helping of powder. Then what happens? You look like a powdery corpse.
Trust me, I’ve been there. Working a luminizing primer into your face routine makes a world of difference.
Primer hack >> First, I apply light swipes of my luminizing primer to the tops of my cheekbones, nose, and anywhere else I want to highlight. Then, I apply mattifying primer as needed over top. (Make sure you apply in this order!)
I also mix a little dab of the luminizing primer in with my foundation to give it the glowy look without the glowy texture. It works like a charm.
At the moment, I’m using Cover FX Illuminating Primer. I like it, but >> DUPE ALERT << it’s almost identical to L’Oréal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer, which is much cheaper.
Cover FX Illuminating Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
L’Oréal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer >> Purchase on Amazon
Color correcting primer
If you’re wanting to dip your toes into color correcting, colored primers are a great place to start. They’re not nearly as pigmented as color correcting concealers, which means you’ve got a much larger margin of error before you start looking like a pastel clown.
Basically, color correcting primers are great for neutralizing odd colors on larger portions of your face.
If you’ve got redness, green primers are your jam. If your skin looks sallow and dull, blue-tinted primers will liven you up.
Want more useful info on color correction? I’ve got an entire post on the subject. This way, makeup lover >> The Beginners’ Guide to Color Correction.
My quick recommendation? The Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer Primers. The line includes primers in basically every color you could ever need, regardless of your skin tone. Obviously, I haven’t used them all, but I seriously love the ones that I have used!
Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizer Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
Even if you use no other primer, use eyeshadow primers!
I admit, I sometimes skip the face primers. When everything is going swimmingly in the springtime and I’m neither too oily or dry, I tend to forgo the general makeup primers just to feel a bit lighter.
But I never skip the eyeshadow primer.
You want your eyeshadows to stand out from your skin. You don’t want them fading into the background, which is exactly what they’ll do if you skip the eyeshadow primer.
The many benefits include helping your eyeshadow last longer without fading or smudging, keeping oily lids under control, taming eyelid pigmentation so it doesn’t overpower your shadows, and smoothing out any textures so that your shadows go on smoothly and never patchy.
What to look for in an eyeshadow primer
Just like the other makeup primer families discussed above, eyeshadow primers come in many forms. Depending on what kind of eyelid issues you deal with, there will no doubt be a primer that suits your needs.
Don’t skimp on your eyeshadow primer. I know, it’s painful shelling out cash for a product that isn’t even visible, but when your shadow looks better than ever and lasts longer than ever, you’ll be glad you did.
Invisible eyeshadow primers
These primers practice what they preach- they’re invisible. If you’re in the camp that balks at “invisible makeup,” then these will probably drive you crazy.
Invisible primers are often silicone based, which makes them awesome for smoothing over any roughness on the lids, and also for controlling oil. Shadow binds well with the formula to produce some seriously long wear-time.
Since the finish isn’t sticky, invisible primers won’t give you that extra grab that you need for powdery shadows and pigments. Plus, it won’t make your shadows stand out any more than they can on their own.
Takeaway >> Use an invisible primer if your lids are the problem, not the shadows.
Nars Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base >> Purchase at Sephora
Urban Decay Primer Potion (Original) >> Purchase at Sephora
Pigmented eyeshadow primers
Pigmented shadow primers come in handy when your shadows just aren’t doing it for you.
Using colored eyeshadow bases such as the NYX White Eyeshadow Base or Kat Von D Lock-It Color Correcting Eyeshadow Primer gives weak shadows the boost they need to succeed.
While these primers may or may not control oil, their slightly tacky finish is perfect for helping loose pigments grab onto your lid so they don’t fall off your face. That wouldn’t be good. Additionally, their opaqueness creates an evenly colored canvas so the shadows show up true to color no matter where you place them.
Takeaway >> Use a pigmented primer if your lids cooperate, but it’s your shadows that are rebellious.
NYX White Eyeshadow Base >> Purchase on Amazon
Kat Von D Lock-It Color Correcting Eyeshadow Primer >> Purchase at Sephora
So what’s the takeaway?
If you’ve been paying attention, then you absolutely know what I’m about to say here.
Use primers! And yes, I’m talking to myself as well.
Makeup holds magical abilities to transform and glorify our faces, but it can also go oh so terribly wrong. As we’ve just seen, the vast majority of these issues are solvable with makeup primers.
Whether your makeup doesn’t last, or your skin looks dry, or your pores think they’re the star of the show, there’s a primer for that.
I challenge you to take what you learned and go out and choose one or two primers to up your makeup game. Your selfie-taking self will thank you.
That’s all for today!
Like this post all about makeup primer? You’ll probably find this post helpful too >> How To Choose The Best Concealer For You
If you find this post interesting, informative, or just plain entertaining, tell me about it in the comments below. And don’t forget, sharing is caring. Share this post!
Till next time. ♥︎
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FTC- Not sponsored. I purchased all products myself. All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliated.