Ever painted a canvas that wasn’t primed? What about a piece of furniture or a car? If you have then you’d notice that your paint doesn’t spread very far and the finish isn’t quite as good as it would be had you used a primer first. The same principal goes for your foundation. But what does makeup primer do exactly?
We all want our makeup to go on like a dream, sit flawlessly on our skin and last all day. But without using a primer first none of this is possible. By applying a primer to your skin before you start your makeup routine you will give your foundation a smoother, more even surface allowing your foundation whether it be liquid, cream or mousse, to glide evenly over your skin. A good primer will also fill in your pores to help minimise their appearance, as well as SOME fine lines…no it won’t get rid of wrinkles! Not only will it perform these miracles but it will also lock your makeup in place and stop it from moving around your face throughout the day and settling into those areas you don’t want to draw attention to, like crows feet, undereye area, forehead lines…the list goes on. By doing all that it even helps you use less product in turn saving you money, and who doesn’t love that!
I recently gave a private lesson on vintage hair and makeup styling, and I explained the use of primer like this: back in the day women didn’t have much in the way of makeup, they had a powder compact, blush, lipstick in a couple of different shades, mascara, a brow product and maybe an eye pencil. Pretty minimal compared to today’s standards. Women would apply their ‘face cream’ which was like a moisturiser, then applied their powder on top of that which no doubt would have helped lock their powder in place. Simple as that! These days we expect more out of our makeup and living in the age of the selfie we want our skin to look flawless at every minute of the day, who knows when a selfie worthy moment will arise! And because modern makeup is so much different to “olden days” makeup we need different tools and techniques to get the most out of each product we use.
Cosmetic companies create their products with the assumption that they will be used in conjunction with primers, preferably by the same brand, and encourage us to do so as it will ensure you’re getting the most out of your foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow etc. So how do you know which primer to use for what and which one is right for your skin?
Lip primers help soften and moisturise the lips to prevent the lipstick from bleeding or drying out and becoming flaky. They will also help your lipstick stay on longer so you don’t have to reapply as often…brilliant!!
Eyeshadow primers differ from face primers and the two aren’t interchangeable. Eyeshadow primers leave the eyelid slightly sticky so that the eyeshadow will grip to it and stay put rather than crease. Some also help the vibrancy of pigment in the eyeshadow stand out more than without a primer.
Face primers come in a large variety and choosing one that meets your needs can be daunting. There’s primers that counteract redness, sallowness, dull and lifeless skin, moisturising and mattifying…shall I go on? To make it easier for you to decide which one you need I have given you my top choices in primers, these are primers that I have tried over and over again and swear by.
Moisturising – Too Faced HangoveRx Replenishing Face Primer. This primer is fabulous for dehydrated skin or skin that has been dried out by the sun or cold winter air. It’s a cream primer that leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated and smells divine. I even rub the excess into the tops of my hands after application. Costs around $46.
Pore Minimising – Tarte Clean Slate is a silky primer that helps fill in pores and fine lines to create a smoother surface for your foundation. It’s waterproof and helps lock your foundation in place for up to 12hrs. I find it more effective to apply this with my hands as I use less, but it does make my hands slippery so you’ll need to wash them after applying. This primer isn’t cheap and will set you back around $40.
NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer is a lot like the Tarte Clean Slate but is half the price. It gives the same silky finish to the skin and lasts all day. Like the Tarte primer it does leave a silky film on your hands after applying. It’ll set you back $19.95.
NYX Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer is new here in Australia and I for one have fallen in love with it! It’s like the Too Faced HangoveRx and NYX Photo-Loving primers had a baby. It has the same pore filling and silky finish of the Photo-Loving while having the same hydrating creamy consistancy of the HangoveRx and doesn’t make your skin oily. No sticky or silky residue left on the hands either! With a mid range price tag of $24.95 this primer is my new FAVE!
NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer Anti-Redness will help counteract some of the redness in your skin. It still has the same skin smoothing, pore filling properties of the clear Photo-Loving Primer but because green and red are on opposite sides of the colour wheel, the green tinge to the primer will help balance out some of the redness you may have in your skin. For those with quite a lot of redness you may still need to use a green colour corrector to reduce it even more. Priced the same as the other Photo-Loving primer it costs just $19.95.
Eye Primers – Smashbox 24hr Photo Finish Shadow Primer was the first eye primer I ever tried. I instantly knew what all the hype over eye primers what about. It helps stop your eyeshadow from creasing by locking it in place as well as prepping the lid before applying shadows. A little goes a long way with this product and a quarter of a Tic Tac worth is all you’ll need to do both eyes. Priced at around $30 it’s definitely worth the investment.
Too Faced Shadow Insurance 24hr+ Anti Crease Eyeshadow Primer is another one that you can rely on to hold your fabulously blended eyeshadow in place all day without it creasing. I use this on all my clients and trust it 100%. The tiniest bit will spread across your lid and become ever so slightly tacky enabling your eyeshadow to grip onto it. This little gem will set you back around $30.
My new go-to eye primer for my own personal use (only because I haven’t gotten around to buying a second one for my kit yet) is the NYX Proof It! Base Hydrofuge. This one locks your eyeshadow in place so well that even after washing my face with my Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel that removes my makeup perfectly every time, there were still traces of my eyeshadow! And at only $14.95 it’s budget friendly too!
There are SO many other fabulous primers out there on the market, I’ve tried quite a few in my years but these are my current top choices. What are some of yours? Comment below and let me know what other primers I should be trying.
**All of the above primers are cruelty free.
Tarte is available from Sephora.