As a professional makeup artist, you can imagine my shock, awe, and slight disgust when I was asked this question by my sweet, possibly Amish cousin, Sarah. Clearly one of us is adopted. How can ANYONE related to me not know what a primer is, much less not even own 1 or 5? So it became painfully obvious that this post needed to be written before she or anyone else I loved spent another day with large pores of creased eyelids. ( Somewhere, a unicorn just cried a little…)
First of all, what you need to know is that there are two major groups of primers, facial primers and eyelid primers and every woman that wears makeup needs to own one of each type. Would DaVinci ever paint a masterpiece without priming his canvas? Heck no, he wouldn’t! So why would you? Pay attention, I’m about to break it down like RUN DMC- Today I will cover face primer.
Face Primer- As you might have guessed, face primer is to be used all over your face! A face primer is going to do several things for you, depending on which brand and type you choose. Every basic primer is going to: Fill in fine lines and wrinkles, smooth the texture of your skin, minimize the appearance of large pores, and best of all, keep your makeup on much longer throughout the day- I’m talking hours longer here, people. Primers have now become so advanced, some of them can even correct your skin tone, keep your skin from becoming oily, and even deliver anti-aging properties and sun protection to your face. Pretty impressive.
Picking YOUR Face Primer- Now, since there are so many options out there, I’m gonna give you some quick tips before you end up wandering around your makeup counter like a lost puppy.
First, you might have a texture preference. Some primers are silicone based, and have a slippery, yet buttery soft feel. Do not mistake this for oil- it’s not. It will dry smoothly and to an almost powder-like finish. Examples of silicone based primers are the old-school Smashbox PhotoFinish primer ($36, http://www.smashbox.com) , and my all time new fave, the Whip Hand Cosmetics “Set The Stage” primer. ($39, http://www.whiphandcosmetics.com) They are good for all skin types, and really give your skin that ultra-smooth look, like you’re walking around in real-time photoshop. I adore the Whip Hand Primer because it feels like whipped silk, on your hands and your face, and a little bit goes a LONG way. It;s getting rave reviews from makeup artists everywhere, not just me.
Other primers, like the classic Laura Mercier Foundation primer ($32, sephora.com), have a light gel base, and are reminiscent of smoothing aloe onto your face. It’s lighter texture is often preferred by people with very oily skin, or who want a very natural feel to their makeup. These also seem to perform better in really humid climates for some people. Also in this category is the amazing Make Up Forever HD Microperfecting Primer ($34, sephora.com). I love this particular brand when I need a color-correcting primer for clients with discoloration issues, like rosacia. The green version will subdue the red, giving you a more even skin tone. Feeling extra pale and sallow? Pick up the purple version! I know- it seems weird to be putting these colors all over your face, but it’s basic 5th grade color theory. Complimentary colors, when put on top of one another, cancel each other out.
So, now that you know the difference between the two kind of primers out there, you just need to go let your fingers do the walking, touch, feel, and play in the different formulas and find one that you like.
How to Use- Think of your primer as the last step of your skin care- using your fingers, put it on a clean, moisturized face, immediately before any concealer or foundation go onto that pretty mug of yours. If you want a super flawless and even coverage, you can also buff it in lightly with a sponge, but once you get the hang of it, your fingers should work just fine. Just remember- less is more, and it’s easier to add than take away. Using too much primer can result in your makeup sliding right off of your face…it just won’t be able to get a good grip on your skin. Now you are ready to apply your foundation and concealer like a pro! You go,girl!
Still have questions? Probably. If you’d like my advice on picking the right primer for you, leave me a message in the comments below, telling me about your skin and the foundation that you currently use. I’ll do my best to set you up right. And stay tuned, because coming soon…