Primed for Perfection
Hydrating, luminising, mattifying, blurring… What do you need in a makeup primer? The art of getting your selection right depends on a combination of correct application and keeping that application skin-type appropriate. Make sure that you steer clear of any serious industry-known no-nos when it comes to applying this effective pre-base solution.
But let’s first get to grips with what makeup primer is actually intended for. According to experts at Allure.com, it is a preparatory solution that should be applied after skincare (think post foundation, tinted moisturizer, or concealer) to ensure that an ideal canvas is in place on your face, no matter what product may follow.
Notably, the latest primers on the market don’t just keep skin smooth, create a base for makeup, or fade out imperfections – they actually promise to brighten skin, fade any wrinkles, fine lines, and other imperfections (i.e., adult acne), and provide moisture without restraint. If you’re happy with your end look, no complaints at all, we understand your level of beauty sortedness. If not? You should strive to get a better glow or to zap extraneous shine, when that’s a necessity, via a hotshot new-age primer.
Your placement solution
In case you weren’t aware, “makeup primers are used underneath eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, mascara, and even nail polish to create a smooth base that helps keep your other products in place.” In fact, professional New York artists Juliette Perreux and Lindsey Trop suggest that a primer can allow you to use less actual foundation (product cost-saving, yes, please!) and make its application that much smoother and more seamless.
Of note: the barrier a primer creates between product and skin (or nails) means what is applied is able to last that much longer. “The thing about primer,” says Trop, “is that it can act as an all-in-one: hydrator, smoother, and illuminator, which minimizes the number of [other] products needed.” Additionally, she advises, “whether you have dry skin, oily skin, dull skin, are concerned about acne, hyperpigmentation, sun protection, pollutants, or have multiple concerns – there’s a primer out there that’s perfect for you.”
Secrets from skincare whisperers
A makeup artist may rightfully not let you in on all their tools and tricks of the trade because how they work is, or should be, trademarked – right? But you can still watch them in action and learn vicariously.
They tend to start with a client’s moisturizer. After that has been applied and has dried, they’ll apply a light layer of primer to the center of the face, dabbing with the fingers or a sponge, before progressing to the foundation stage. While a primer may not be necessary on a regular basis, it can prove particularly beneficial when it’s very hot and humid; or for a special occasion when you’re in the limelight (on stage, on TV, getting married, being photographed for whatever reason) and having your makeup smudge could prove a disaster. Eyeshadow primer can be applied with your fingers (to control how much product you use) or with a brush for a more targeted application. Lip primer can be thick and squishy, so, more often than not, you’ll see makeup artists using their fingers to smooth it in place.
Pick a primer, (not) any primer
A blog post on Byrdie.com outlines the eight main types of primers, along with their uses. The fact that there are eight types may surprise you, but the reason is that all primers are not created equal.
One type we’ve not mentioned above is mascara primer, which is brilliant at nourishing your lashes, allowing them to hold a curl and adding the appearance of volume and length. Nail primer could be considered an unnecessary expense – unless your nails need protection against the hazards of acrylic nails, for example. It can also assist with even polish applications. Lip primer is a good bet if your lips tend to be dry – and even chapped – so a smoother surface is created before your lipstick goes on and to keep the color in place for longer. And eye primers don’t only nourish the eyelid; they can also “prevent the skin’s natural oils from breaking down the makeup.”
Primer is of particular value to someone with skin issues, such as “texture, redness and/or dullness,” advises Perreux. In brief, she, and her colleague Trop, recommend a mattifying primer for oily skin to keep your foundation in place for longer; blurring primer for older complexions, where reducing fine lines and wrinkles is the aim; color-correcting primer to combat redness or sallowness; and last but not least, hydrating primer – you guessed it – to prepare dry skin.
Proof in the pudding
“When it comes to makeup, you don’t need anything,” says deputy beauty director at
Cosmoplitan.com, Chloe Metzger. But few of us are without some form of beauty conundrum, which the use of a primer will assist no end. These gels, creams, or liquid solutions “fill in your tiny creases, large pores, flaky patches, and bumpy textures, creating nothing but a smooth surface for your skin to glide over.” Moral of the story? Primer will allow your makeup to look “100 000 percent better”, enthuses Metzger. But if you’re one of those naturally glowing, sun-bronzed individuals without a care in the skincare department of life – you can probably go without this level of sorcery on a normal day at the office.
Brands to live by
Freelance fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and entertainment writer, Julia Marzovilla, writes for MarieClaire.com that a couple of the brands priced at under US$30 for you to look out for when you’re shopping up a beauty storm online or in-store are: e.l.f. Putty Primer (US$8.00), available in three different formulations according to your skincare needs; L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base (US$10.99), for its velvety texture that keeps skin smooth and matte indefinitely; Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Optimist Pore Diffusing Primer (US$26.00), a gel primer for combination skin that serves to hydrate and absorbs shine; and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer (US$17.00), which creates a filter-like finish on your skin.
Photoshop, step aside.