What Is Makeup Primer? Is It Worth The Hype

If you’re not already using makeup primer but want to start, look no further because we have everything you need to know about it & if it’s right for you.

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Think of your face as a blank canvas. When you’re applying your makeup, it is important to have a base that will keep all of your makeup on. That’s where primer comes in. Makeup primer acts as a base for your makeup so that every product you use stays put on your face. There are all different types of makeup primers and no matter what skin type you have – oily, dry, or combo – there is one out there for you. Below, we rounded up all the different tips and tricks on how to use makeup primer and whether or not it’s worth it.

What is primer?

Primer is a product that comes in all different formulas – creams, gels, oils, or liquids – and when smoothed over your face, it helps fill in your pores to reduce their appearance. It also helps with discoloration, leaving your skin tone looking fresh and even. To apply primer, simply slather it over your face like you would with any face cream or moisturizer.

What Does It Do?

Primer acts as a base foundation for all of your products. The purpose of it is to create a canvas that keeps your makeup in place all day long without smudging, dripping, or fading. If you’re concerned about how primer can affect your skin, don’t be scared. There are all different types of primers that are suitable for different skin tones and we break them down below.

Types of primer

There’s a variety of primers on the market that you can choose from. We broke them down for you, below.

  • Silicone-based primer: This primer is great if you have acne-prone skin because it creates a barrier on your skin that stops makeup from seeping into your pores, leading to breakouts. It leaves your skin with a soft, smooth finish that helps your makeup glide over easily.
  • Water-based primer: This is perfect if you have dry skin. It essentially acts as a moisturizer plus primer, that sinks into your skin, absorbing the moisture, allowing your makeup to glide on easily without making it pill or cake. If you’re going for a dewy look, then this is definitely the primer for you. While you can use a moisturizer, plus a water-based primer, it may make your face to slick, thus allowing your makeup to slide off. So, we would recommend choosing one or the other.

Aside from these two main categories, you can also choose from mattifying primers, illuminating primers, pore perfecting primers, and color-correcting primers. Each primer has a different purpose and depending on what look you’re going for, you can choose accordingly.

How Do You Know Which Primer To Use?

First, it’s important to figure out what skin type you have – oily, dry, or combination. Once you’ve figured that out, pinpoint what imperfections you are looking to fix, whether it’s discoloration, hyper-pigmentation, acne, or oiliness. From there, choose which one suits you best. For example, if you have oily skin, don’t go with a water-based primer as it could make you look even more oily. If you have dry skin, then this would be right for you, as it adds extra moisture and hydration.

Examples of good primers

There are so many different primers on the market, that it may seem intimidating to find the right one for you. However, we rounded up some of our all-time favorites, to help give you a push in the right direction. One of our all-time favorites is the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, which helps reduce the appearance of pores. It goes on clear and is super lightweight and buildable, plus, it has over 37,000 positive reviews on Amazon. One customer gushed, “This stuff is pretty incredible. I have huuuuge pores that have always bothered me. I’ve tried lots of expensive pore smoothing primers from Makeup Forever but none of them really make much of a difference, it seems like they don’t hold up underneath my makeup. I use the Baby Skin primer first thing in the morning right after I wash my face. I put a thin coat just on my problem areas and make sure to work it into my skin then let dry for a few minutes and apply one more “skim coat” just on the surface of my t-zone. I let that dry another minute, and apply my makeup as usual. The difference is incredible and it lasts all day. My pores are virtually invisible. Even with other pore primers and caking on foundation I was never able to achieve that. It also helps with shine, though I still have to touch up/blot a couple times throughout the day, it’s not nearly as much as before.”

If you have super oily skin, look no further than the Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer. With over 21,000 positive reviews on Amazon, this primer is highly rated because of how well it works. It’s lightweight and helps combat oil by giving your skin a mattifying finish. One customer gushed, “Best primer ever! I received a sample in my Ipsy subscription and had to purchase the full size. This primer is amazing in hot and humid weather. I went on a trip to Cartagena, Columbia and used this to keep my eye make up in place and it looked as good at the end of the day as it did when I first put it on. This is the best primer I’ve come across and is a staple in my daily makeup routine. Ideal for older makeup users who find their eyeshadow disappears into their crease by day’s end!”

For those of you with dry skin, the e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer is a great option. Not only is it super affordable, (only $7!), it also gives your skin a burst of hydration. It’s lightweight, airy, and is infused with vitamins A, C, and E to add even more hydration. Even better, it doesn’t leave your skin sticky and it’s cruelty-free, vegan, and 100% free from Phthalates, Parabens, Nonylphenol, Ethoxylates, Triclosan, Triclocarban, and Hydroquinone. A very satisfied customer raved, “I just love this product! I have dry skin, so naturally my make up doesn’t always look even/clings to dry areas, however this is now a thing of the past! This primer evens out, moisturises and maintains moisture throughout the day, even with heavy application make up looks!”

Another one of our top picks is the L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer. It works well on all skin types and is silky and lightweight. It does it all – it minimizes your pores, color corrects, and hydrates – all at the same time, plus, it’s extremely blendable and buildable. Over 6,900 customers swear by this product and one shopper gushed, “Lovvve This Primer! I’ve tried higher end primers that turn out oily, flakey, drying & ghostly! Only to come back to my L’Oreal’s! It’s goes on smoothly, a little goes a long way! I’m 60 in these photos with a few lines, blemishes & large pores! I put this all over my face in small amounts using circular motions with a flat top Kabuki brush, after a light moisturizer has absorbed. Then I come back with a little more over those troubled areas! I spot conceal, my foundation is next which goes on a lot smoother and I’m able to use lesser! I’ve been told by many that I don’t look my age, I appreciate it! But just want to look the Best I can at this stage of my life & this surely helps!!”

If you want to go full-blown glam with your look and are going to be wearing a lot of makeup, then The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer is your best bet. It is specifically formulated to grip your makeup, ensuring that it does not move around in the slightest bit. There’s a reason why almost 3,000 people love this product and it’s because it delivers results. One user went so far to say, “best silicone primer on the market!” She continued, “I have to say that I am a new fan of Ordinary because of this primer. This primer is so amazing. I will now use this on all of my oily clients. This is the ONLY silicone primer on the market that doesn’t feel like it leaves behind a silicone slippery texture to the skin. The thing about most primers for oily skin is that they have that silicone texture to it… that doesn’t help AT ALL. Most of those primers just sit on top of the skin and create that barrier over the oily skin so that the makeup doesn’t look oily. But the problem with that is that once the skin gets oily the primer starts to move around making the makeup move around. This primer DOES NOT DO THAT!!! It is the BEST silicone primer for oily skin on the market. I myself have combination skin and I use this in my t-zone. It is not my new personal favorite. Oh my gosh, the cost… its just so amazing. So many primers that don’t work cost so much.”

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