Primers do for your skin what lingerie does for your figure – they smooth, flatter, conceal and hold things in place, so that everything you put on top of them looks immediately better. Whether you want to blur wrinkles, mattify, minimise the appearance of pores or even out skin tone, primers do this whilst creating a perfect base for make-up and helping it to stay put for longer. Yes, it might take a minute longer to apply another layer every morning as part of your beauty routine, but it’s the difference between your make-up sliding off by noon and it staying put until the end of the day. And wouldn’t you consider that a minute well spent? Once you start using it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Pick Your Primer
Primers are so beloved by experts because they can do so much more than just make your foundation go on smoother. Primers are sort of like insurance for your makeup, and there are many to choose from. Smoothing, concealing, protecting and prepping all with a main role to keep your makeup on longer and give your skin a smooth, flawless finish.
The world’s most beloved primers are arguably Benefit’s Porefessional and Smashbox’s Photo Finish primers; loved by MUAs and beauty aficionados alike, both have a silicone-based formula that glides over the skin, minimising uneven texture and delivering a softly matte finish. Proceed with caution, however – silicone can be a nightmare for acne prone skin when layered with too many ingredients.
Often described as an Instagram filter for your face, blurring primers, like Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer £32, use light reflecting technology to create a soft-focus effect that airbrushes out flaws, making them easier to cover. Another option is Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer £12.99.
These rainbow shades erase problems by using the concept of the colour wheel where shades on the opposite side of the wheel cancel each other out to craftily disappear your complexion issues. NYX Professional Makeup Colour Correcting Liquid Primer £9 comes in five shades, including green to combat redness, pink to revive a tired complexion, and blue to remove sallow tones. Another option: L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Colour Correcting Primers
Primers that are anti-aging have both protective and reparative qualities. Many feature SPF to protect against UV damage, and skin-healthy ingredients. I have heard great things about Cover FX Anti-Ageing primer £29.
One sure-fire way to make your foundation look like skin and not makeup? Primers with illuminating properties like Becca Backlight Filter £32 and Giorgio Armani Light Master Primer which is on my wish list £38. Apply them on bare skin, all over the face or on the high points of it (nose, brow bone, cheekbone, Cupid’s bow) to add life and dimension to your complexion. If you’re having a good face day and don’t want to wear foundation, you can still use a highlighting primer to liven up your skin. A great High Street option is L’oreal Paris Lumi Magique primer £10.99.
If you’re sick of your pores dominating your face, try a pore-minimizing formula. These oily skin savers, as the name suggests, blur pores to make them less noticeable. Added bonus? They also mattify, so you can get rid of shine and greasiness in one swipe. My favourite is Benefit Porefessional £22.10 or Makeup Forever Smoothing Primer £25.50.
Dry, dehydrated skin can make wearing foundation a challenge, it settles into rough patches and gives your complexion a flaky appearance. If that sounds like you, try using an ultra-moisturizing primer like Urban Decay Urban Defense Complexion Primer with SPF 30 £23. It’s made with hyaluronic filling spheres, vitamin B3 and lychee extract to drench your parched skin and ensure your base makeup doesn’t settle into any lines or dry patches. Another option which I desperately want is Marc Jacobs Under(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Primer £32.
How To Apply Primer
Once you’ve found your ideal primer, you need to master the fine art of application. The first rule of primer? Always apply moisturizer before priming, as it makes your primer application even. Wait a few minutes after your application before priming. I find the best way to apply primer is to start with a pea sized amount in the centre of the face then blend it outwards with your fingers. Some may prefer a brush which works just as well. As you become more familiar with using a primer the more adventurers you will become. I also find different foundations work better with certain primers, which you will master over time.
Overall I love playing around with different primers and truly see a difference in my makeup longevity, and I will never miss this important step in my routine. So if you never thought of using a primer, or thought they might be too much extra work in your already time-strapped routine, hopefully this has made you reconsider. Because if you want your makeup to go the extra mile, you need to be sure to provide a solid starting line.
Are you a primer lover or giving it a try for the first time? Fill us in below with a comment!