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The Ultimate Guide to Makeup Primer and How to Use It

Primer is cream that is usually (but not always, I’ll get more into that later) colorless, which is meant to bridge one’s makeup routine. Makeup primers will create a barrier between the FACE and the makeup, create a smoother face surface for a nicer makeup application, prolong the makeup’s wear, and improve its overall appearance.

If you find almost all foundations have a tendency to oxidize and change color after coming into contact with your face, you may find that primer creates that barrier that will prevent the foundation from coming into contact with your sebum and oxidizing.

What’s extra cool is that different makeup primers have different functions, so no matter what you think the best effect would be, there’s a primer out there that can give you that effect. Some primers will brighten the face and give a dewy effect, while others will mattify it.

Some makeup primers can color-correct, and others will blur imperfections. Primers often also have benefits: they can moisturize, provide sun protection, or contain anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients.
Even though beauty brands have been putting out makeup primers for what feels like forever, it still remains one of the more mysterious and puzzling base products on the market. There’s such a vast array of different primer options available — hydrating, mattifying, blurring, luminizing, and more — it can be very confusing to figure out which type of primer will work for you. Oh yeah, and then there’s the application factor. Yes, apparently there is a wrong way to apply primer. If confusion and frustration are the main reasons you’ve been avoiding primer, we’re here to change that. Ahead, find professional advice on how to properly use it, recommendations for every face type, and what you should never do when it comes to this pre-base product.

  1. What is primer and what does it do?
    Put simply, primer is exactly what its name implies: It’s a preparatory product that’s applied after your face care to create an ideal canvas to hold onto whatever makeup comes afterward — like foundation, tinted moisturizer, or concealer. Your primer might come in the form of a hyaluronic acid-spiked facial serum that boosts hydration, a sunscreen that protects and softens the appearance of pores, or a traditional silicone-based primer that smooths and blurs.

What’s the best way to apply them?
Unlike products that lock your makeup in, like setting powder or setting sprays, primers are almost always applied on face after -care step and before your makeup

How to Apply Makeup Primer?
1) Start with well cleansed face. Makeup looks better when the face is hydrated, so avoid an overly drying face wash, and instead opt for a creamy cleanser

If your face type is oily, you might be able to skip the moisturizing step since your primer can provide some hydration. However, if you have dry face or your primer is very mattifying, moisturize your face with a light, fast absorbing, oil-free moisturizer.

Some moisturizers and sunscreens don’t play nicely with primers, and may cause pilling, so it’s important to use products that the face will fully absorb.

3) With primer, a little goes a long way. Squeeze out a pea-sized amount, and dot it over your forehead, nose, chin, and if necessary ” cheeks and jawline. I find it’s a lot easier to get a smooth, thin application when you use your hands, rather than a brush or a sponge.

4) In downward motions, so as not to disturb the fine hairs on your face, lightly rub the primer into your face , so it fills in all of the pores and smoothes out the face evenly. The thinner the layer, the better, but you also want to be careful not to work at the product for too long.

5) Wait 3-5 minutes to allow your primer to set.

6) You are now ready to have the smoothest foundation application ever! Apply foundation using your favorite method. For some people, foundation won’t even be necessary, because the primer will have blurred away all of their imperfections.

7) Do the rest of your makeup as you normally would ” but seeing as you took the extra primer step, you might as well go all out!