Foundation primer is a base applied after your moisturizer and before your foundation.  Some people think that it’s not necessary, considering it’s a relatively new product in the world of makeup. I am a primer girl! It’s an essential step in my personal makeup routine as well as when working on clients.  Most primers are silicone based but the key with primers is to experiment and find which formula is best for you.

Why use a primer?

Think of your foundation in terms of painting on a canvas (only the canvas is your face). Just like canvas, your skin is porous.  Priming your canvas helps to build a solid barrier and provides a smooth canvas to prevent issues such as fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, dry patches or oil coming through. Heat, humidity, rain and even extreme cold can break down your makeup and a primer will help to combat that leaving you with longer lasting makeup.

Benefits of Foundation Primer:

Primers smooth out the skin – Most primers are silicone based and create a smooth canvas by filling in pores and lines.

Makes your makeup last longer – Primer acts as a longer-lasting binding agent for your makeup giving you longer wear.

It can pick up where your foundation left off – A primer can serve functions your foundations can’t. Let’s say you really like a foundation that hydrates and nourishes, but your skin is oily and you don’t need more hydration. Certain primers can help address your skin issues, giving you more freedom to use the products you prefer. You can find primers for just about every skin issue, including redness, oiliness, dryness, and acne.

Primer can even be worn on its own

Do you love the fresh no-makeup look but want to look a just a bit more put together than when you first woke up? Primer is your answer. The product can be worn to serve as a lighter alternative to foundation and gives a smoothing effect.

They work with any skin type or skin color

This product is easy to choose because it’s for everyone. As a makeup artist, that’s great for me, because it means I can just buy one for my kit, no need to buy several different shades, although some primers do come tinted. (I’m extra so I have several but one would be just fine).


How to apply:

  • Start in the center of the face and work your way out, you want a light coverage.
  • Apply with your clean fingers or a sponge.
  • Allow your primer to set for a few minutes before applying foundation.


Types of Primers

  • Silicone/dimethicone primer is the most popular and is used for any and all skin types. They have a silky texture. The silica absorbs left-over oil to help control shine, while the Silicone and dimethicone together form a barrier to prevent visible issues like enlarged pores, lines, etc.
  • Water based primers feel like gel or even liquid and are good for oily skin.
  • Cream based primers are good for hydrating the skin. They have a lotion consistency and absorb into the skin like lotion. Cream based primers work best for those who have dryness and want more moisturizing properties.

**A large majority of primers contain ingredients that you should be aware of such as parabens. Even if a certain amount for one product is safe, most makeup wearers combine several products in their makeup routine. I recommend that you do your research if you are very concerned about what goes on your skin.

In the words of one of my favorite makeup artists, Napoleaon Perdis, “not to prime is a crime”. Yes you need a primer!

Do you prime? What are some of your favorite foundation primers?

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Written By: @BeatsByJes

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