Home Makeup Tips What is Primer Makeup and Do You Need It?
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What is Primer Makeup and Do You Need It?

by Sandy Taylor

Primers can make or break your makeup look. In this post, we will go over what primers are and why you may want to consider using them in your makeup routine.


What is Primer Makeup and What Is It Used For?

Primers are like erasers–they cover up discoloration, smooth out unwanted textures, and blur large pores. They also improve fine lines and hyperpigmentation. 

Primer enhances specific parts of your beauty routine, such as your eyes, face lashes, lips, and nails. Primers are put on the skin before eyeshadow, foundation, tinted moisturizer, and mascara. 

The primer application helps create a smooth look that helps your makeup stay on longer, enhances full coverage, and makes it, so you don’t have to use as much makeup every day. 

At the same time, primer also targets oily or dry skin. So, if you see a little extra shine on your t-zone or if your makeup disappears after a few hours, a primer may be the perfect thing to keep your makeup looking fresh. 

Is Primer Necessary?

Primer is necessary if you want your makeup to look smooth or skin issues to lessen. 

Primer can help make skin issues such as dry skin, dullness, oily skin, discoloration, or big pores not appear so prominently when makeup is applied. It will also help tame those things, so the makeup looks better throughout the day.

Does Makeup Need Primer? Do You Need It Before Foundation?

Primer helps your makeup last longer and acts as a protective barrier for your skin. It’s recommend that you use it before foundation to help your foundation last longer.  Use primers with combined skincare and moisturizing benefits for the best results.

It’s OK to not use primer if your skin is already smooth and you are confident that your foundation and other makeup won’t settle into any fine lines, wrinkles or uneven surfaces.   

How To Choose a Primer?

When choosing a primer, the most important thing you can do is look for one that will work best with your skin type. Look for the words “hydrating,” “soothing,” or “replenishing” on the bottles. If you have oily skin, pick a mattifying primer. 

Or, if you struggle with excess oil and shine, get an excellent mattifying primer. Check to make sure the products are oil-free. Those will help your skin reduce oil production and keep your face looking beautiful! 

If your pores are bigger than you’d like, primers to minimize pores also help reduce shine. When it comes to sensitive skin, there are primers for that. It’s a good idea to choose cosmetic products with a short ingredient list. 

Many beauty stores have primers for sensitive skin that are oil-free, fragrance-free, and more. The fewer additives you have in your primer, the less likely you will have a bad reaction, which would cause a lot more issues than your makeup not sticking on your face long enough.

How To Use Face Primer For Long-lasting Makeup?

Who doesn’t want a flawless look? The best way to get your makeup to last a long time is by letting your moisturizer and primer dry for an appropriate amount of time. Before putting on your primer, start with moisturizer. 

Let it dry on your skin for a few minutes before applying primer. Begin at the center of your face, apply a thin layer and dab it into the skin with your fingers. You can also use a makeup sponge.  

Let the primer dry on your face for a few minutes before you begin applying your foundation. Letting the primer dry will ensure the best coverage and quality. 

Another key to long-lasting makeup is ensuring the primer you select complements your foundation. If you have a silicone-based primer, it’s best to use a silicone-based foundation. 

If you have a water-based foundation, it’s best to use a water-based foundation. 

It’s that simple! 

Do You Use a Primer Before or After Moisturizer?

Whether or not to use a primer before or after moisturizing is an age-old question. You should always apply moisturizer before applying primer to your face. Don’t do it any other way! 

Sometimes people get primer and moisturizer mixed up. Or others think you can use primer and moisturizer interchangeably. That is not true. 

A moisturizer keeps moisture within the skin and stops the skin from drying out during the day. If you apply primer first, your skin could become dry and dull-looking. Primers will not assist the skin with moisturizing. 

Your makeup could look extremely bad and not set right if you don’t use primer and moisturizer in the correct order. And nobody wants that! 

An easy way to remember the correct order is to remember that “M” comes before “P” in the alphabet. Moisturizer should be the last step in your skincare routine before you begin to apply primer and makeup. The primer should be the first step in your makeup routine. 

Can You Wear the Primer Alone (Without Makeup)?

Yes, you can wear primer without makeup! There’s no rule against it, and people do it frequently. Primers are perfect for the “no makeup” look. 

They help keep your complexion smooth without the heaviness of foundation. Primers also help with redness from acne, irritation, and discoloration. Try using a primer in place of foundation and concealers. 

There’s a great way to get the best look. Start by washing and hydrating your skin. Use a moisturizer that works best for your skin. Wait a minute to allow the moisturizer to dry. Letting the moisturizer dry will give the primer a solid baseline. 

Next, you will need to apply sunscreen SPF. Always have to protect your beautiful skin! Some primers come with SPF protection. 

The best practice is to put sunscreen under the primer so that you don’t solely rely on the primer alone for protection from UV rays. Give the sunscreen a second to dry before you move on. 

The last step is to apply your primer. 

You can either use a brush or your clean hands. Start at the center of your face and smooth the primer over your face. 

How Long Should You Let the Primer Dry Before Foundation?

After applying your primer, you should let it dry for around 2- 3 minutes before applying your foundation. This will help ensure that any makeup you apply on top won’t accidentally mix with your primer that is still wet.

To check if your primer is ready for other makeup, gently tap on top of it with your fingers. It should feel slightly tacky but not wet enough to stick to your fingers.

What Is Makeup Primer Made Of?

Common primers are made of waxes, silicones, water as well as various skincare and sunscreen ingredients. Some primers contain harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates. Some are formulated with oil and fragrances.

Waxes – Primers may be formulated with mineral, vegetable (natural fatty acids), and animal oils (like beeswax). Waxes are used in primers as emollients, texturizers, and thickeners.

Silicones – Common silicones in makeup primers include Cyclopentasiloxane and Dimethicone. Silicones in primers help the primer provide your skin with a soft and smooth finish. Note that your makeup must have the same base for it to last long. This means if you are using a silicone based primer, you should match it with a silicone based foundation. If you don’t match the base of your makeup, they may separate. Find out more in this post: 4 Reasons Your Foundation is Separating On Your Face (Easy Fixes)

Water – Water is used as a solvent to help dissolve the ingredients in the primer. Makeup that is water based, such as water based primers and water based foundations, are excellent choices for people with oily skin because they provide great hydration to help your skin maintain good oil control.

Skincare Ingredients – Some primers provide natural skincare ingredients like grape seed extracts that provide excellent benefits to your skin.  Ensure to study the ingredients list to ensure the ingredients matches your needs.

Sunscreen Ingredients – Common inorganic sunscreen ingredients found in makeup primers are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Parabens – Commonly used as preservatives in makeup products. Common parabens used in primers include: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.

Phthalates – Commonly used as a fixative in makeup products. Common phthalates include dimethylphthalate and diethylphthalate

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