Primers might be one of those products that you've heard about, but you're not really sure what they do, or how they work, let alone which ones to buy! So I wrote this article to tell you a little about how primers work, how to apply them, and to recommend some products to try, both from my personal experience and also from good reviews I've heard.
Face primers are, obviously, for all over your face. These are applied after moisturizer (letting the moisturizer sink in to your skin for a minute is a good idea) and before foundation. One main purpose of a face primer is to smooth your skin - they will make your skin feel so silky smooth and this really helps your foundation apply a lot more smoothly on top of it. This can also really help minimize the appearance of pores. If you look for a mattifying primer, it can help reduce shininess if that's a problem you encounter with your skin! Face primers will also help your makeup last longer, both in the sense of keeping it on your skin longer, and I also find I need to use less foundation when I'm wearing primer, so you keep more in your bottle for later and less on your skin!
You don't need a lot of primer, just a teeny amount will do. Some people prefer to put it only on oilier areas or spots with more visible pores, some put it all over - do whatever you prefer! You can apply it with your fingers if you like (I do!) but you can also use a synthetic foundation brush.
Face primers I've used and like:
MAC Prep+Prime Skin - I like this for a day look, it's not very mattifying and it's pretty light. The texture is almost like a mousse but a little more liquid - it has a teeny-tiny amount of shimmer to it but you hardly notice it on the face, it's more like a glow.
Lise Watier Base Miracle - Thicker, kind of a thick gel texture but more dry. I like this one for evening looks because it's a bit thicker and it's mattifying. Makes my skin feel like silk! Pricy (about $30+ for 25 ml) but it's worth it - a little goes a long way and since I usually only use it for big nights out, I've had the same bottle for a looong time!
L'Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base - this stuff is really well priced at around $10CAD. It has a slightly stickier feeling than most primers when you first touch it and apply it to your face, but it quickly sets and leaves a very smooth, soft feeling on your skin. You can definitely see the effect of it on the texture and tone of the skin, even on the back of your hand. A great buy for those on a budget!!
Face primers I've heard good things about (but haven't used):
Smashbox Photofinish Primer
Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer
Similarly to face primers, eye primers help your eyeshadow last longer. They also really grab the pigment and lock it into place, so not only will it not budge, the colour payoff will be a bit better. The only con I've found with eye primer (and this may not be the case with all primers, maybe just the one I use) is that because it really grabs and holds the colour, it can be hard to blend out darker shades. BUT - I've found a pretty easy way around this.
Once I apply the primer from lashline to browbone (you need only a pretty thin layer) with my ring finger, I take a medium fluffy shadow brush. Everyone's eyelid size is different, but basically you want to aim for a brush that when turned sideways (flat side against your skin), takes up ONLY the space from just above your crease to just below the brow bone. In that area, swipe a shade of eyeshadow that is either exactly your skintone, or slightly darker for a little more depth. I've been liking using the lighter shade in L'Oreal HIP's Shady eyeshadow duo to do this. This will be a great invisible eye shadow to blend both your brow highlight shade into, and your contour shade as well, while still laying your lid and crease colours directly onto the primer to get the best "grab".
Eye primers I've used and liked:
Urban Decay Primer Potion - I got a sample of this from Sephora in the "Eden" shade originally, which is a matte yellow-ish shade. I also have the original, which is my favourite, it's just completely sheer. I don't go a day without this stuff!
Eye primers I've heard good things about (but haven't used):
Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Benefit Stay Don't Stray - this is also billed as an undereye concealer primer
MAC Painterly Paint Pot - not actually a primer but lots of people use it as one!
So overall, primers are a fantastic addition to your makeup collection if you want to give your makeup that extra oomph and lasting touch - they're one of those things that will make you and your makeup look better without anyone else really being able to put a finger on why - basically, they're effortless with a lot of payoff!
Hope this article was helpful to you! :)