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How To: Prime Your Face

What’s all the business about primers?

Do they really work?

What I want to clarify is what are primers and what specifically do they do. In addition I will explain the different types of primers for different functions.

Picking the right primer can be the difference from your makeup caking up or wearing all day flawlessly.

So what are primers?

Primers are liquid, gel, oil, cream, and sometimes powder that are placed on top of the skin before foundation is applied to help with texture, oil, color, pores, hydration, and fine lines.

face canvas

Think of a painter getting ready to paint a masterpiece on his canvas. He isn’t going to just slap the paint on because it will get absorbed into the canvas causing the picture to look rough, the colors to be bland. So what does he do? He primes the canvas. The same can be said for your face.

Your face is a canvas that has a lot of things fighting against your foundation from wearing flawlessly all day.

What different types of primers are there and what do they do?

There are face, eye, eyelash, and lip primers. I will be focusing on the face primers.

Face primers have different purposes.

Colored primers

color correction primer chart

These primers help with color correction issues in the skin.

-Do you have redness? Using a green primer in those red areas will lessen the red.

-Yellow/Sallowness? Use a purple/mauve primer will correct the yellow

-Pink primer will brighten up the skin.

Different brands with colors include the below, like Stila:

smashbox colored primersstilia one step correctmufe hd primers

Line/Pore filling primers


These primers are going to be thicker in texture. To use these primers you warm it between your finger tips and press it into the lines and pores, then smooth them in one direction to smooth out the lines and pores.

Be careful when you have dry skin because a lot of pore filling primers tend to be on the mattifying side and can dry out your ‘fine lines’ further.

Brands that are Line/Pore filling include the below:

tarte clean slate porelesstoofaced primed and porelesssoap-and-glory-the-fill-monthbenefit-porefessional

Anti-Aging and Hydrating primers

These primers tend to be more of a lotion/cream/oil consistency and have more hydrating properties. These will plump out fine lines that are due to dehydration in the skin and usually have antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients.

Brands that are anti-aging/hydrating

cover fx skin prepkorres anti aging face primerhourglass n28 primer serum

Brightening primers.

These primers will usually have an opalescent or shiny glow to them to give the skin a brighter luminescent appearance.

Brands that brighten:

tarte clean slate flawlessbenefit brightening face primerhourglass mineral veil primer

Oil Control

These primers usually go hand and hand with pore filling primers. They usually have ingredients that absorb the oil that your skin produces and helps keep the skin more matte.

Use these primers sparingly, over use can cause your skin to become dehydrated causing you to over produce more oil. (It’s a vicious cycle)

Brands that Mattify:

becca mattifying primerlaura mercier oil free primercover fx mattifying primerkorres mattifying primer

Tips and Tricks

–          If you have a very mattifying foundation, try picking a more hydrating primer to balance out your skin so you   don’t get too dry causing you to produce more oil.

–          Try to ‘cocktail’ your primers, using different primers in different areas of concern. For example placing a green primer on cheeks where you might be red and an oil control primer on your t-zone where you might be more oily.

–          Don’t mix thick silicone primer with a thick silicone foundation. Silicone cannot attach to silicone and they will slip off of each other causing your makeup to ball up or roll of the face.

–          Only apply a pea size to the face, less is more! Too much primer can affect how the foundation sits on the skin.

–          Avoid any primers with mineral oil or petroleum

Your face is a canvas, make it a masterpiece!

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Posted on: April 10, 2013