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What Does Makeup Primer do? Benefits, How To Use Guide

What does makeup primer do? This is a Simple question that you are about to dominate now. In this article you will learn loads about makeup primers, how to use them, and which one is suitable for your skin type.

What Does Makeup Primer do? Benefits, How To Use Guide

What Is A Makeup Primer? 

Makeup primer is a product that you should use before applying your foundation, eyeshadow or lipsticks, in order to prep your skin to receive makeup. There are three types of primers, which are for the eyes, the face, and the lips.

Oftentimes, primers count with light creamy texture, pretty much like a light weight moisturizer, that can be translucent or tinted.

What Is A Makeup Primer? 

What Does Makeup Primer Do?

For those questioning what is the purpose of primer makeup, it will Instantaneously improve the skin texture, to receive foundation, eyeshadow or lipstick, improving their coverage and duration.

When applied before the makeup, it prepares the skin, by closing pores, leaving the skin smoother. 

Additionally, primers will allow your makeup to stay in place for longer. Here’s what each one of these type of primers do:

Facial Primers

  • Seals open pores: Protects your skin, preventing the makeup product to stay in direct contact, which will be important to blur pores and wrinkles.
  • Uniformize the skin texture
  • Softens wrinkles and fine lines
  • Helps foundation to stay in place for longer
  • Facilitates foundation application

Eyeshadow Primers

  • Correct and evens your eyelid skin tone
  • Helps with fixation of the eyeshadow 
  • Prevent the eyeshadow to crackle on the crease
  • Intensifies the eyeshadow color pigmentation
  • Helps eyeshadow to stay on place for longer

Primers For The Lips

  • Lip primers are great for those with dry skin, as it will hydrate and nourish the lips before applying lipstick or lip balm.
  • If you are planning to use matte lipstick, it prevents chubby cracked lips
  • Helps the lipstick to stay in place for longer
What Does Makeup Primer do? Benefits, How To Use & Buying Guide

What Type Of Primer Should I use? 

Everybody can and should use primers, but you may be wondering if there is a specific type of primer you should be using given your skin type or the occasion you are planning to use it.

Before getting started, it is important to know that it’s also a good idea to choose your primer according to the effect you wish to bring to your makeup.

As there are several types of primers, ask yourself what type of makeup I am looking for on this specific occasion? Here’s a quick list of types of primers you can find out there:

  • Illuminating: Contains light reflecting particles for a shimmery irradiant glowy finish. Most liked by dry skin people
  • Neutralizing or color correcting: evens skin tone 
  • Pores minimizer: normally for oily skin with large pores
  • Hydrating: perfect for all skin types
  • Anti-aging: for every body, especially those with fine lines
  • With SPF: For those looking for sunscreen protection
  • Mattifying: To reduce shine 
  • liquid fluid: For oily skin 
  • Oil primers: all skin types but greater for dry skin
  • Tinted Primer: contains a bit o color and can be great ally to enhance your foundation
how to chose primer

How To Choose

Before choosing your primer, there are a few questions you could ask yourself to help you decide which one you should take. Here are the questions:

1. What is my skin type?

If you have normal to dry skin, opt for a hydrating primer, oil primer or illuminating primers. In case you use a silicone primer, it is better to avoid water based foundation and use oil foundations instead.

Cream primers are ideal for all skin types, and if you have oily skin, you can use them as well, as long as they are not too thick. For those with pores, you can opt for a pore minimizer primer, but depending on the product, you need to apply only when the pores occur. 

For those with very oily skin, the mattifying primers, or even serum primers are a great option. In your case, look for oil-free products.

2. Do I Need Color Correction?

Nowadays we have a neutralizing primer that is perfect for those who suffer from uneven skin tones or huge dark circles, spots and so on. These types of products may contain many different colors to help ‘fix’ different tone issues. Here are some examples:

  • Green: For those who are experiencing redness
  • Purple: Suitable for those that are experiencing yellowish tones 
  • Red: Can be used by those with opaque skin tone, and heavy dark circles

3. Do I need a primer for the eyes, the face or the lips?

It is a nice idea to have a separated primer for different parts, such as eyes and lips, instead of using one product for the entire face. There are however, facial primers that can be used on the face including the eye area.

If you are looking for a facial primer that is multifunctional, look for products that are ophthalmologically tested, to certify you are adding the right product under the eye area, to avoid allergies.

what does a makeup primer do?

What To Look For In A Makeup Primer?

Now that you have an idea of types of primers you can choose from, it is time to think a bit deeper, because you can and should opt for products that will treat your skin while you are wearing your makeup.

Wherever is possible, give preference for anti-aging hydrating primers with nourishing ingredients, vitamines, down below you can find a quick list of items, ingredients, or features you should look for:

  • Hyaluronic Acid: Will assure your skin get hydrated and protected
  • Nourishing Oils: Can bring nutrition for your skin. Oils such as jojoba oil are anti-inflammatory and healing. Butity oil is anti-oxidant and contains vitamin A which renews and boosts collagen.
  • Vitamins: vitamin A and C is great for saggy and aging skin, while complex B vitamins are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Vitamin D is great for cancer prevention.

What To Avoid

In the same way we look for nourishing ingredients, we need to make sure we are paying attention that our primers won’t contain harsh chemical ingredients.

I know the list may be enormous but down below there is a quick list of some items you can add to your no-no list:

  • Alcohol: Some products for oily skin may contain alcohol to help you take over the excess of oil and shine. Even if you suffer from excess oil, you should avoid cosmetics with alcohol because they will dehydrate the skin over time and cause it to be even oiler afterwards.
  • Silicone: Even though silicone can facilitate foundation application, it is not a great ingredient, because it is not natural and can clog your pores. 
  • Lanolin: Is not cruelty-free and it is a type of fat that comes from the sheeps and contains insecticides that may cause allergies.
  • Parabens: Can mess the hormonal production and can cause cancer
  • Petrolatum: Can also cause cancer, and clog the pores
What Does Makeup Primer Do?

How To Use Makeup Primer?

Applying Facial Primer

The facial primer is the first product you use after your skincare routine. So in this case, you apply it after your cream and even after sunscreen. You can apply it with your fingers or a foundation brush as you wish.

Apply it before foundation, all over your face avoiding the eyes and the lips. Some facial primers that are ophthalmologically tested, can be applied around the dark circles.

If you want to use a pore minimizer primer, it is a good idea to apply a normal primer on the other areas and apply the pore minimizer prime where there are pores on your face.

Applying Eyeshadow Primer

It’s simple just apply the product on the crease / eyelids with the finger. There is no need to brush. However, pay attention if you want to perform a smoke eye, do not apply the primer on the intended area, because it can spoil de degradé as the pigmentation will become very strong.

Applying Lips Primer

Another simple product to apply on the lips, just apply it on dry lips before lip gloss and lipstick. This technique is great for those who, like me, love matte lipstick.

Best Practices & Mistakes To Avoid 

  • For better results, make sure to cleanse and prep your skin before using makeup primers
  • Avoid applying too much primer because it can make it difficult to apply the next makeup product. You just need a small amount of the product, so use primers with moderation!
  • Let the primer fully dry before applying the next makeup product, this way, it will better develop its function.
  • Choose the prime according to your taste and skin condition. 
  • If you have oily skin and opt for mattifying primer, make sure it does not contain ingredients that are harmful such as alcohol.
  • Make sure the primer formulation will match with the foundation formulation, so you can have a complementary treatment. For example, oil based primers may not work very well with water based foundation. 
  • Choose one primer and stick with it instead of mixing lots of primers before your makeup application.
  • If you think your foundation is too thick, you can mix primer with it for a lighter coverage. 

Makeup Primers FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you wear primer without makeup? 

Yes. You can use primers with makeup, maybe for a no makeup makeup look or just to enjoy and profit the benefits you can get by using primers. Sometimes you don’t want to use foundation, but want to just apply concealer in some areas, this may work well too. As a result, you can get smooth blurry skin, ready for the day, or night!

2. Is a primer necessary for makeup?

Not exactly, but it is a good thing to have. However, if you don’t have primer, you should not worry because your makeup can and will still look great in most cases. In the end, it is totally your decision to use it or not. I know some people who don’t like primers. 

4. Does Makeup Primer Work?

Yes. If you buy a good quality product, you should be able to at least have a better foundation application. Try to find primers with nourishing ingredients and great reviews online.

5. Do You Put Primer Or Moisturizer On First?

You should apply moisturizer first and then apply the primer.

6. How Long Should You Let Primer Dry Before Foundation?

Not all primers dry out in the same way and it will depend solely on the product you are using. There is not a fixed answer for this question but as soon as you notice your skin has dried from the primer, it’s time to apply the foundation. 


In this article, you have learned What Does Makeup Primer do? Its Benefits, How To Use it & Buying Guide. 

Here you could see that primers should be used after moisturizers and before foundation (or eye shadow or lips). As a result, you get better makeup application and can profit from other benefits such as hydration and long lasting makeup.

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