What is primer and why should I use it?

Image by Twylamae
Words by Ashleigh Fenton

The great beauty debate.

The confusion around primers is a well-documented topic in the beauty community. When do you apply it? What type of primer is good for you? What does a primer actually do? Do you even need a primer?

“To not prime is a crime” gets thrown around a lot among beauty aficionados and it just may have some truth to it. When it’s 3 pm and you’re sliding down your chair only to realise your makeup simultaneously sliding off your face, it’s time to prime.

Ideally, a primer should prolong the wear of your makeup and act as a canvas for beautiful makeup application. Primers can also add benefits like extra hydration or smoothness depending on your product choice. They should be applied after moisturising and before foundation or tinted moisturiser for maximum effect.

Primers fall into four main categories:

Skin can absorb makeup throughout the day and leave your foundation patchy or flakey. Primer acts as a barrier to prevent that from happening to dry skin types. A layer of hydration between your skin and makeup base ensures your skincare regime isn’t affected by a layer of makeup.

Product recommendations: Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer, Ciate Watermelon Burst Hydrating Primer.

When makeup is applied to skin types that have enlarged pores or texture, it can amplify these areas and prevent product from sitting smoothly. A smoothing primer on these areas will help to make your makeup appear more polished.

Product recommendations: Ren Perfect Canvas Primer SerumYSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer.

If an oilier skin type often finds makeup slipping and sliding around throughout the day, a mattifying primer is the best solution. This option is more absorbent than the rest and is perfect for soaking up excess oils that break down your makeup. A helpful tip for these primers is to apply only in areas with an extra shine or slick to avoid drying out the skin or making it appear flat.

Product recommendations: L’Oreal Infalliable Matte Primer, Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer.

For all the glow getters, an illuminating primer is the perfect product that adds shine and reflection to your routine. Perfect for all skin types that like to be beaming with dewiness. If you find your foundation a little dull or matte, this is for you.

Product recommendations: Nars Radiance Primer, Becca Backlight Priming Filter.

Now comes the real test, try your foundation with a primer first and then without. I guarantee you will look like a fresher version of yourself come 3 pm.

Now the only problem is dealing with the mid-afternoon chocolate cravings, but I can’t help you there.

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