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  • Writer's pictureRachael Brook


Primer: /ˈprʌɪmə/ A product used as a preparatory coat on skin.

What is a foundation primer? Put simply, primers are a base product used to create a barrier between your skin and the product (i.e foundation) you’re about to apply. 

What are the benefits of using a foundation primer?

- You can create your desired skin texture

- Encourages make up to last longer

- Evens out skin tone and texture

- Creates a smooth base for applying foundation

What is the best way to apply primer? This all depends on the formula and what area of your face that you’re applying it to.  I love using a buffing brush or just my hands to massage in my usual gel or cream formulas.  There are also spray formulas on the market which you can simply spray and leave to set for a few seconds before applying your foundation. All in all I think this all comes down to personal preference, but massaging the product into your skin can be pretty damn relaxing.

Do I have to wait for primer to 'set' before applying my foundation over the top?

I would definitely recommend waiting around 30 seconds for your primer to set and work it’s magic.  You'll most likely have a slightly damp feeling on your skin once it’s applied so as soon as that feeling has disappeared you're good to go!

What factors determine which primer I should use?

Skin type: If you have oily skin there are primers on the market to help mattify your skin so that your foundation can last longer.  If your skin is more on the dry side, you can find a moisturizing primer so that your foundation doesn't settle into any particularly dry areas on your skin.  If you have combination skin, you could use an oil control primer in your oily areas and a moisturizing primer in your dry areas.  There's nothing wrong with using two! If you have normal skin - the world of primers is your oyster!

Skin tone:  I'm personally not big on colour correcting however using coloured primers can have it’s benefits.  If you have particularly red skin you can find a green based primer to counteract that redness.  This is really helpful if you suffer from acne or rosacea. There are also purple based primers for sallow skin or pink based for giving the skin a brighter look to it. 

Skin goals:  If you want a brighter, glowing, dewy, matte, long lasting, sun protected, flawless, pore-less base, there's a primer for it.

Which primers do you recommend?

There are so many epic products on the market, but these are a few of my go-tos.

For hydration: If you want glowing, illuminated skin I’d highly recommend trying Giorgio Armani Beauty’s Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer. It’s brand spanking new and leaves your skin looking beautifully radiant.

Fenty’s brand new Pro Filt’r Hydrating Primer is GORGEOUS. It feels like I’m wearing a moisturiser and works beautifully with their (also new) Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation. It’s an excellent combo.

Hourglass No.28 Primer Serum is an oil blend serum that leaves your skin feeling plump and hydrated upon application. This was one of the first primers I fell in love with.

For a quick application: You can’t go past MAC’s Prep + Prime Fix + for instant hydration as well as instant skin softness. This product sprays on, but works best when massaged into the skin. Or if you’re feeling really lazy and you need something to make your makeup last longer, Too Faced Hangover Primer Spray is a brilliant option. No massaging required. Primer application doesn’t get much easier than this!

For oily skin: Back to Fenty Beauty, but this time I’m going to recommend one of their original products - the Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer. For my own skin, I avoid mattifying products because my skin is dry enough as it is, however I felt it only fair to trial this and I have to say my makeup DID NOT BUDGE for much longer than usual.

Often enlarged pores come along with oily skin, and for that you can’t go past Benefit’s Porefessional Primer. It almost makes your pores look airbrushed - it’s a really clever product. A must have in every makeup kit.

For long lasting makeup: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is a must try! It’s oil free, neutralizes redness, and feels beautifully silky to apply.

For colour correcting: The Stila One Step Correct has various tones (they blend together on application) to help combat redness, boost brightness as well as prep the skin for makeup application so this is a great colour correcting primer to start with.

The all rounder: When I first started doing makeup, there weren’t so many primers on the market, so instead of having one for every skin type, I tried to find products that worked on most skin types, and Laura Mercier’s original Primer was my go-to. It minimizes imperfections and creates a beautifully smooth canvas to work with.

Do I have to use a primer?
The short answer is no. However, when you find a primer that works for you, you won’t want to go without one again!


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