Primer 101

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hello lovelies!

So this a long time coming but today we are talking about primers ; what they do, are they necessary and different options for different skin types.

Much like painting a wall, you want to prime your face before "painting" it. What it does is create a smooth and perfected canvas to work with. It also creates a barrier between your skin and the makeup you will apply.

In theory, it should help your makeup apply more easily and evenly and prevent any creasing, fading, or general meltdowns.

If you have very oily skin, unfortunately there is no miracle product, you will need to blot, but it should help spread out how often you need to do it.

The other tricky part is finding the right primer/foundation combo. They need to work as a team. 

There are also ways to make sure you get the best out of your primer. You can mix it with your foundation instead of applying as a separate layer beforehand, you can mix in some moisturizer, some green concealer if redness is a concern, really there's lots you can do!

Your primer should also be doing more for you than just create the ideal canvas : boost your skin's hydration, mattify your skin, shrink pores, even out your skin tone, help fight acne, help fade dark spots... Really there's products for most skin concerns!

In theory, if your skin is well prepped (cleansed and moisturized) primers are not ESSENTIAL but I quite like to use them, you also need to be careful as some of them can make you break out. I also find if I use primer too often (several days in a row), I will break out anyways, so I keep it for special occasions. They help prevent your makeup clogging your pores, but they don't exactly let your skin breathe, so if you sweat in it or are sensitive to certain ingredients in them, it can cause unwanted skin eruptions. 

All that being said! Here are a few that I like and the skin types I recommend them for (though not exclusively restricted to those) :

For dry to combination skin: 
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Hydrating
Photo from

I really like this primer. I have combo to oily skin, but discovered this in the harsh winter months this year and it's really been a life saver. Sometimes, even if I've moisturized, other primers and foundations will still cling to the dry patches, making it look not cute at all, with this, my makeup is a smooth dream. It has a nice creamy texture that feels like a thin moisturizer that leaves a nice silky finish.

For oily skin:
Rimmel Stay Matter Primer

This is a nice thicker creme like texture but that dries to a nice velvety finish. It mattifies without overdrying. Not a whole lot more to say about this one, this is a great drugstore option!

Benefit's The POREfessional

Dr.Brandt's Pores no more 

These two are fairly similar, they both have a tint to it but it doesn't really show up on the skin or anything, just subtly evens out the skin a little. They both have that silicone like texture and that dry silky finish. They both minimize the appearance of pores, but Dr.Brandt also doubles as an actual treatment/serum for large pores and might have long term effects on your skin. Can't vouch for that yet!

For acne prone skin:
Cover FX Mattifying Primer With Anti-Acne Treatment

This has a nice light gel texture that contains 1% salicylic acid. It's a bit sticky at first but dries pretty quickly, I like it more as a barrier for my skin when I'm breaking out. I don't feel like it keeps me particularly matte or helps my makeup last as much as the others though!

For normal skin :
Maybelline's Baby skin Instant Pore Eraser (some people call it a dupe for the POREfessional, but it's not as effective on oily skin. Other fun fact, this is most similar to Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel, which as weird as it sounds is also a great primer) 
It has a nice silicone like texture and allows makeup to smooth over nicely, but it doesn't help with pores or longevity as much as the other ones mentioned. However, I think this is a great primer for normal skin.

The Body shop's Vitamin C Skin Boost (works well on my combo skin as well)

Similar texture as the Baby Skin, plus it smells OH SO HEAVENLY. It does have a hint of a tint wich helps even out the skin tone a tad, plus vitamin C is great for your skin! So it's a great primer for normal skin, but also a great treatment to brighten up your complexion. As mentioned I feel this is helping to fade some acne scarring.

Quick mention : a brand that makes me break out without fail is Smashbox. I've tried several ones from them and instantly, like before I even take off my makeup, zits galore :( However, a lot of people swear by them... I personally will always avoid them, and don't really recommend them, since there are great options that are less "risky".

That pretty much sums it up! If you have any more questions on these products, feel free to ask!

Talk to you soon,

- Val

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