Okay, so let’s talk about primers. What are they, when should you use them, and why do you need them!? The overwhelming response that I get whenever doing a client’s makeup is a bit of confusion between the steps of skincare application, and foundation. This commonly skipped step is none other than primer.
Primer is so important for a few reasons. First and foremost, primer acts as a barrier between your cosmetic products (foundation, concealer, and eye products) and your skin and skin care. While applying skincare before you use your favorite makeup products is crucial, some of our favorite makeup products do not agree with our moisturizer, so by using an amazing primer, you are actually locking in the benefits of your skin prep and creating a clean canvas for your makeup to adhere. This will help to ensure that your skin’s pores do not absorb as much foundation and powder through out the day, and it assists in keeping your makeup from traveling or breaking down as your skin’s natural oils begin to produce shine.
Second, primer (dependent on what you choose to use) actually can create a smooth finish to the skin which helps combat the look of excess texture from large pores, fine lines, and acne scarring. I prefer to use a mattifying primer on my clients that has a mousse-like texture to fill in the extra texture issues, and combat additional oils from breaking down the products. This also helps to keep the look of large pores at bay when you are using high-definition photography for events such as weddings. (I will share my secret recipe to the perfect primer prep below, so keep reading!)
Third, and this does circle back to my first point, your makeup has less of an opportunity to conduct a disappearing act from your face when using a primer. Have you ever looked in the mirror at the end of the day, and wondered where all of your makeup went? There are a few possibilities, but finding the right primer will ensure that your products do not lose pigmentation through out the day (using primer actually extends the life of your color products such as blush and bronzer, and can help combat that 4pm washed out look we all have grown accustomed to). It also (as stated above) helps to ensure your oils do not make your products travel to other areas on the face – the unsightly collecting of products in the fine lines around your mouth and nose, or the baby wrinkles in the forehead. Primer creates an extra barrier for your natural oils to break through, and if you find one that works for you, it actually should slow the oil from finding it’s way to the surface. And finally, it helps your makeup stay in place when/if you bump it, maybe you gave a hug to your sister or close friend, and brushed the tip of your nose along the way. Primer will help keep that product from shifting completely – so important on wedding day!
So what primer should you be selecting? This varies dependent on your specific needs. If you are dry to normal, but do not have a lot of texture issues I like to use TooFaced’s Hangover Replenishing Face Primer (link here) to give an added boost of hydration from coconut water. On my clients, I use the Tarte Timeless Smoothing Balm (link here) on literally every single person. I enjoy that the balm offers some mattifying power, but primarily that it does a fantastic job filling in the pores and fine lines of so many clients, I even use this on myself for daily makeup as I love the way it extends the life of my products. It offers a light and mousse-y texture that visibly blurs the effects of dehydrated and texturized skin (even just by smoothing a small amount onto the back of the hand, the results are instantaneous).
For my oily girls, I begin by prepping the skin with an oil control moisturizer, and then layering the Exuviance Daily Oil Control Primer & Finish (link here) in all of the areas that the client finds get oily throughout the day. After the primer (which feels like a gel lotion) has a moment to dry and set, I will then follow it up with the Tarte Timeless Smoothing Balm (link here) as well, as it takes care of the texture issues like I mentioned above.
Eye primer is a more difficult one to nail down what works best, especially with so many new ones popping up via beauty bloggers all of the time. As a makeup artist, I prefer to use a clear eye primer, and utilize the undertone of the clients lid color when applying shadow. For this, I use the TooFaced Shadow Insurance (link here) eye primer to lock shadow in all day long. It creates a waterproof/water-resistent finish that is pertinent to a day of wedding tears. To be honest, this is the only primer I use in my kit. I have enjoyed the Urban Decay Primer Potions (link here) as well, but with the doe foot applicator, I’m not a huge fan of the packaging as I like that I can control the amount of product more easily with a squeeze tube, but both are great.
Finding the right primer for you isn’t always easy, and with new products popping up each day on the market, it really can be difficult to sift through what is new and works well, and what is just a new sku on the gondola. The few products I listed above are phenomenal, and I wouldn’t use them on hundreds of clients each year if I didn’t believe in them, but I know that what may work for most, doesn’t always work for all. If this is the case, reach out to me and I’d be happy to help you find something similar that may work for you from a different brand! You wouldn’t paint your house without priming, so take the extra care and prime for your makeup as well – the result will be life changing.