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Face Primers: Make-Up Essential Or Just Another Product To Land In The Pandora’s Box Of Forgotten Trends?

Face Primers: Make-Up Essential Or Just Another Product To Land In The Pandora’s Box Of Forgotten Trends?

So many viral make-up videos, so little bathroom space… With new all-singing, all-dancing wunderkind products invading our eyeballs from every possible social media orifice 24/7, it’s difficult to know when something’s the real deal or just the heavily sponsored flavor of the week. Sky-high rent coupled with increasingly tiny abodes means that every item in your make-up collection has to earn its place. Fight to the bathroom-trashcan death, if you will. Or at least do what it’s meant to f*cking do after you shell out your hard-earned coin. Which brings us to face primers… New make-up essential, or just another IRL letdown from the grassy uplands of Facetune?

From our experience – as try everything obsessives – a primer can mean the difference between looking like a Walking Dead zombie who’s just learned their student debt carries over into death, or a poreless, ready-to-take-on-the-universe QUEEN. In other words, deserving of that prime (geddit?) real estate spot on your vanity top.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about this crush-worthy make-up marvel.


What are face primers?

Primers can be used for a bunch of different purposes (there are versions for eyes, lips, lashes, etc.). But a face primer’s main duty is to create an even surface for you to apply your makeup. It’s a cream or liquid-based substance that goes on before your foundation to help smooth out your pores. It can also work to minimize oil and shine, preventing you from looking like you’ve taken a dip in a deep-frying vat. Make-up artists and beauty bloggers tout primer’s praises because it gives your skin an even texture, which you need in order to apply the rest of your make-up like a pro.


How do face primers work?

There are actually tons of different types of primers that can help you achieve different goals (all with the endgame of flawless-looking skin). There are different bases for primers, including silicone and more natural ingredients.

Silicone is a synthetic ingredient made from silicon, oxygen, and usually hydrogen and carbon. Its emollient nature means it can lock hydration into skin and prevent moisture loss. In face primers, silicone helps disguise imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores to Kpop-star levels. Plus, it can help your make-up stay on way longer than it would with no primer (especially if you have oily skin).

Heads up, though: if you have acne-prone skin or sensitive skin, you could find you break out more with silicone-based products. But never fear – there are natural primers too. These are typically water-based and can still work well with your other make-up products.


Image by Glow Repose on Unsplash: There are a variety of types of face primers that might work well with your skin.


Here’s a rundown of a few of your primer options…



You’ll need a mattifying face primer if you have oily skin. A silicone-based primer creates a matte barrier between your skin and your make-up, so your face won’t look like a nasty oil slick by lunchtime. It also helps your foundation stay put longer and can blur and smooth your pores for a more even texture – an IRL Insta filter, if you will.



If your skin is more on the dry side, try a primer that’s hydrating and has ingredients like antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. Skip silicone-based primers, which could add to your dryness and make your make-up appear clumpy (gross).



Different colored primers serve various purposes. For example, green primers help correct redness, and purple primers offset more yellow tones in your skin. Whichever kind you need, it’ll be sure to help you create a balanced even tone.



If you’re starting to get the beginnings of some fine lines or wrinkles (and let’s be real – after 2020, who isn’t), blurring primers work to smooth out those lines. It won’t mattify as much as a mattifying primer, but it can still provide an even surface.

To find out if your primer will work well with your current foundation, place a small dab of the primer on your hand and then layer your foundation on top. If it turns powdery or starts to completely separate, it’s a no-go – try experimenting with other options.


Are face primers a passing fad?

For those of us who rely on our make-up to feel more put together, face primers are likely to stay in rotation for the long haul. If you want your foundation to stay on for at least the entire day (and then after-work drinks, of course), a primer can help your make-up stay put. While some might argue that foundations already come with long-lasting formulas, you can see for yourself if your make-up is actually going the distance.

Want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth? Try multi-use primers that both color-correct and mattify. Of course, you don’t need to hide your flaws (and screw anyone who thinks you do). But if you are interested in getting in on that baby-butt-smooth appearance, consider adding a primer to your make-up routine.


Image by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash: Brands like The Ordinary and Glossier have come out with super-functional face primers.


What are the best face primers?

There are so many incredible products on the market – and they come in every price range, too, which is great for those of us who don’t have a bunch of cash to splash! Here’s an idea of some of the best ones…


Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pore Minimizing Primer ($32)

You only need a tiny drop of this primer to cover your entire face. It smooths out pores with an amazing blurring effect, and it’s made with vitamin E, which can protect your skin from free radicals.


The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer ($5)

This might be a cheap option, but don’t let the price or name fool you – this ain’t no ordinary primary. Its super-effective adaptive silicone acts to mattify, hydrate, and blur, all while reducing pores and imperfections.


Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer ($39)

You might feel like the Wicked Witch of the West applying this green-tinted primer, but it’s Glinda the Good Witch vibes only once it works its magic. Think instantly reduced redness and gorgeously evened-out skin tone.


Neutrogena Prep + Correct Primer ($13)

This color-correcting primer minimizes all unwanted redness (whether it’s from acne, rosacea, etc.) to even your complexion.


Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser ($6)

Beauty bloggers have long been raving about this inexpensive option. It leaves your face feeling baby-soft and smooth and helps minimize the appearance of large pores.


Glossier Hydrating Face Moisturizer Primer ($22)

This primer is perfect if you’ve got dry skin – it’ll leave your face feeling extra dewy all day. It’s also super lightweight, so you won’t have to feel like you have a Kardashian-esque amount of product layered on your skin.

Don’t spend your precious time applying make-up that will only slide off your skin by noon. By investing in a primer (even a cheap one), you’ll be able to keep your face in place as you get through your busy day. The verdict: this trend won’t be going away anytime soon!


Featured image by Kim Carpenter on Unsplash