What is a Primer?
Like painting a wall, primer is the base coat that goes underneath your makeup (or paint in the case of a wall). It increases the wear time of your makeup and in many cases makes the makeup you apply over it appear brighter or more intense. In addition, some primers have added benefits to them such as moisturizing, mattifying, brightening, etc.
Here is a look at some different types of primers, and brands I recommend:
Face: As we age, primers can help to fill in the fine lines and wrinkles on the face, sort of like spackling does on a wall. Face primers can help create a smooth surface for your foundation to adhere to. This step should be done after your moisturizer, but before foundation or concealer.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, my holy grail face primer is Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. In the winter, or when my skin is feeling a little dry, I mix it with Hourglass N28 Primer Serum.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer helps create a smooth matte finish on the skin. Their N28 Primer Serum is very moisturizing and can be used as a skincare treatment, or a face primer.
Another primer I love is from Too Faced. Their Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer does exactly what the name implies. It's lightly tinted, so can help even out the skintone of those with slight redness. Like all good face primers, this will help your makeup stay longer, but can also be worn alone.
While available in full size, Tarte currently sells a limited edition Deluxe Primer Trio. My favorite from the pack is their Clean Slate Poreless 12-Hr Perfecting Primer. This travel size primer helps create a flawless appearance on the face, and is ideal for those who have noticeably large pores. This primer does not contain any parabens, sulfates or synthetic fragrance.
If you are looking for a primer that goes the extra mile, try one of these problem solvers from CoverFx. Their Clearprep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment is ideal for those with acne prone or oily skin. Their BritePrep FX is a great primer for those with a dull complexion or hyperpigmentation. This formula has an instant brightening effect on the skin. Both apply smoothly and work well on those with sensitive skin.
If none of these fit into your budget, there is a great drugstore option available. Nuance by Salma Hayek,which is available at CVS works amazingly well. It's a cross between a gel & cream consistency. This will leave your skin looking instantly perfected and smooth as well as keep you matte
My holy grail eye primer is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. This is the formula I wear everyday. It's a silicone based product that comes in a squeeze tube and can be applied directly to the lid with your finger or a brush. I use this product under both powder and cream eyeshadow, and a tiny bit is all you need for it to work.
For those with more mature lids, you might want to try Tarte's Clean Slate 360 degree Creaseless 12-Hour Smoothing Eye Primer. This primer does everything you expect an eye primer to do, but is also formulated for the under eye area and meant to help smooth out the apperance of wrinkles. This shade works on all skin tones and is/ formulated without parabens or synthetic fragrance.
If your lids are particularly oily, I recommend Tarte's Amazonian Clay Waterproof Shadow Primer. My lids are not overly oily, so I find this formula a bit drying. This also has a slight pink tint to it, so I don't recommend it for those with darker skin tones. However it works well on fair skin.
For a more budget friendly version, I suggest E.L.F. Eyelid Primer or NYX Eyeshadow Base. Both work well, and NYX offers their eyeshadow base in white, which is ideal for really making your eyeshadow colors pop if you are going for a bright look. I prefer this creamy white base to their famous eyeshadow pencil in Milk.
Lashes: I never used to prime lashes, and if you are going to skip a primer, this is the one to skip. Honestly, most mascaras these days are long wear and will last you all day. However, if you are attending a special event, or a wedding, I do recommend priming the lashes.
Tarte's version is my favorite lash primer. When worn under mascara, it actually does make the lashes look longer and fuller, in addition to increasing the wear time. This doesn't contain any parabens and is available in both travel size (pictured) and full size tubes.
Urban Decay's Eyelash Primer Potion is both lengthening and volumizing. It actually contains tiny fibers that cling to the lashes, which may not make it ideal for contact lens wearers. This formula is vegan (though the company is now owned by L'Oreal).
Lips: The newest addition to my primer family is Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer*. Prior to using this product, I used to prime the lips with a bit of concealer. E.L.F. also makes an inexpensive lip primer, but their version is basically a concealer.
Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer is surprisingly creamy. It's just like their shadow insurance, but for the lips! I was really shocked at how this prevented my lipstick from feathering, yet didn't dry out my lips at all. This was sent to me as a sample by the good folks over at Beautylish. Since I got it, I've been testing it under lipstick, glosses and stains. I am happy to report, that not only did all of my lip products stay put, but my lips felt smooth and I didn't have to reapply my lip color all day. I'm really impressed with this product and intend to buy the full size for personal and professional use.
The Too Faced products can be purchased at www.beautylish.com or anywhere Too Faced products are sold.
*Some of the products in this post were sent for consideration. This in no way alters my review. All of my thoughts and opinions are 100% honest, and I only share them with you in hopes of helping you make informed purchasing decisions.