For a long time, primers were the little makeup secret that no one knew about. They were used only by makeup artists or the most devoted makeup aficionados. The last few years have seen an explosion of primers. Should you be using them? Does it matter which one you pick, or should you select a more specialized product? Read on to learn more about why you should be using a primer and what options are out there.
Prime Away! 1 of 14
It's now possible to prime every area of your face with a specialized product before you apply your makeup. But should you? Do any of these primers multi-task and solve other problems as well?
Best Selling Classic 2 of 14
The primer that most of us are familiar with is this silicone-based option from Smashbox. A light layer over your moisturizer will help create a perfect foundation application and minimize any visible pores.
Get it at Sephora, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, $36
Boost Radiance 3 of 14
Feeling a little ... less than stellar? These primers offer just enough light diffusion to make you look more awake and vibrant, but they won't scream "shimmer" to everyone. Use them in key areas, like your upper cheekbone, chin, and down the center of your nose, or all over.
Color Correct 4 of 14
Using a color corrector can be very intimidating. Who wants to turn purple, like Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands? When used correctly, color correction can eliminate skin issues easily, making it easier to achieve a flawless, perfect skin finish. To correct a shade, you'll need a corrector on the opposite end of the color wheel. Apricot helps correct dark blue tones, green minimizes redness, and violet will help yellow, sallow tones.
Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer, $38
Clinique Superprimer Face Primers, $27
L'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Color Correcting Primer, $12.99
Nyx Cosmetics Studio Perfect Primer in Lavender, $12.99
Fight Aging 5 of 14
I'm getting to the age where I'm considering an all out war against wrinkles (and I don't even have any!), so having yet another product that promises to keep my skin looking young enough to be carded can only be a good thing.
Keep Your Complexion Clear 6 of 14
There are times that we all struggle with blemishes. Rather than debate about applying makeup over the problem areas, just use makeup that will help correct them! Both of these primers have active ingredients to help fight acne, and they'll also make your makeup apply smoother, helping to make your skin look perfect. If you've opted for a blemish fighting primer, you might want to skip any spot treatments — too many treatments can irritate skin.
Protect Your Skin From the Sun 7 of 14
Studies have shown that wearing sunscreen every day is the best thing you can do to prevent aging. Including that UV protection in another product saves a step and ensures you won't bypass protecting your skin when you're in a rush.
De-Slick Your Oil Slick 8 of 14
Does your t-zone shine like a beacon? Rather than adding layer upon layer of translucent powder, add a mattifying primer into the mix. These primers can soak up excess oil quickly while smoothing your makeup and making it last hours longer. For those that are very oily, the constipation stand-by, Milk of Magnesia, is a great choice.
Hydrate and Prime in One Step 9 of 14
There are times that dry skin and makeup just do not mix. Admit it, we've all applied makeup over dry skin, and the resulting flaky mess just seems to make everything worse. A hydrating primer is the solution! These primers will keep skin supple and prevent the dryness from flaking off your makeup.
Longer Lasting Eye Shadow 10 of 14
A shadow primer before your eye shadow can dramatically increase the life of your eye shadow and eliminate creasing and fading. I like the NYX for everyday use, since it provides a little coverage for my lids in the same step. Too Faced's Shadow Insurance has a bit of tackiness to grab onto shadows, which brings down fall out.
Create an Intense Shadow Look 11 of 14
A simple shadow primer isn't quite enough to create some of the very colorful and sometimes foiled eye shadow looks you see on sites like Pinterest. To create those looks you'll need a product with more "grab". Pixie Epoxy is the go-to product for most of those looks, you only need a very small amount over a typical shadow primer.
Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, $7
Primer for Your Under Eye Problems 12 of 14
Sometimes I wish that my dark circles and bags would just go away. Or that my concealer would just stick around to cover them all day. An under eye primer can solve that, and many of them have ingredients to treat puffiness and dark circles as well. You could also use your shadow primer or face primer in this area, but the under eye primer is more specialized.
Plump Up Your Lashes 13 of 14
Layering different mascaras can create a more dramatic lash look, but using a primer instead can result in lashes so long and lush that you'll be accused of wearing falsies! Be sure to keep a clean mascara wand or a lash brush around to break up any clumps.
Prime your Lippie 14 of 14
Lip primers can make your lipstick last hours longer, well past your morning coffee. They can also cut down on feathering or bleeding onto your skin.
Studio Gear Prime Objective Lip Primer, $18
Mally Lip Primer (part of the Perfect Red Lip Kit), $35
Simply Vera Vera Wang Cosmetics Soothing Lip Primer, $32.50