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Beauty 101: Primer

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Some people love primer – others find it to be a waste of time. As a foundation wearer, I personally love the results I get with a smooth primed face. I don’t wear a foundation primer every day, but if I am going to be in pictures, if I have a long day and won’t have time to look at myself in the mirror for 14 hours, or when my skin isn’t looking particularly smooth and even, I will definitely be taking a moment to make this happen.

Everything you need to know about beauty primers- what they are and how to use them!

If you are an eye shadow wearer, eye primer is a necessity!  Here is why I have a love affair with both face and eye primers and why I highly recommend a primer – especially if you don’t have  a.) perfect skin or  b.) are a human – You can usually fall into AT LEAST one of these categories.


Pros of foundation primer:
  • foundation looks smoother
  • foundation is less likely to settle into fine lines
  • foundation lasts longer – which in turn helps everything applied after foundation to also last
  • specific formulas can fill in fine lines and pores and give the look of a perfect complexion – with or without foundation over it
  • excellent for color correction
  • can add luminosity
  • look for oil free formulas to help oily skin hang on to your makeup for hours longer
  • many have additional health benefits such as Vitamins or an SPF
Cons of foundation primer:
  • adds time to your makeup routine
  • another layer of product on your face

How to use: Put a pea sized amount on your finger tips, then gently smooth across your entire face, including lightly on the under eye area. I use a flat kabuki brush to put it on in seconds all over.

Primers that fill pores

(These are good for all skin types, foundation or no.)

  • Benefit POREfessional This is the holy grail of smoothing primers.  Someone actually thought I was my daughter’s big sister.  I give all the credit to a broad spectrum SPF and this primer.
  • NYX Pore Filler Primer These primer formulas are great for anyone without perfectly smooth skin (isn’t that everyone?).  Slight scarring, large pores, fine lines, any imperfections that leave skin with an uneven texture.  Put a pea sized amount on your finger tips, then gently smooth across your entire face, including lightly on the under eye area.
Color correction primers 
  • Smashbox Color Correcting Primer in Apricot I love this one for under eye darkness. This is a primer, not a concealer, but this helps with all color correction. When concealing under eye circles, always lean towards a concealer that has a touch of a peachy shade to it. Because under eye circles tend to be purple or blue, the opposite color on the color wheel will help neutralize them! That would be ORANGE!  It’s crazy, but it works. That’s also why you see a trend right now of women using orange red lipsticks under their eyes then covering it with a skin tone concealer. Works wonders. Just make sure you practice that at home before you step out into the world if you try this interesting technique.
  • MAC Prep + Prime Fix + Kind of a confusing product if you chat with the MAC people, but my experience is that I spritz my face a couple times in lieu of a typical creamy primer on days that I’m in a hurry or am feeling dry.  This is hydrating and refreshing and helps get your skin ready for what comes next.  I also like to apply this when my makeup is finished.  It especially helps if you’ve found yourself getting a little powder happy!  I especially love this in the summer. Feels goooood.

eye shadow primer photo

If you are an eye shadow lover, you are doing yourself an injustice if you don’t use a shadow primer!

Pros of Shadow primer:
  • Remember when you spent 5-10 minutes putting on eyeshadow this morning?  A good primer will allow you to gaze upon your work hours and hours later.
  • Many have concealing qualities and can help cover any darkness or veins
  • It will help your shadows to go on true to color. See that color of shadow you picked out? Well forget about it! It doesn’t look like that when you put it straight on your eyelid if you have any darkness or oiliness.
  • Many have anti aging benefits and vitamins – heck yes!
Cons of Shadow Primer:
  • Nothing. It’s amazing and you should go buy some right now.  :)


How to Use: Put a tiny bit (teeny tiny bit) on the pad of your ring finger or on a small fluffy brush and apply all over your lid up to your brow. If you choose a colorless primer, go ahead and drag it across your brows too as any brow product you apply after that will now have serious staying power.

  • E.L.F. Eye Shadow Primer The price is RIGHT on this guy and it works! It is colorless, so it will not conceal, but it works beautifully to help keep your shadow stay right where you put it! I highly recommend this one!


  • MAC Paint Pot in Painterly The go-to product to conceal and prime your lid. Drag this up to the lid and around your tear duct and you’re already looking like you got 10 hours of sleep. Yes, please.


  • Urban Decay Primer Potion This is a classic shadow primer. Good stuff and if you use it with Urban Decay’s super pigmented shadows – holy moly. So good.

I would recommend a face primer for those special occasions and anytime you wear makeup or eye shadow – definitely take an extra 10 seconds to put on a thin layer of shadow primer!

Originally published March 22, 2016

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