The Ultimate Primer Guide: Tips From A Professional Makeup Artist

Primers have blossomed in the beauty industry and have become such an important part of our makeup routine that we forgot what was life without these skim-preppers. We all know that primers go before foundation and help to create a flawless, long-lasting base. However, with so many options saturating the market, it’s tough finding the right one to address our skin concerns.

Recently, BAZAAR sat down with professional makeup artist with Smashbox Cosmetics, Will Malherbe for some major primer troubleshooting and answering some primer FAQs:

Related article: Two Surprising Ways To Apply Your Primer

Will Malherbe

Photo: @willmalherbe

1. Is a primer step necessary for every makeup-wearing individual?

Not at all. Primers are meant to address any concerns or troubles you may have. Be it to make a foundation last longer or making your eyeshadows stay vibrant for longer, primers are solutions to existing problems. If you have normal skin that doesn’t have an issue with foundation wearing down weirdly, or if your eyeshadows never crease, then there is absolutely no need for you to introduce this step into your makeup routine. However, if you do have issues to address, then you can find the right primer to fix those issues.

2. Is it necessary to use a primer everyday?

Is it necessary to wear makeup everyday? Is it necessary to get dressed nice everyday? Ultimately it’s all about personal preference. Primers don’t seem essential because their effects aren’t immediately visible, they are more like supporting characters to let your main characters (ie. your makeup) shine.

Putting on makeup is like wearing the perfect outfit. And primer is like wearing the perfect, sexy underwear to highlight assets and detract attention from problem areas underneath the garment. No one wants to wear a Valentino gown with grubby, granny panties. You wear your best to do justice to the dress and your figure. 

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3. What do you need to look out for before picking a primer for you?

Pay attention to your skin and the foundation you will be using that day. Are you feeling particularly oily today? Are you experiencing some dry patches? Perhaps you have some fine lines that you would like to blur out so that foundation won’t settle there. If you are using a really dewy foundation, perhaps you need to balance it out with a more mattifying primer. Primers are very personalized products. With such a wide range available to address any concern, pair a primer that will balance and improve the appearance of the skin. Foundation can’t do it all, the primer step is where you should correct the things you need correcting.

4. What is multi-priming?

As the name suggests, it’s all about using different primers to target different concerns on your face. You can create the perfect primer cocktail for you with any number of primers. It’s particularly helpful for people who have combination skin. For instance, they might use an oil-control primer on the T-zone and a luminizing primer on the rest of the face to create a radiant yet not at all greasy complexion.

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5. Primer Vs Foundation. Which is worth investing more?

You don’t want to be too reliant on your foundation. It’s just meant to even out your skintone. Furthermore, you can’t change your skin type every single day and you can’t change your foundation everyday. But you can have more than 1 primer maybe, perhaps to do things that you need to do, depending whether you are oilier, or if your skin is sallow due to long nights, or if you need added hydration on the drier parts of your face. Primer is used to correct and foundation is used to add colour.

6. What is the best way to apply primers?

Fingers, always fingers. Sponges and brushes do the job, but with fingers, you can feel exactly how much you are putting on the skin. Fingers will tell you if you’re using too much or too little. Thus, preventing over-application and a more seamless finish.

7. Can you replace your moisturizer with a primer or vice versa?

You can, but it is dependent on your skin. If you just need added hydration, sometimes a sticky moisturizer with a high glycerin content is enough to make the foundation stick to your skin whilst keeping it from drying out. Some hydrating primers are moisturizing enough for those with normal to oily skin types and thus, can replace their day creams. However, if your concern involves pore-filling and smoothing, you will need two separate products.

By Hanan Haddad


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