Beauty 101: Face Primers

You’re heading to Sephora to buy a Face Primer because your friend Molly raved about hers and is convinced it will change your life. In other words, you’ve been product pressured. You feel confident that this errand will go smoothly- walk in, find a sales associate, tell her you want a Face Primer and purchase it.

Well, unless you know exactly what you want out of a Face Primer or you find a well-versed sales gal, your trip to Sephora might end up taking up your afternoon. There are countless Face Primers on the market that come in all different formulas and colors. They also do different things for the skin and to the makeup.

Here’s your Face Primer 101 to help you get out of Sephora before it ends up like a trip to Target (you end up with 20 more items that you don’t need).

Face Primer Objectives: (Some primers do just one, some do them all)

1. Refine skin texture (smooth out the skin)

2. Correct complexion (even out the skin)

3. Minimize pores (reduce the appearance of pores)

4. Fill in fine lines/wrinkles (reduce the appearance of lines)

5. Mattify (regulate oil production)

6. Bind foundation to the skin (help adhere foundation for a longer wear—-MOST PRIMERS ARE FORMULATED TO DO THIS)

Face Primer Formulas:

Water-based (for those with oily to combination, sensitive or normal skin)

Silicone-based (for those concerned with skin texture, fine lines, lackluster appearance)

Oil-based (for those with normal to dry, and mature skin)

*Note, you want to make sure to pair your primer formula with your skin care products and makeup. Oil with oil, water with water and silicone with silicone. Oil and water can break down silicone. If you’ve used a primer and your makeup doesn’t seem to wear very long, it might be because you’re using a water based primer and a silicone based foundation.

Are you still with me?

Good. Here are my product recommendations based on my research, experience and consumer reviews.

Water-Based:

TARTE COSMETICS CLEAN SLATE FLAWLESS 12-HR BRIGHTENING PRIMER, $30 (Ulta)

Lightweight, brightening and hydrating, Helps foundation last 12 hours. Great for all skin types.

LAURA MERCIER FOUNDATION PRIMER, $32 (Nordstrom)

Laura Mercier’s notorious primer comes in original formula (water-based) and “oil-free” (silicone-based).  Both are great at binding the foundation to the skin.

Silicone-Based:

SMASHBOX PHOTO FINISH COLOR CORRECTING FOUNDATION PRIMER, $38 (Sephora)

Smashbox’s wide range of clear and color-correcting colors (green, lavender, and apricot) work well to even out the skin and refine skin texture.

 NYX COSMETICS STUDIO PERFECT PRIMER, $12.99 (Ulta)

One of the best over the counter makeup brands, NYX clear shade helps reduce fine lines and large pores, and the lavender shade brightens and illuminates yellow undertones.

Oil-Based:

EMBRYOLISSE LAIT-CRÈME CONCENTRÈ, $28 (Midwest Beauty Supply)

A pro makeup artist favorite, this is both a moisturizer and a primer.

HOURGLASS NUMBER 28 PRIMER SERUM, $65 (Sephora)

Strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier, minimizes pores, and delays aging. Refines and retexturizes skin’s surface for makeup. The “28” in the product’s name refers to the formula’s magic ingredients, which include 14 essential oils, 10 lipid-rich plant oils, and 4 vitamins.

My Face Primer Du Jour:

TOO FACED PRIMED & PORELESS , $30 (Sephora)

This silicone-based primer does it all- banishes pores, smooths texture, delays aging, and hydrates skin. Great alone or under silicone-based foundations or powders.

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