Product Series: Face Primers

by Sarah

Hi everyone! I’m starting a new Product Series covering everything you need to know about makeup products. By ‘everything’, I mean different brands, formulations and tips and tricks to make it a little bit easier for you when you go shopping for a new product. Of course a healthy canvas – aka skin – is a very important starting point, so check out my Skincare Series HERE to transition you into the product series ;)

We’re kicking this segment off with the absolute base product: Face primers. What are they? Do you really need them? and How do you choose the right one for your needs…

Product Series: Primers


Primers are a ‘base coat’ that you apply to the face, before moving onto all the other face products such as foundation and concealer. As important as the condition of your skin is, primers play a big role in ensuring you have a smooth, hydrated and flawless base to apply your products over them.


As with many cosmetics items, primers have also evolved and continue to improve, offering us more variety than ever before. It can be confusing but considering we all have different needs when it comes to our skin, having more options is a big plus. These are some of the general type of primers on the market and products that I recommend:

– Click on the product pictures below to be taken to the stores; except those that are marked DS=Drugstore –

1. Original / Hydrating: These are basic primers which have a lotion-like consistency and in fact feel very much like a light weight moisturiser. They leave a thin film over the skin which helps your base products apply smoother and also adhere to the skin better. There are oil free formulas so even if you have oily skin, you can most certainly use a hydrating primer. If you don’t have specific skin needs, this would be a good primer to try out.


Laura Mercier Primer / Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer / Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer / Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish / NYX HD Studio Primer (DS)

2. Mattifying: As the name suggests, these primers are designed to combat oil and shine. So if you have really oily skin or prefer a matte finish, this is the primer for you. You can use a mattifying primer all over the face or only apply it to areas that you get oily in, such as the T zone. For most part, mattifying primers are silicone based, so check the ingredients on any primers which claim to be mattifying, if you are sensitive to silicone.

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 Lorac Porefection Mattifying Primer / Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer / Sephora Silicone Free Primer / Rimmel Stay Matte Primer (DS) /                  Loreal Studio Secrets Anti Shine Primer (DS)

3. Pore Perfecting/Blurring Primers: Again, most of the pore perfecting formulas are silicone based. They usually have a clear gel formula which applies very smoothly and almost dries to a powdery feel. It’s hard to explain the texture and finish of such formulas. They reduce the appearance of pores, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles by filling these “gaps” with product and hence giving the skin a smoother, more blurred look. This then helps the base products to apply smoothly also.

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Benefit The Porefessional /Makeup Forever HD Microperfecting Primer /Tarte Clean Slate Poreless Primer /Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Potion /Revlon Perfecting Primer (DS)

4. Correcting Primers: If you have skin issues such as roseacea (redness), darkness or pigmentation; you can get primers with correcting undertones such as green to counteract redness; lavender to counteract darkness/pigmentation and orange/salmon to brighten the complexion so that your skin has an all over even tone. These primers are good if the skin issues you have are mild…as in, if you have major redness or major pigmentation issues, it’s still best to include correcting concealers into your routine along with these primers to achieve the best results.

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Clinique Color Correcting Primers /Smashbox Photo Finish Correcting Primers /Tarte Colored Clay CC Primer /Loreal Studio Secrets Primers (DS)

5. llluminating Primers: The difference between hydrating and illuminating primers is the shimmer factor. Illuminating primers contain very finely milled shimmer particles so when applied onto the skin, they leave a film of dewy glowy layer which shines through even after you apply your base products. These primers are beautiful even on their own and work just as well when mixed into your foundation.

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Laura Mercier Radiance Primer /NARS Pro Prime Light Optimizing Primer /MAC Strobe Cream / Benefit That Gal Brightening Primer /                                  Loreal Magic Lumi Primer (DS) 


As with anything in makeup, if you’re happy with the looks you achieve without using a primer, then no…it’s not a necessity. However, for the reasons I mentioned above, they do help prepare a good base for your products so you can get the best out of them in terms performance and longevity. If you’ve never tried primers before, you can start off with a drugstore brands like the examples in the above categories. If you feel they could become an essential part of your makeup routine, then you can start looking into investing in higher end or specific type of primers if you wish.


* Allow the primer to set into your skin for a few minutes before you apply your base products. This will help the product settle and dry on the skin so it won’t mix with what you apply over it affecting the performance of both products.

* Using your fingers is the best method for applying primers so you can really work it into the skin…especially the pore refining formulas. If you prefer to use tools for the application, use a dense brush with tightly packed bristles so you can push the product into the skin.

Do you use primers? If so, what’s your favorite primer and why? xx

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michelle landriault October 8, 2014 - 3:56 pm

I love this thank you so much! I just found your blog and Im loving it! From one blogger to another you are the!

Sarah October 8, 2014 - 4:17 pm

Thank you so much Michelle! That’s about the nicest compliment I could wish for, especially coming from a fellow blogger. Just been on your blog which is amazing! and you’re so beautiful btw. Hope you have a great day! xx

Sienna September 26, 2014 - 6:11 pm

Thanks Sarah this is a very helpful post. I use Laura Mercier primer and love it. I’m happy it made your recommended list too

Sarah September 27, 2014 - 3:26 pm

Thanks Sienna!! Yes Laura Mercier has really good primers, I love the radiance one as well, it leaves the mot beautiful glow on the skin.

Trisha September 26, 2014 - 11:03 am

Excellent info, thank you! Looking forward to the rest of the posts.

Sarah September 27, 2014 - 3:26 pm

Thank you Trisha :) I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you guys xx

Emily September 25, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Hi Sarah I’m always excited to see what you come up with and you never disappoint. Great post and I’m looking forward to the rest of this series (:

Sarah September 27, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Aww thanks Emily, you’re very sweet. I’m glad you enjoyed the post xx

Jackie September 25, 2014 - 1:18 pm

this is so helpful. You made it so easy and clear. thank you!

Sarah September 27, 2014 - 3:27 pm

My pleasure Jackie, I’m glad you liked it :) xx


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