Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Perfect Primer

This one is for the ladies - or for the ladyboys as well! 

I've come to appreciate what I now believe as one of the most imperative steps that cannot be skipped in my makeup routine:  applying a primer. I know a lot of people tend to group primer into the "does it really make any difference?" category - but please believe me when I say IT DOES!

No matter what kind of foundation you use, whether it is liquid, stick, mineral or powder - a primer will smooth out your face and make sure that glow you see right after you finish your makeup remains all day long, not just for an hour or two after you've left the vanity.  Have you ever noticed how mineral makeup tends to settle into every little friggin' crease on your face, overmagnifying the tiniest wrinkle or issue?  Or how it tends to want to broadcast your dry areas to the world?  A primer will help with that.  And while I love my liquid foundation, it does have a nasty little habit of creating an oil slick on my face by 3pm.  The "dewy" glow I love so much turns into a full on oil spill by mid afternoon if I don't keep it in check.  A primer will help with that as well.  

However, I'd like to stress that finding the right primer is going to be like finding any other product you really love - not all of them are going to work for you.  There are many different kinds of primers out there, and they are definitely not all the same.  I have taken the liberty of gathering together a variety of my favorite primers I've come across throughout my journey.  Enjoy!

Benefit "That Gal"

This is a great primer that has a creamy finish and a wonderful light floral scent.  In addition, it has just the tiniest amount of shimmer that acts as a pick-me-up glow.  My favorite thing about "That Gal" is the binding properties it has.  It really has the staypower that it takes to make liquid or stick foundation stick all day long.  In combination with the glow, it makes for a very nice product that will work with liquid or powder.  The only problem with it is that it is quite expensive for the amount you're getting (.37oz for $28 - whereas most primers run about $30 for 1oz).  Great primer, but not that much bang for your buck, and believe me when I say it goes fast.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

This is one of the bestselling primers on the market, and for good reason.  It has an incredibly smooth, silky feel to it, almost as if it has some kind of silicon in it (I'm not sure if it does).  Since it has such slip, I'd definitely recommend this for people who have dry skin or people who use mineral and/or powder makeup.  It might be a bit much with liquid foundation paired with oily skin. It has a luxurious feel to it and at times a little heavy, so depending on your skin type you might want to use this at night only.  Smashbox also has this primer in a light version, which is one that I have not tried but have heard good things about. 

MAC Skin Base Visage

This is currently my favorite primer and the one that I am using.  This primer comes out of the pump in a cream form, stark white with little flecks of light-reflecting shimmer inside of it.  However, when you smooth it onto the face, it loses its cream quality and becomes much silkier and lighter than one would expect.  I like it because for my combination skin type, it is not too oily or too light, and it really smooths out my imperfections.  Great for daytime or nighttime use, and it keeps my dewy glow allll day long.  Love it!

Amazing Cosmetics Anti Aging Face Primer

This is a new brand that Sephora just begun carrying, and I have to say for good reason!  The consistency of this primer is almost identical to the Smashbox primer, however this formula is paraben (preservatives that have been linked to health issues, although that is a controversial subject) free, fragrance free and moisturizes well also.  If you have sensitive skin, this would definitely be a primer to check out.  This one also has a very silky and smooth texture.  I usually wear it at night, since it can be a bit heavy as well.

MAC Face Protect Protection Visage SPF 50

This isn't a primer that I have yet tried, however I am already in love with the idea!  I've been having a really hard time finding an everyday sunscreen that isn't like smearing Vaseline or KY Jelly on my face, making me break out and turning my makeup into yet another oil slick.   I know how important it is to wear an everyday sunscreen (even if it's not a sunny day), so I refuse to give up on my efforts!   This could be the miracle product I am searching for and as soon as I buy it I will be sure to update on this post.  I already love MAC's basic primer, so keeping my fingers crossed on this one as well!

Make Up Forever High Definition Primer

This primer was a bit too light for me, but I imagine it would be great for darker skin tones that tend to be on the oily side.  One thing I liked about this product is that it spread over my face very evenly and easily and it has a nice smell.  In addition, it pairs with Make Up Forever HD Foundation perfectly (which I have heard repeatedly is awesome but have only tried once-with this primer in a sample).

I hope these primers help all of you put your best, freshest face forward to seize the day!  If not, keep looking, as there are a TON of options out there and this quest is definitely worth the effort.



  1. Primer SO does make a difference. I freak out when mine goes missing; it's THAT important. I'd even go as far as saying you might as well not put on makeup at all without it.

    I'm now looking forward to trying the MAC Protect as well.

    Thank you for this entry!


  2. Primers do make a big difference. I use DHC Velvet Beauty Coat or the Sephora house brand.

  3. You'll be happy to know that I finally made the switch from powder to foundation - but never considered a primer. What product should I use for acne-prone, semi-oily skin?? ...As I'm typing this, I'm wondering if these breakouts are due to foundation/MAC foundation!! Interesting...

  4. Well said, Vieve! I use Mac's strobe cream as a daily primer. I have been using it everyday for a couple years and it is probably similar to their other product, "Skin Base Visage." Try it! It's a cocktail for your skin; filled with vitamins and antioxidants =)