primer timeYou may be saying, “Wait!  I thought this was supposed to be about foundation?”  Well, skin primer is the first step to creating flawless foundation.  The concept is similar to painting a wall – applying a primer first creates a smooth, even texture, and helps you get the most from your paint (or foundation).

Up until a couple of years ago, very few people new what skin primer was.  Now, there are quite a few on the market.

So, what exactly is a skin primer?

A skin primer is a product that is usually applied before foundation.  The purpose is to smooth skin texture and help foundation apply more evenly and last longer.  The idea is that tiny molecules settle in to small lines and pores giving the illusion of a smoother skin texture.   Some are water-based, and some contain silicone.  Some people are allergic to silicone, so they should stick to the water-based formulas.

How do you use a skin primer?

Primer can be applied to your skin after following your usual skin care regimen.  It can be applied over moisturizer and sunscreen, for example.

Using your fingertips, apply a small amount of primer to your skin, starting in the t-zone and working your way out.  At this point I like to use a foundation brush to get it extra smooth.

(If you use the brush straight away, it soaks up too much of your product).  Some women like to apply the primer only to their “problem areas”, while others apply it to the entire face.  Either way, a little goes a long way.  Usually, only a pea-sized amount is needed.

Which skin primers are the best?

When shopping for a skin primer, you may be dazzled and overwhelmed by the options!  The key is to find the primer that is most compatible with your skin type and your needs. Some primers help to reduce shine – they are great for those with oily skin.  Others are moisturizing, and will help dry skin to stay soft and dewy.  Still others provide color correction for those with very rosy or sallow complexions.  Here are some of our favorite primers:

For a velvety smooth texture:

 Smashbox Photo Finish is a great basic primer for reducing shine and creating a smooth surface for your foundation.  The Pro-Style-Crew team uses this primer to keep makeup looking fresh throughout the day and to create a beautiful skin texture for photography.  It also comes in color correcting formulas, and a moisturizing formula.  Silicone-based primers like this one tend to be the most effective in filling pores and fine lines.

For shine control:

 Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfecter is a very popular primer for those with oily skin.  As the name suggests, it creates a matte texture on the skin and decreases the appearance of pores.  A less expensive option that we personally keep in our kits is Neutrogena Shine Control Primer.  Both are good options for those with sensitivities, as they are silicone free.

To keep dry skin dewy:

 Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Skin Primer works well for dry skin, as it contains moisturizer.  Rather than controlling shine, moisturizing primers create a more glowing complexion, in addition to keeping makeup in place.  We also like to use the Smash Box Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer to create a smooth surface and revive parched skin. Amazing Cosmetics Anti-Aging Face Primer is another popular moisturizing product that has been getting good reviews.

For the long haul:

 Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer is a new primer that comes in an unusual format – it’s kind of like a glue stick or a push-pop!  It is designed to keep foundation in place all day long, for a variety of skin types.  We have not personally tried this product yet, but it is getting a lot of great reviews.  If any of you have tried it, please let us know what you think!

Stay tuned – our next article in the foundation series is on BB creams!

By Jenn Brehm and Kerry-Lou Brehm.

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