How To Pick The Best Foundation Primer?

November 13, 2015Notino
Even if you really love makeup, you probably don’t want to be thinking about it while you go about your day and need to focus on other things. A foundation primer makes that ideal much more achievable.


What does makeup primer do?

It would be very easy to condemn foundation primers as a fad. They only became really big in the last couple of years and still don’t feel as essential as some other makeup products might. Somehow we have been surviving without them for decades, even centuries, so what do we suddenly need a primer for? What is makeup primer and what does it do?

The answer is quite simple: Think of how makeup used to look during those past decades and centuries. If you wanted your base to last throughout the day, you had to cake foundation on in thick layers and seal them with an industrial amount of powder, occasionally even something as drastic as hairspray. Not only does that sound awful, it also looks awful up close, not to mention the nasty effect it tends to have on your skin’s condition. Face primers make it possible to enjoy your makeup look all day long without major touch-ups and be confident without having to constantly think about whether your blusher is still on or not. 

Primers are not all born equal

That obviously leads us to the main question: If foundation primer really is something that would make my life easier, how do I choose the right primer for me? Just like with everything else, there are multiple factors you can base your decision on, but to make things as straightforward and fuss-free as possible, let’s start with two basic criteria:


What is your skin type?

Oily skin will naturally benefit from a different primer than dry skin, or even skin with prominent wrinkles.


What effect do you want to achieve with the primer?

There are illuminating makeup primers with tiny light-reflecting particles, mattifying primers that make your skin smooth while preventing unwanted shine, colour-correcting primers that will help if your skin is prone to redness, and many other versions designed to address specific needs.

Mattifying primer

If your skin is generally on the oilier side, you probably need to combat some shine on a daily basis. A mattifying primer is great for that purpose, especially if you pair it with matte foundation and other products that have a similar finish.

Mattifying primers create a thin film on your skin that acts both as a base for your foundation to stick to and as a smooth matte surface that will make sure your skin remains shine-free without becoming dry.

Illuminating primer

Dull and tired skin needs light, first and foremost, and an illuminating primer will offer just that. Not only will it make your skin look refreshed and young, it can also help accentuate the contours of your face in different lighting.

You should always look for a high-quality illuminating primer, like for instance the Météorites by Guerlain, that way the shimmer particles will be really fine, well dispersed and won’t just sit in your pores.

Smoothing primer

Most primers have a smoothing effect to some extent, but it’s still best to pick one that was designed specifically for this purpose. Depending on the particular product, a smoothing primer can make your large pores less visible, your wrinkles less obvious, and generally help cover most imperfections.

Remember that mature skin also tends to be quite dry, and your chose primer should reflect that. Don’t pick a product that will accentuate or even create dry patches

Colour correcting primer

Does your skin often get irritated, or is it just red overall? A good colour-correcting primer might be the perfect solution. By adding a light green or yellow tint to your skin, it counteracts the redness and gives your skintone more of a neutral shade.

If your skin is only red in certain places, like for example around the nose and mouth, you can of course use a colour-correcting makeup base on these spots, and a different type of product on the rest of your face.

How to use a foundation primer?

Are you still a little fuzzy on how exactly one is supposed to put on a foundation primer? It’s quite simple, really. A primer goes on after your moisturiser and before foundation. In certain cases, particularly if your skin is oily, you can actually skip the moisturiser altogether and go straight for the primer, because it will provide you with enough of a barrier and protection to keep your skin from drying out.

Whatever primer you choose, make sure that at least one of the makeup products you’re using to create your base contains SPF high enough to protect you from the harmful effects of sun exposure. To make your look last even longer, set it with a dusting of finishing powder and light spritz of thermal water or setting spray.

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