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Primed, and ready for action

Primed, and ready for action

WTF do primers actually do, and do you really need to use one?

August 05, 2022
Contributor - Amy Wilkinson-Lough

You’ve found your way onto our website, and so we’re going to assume you already know your s**t, however, these mysterious tubes of liquid beauty called primers promise flawless makeup and a complexion that looks like an Instagram filter IRL – it can seem too good to be true, and all get a little confusing. We’ve done the leg work for you, so sit back, relax and have a little read…

Imagine this: primers are the photoshop of the makeup world. They’re used underneath eyeshadow, foundation, tinted moisturizer, and mascara to create a smoothing effect that enhances coverage and helps your makeup stay on longer — especially in warmer climes like the desert – all the while targeting concerns like oily or dry skin, acne, hyperpigmentation, sun protection or pollutants. And, what’s amazing, is that all of them blur out large pores, smooth unwanted texture, and correct discoloration. Awesome, no?

Still unsure if you need one? Below is a list of the kinds of primers on the market, and what they do. You can thank us later.

Mattifying face primer: If you have oily skin, think of a mattifying primer as your go-to to prolong the look of your foundation. Specifically, opt for a silicone-based one, as it creates a great mattifying barrier between the skin and makeup and has the added benefit of blurring and smoothing pores. Grown Alchemist Anti-Pollution Primer

Hydrating face primer:
Hydrating primers are perfect for those with dry skin – especially primers that have ingredients like hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. But unlike your oily-skinned friends, dry-skinned peeps should avoid using a silicone-based primer, and choose a water-based product as they will last longer and look better on dehydrated complexions.
Dermalogica HydraBlur Primer

Color-correcting primers:
These primers are designed to counteract underlying skin tone issues. For example: green primers are used to correct redness while blue primers offset sallow or yellow tones.

Blurring primer:
Blurring primers are less about mattifying and more about smoothing – ideal for mature skin types looking to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Emma Hardie Protect & Prime SPF30

Eyeshadow primer:
Eyeshadow is notorious for wearing off by mid-day, and it seldom stays in place through gym workouts or on rainy or humid days. A simple primer can fix all of that, and it helps with your eyeliner as well. "Eye primers can color-correct the eyelid before makeup application, nourish and smooth the eyelid, and prevent the skin’s natural oils from breaking down the makeup," explains Trop. Sigma Beauty Eyeshadow Base Primer

Lip primer:
Not everyone needs a lip primer, but if you like to enhance your pout with all-day color, it's a good move. They keep your lipstick from bleeding and create a smooth surface so the color stays put for longer – you’ll naturally stop reaching for your phone’s camera to check your lips less and less. Project Lip Matte Plumping Primer

Mascara primer:
If you have trouble with your lashes holding a curl, try a mascara primer. They're also often made with nourishing ingredients that condition the lashes and add additional volume and length.

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