Thursday, 4 November 2010

Beginners Guide to Primers

I am so amazed at the number of people who enjoy wearing makeup but who know almost nothing about primers. Taking that extra step and applying primers can make your makeup last longer, look more vibrant, prevent creasing and smudging and provide a smooth, flawless canvas upon which to apply your makeup. Primers allow you to make the most out of your makeup.
The main types of primer are
Foundation primer
Eyeshadow primer
Lip primer
Lash primer
1.       Foundation Primer
Foundation primers are perhaps the most important type of primer for someone like me with oily, uneven skin. There are broadly two categories of primer – brightening primers and smoothing primers.
Brightening primers are better for dry and dull skin and possibly also slightly more mature skin too as it moisturises, brightens and plumps up the skin. These primers can be worn alone or under foundation. Personally, I don’t use brightening primers as my skin is fairly oily, plus I don’t really feel I need the “plumping” effect just yet. I have tried a sample of the Benefit That Gal primer but felt that although it helped my foundation go on smoother, it was no different to using a super moisturising cream. In terms of brightening, I felt I could get the same brightening effect from mixing a small amount of my MAC Strobe Cream into my normal foundation. MAC Strobe Cream is a gorgeous pearlescent cream highlighting product. Similar products are Benefit’s Moon Beam or High Beam or BodyShop’s Glow Enhancer.
If, however, you feel that a proper brightening face primer is for you, check out Benefit’s That Gal primer or Urban Decay’s Complexion Primer Potion. My recommendation is to try samples of primers before investing.. but if I were to choose, I would recommend the Urban Decay primer, I just found that Benefit’s primer did absolutely nothing for my skin.
Smoothing primers contain silicone – so if you are a fan of organic or natural beauty products this is probably not for you. Also, beware that although silicone does not clog pores as such, it can in some cases cause secondary acne if you have particularly problem skin. Again, it’s a case of being sensible and trying things out before buying and of course, not wearing heavy makeup everyday. The silicone, however, is the KEY ingredient in smoothing primers. The silicone basically fills in all the lines, large pores and other uneven patches in your skin to create a smooth base. Additionally, it also mattifies your skin and therefore ensures not only a smooth canvas to apply your foundation, but ensures the foundation really “sticks” to your skin and stays on by preventing natural oils in your skin “melting” the foundation. Personally, this is the primer of choice for me when I am going out for the evening as it just ensures such longevity. The most highly rated primer is by far the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. It constantly receives rave reviews and I have personally tried it and can confirm that I have never used a better primer. I received a sample and at that time was suffering from a really bad breakout of pimples on my forehead, I used the primer then my foundation and my mother (who never notices things like makeup) said she was really amazed at how clear my skin looked. I actually don’t yet own the primer, but I do have the Smashbox targeted pore primer which is also awesome. The photo finish primer is next on my wishlist! In the meantime, to get my much more affordable silicone primer fix, I use something called Lanacane Anti Chafing Gel.. Yes you heard right an anti chafing gel. I got this from Boots and it is basically a gel used to prevent chafing from erm sports and other activities etc! haha!!! It cost less than £6 and is suitable for use on the face.  I just smooth this over my skin, leave it a couple seconds to set and then apply foundation and concealer as normal. Smashbox products are available in Debenhams and are fairly pricey but so worth it. But if your budget just won’t stretch, I urge you to try Lanacane gel. There are many many other silicone based primers out there – if you can get samples beforehand do so.

2. Eyeshadow Primer 
This is also one of the most important primers for me. Don’t you just hate getting those weird crease lines in your eyeshadow a couple of hours into wearing it? Don’t you just hate it when you buy an eyeshadow which looks really vibrant in the pan and looks chalky, dusty and dull on your eyelid? If the answer is yes to both questions you SOOO need an eyeshadow primer! It provides a smooth, crease-free base to apply your eyeshadow to and ensures the colour is much more vibrant even with the cheapest eyeshadows. My ultimate favourite has to be the highly acclaimed Urban Decay Primer Potion. It is around £11-13 I think and available in Boots or Debenhams. I cannot live without it! Another fantastic primer is the Too Faced Shadow Insurance. For a cheaper alternative, try ELF ( mineral eyeshadow primer. For an even more budget option, you don’t even need to go out and buy anything, just smooth a  very thin layer of your concealer over the eyelid up to the browbone, and set by dusting a very small amount of loose powder. The effects are similar, although not as long lasting as the Urban Decay or Too Faced primers. I would honestly say that if you can save up for the Urban Decay primer you will not be disappointed and in terms of value for money, it lasts an absolute age.
I will ALWAYS use a foundation primer and eyeshadow primer when applying a full face of makeup. The difference in how my makeup applies and looks is massive.

3. Lip Primer 
Lip primers kind of do the same thing as silicone foundation primers in that they ensure a smooth canvas for lipstick to stick to and prevent creasing and smudging. Revlon, MAC, Urban Decay and ELF all do lip primers. Laura Mercier’s Lip Silk is a fairly expensive but highly regarded option. A QVC product called Laura Gellar’s lip spackle is another slightly harder to find but excellent option. Also, a cheaper option would be to apply a thin layer of concealer or foundation under your favourite lipstick. Now, I actually do not use a lip primer. The reason for this is that my lips get really dry really quickly and generally lip primers tend to dry out my lips.  Again, I don’t do this due to drying out my lips HOWEVER when wearing a particularly bright or strongly coloured lipstick – I’m talking those bright, blue toned pinks like MAC’s Please Me or the gorgeous 1940’s old Hollywood glamour reds like Revlon’s Really Red, I would take a small amount of concealer on a lip brush and use it to clean up the edges of the lipstick and prevent “bleeding” of the lipstick outside of the lip line.

4. Lash Primer 
This is a clear or white lash coating which makes your lashes appear longer and fuller. Some also contain ingredients to help lash growth over time. Clinique’s Lash Building Primer is really famous for being an excellent primer. Maybelline XXL Intense is a dual ended mascara with a primer on one end and mascara on the other. I have used Bourjois Coup De Theatre which also is a double ended mascara with primer. I loved the dramatic effect but felt it was a little clumpy. I like to have really separated lashes so I just use my favourite mascara which is L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara and then use a clean spool/mascara brush to separate the lashes. I actually (when I can be bothered) use a different mascara for my lower lashes to really grab on to them and pull them out as they can kind of curl under. For that I use MaxFactor Masterpiece and when it runs out I will use L’Oreal Telescopic mascara in Carbon Black. I do have fairly long lashes so just found that worked for me better than using a separate lash primer. However for shorter or thinner lashes I would highly recommend a primer- for a more affordable option try the Bourjois one and then if you think that works you could save up for the Clinique one. Having said that, I am also a fan of false lashes for a special night out or particularly dramatic look. Curling lashes is also another way to get a wide-eyes long lash effect.  So there are a few different options there to achieve thicker and longer looking lashes.

Hope that was helpful, sorry for such a long post but I really wanted to give as much info as possible, particularly as I do more tutorials on this blog, it will be easier to follow if you know what the products are and how to use them.

xoxo Angel5ace xoxo


  1. Have you tried no7 pore serum, i use that as a base, and my foundation looks sooo smooth. its only 13quid as well, and ive used a generous amount everyday and ive still got more than half a bottle left

  2. @LittleMissNawtieLicious Hi no I haven't tried that yet, may try to get a sample,thanks for the rec xoxo