Updated: Jul 8
From heavy makeout sessions to viewings of Titanic, there are some things that even the best makeup just can't withstand. But we'll let you in on a little secret: For anything short of such events, your makeup should have no trouble lasting. So what is a makeup primer and what does makeup primer do? More importantly, should we just accept the fact that our makeup looks one way when we first apply it and then changes drastically throughout the day?
What is Makeup Primer and When Do You Need It?
Well, if you're noticing smudging, running, or fading, it's time to make a change. Don't go throwing out your whole makeup bag, though! You probably just need to incorporate products or primers that prep your skin better for the makeup you're laying on top of them.
To put things in simple terms, makeup primers are used as preparatory products that are applied after our creams to create a great canvas that will allow makeup to stick. Primers are used before our tinted moisturizers, concealers, foundation, and our eye shadow. Many primers in the market today contain additional ingredients such as sunscreen, hyaluronic acid for increasing hydration, or they come in its traditional form such as a silicon-based primer that softens, blurs, and smooths skin.
One thing to point out is that today's best primers don't just serve to blur, soften, or keep makeup in place, but they are also able to fight wrinkles and fine lines, treat acne, and moisturize our skin. Some even claim to be able provide us with a mini "face-lift," and they do all of this without feeling like we are wearing a mask.
What Does Makeup Primer Do?
Find the sitch below that sounds most like you to discover the complexion prep that'll whip your makeup's longevity into shape. Below, we dive into our most commonly asked questions regarding makeup primers and top issues they are meant to address.
1. "What is makeup primer - can it be used on SUPER OILY SKIN?"
It's no secret: Excess oil and makeup don't really mix. (Just think of all the oil facial cleansers on the market!) After you apply your skincare, slather on a mattifying primer to absorb some of that oil. The best formulas will continue to absorb oil throughout the day, like Honest Beauty's Everything Primer Matte. If your makeup is still sliding, finish your look with a powder as well, focusing especially on your t-zone.
How does makeup primer benefit oily skin? It prevents foundation from sliding down, and it maintains your base flawless for hours on end. It is also useful to stop the t-zone from becoming much oilier or shiny, and it is useful for smoothing out the texture of the skin to make the wrinkles and pores seem less visible.
2. "What is a makeup primer - can it be used on DRY SKIN?"
If you've ever had a particularly flaky skin day, then you know how much dry skin can affect makeup wear. Your foundation exacerbates the flakes, and it feels like the color comes off with one accidental swipe of your hand. This is because even though makeup hates most oils, dry skin is the major exception—after all, makeup needs something to adhere to. Treat a thirsty complexion and add a bit of hold with a super lightweight, fast-absorbing oil, like The Everything Oil, before you apply your makeup.
3. "What is a makeup primer - can it help me achieve A DEWY FINISH?"
So, makeup hates too much oil. (Have we hammered this home yet?) Unfortunately, if you like a juicy, dewy skin look, a little bit of facial oil is a great way to get it. But it's not the only way! We developed Lock + Rock Makeup Mist as a water-based way to get radiant—it gets it's subtle shimmer from responsibly sourced mica, not oils. Best of all, you can use it as a primer and a setting spray. Just spritz it on evenly before and after your makeup.
4. "What is makeup primer - can it help with preventing SPF MESSING WITH MY MAKEUP'S WEAR?"
Everyone who's obsessed with skincare knows daily sunscreen is the key to gorgeous, youthful skin as you age. Also not a secret? So many sunscreens, especially more natural versions, have a slightly oily or greasy feeling, which can lead to makeup sliding. Just follow your sunscreen with a mattifying primer, like the one we recommend above.
5. "What is makeup primer - can it help my EYE MAKEUP STAY LONGER?"
Oily eyelid peeps, we see you! The same rules apply here: Nix oil for longer, smoother wear. Sure, you could buy a dedicated eye makeup primer... or you could use what you already have on hand. Add a drop of facial primer to each lid, or swipe on concealer or powder there. The added benefit of the latter is that you'll also cover any discoloration on your lids, so your eyeshadow will look more like the shade you see in the pan.
What is Makeup Primer Application Method?
Makeup primers work best when applied after your skincare routine and before your makeup application. Most of the top makeup artist suggest that applying primer with hands and blending it all over your face is the best way and easiest way to achieve the perfect finish. Makeup brush or a sponge can soak and waste too much of the product.
It is also suggested to wait several minutes to let the primer set in before going on to apply the foundation and the rest of the makeup. When applying primer, start with a pea size amount first and then add more if needed.
Many makeup artists suggest to always cater the amount of your primer to your skin type. For example, if you are on the oilier side, be sure to use less product and build gradually. If your skin tends to be on the dry side, be sure to use at least a quarter size dollop of primer as your skin may quickly absorb it in. Be sure to assess how your primer behaves throughout the day and if you find your face getting tight and dry, increase the amount of primer next time before you apply the foundation.