I’m starting off the new feature Base Makeup Basics with Face Primers. In this post I will be talking about :
- What is a Primer? What are the different types of Primers?
- How to choose the right Primer for yourself?
- My picks for best primers available in India
- How to apply Primer to your face ?
1. What is a Makeup Primer?
Primer is basically a product you apply to your face before applying foundation/powders etc which smoothens/brightens/mattifies your skin and prepares it for foundation. Using a primer helps the foundation to apply more easily and smoothly, helps it to last longer and may also perform other functions like oil control, skin tightening, brightening etc. depending on which type of primer you have used. Primers fill out the imperfections in texture of the skin like lines, pores etc. and give a smooth surface on which foundation can be applied with better results as compared to being applied on bare skin. They are generally liquid or cream based formulations.
There is no set classification of primers but I’m give a broad categorization here to help you choose the best primer for yourself :
1.1) Mattifying Primers : These are best suitable for oily or combination skin and as the name suggests, help in controlling oil. These prevent the skin becoming dull and oily due to excess sebum secretion and thus help in extending the wear time of the foundation. These can also be applied just on the T-Zone to control shine in that region. Some of the Mattifying Primers available in the Indian market are MAC Oil Control Lotion, L’Oreal Paris Base Magique Primer (a silicone containing primer), Make Up Forever All Mat Mattifying Base.
1.2) Pore Minimizing Primers : These are meant for people with large open pores and as the name suggests, these primers help in making the pores appear smaller. I have not tried any of these personally so I don’t know well these work. In India, Clinique and Shiseido pore minimizers are available.
1.3) Brightening Primers : These primers generally contain a healthy dose of nutrients that work on the skin and impart a lovely glow to the skin. Some brightening primers may also contain light reflective particles that are responsible for the shine and glow. They are generally more moisturizing and creamy than the mattifying/pore minimizing primers and are suitable for all skin types (Except very oily). The best brightening primer is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which brightens + tightens the skin beautifully. Some illuminators like MAC Strobe Cream and Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector also work great as primers under the foundation and give a flawless finish and glow to the skin.
Primers like NYX HD Studio Photogenic Primer has a mineral white base that does brighten the skin but leaves a white cast behind hence is not suitable for flash photography. The more affordable primer I have used till date is the Oriflame Primer but it didn’t do much for my skin except add a bit of moisture and very slight brightening effect. (Review link given at the end of this post)
1.4) Smoothening Primers : These are the primers that contain silicones and have a smooth, slippery touch. These products create a very smooth base on the skin on which foundation glides much more easily. They also make the foundation last longer and sometimes have oil control properties as well. Some women may be sensitive to silicones and they should avoid these smoothening primers. Some examples of Smoothening Primers are MAC Prep+Prime, L’Oreal Paris Base Magique Primer and Inglot Make Up Base.
1.5) Color Correcting Primers : Some primers contain trace amounts of color to counteract the red/yellow/orange tones in the skin. NYX makes affordable color correcting primers which help in neutralizing the overly warm tones of the skin. Complimenting colors are used to get the neutralization hence Green tinged primer works for red tones, Lavender tinged primer works for yellow/orange tones.
2. How to choose the best primer for yourself :
- If you have really oily skin and your major concern is oil control and large open pores, the best option for you is Pore Minimizing Primers and Mattifiers.
- If you have excessive red/yellow tones in your skin, a color correcting primer is the best choice for you.
- If you have no major skin issues but just need something to extend the wear time of your foundation, smoothening primers are the best choice for your skin.
- If you need some extra glow or your skin is prone to dullness, an illuminating or brightening primer is the best for your skin type.
3. My picks for best primers available in India :
I love brightening and illuminating primers the most even though they are add shine to my oily skin after few hours of wear. The reason I still stick to them is because they really give a nice boost to my skin and make it look really good in the photographs. For someone taking pictures almost everyday for the blog, products like Clarins Beauty Flash Balm are really miracle workers because they brighten the skin no matter what to give a flawless finish in pictures. Since I operate from home, the added shine after a few hours is not an issue for me however if I’m headed out, I am more like to use a mattifying primer to reduce the no. of touch ups I would need. For parties/special occasions, I once use my brightening primers.
From the products available in the Indian market, I would recommend :
- Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (Rs 1800) (brightens and tightens, gives the look of gorgeous healthy skin)
- Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector (Rs 1450) (tiny illuminating particles minimize imperfections and give a lovely glow to the skin)
- MAC Strobe Cream (Rs 1620) (very similar to Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector)
- L’oreal Paris Base Magique Primer (Rs 800) (makes the skin smooth and soft, extends the wear time of foundation, control oils without drying the skin)
- MAC Oil Control Lotion (Rs 1850) (helps keep the shine away for quite some time)
There are of course other primers available in the Indian market but these are the ones that I have tried and liked! NYX primers are good too but need to ordered online from international websites (they are ridiculously expensive in India!).
I had purchased The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream some time back and I will review it shortly after wearing it a few times. From the first impressions, it seems like a brightening base, how it extends the wear time of my foundation and blush remains to be seen!
4. How to apply Primer :
- Primer is typically applied as the first step of makeup after all the skin care products have been applied.
- After moisturizing and applying sunscreen (if its day time), wait a few minutes for the products to sink in and then apply the primer in small dots all over the face and neck leaving out the eye and lip area.
- Now you can use your fingers or a brush to blend the product.
- I prefer using my fingers as it warms up the product and it sinks in better into the skin. Use soft patting and blending strokes to massage the primer into the skin till it is completely absorbed.
- If you’re using a brush, moisten the brush with a few spritzes of a face mist like MAC Fix+ spray or The Body Shop Vit E spray for easier blending.
- With most primers (Esp brightening ones), it takes a few minutes (8-10) for the product to sink in so wait for a few minutes before you apply your foundation. You could do your eye makeup in the meanwhile.
Some points to keep in mind while purchasing primers :
- If you have sensitive skin and acne issues, consult a dermat to find out what you’re allergic to and check the ingredients of the product before purchasing.
- Choose a texture meant for your skin type, if you have oily skin go for a light lotion or gel type product. If you have dryness, go for a richer cream texture.
- Do a few test trials at home before using ANY new makeup product for the first time for a big event to make sure the formula works. If you’re purchasing a brightening primer for a special event like a wedding etc., try it out at home and take a few pictures to see how it looks in flash photos so that there are no unpleasant surprizes on the D-day!
- If you have skin that is prone to tanning, buy a primer which contains SPF. Some primers containing SPF are The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream and MAC Prep+Prime with SPF (it comes in a without SPF version too).
- If you’re not sure how a product will react to your skin, ask for samples. Most high end brands like Clarins, MAC, Clinique, Shiseido offer samples with purchase. The samples have enough product to be used a few times which is sufficient to determine how the product fares with your skin.
Here’s my favorite makeup artist Lisa Eldridge talking about Primers :
[note color=”#FFE4C4″] I hope you found this post useful! Next in the series is base eye makeup : Eye Primers and concealers! For any queries, feel free to leave me a comment below this post! [/note]
Review of Some Primers on my blog :
Disclaimer : This post is accurate to the best of my knowledge. All information presented here has been written by me and not picked up from the web (Except for some pictures and the video). Kindly do not copy or reproduce the information given in this post.