Base Makeup Basics Part 1: Face Primers | How to choose the right primer | How to apply Primer | Primers in India

 

Hey everyone!

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 ?

Best Face Primers available in India
Best Face Primers available in India

 

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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.

 

Make Up For Ever All Mat Mattifying Base
Make Up For Ever 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.

 

Clinique Pore Minimizer T-zone Control
Clinique Pore Minimizer T-zone Control

 

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)

 

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

 

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+PrimeL’Oreal Paris Base Magique Primer and Inglot Make Up Base.

 

Inglot Under Makeup Base
Inglot Under Makeup 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.

 

NYX-Cosmetics-Studio-Perfect-Primer
NYX-Cosmetics-Studio-Perfect-Primer

 

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 :

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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).
  5. 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 :

Oriflame Beauty Face Perfecting Primer : Review, Swatch and Photos

L’oreal Paris Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer : Review and FOTD

Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector 01 Rose Beige: Review, Swatch and FOTD

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Primer : Review, Swatch and Photos

 

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.

 

80 Comments

  1. I loved the post Ankita! Very informative! I have MAC Prep+Prime, without SPF. Works great but would love to try the Beauty Flash Balm next.

  2. Thanks so much, very informative. I’m badly dealing with open pores 🙁 Thanks again for the information.

    Love. <3

  3. Great post! Can you please help me in identifying a suitable primer to me..

    1. I am wheatish
    2. Have fine lines around the eyes and dark circles too
    3. Have yellow undertones

    Thank you! 🙂

    1. What purpose do you need it for Revathy? Is it to brighten or to control oil or to moisturize? Depends on your skin type rather than skin tone 🙂

  4. Luvd this a loooooooooooooot!! As it solved many of my queries!!! I had doubts on The Bodyshop Moisture White Shiso BB Cream which you will br reviewing soon!! Yayyyy!! For that!! 😀 😀

    And the other one was for MAC Fix+ spray…as I heard that it kinda gives a luminous finish to the skin after spraying it on the face after makeup! But nw I get it,,,its jus a mist!! heheh so I dont think its dat essential to buy,as I already hav good mists wid me!!

    You already solved the query of Clarins Beauty Flash Balm in ur previous post..so I was kinda relaxed while reading this post!! hehehee

    1. You’re welcome Prachi! MAC Fix+ has a lot of skin care benefits and does give a nice dewy finish to the skin, I haven’t tried it personally though. All the MAC Artists absolutely love it!

      Btw you should contact that Shoppers Stop no. I had given you and ask to be connected to Clarins, the concerned person will tell you the IFSC Code and A/c details where you need to make the payment if you want to purchase anything.

  5. A very useful post.tahnk u.
    I purchased the inglot face primer few days back…. I’m yet to use it. Is it ok to use it on a daily basis? Kindly reply. I’m clueless.

    1. Yes its okay to use it on a daily basis as long as you have no reaction to silicones or any other ingredients!

  6. I’ve been pretty disappointed in my Philosophy primer so I’m anxious to try something new. I’ll probably use L’oreal Paris Base Magique Primer next. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Hi Ankita,
    I have read that aloe vera gel works like a moisturiser and primer. Is it true? Can it be used instead of a moisturiser before applying sunscreen on day to day basis? And will it control oil secretions?

    1. Hi Ramona, Aloe vera gel is sticky though it does dry down but is you’ve noticed, it sort of peels off when you rub your skin. It also sort of melts when in contact with water/sweat so I would not recommend using it as a base. Some people use it but it never works for me. I use it only at night in a thick layer as an overnight treatment and wash it off in the morning.

  8. Hi,

    The article is very informative. keep up the good work.

    i have a few queries:

    1) is makeup primer same as BB creams or is there any difference between the two??

    2) Which one would you suggest for my skin: my skin is normal, little wheatish and discolored around peri oral.

    3) could you please recommend some thing for my dark circles.

    thanks in advance.

    1. HI Navneet, BB creams are different from Primers.
      Primers are meant to act as a base for the makeup which is applied on top of it – it makes it last longer.

      BB creams are basically moisturizers packed with ingredients that heal, brighten and protect the skn. BB creams are generally tinted and can be used instead of foundation when you want lighter coverage.

      The 2 are completely different and it depends what you are looking for.

      For dark circles, I’d recommend Aroma Magic Almond eye cream, its regular use wil definitely lighen the pigmentation.

  9. Would i need to use a blue (not purple) coloured primer to counter-act the orange in my skin tone. Or would i need to use yellow? i have yellow asian skin btw

    1. Hi Glittergirl, I think purple tinge should work. I haven’t seen any blue tinted primers in the market yet though there are plenty of purple ones.

  10. I just want to add that although i have asian yellow skin tone it has recently started to go orange which i dislike, making me look dull.

    So thats why i asked if adding blue would be a good idea to balance the orange. (Blue is the opposite of Orange on the colour wheel)

    or would i still need to stick to a yellow primer like kim kardashian did in her recent picture. She is quite orange (tanned) and she adds a yellow primer to her skin to brighten up her face.

  11. UPDATE my skin colour is not so much orange now, the weathers changing and the tan is wearing off its returning to golden/yellow again. I tried on the mac fortified illumizer (lavender primer) and although it brightened up my yellow skin i did noticed through out the day that it made my skin dry and rough.

    I also tried on a hand swatch in givency’s colour primer – plum. It looks like a light sky blue colour (not particulary lilac)and brightened up my skin it looked abit scarey! Abit like robert pattison in twighlight. But i guess the trick to this is apply a tiny amount. I also noticed my skin didn’t feel particulary soft after wearing this swatch and it looked abit too sheeny. It also looked as if it would actually accentuate fine lines more which is not a good look.

    My skin is very sensitive to products and i can easily tell which products will make it look dry and rough (i have this problem with most Nars and Mac makeup) so i rather opt for products that make my skin feel alot more softer and kinder. Sometimes when we think we’re correcting a problem such as colour correction in skin colour, we may actually make it look worse by wearing products that make it feel rough and unflattering. Natural beauty or products that give the illusion of looking natural is the way to go.

    1. Hi Glittergirl, if you find a primer that works for you but looks too brightening like the Givenchy color primer, you can tone it down by mixing a little bit of moisturizer in it.

  12. hey ..its really helped me a lot ..though not a regular pimer person ..was looking to buy one for my frnds wedding ….have a wheatish complexion ..plz help …and quite normal skin xoxo

  13. I Just want to know if i can directly use compact/ loose powder on the primer instead of foundation? will that help in giving the glow?

    Thanks.

    1. If you dont need the coverage a foundation gives, you can definitely use it. Whether or not it will give a glow depends on the product you’ve used. If you use an illuminating primer, it will give a glow.

  14. Hello Corallista, I know little about beauty and less about primers. I don’t live in India but all the same I found your post terrifically helpful! 🙂

    Thanks to your useful information I decided that for now I’ll stick with my moisturiser, at least til I develop a specific primey primer need (hope that takes ages!).

    Thank you very much for saving me a bunch of cash, I really appreciate it. 🙂

  15. hey dear
    itz my bros marriage nxt week.
    I hav seen parlours and salon givin those shabby makeup…
    So planning to wear make up myself & buy a whole range and store it…
    N ds is going to be d first time m wearing a makeup.
    plz help.
    I have got oily skin with wheatish tone. I also have pigmentation on my face except on my cheeks.
    I am ok with my skin tone but jst worried about the uneven pigments & excessive oil secretion.
    For the marriage i want a primer which controls oil but since an evening function i want it to be illuminating too…. Do i have a choice ???
    I would like to have a make up which is nearest to my skin n looks natural…. ya but would like to try those peppy shades in vogue like natural coral 🙂
    Can you plz suggest products & shades.. from primer to everything required for a perfect makeup..

    love shanz

    1. Hi Shanz, you could use Revlon Photoready primer – it will control oil and give a little brightening effect also. For added glow in the evening, you could use a highlighter on your cheekbones or a blush containing a little bit of shimmer. You could check out Colorbar Touch and Blush in Paparazzi Bronze.

  16. hey ankita… first of all i want to say i love you… my holidays are going on now a days so i spend most of my tme reading and exploring corallista blog. i am a huge an of corallista and of you ofcourse. i note down all the things that i found most beautiful and accurate for me. And hey…. i have the same colour complexion like you. yaaay…. :* . after reading this post on primers i want to ask which primer i should use… I am 19 yr old. and have no issues like open pores , oil problem etc. but i want to use a primer as it tends to last makeup for a longer time..so plz tell me something that could come under budget. thank you. n I LOVE U.

  17. These days m reading ur older posts… Really liked this primer post… Well currently m using Mac prep+prime & soon will buy the strobe cream too… That's a instant face brightener…

  18. Hi ankita…I just love your make up tutorials. ..its just awesome. Im very new to this make up stuff…I don't know the basics though. .so my query is can I apply bb cream after the primer and Which bb cream is good

  19. Hi Ankita, iam new to makeup..and off late learning about primers. Iam a teacher by profession and can’t wear visible makeup in school which can distract students LOL!! But am just 29yrs old and like any other young lady I too dream to have flawless skin…and use makeup while partying or in holidays.
    I wanted to ask, I have combination skin, oily around my nose, forehead and dry patches around lips and a little in cheeks, which gets badly accentuated after foundation application, even when I moisturise my face liberally with my “olay total effects day cream”….I have just 4 brands in my city – Revlon, colorbar, chambor and lakme. Can you suggest me out of Revlon photo ready and colorbar primer which will suit me most?
    2nd I want to ask you is, it is really not possible to do touch ups at school, so is there any way out I can control my shiny face + even out skin tone “without using foundation”
    will applying compact powder over primer help?

    1. Hi Prerana, sorry for the delay in getting back to your query! Since you have combination skin, its best to use 2 primers – use something like the colorbar one on the dry-ish parts of the face and the revlon photoready only on the very oily parts. Or if you can't purchase both, go for the colorbar primer but make sure you apply pressed/loose powder on the t-zone area where you get oily. You would need some blotting in the oily areas halfway through the day so make sure you carry tissues or oil blotting sheets and blot the area. After blotting, you can reapply some compact powder on the oily areas and this should refresh you. If you don't want to use foundation, try a BB or CC cream – they have lighter coverage and even out the skin tone without the heavy look of foundation. You could try the Lakme CC cream or the Colorbar BB cream.

  20. hi ankita,
    First of all thank you so much for the information!
    I am looking out for a primer for wedding occassion which will give me bright and smooth result. I have normal skin tone, not too oily. since i am new to Primer i have no idea how they works. Clarins sounds good, but how to purchase? do they have any retail store in India?

    1. Hi Priya, Clarins has counters in Shoppers Stop is most major cities. Since you have normal skin, there are loads of options you could try – Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector, MAC Prep n Prime or if you want absolutely smooth poreless looking skin – try the Colorbar Primer and for a glow, try a highlighter separately applied on top of the cheekbones after foundation. Chambor Light and Sheer Highlighter is really nice. If you are more comfortable with powders, try the Revlon Cheek Highlighting Palette in Bronze Glow.

  21. Hi Ankita , how are you ?
    I really like your posts since they are very informative.
    After 3 months I am getting married and I don’t know much about the make up products available in the market. so, I need your guidance. Please help me out.
    First of all, I have combination skin with few pores on the nose and little redness on the apple of my cheeks. My forehead, nose and cheeks are oily but the area around my lips are dry. Since, my wedding is in summers. I am going to have a difficult time with my skin.
    So, please suggest me a primer and a foundation which best suits my skin type and which brightens my face as well since it’s my wedding.
    Please reply me soon. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sara, I'll recommend using an oil control primer like the Revlon Photoready Primer on the T-zone and oily areas or entire face. For foundation, I'd suggest MAC Matchmaster foundation – it'll work well with combination skin. Or if you want a heavier coverage, MAC Studio Fix Fluid is good. Make sure you pick up a loose powder (MAC or Clinique) and use that to set your foundation – that'll really help in preventing any oil buildup and greasy shine in pictures. To add some glow, I'd recommend using a liquid or powder highlighter on the cheekbones. You could also mix a drop of highlighter in your moisturizer before foundation for added glow. I'd recommend you check out some of my bridal makeup videos to get some idea about how to do your base for wedding makeup. My Youtube channel name is "corallista".

  22. i have pimple scars on my face and my face is oily in T zone area which products i can purchase as primer and foundation i am wheatish

  23. Hi ankita,

    I absolutely love ur video..I was very new to make up world and I completely hooked to ur webside and video…Could you pls suggest me a overall face make up range i.e primer to corrector foundation and loose powder?….recently I bought mac studio fix fluid…but I havenot found any glow which I want to see on my face…..I have combination skin..and slightly pigmented on chin..ami over all skin in very uneven and I need very glowing make up look just like urs ..pls suggest …Thanks

    1. Hi, it helps to have glowing healthy skin so I suggest concentrate on your skin. I drink a lot of water and have lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and some amount of healthy fats to get healthier, glowing skin. You can mix in a little bit of liquid highlighting or illuminator in your foundation to get a more glowing finish. You can try the Chambor Liquid highlighter or the Revlon Skinlights.

  24. Hi!!! hope you are doing great. Please suggest me makeup base products for my sensitive skin and basically normal (not dry nor oily). I am fair with visible dark circles..its just bec skin is fair dark circle are more visible. otherwise i have no imperfection. Please suggest me primer concealer and foundation and application for the same.
    Thanks

  25. Hi Ankita,

    I have one question..If I mixed liquid highlighter to the foundation and apply it over the face..Do I need to apply primer under it?? or that mixture is along enough ??..Pls suggest..

  26. Hi there..i enjoy watching your videos on youtube…and has made me keen on learning the art of makeup. do you provide training classes or one to one classes? I would appreciate if you can make me aware on chosing the right cosmetics, colors and brushes.

  27. Hi Ankita

    i like ur post am new for make world , i hv sensitive wheatish (dry) skin type pz guide me to choose best primer fr me………

  28. Hi i want to buy a primer for the first time.Recently my skin became very oily with acne black spots. I want you to suggest me a face primer for dark skin tone? I want matte finish which will control oil and minimise my 3-4 pores and will help to increase longivity of foundation.

  29. Hi Ankita, hope you can guide me. I don’t use makeup as I have acne. I’m looking for a primer that gives me a dewy look on its own without any makeup on top. I know the acne scars will be visible but I don’t want to aggravate them by applying makeup. I have slightly oily skin. Something that lasts long in office. Thanks

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