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Primers Demystified

I first heard and learned about primers about 5 or 6 years ago, during one of those days when I was happily watching the Television Shopping Network on Foxtel. Those were the days when my days were long, the kids were young and I was thoroughly bored. But, it did open my eyes up to a multitude of different products – whether I needed them or not was a whole different story. Anyway, that was where I first heard about primers.

From the presentation, I only knew that it helped to smooth over fine lines and wrinkles, something that in my own eyes was possibly happening on my face. I bought the primer, found out that it didn’t make any difference. Well, really, if there weren’t any fine lines to begin with, then how could one see the difference right? It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned a lot more about the function of primers.

What is a primer? 

Primers basically act like a barrier between your skin and your make-up. It creates that blank canvas on your skin so that the make-up application would be smoother and best of all, last longer. Some primers also help to smooth out fine lines and minimise any facial pores. Most primers also contain, wax, silicones or polymers, hence the “smoothed out” effect and soft silky feel.

How do you apply primers?  

Primers either come in a gel, or cream form. Some are tinted and some are not. You would still need to apply your sunscreen and moisturiser BEFORE applying your primer. The foundation is applied AFTER you have applied your primer.

Do we need primers? 

Unless you want your make-up to last all day, I would say to use this only on a “need to” basis. It’s also great for when you want that matte look to your make-up.  When removing your make-up with the primer on, it’s best that you cleanse your face TWICE. This way it cleanses not just your make-up but the primer which is underneath it. Also remember to exfoliate at least twice a week if you wear primers everyday (source:The Amazing Face).

Types of primers

There are many types of primers, each with their own purpose. There are ones for the face, eyes, and even lips. So far I have only tried 2 brands of face primer and one brand of eye primer. And to be perfectly honest, I haven’t done enough research to see if it made any difference when it came to my make-up lasting the distance. The face primers I have tried previously do create that smooth canvas and minimise my pores. Especially the one by Benefit CosmeticsThe POREfessional.

Another trick that I’ve recently learned thanks to Zoe Foster’s The Amazing Face, is the fact that you can use a primer to mask red or blotchy skin. I’ve tried this with the John Plunkett Advanced Anti Wrinkle Filler just around my nostrils and I have to admit, it did work!

Some brands that I’ve tried and have been recommended by others

Whilst I’ve only tried a very small handful of primers, here are some primers that you can try:

That Gal brightening face primer

That Gal Brightening Face Primer

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional

Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer

Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer

Face of Australia Face Base Primer

Face of Australia Face Base Primer

John Plunkett Advanced Wrinkle Filler

John Plunkett Advanced Wrinkle Filler


Those are just a few things I’ve learned about make-up primers. Have you used any that you think are worth recommending? Or can you add any other benefits or tips to using a primer?




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  1. 1

    Already clicking links so I can work them out. Thanks for this. I used a primer with my last Revlon foundation. I did find it made a difference, made my make up so much smoother.
    Melissa recently posted..Trash, Tabloid JournalismMy Profile

    1. 1.1

      Which primer did you use the last time Melissa? And yes, it does make a difference with helping your make-up go the distance too! Just remember to exfoliate an extra day a week if you have a primer on everyday. :)

  2. 2

    I LOVE my primer. I use it when ever I wear makeup – which is most days. I use a YSL one as most of my makeup is YSL. I have sensitive skin & love that this does not irritate or dry out the skin on my face.
    Naomi recently posted..Cooking, the hum of home and a word called tea.My Profile

    1. 2.1

      Thanks for sharing Naomi. The only product I’ve ever tried from YSL was their lipstick. That was a long time ago too! Do you also use their foundation? How do you find it? Good?

      1. Naomi

        I do use YSL foundation and 2 different light reflective under eye concealers. Also lip stick. Each time I need a new product I buy YSL. For me it is the perfect brand.

        Love their foundation too. Best I have ever used.
        Naomi recently posted..Run hard. Run fast. Run home.My Profile

  3. 3

    Maybe some more research is needed as mineral primers are also available. These come in both a cream and powdered format and are a huge benefit when applying mineral foundations.

    1. 3.1

      Yes, indeed more research is needed. I’ve only ever heard of silicone based primers. Can you recommend some mineral based primers that you have used before?

  4. 4

    I live by my Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow Primer. It’s a bit pricey but a little goes a long way. I’ve been using the same tube since August 2010, and I wear eyeshadow at least 5 days a week! The humidity plus my oily eyelids mean that I have to use a primer, or the shadow will crease, and this one is great!

    1. 4.1

      I’ve only ever used ONE eyeshadow primer. We have Too Faced here too, so I might give that one a try. My oily eyelids sometimes causes my shadow to crease too.

  5. 5

    I’ve never heard of primers …I need a lot of makeup education.
    Trish recently posted..LEGO® Games build, play and change ~ GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    1. 5.1

      Haha…I’m still learning new things myself Trish. :)

  6. 6

    I adore that Face of Australia one, it creates a really lovely surface and is also moisturising but doesn’t make me oily. I have tried a few silicone primers but find they feel too heavy for me-sometimes I use them just around the nose/cheek area, then they are okay. Great overview! x
    emmabovary recently posted..gelati manicureMy Profile

    1. 6.1

      I’ve heard lots of good things about the FOA primer. I’m just glad it’s inexpensive too. Might give that one a go the next time I’m in search of a primer.

  7. 7

    I love John Plunketts Instant Wrinkle Filler. Honestly my all time favourite primer. It works miracles, and leaves my skin SUPER soft. I can’t stop raving about it.

    Luca Xx

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