Updated August 17, 2021
Let me ask you a question – are you prepping you skin before you apply makeup? Are you addressing your skin’s needs before that makeup goes on? If not, you should be. It makes all the difference in the application and longevity of your makeup!
In this post and video, we will be chatting all about skin prep and makeup primer. Along with skincare before makeup, we’re specifically covering the main question, “What does makeup primer do?“
Do you need a makeup primer? Which makeup primers are best for your skin type and needs? Read on and watch to find out how to properly prep the skin and the different types of face primers.
All About Skin Prep! What Does Makeup Primer Do?
Skin Prep Before Makeup
Skin prep before makeup is important so you can create the perfect canvas for your makeup. It’s important to prep skin because it restores, balances, and refreshes skin’s surface. It also is an important step where you will apply your SPF. I prefer not to rely on my makeup to give me sun protection, so SPF is a must!
Before we get into what is makeup primer, here’s how I like to prep my skin. Skin prep is an absolute essential part of my makeup routine, and it should be yours!
Here is my morning skincare routine before makeup:
- Gently cleanse face or splash with water to remove the previous night’s skincare
- Apply daytime serums like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C serums
- Apply daytime moisturizer
- Apply eye cream (you can also mix with a little bit of eye primer to help prep the under eye)
- Apply SPF
If my skin is feeling a little dry or I want extra hydration for the under eye area, I take ONE drop of a facial oil and pat it under the eyes.
I make sure to let my skin sit for about 10 minutes or so before I start on my makeup. I like to give my skincare and prep a moment to absorb! I then go in with a face primer!
Shop Daytime Skincare Recs:
What is Makeup Primer and What Does it Do?
Primer is a type of liquid, lotion or cream that’s applied before any other face makeup. The purpose for primer is to prep the skin, no matter the skin tone. Makeup primers do a variety of things depending on the formula. They can allow the foundation to go on smoother, help makeup to the end of the day, provide a more flawless finish, or even change the finish to the skin. Primer is applied before any other makeup. It is an essential part of my makeup application!
How to Use Makeup Primer
After you’ve prepped your skin with your skincare and SPF, apply the makeup primer to the skin.
What are the Different Types of Makeup Primers?
Primer comes in many forms. It can be a liquid, lotion, or cream. Different primers can actually do different things! What’s the best makeup primer? It depends on what you’re looking for! The right primer can depend from person to person. It can be overwhelming to shop so many different makeup products, but I’ve broken it down easy so you can find the best primer!
The different types of primers are:
- Hydrating Primers
- Smoothing Primers
- Gripping Primers
- Illuminating Primers
- Mattifying Primers
Hydrating Makeup Primers
Hydrating makeup primers provide an extra boost of hydration to the skin They help ensure the foundation glides on smoothly and evenly, without drying out your skin or adding some serious shine. I love a hydrating primer when my skin is feeling extra dry.
My favorite hydrating makeup primer is the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer – This primer is refreshing and hydrating. It helps dry patches and brings the skin back to life!
Shop Hydrating Makeup Primers:
Smoothing Makeup Primers
If you have large pores and are looking to make them less noticeable, this is what you need! Smoothing makeup primers “erase” texture and the appearance of pores, which creates a smooth surface for makeup to lay on top of. Smoothing primers typically have silicones and sort of “lay on top” of the texture.
Some of my favorite smoothing makeup primers are:
e.l.f Poreless Putty Primer – This primer creates a smooth base to the skin. It doesn’t feel dry but creates a great base for makeup to go on top of.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer – This primer is very luxurious! It helps smooth out the look of fine lines and texture. It has a silky feel to it.
Shop Smoothing Primers:
Gripping Makeup Primers
Gripping primers create a “sticky” finish to the skin so that the makeup “grips” onto it and stays all day. They work for all skin types, particularly combination skin. This is my favorite type of makeup primer because they don’t feel heavy, and they are amazing for the hot climate I live in! Pair this with a setting spray at the end of your routine, and your makeup will last all day!
Some of my favorite gripping makeup primers are:
Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer – This is one fo the most popular gripping primers, and for good reason. It is amazing! The best way to use this primer is to immediately go in with your foundation once the primer gets sticky.
e.l.f Jelly Pop Primer – If you need a Milk Hydro Grip dupe, this is it! It is another great primer that creates a sticky base. I use it the exact same way that I do the Milk primer.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Primer – This is one of my top favorite primers of all time because I feel like it does a few things! It hydrates, smooths the skin, and it grips onto the makeup! It’s the perfect primer if you have multiple skin concerns.
Shop Gripping Primers:
Illuminating Makeup Primers
Illuminating makeup primers are designed to change the finish of the skin. They illuminate and provide a “glow from within” look. They make the skin look luminous and full of radiance. These are great if you have very dry skin and want something that will make it appear fresh! They also feel hydrating to the skin.
Some of my favorite illuminating makeup primers are:
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Illuminating – I love the glowy finish this gives without feeling heavy or greasy. It’s super lightweight!
L’Oreal Lumi Glotion – This has more of a “moisturizer” feel to it, but still gives a super glowy finish. If you have dry skin, you’ll love this one!
Shop Illuminating Primers:
Mattifying Makeup Primers
Mattifying makeup primers are designed to control excess oil and keep your face matte. These are a must for super oily skin types! If powders and setting sprays don’t provide enough oil control, try using a matte primer.
My favorite mattifying makeup primer is Too Faced Primed & Peachy Cooling Matte Perfecting Primer. It does give a little pore blurring and keeps the skin matte without feeling dry. It’s a super comfortable primer to use, even if you aren’t oily!
Shop Mattifying Primers:
Serum Makeup Primers
Serum makeup primers have a lightweight serum consistency and are usually in a dropper package, hence the “serum” name. These are great if you want to plump up the skin without using something that feels heavy. Serum primers hydrate and do a little gripping, in my experience. They aren’t any “better” than any other type of primer, it’s just a different consistency. If you prefer something with a thin, serum consistency that feels more lightweight, you’ll enjoy a serum primer.
Some of my favorite serum makeup primers are:
Wet ‘n Wild Prime Focus Hydrating Serum – This primer has a lovely lightweight texture. It feels hydrating and gripping. If you want something that’s both of those things, give this one a try!
Beauty Pie Japanfusion Genuis Lift Elixir – This is so hard to explain! It’s definitely more a skincare item, but I LOVE to use it as a primer. It hydrates, smooths, and plumps. I love the way it feels on my skin.
Shop Serum Primers:
Primer for Mature Skin
If you have mature skin, any of these primers will work for you, as long as you are doing your proper skin prep before using them! If you’re unsure where to start, I would grab a hydrating or smoothing primer.
So, do you need a makeup primer?
The short answer is no, you don’t really need anything as long as you are prepping the skin with skincare. But if you’d like to add a little extra layer of something to prep or change the finish of your skin, a foundation primer is great to have on hand. I love using makeup primers in addition to my skin prep, and I use one every time I apply foundation.
In conclusion, what does makeup primer do? It adds an additional layer of prep to the skin before makeup. As long as you know what you want to achieve, you can have a lot of success with the right makeup primer!
I hope you found this blog post and video helpful! Do you have a favorite primer? What does it do for your skin?