Primer Talk: What a Primer Does And Which One Is Right For Your Skin

I paint as a hobby, so I know how important priming a canvas is sometimes. It’s not always ‘necessary’, but it makes the workspace so much smoother and the colors that much more vibrant and easier to apply with the brushstrokes. Primer for the face works in a very similar fashion. Instead of acrylics or oils we use pigmented powders and creams. A good primer will fill in any fine lines, minimize pores and extend the wear of your foundation throughout the day well into the night. It also prevents creasing of eyeshadow and flaking of any colors. So what’s the best type of primer for you?

I have normal skin and using primers have never been a priority. I have many small tubes, but almost never use them because they don’t provide much added-value for me. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to try a few primers for “smaller” problems such as skin dullness and fine lines. Trying a fast-absorbing product like YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer* made a difference for me in terms of application and use. The small gold flakes were cute and unobtrusive, and the primer felt more akin to a beauty oil. Trying YSL Blur Perfector, however, made absolutely no difference. My skin just doesn’t need the mattifying and “blurring” effect it provides. Albeit it’s not a primer, the concept is very similar to one and the texture is reminiscent of many silicone based primers. I can see its benefit more readily on oily skin that needs touch-ups throughout the day.

It’s also worth noting that it’s best to choose a different primer for eyelids/lips than for the face since specifically formulated primers for smaller areas make for a better canvas and combat that area’s problems more effectively. When applying your primer, do as you would with a moisturizer: dab on and blend in with your fingers. Let it absorb completely before applying the makeup on top.

If you have Normal Skin

Your skin is most likely a very good canvas already, but it doesn’t hurt to prime to extend the wear of any foundation you decide to wear through the day. Look for primers which aren’t silicone based and offer a light finish. Since you don’t need mattifying or ultra-rich primers, it’s best to focus on smaller problems you might want to combat such as dark circles or larger pores.

If you have Combination or Oily Skin

Look for mattifying primers! Oil-free formulas that leave the skin powdery are your best friend, especially in the summer. If you’re only oily in the T-zone, don’t be afraid to apply the mattifying primer there while using another type (such as brightening or pore-minimizing) on the rest of the face. Just make sure to try both types out underneath your regularly used foundation to ensure the color blends equally and has the same pigmentation.

If you have Dry Skin

A hydrating primer is your best friend so it’s worth your time to look for specific primers with hydration properties. Mattifying primers probably won’t be doing you any favors anytime soon.

Blemishes? Acne-Prone Skin? Dull Skin? Sallow Skin?

There’s a primer for you. Pore-minimizing primers, salicylic acid containing primers, anti-redness primers, the list goes on. The first step of choosing it is identifying what your skin needs most.

Moral of the story, don’t get a primer simply because it sounds good or is trendy at the moment. Get one specifically for your PRIMARY needs. Oh, and try to get one with SPF for the added benefit please!

Nataliya Ogle


Nataliya Ogle likes making sure others live to their full potential. She publishes articles on her primary website and works as a freelance writer for other women's interest sites. Her physical body is in New York but her presence can almost always be found online. The internet is her first love.

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