Prime(r) Time

Face, eyelid, lash, and lip primers. Oh my! From my experience, I find a lot of women aren’t quite sure what to do with al these primers. Do I really need them? What do they do? Which one should I choose? As primers are a “relatively” new concept to many, it’s completely understandable that these foreign things might first seem like a mere gimmick brought about to get you to spend more money.

Two words for you. Not. True.

Here’s the thing, not every primer is for you. Just like you have to find the right shade and formula of foundation, or the right color of eyeshadow, you have to find the right primer.

Let’s break it down.

Face Primer:

There are tons of formulas of face primers out there, and each one does a different thing. First, you need to determine the needs of your skin. What problems are you having with your foundation?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your foundation:

Does it settle in your pores or fine lines/wrinkles?
Does it slide off as the day progresses?
Are you prone to break outs?
Does it not go on smoothly and evenly?

Your answers to these questions will determine which type of primer you want to get. Some primers are better at “spackling” over pores and fine lines, while others are better at absorbing oil that could cause your foundation to slide off.

Here Are Some Suggestions Based on Skin Type/Concern:

A) Fine Lines and Wrinkles:

  • Too Faced Primed & Poreless

B) Pores:

  • Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pure Oil-Free Skin Smoothing Face Primer for Sensitive Skin
  • Diorskin Pore Minimizer
  • Benefit The POREfessional Primer

C) Oily Skin:

  • Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
  • Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer

D) Smooth, Even Coverage (aka No Particular Skin Concerns):

  • Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
  • Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Primer
  • Makeup Forever HD Microperfecting Primer

How to Use a Face Primer:

After cleansing and moisturizing, give your face time to absorb your moisturizer and “dry.” Now it’s time to reach for your face primer. Put a raisin-sized amount in between your fingers and rub the together. This will warm the primer and make it spread more evenly. Now apply it to your face. Just make sure to avoid the eye area, as you’ll be using a separate eyelid primer for that area. Trust me. That primer is going to be necessary.

Eyelid Primer:

Eyelid primers are ESSENTIAL if you wear eye shadow and/or liner. They act like double stick tape, grabbing onto your lid and your eyeshadow. A lot of people’s eyelids get a little oily throughout the day, which can cause your eyeshadow to slip off. Not to mention, just the mere act of blinking all day can wear away your shadow. Eyelid primer prevents oils from your lid from reaching your shadow.

It’s easier to choose and eyelid primer, because you aren’t as concerned with things like pore size. Some primers have different properties than others, which will cater to your specific needs. Overall, though, any eyelid primer will do the trick.

A) General Eyelid Primers Great for Most:

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Original
  • Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer
  • Benefit Stay Don’t Stray
  • BareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer

B) Antiaging Eyeshadow Primers:

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Antiaging
  • Cover FX Anti-Age Smoothing Eye Primer

C) Heavy Duty Eyeshadow Primers:

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Eden
  • Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer


Feel free to use your eyeshadow primer underneath your eye before applying concealer. It will help your concealer not settle in any lines throughout the day.

Lash Primer:

Lash primers might seem intimidating, but they’re great if no mascara you use seems to give you the full, dramatic, lush lashes you’re craving. Lash primers also contain conditioners to nourish your lashes and provide a protective layer between your lashes and your mascara (as mascara can often be drying and cause lashes to become brittle and *gasp* break!). Instead of layering multiple mascaras to achieve your desired look, try a lash primer out. It might actually end up saving you time.

Lashes are lashes. You pretty much decide on a brand based on how you like the way it applies (aka the brush and formula consistency).

Here are Some Lash Primers to Try Out:

  • Lancome CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base
  • Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Mascara
  • Clinique Lash Building Primer
  • Blinc Lash Primer

Lip Primer:

If you’re an avid lipstick wearer and are worried about your lipstick bleeding and/or staining your lips, a lip primer is a good option for you. Lip primers create a good base for you lipstick to adhere to so that they won’t slide around. A lot of people prefer using a lip liner as a base for their lipstick [Check out my article Not Just Lipstick Anymore, which elaborates on lip liner]. This works great. If you can’t find a lip liner in the right color or find them too drying, then you might want to give lip primer a try. You can also go double duty and use both. See what combo works and feels best for you.

Here Are Some Lip Primers That Might Work for You:

  • Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer
  • Buxom® True Nude Lip Foundation
  • Too Faced Lip Insurance Lip Primer
  • Becca Lip Priming Perfector
  • Guerlain Kiss Kiss Liplift


Primers come into play when you notice a problem with your products. If you aren’t having any noticeable problems, try a sample of a primer out to see if it correct a problem you didn’t know you had! I must say, however, eyelid primers are a REQUIRED item. Everything else is negotiable.

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