To prime or not to prime, that is the question
Most good quality primers are lightweight moisturisers and so priming your skin for make-up can be achieved with whatever product you put on that will improve the spreadability, look and wear of your foundation.
As we have established already on my first article here on Judas, I spend a lot of time on the Internet. I dare say that most of that time goes into reading and watching everything related to make-up and beauty. I would gladly spend my days listening to people talk about foundation and lipstick. Yet, sometimes, I feel (and I know I’m not alone in this) like the online beauty community is trying to bewitch us into buying, buying, buying!
One of the topics that always bothers me is foundation primer and how often it’s made to be the single greatest, most important step in any make-up routine. Not wearing a primer feels like one of the seven deadly sins of make-up judging by how often people joke about not wearing one.
But among all of the make-up memes about primer, the one that spoke to me the most posed a very pertinent question: why does my foundation need foundation?
Well, I’m here to tell you why. And why not.
Primers can be smoothing, mattifying, colour-correcting, illuminating, hydrating or even a combination of these. They come in all kinds of textures and bottles and price points. So they are meant to address certain skin concerns, but they also claim to create a barrier between your skincare and your make-up, provide a perfect canvas to apply make-up on top of and prolong the wear time of your foundations. But is any of this something you’re looking for, and, are you perhaps getting some of these benefits from your skincare already?
The most popular, well-known types of primers are the smoothing kind, usually heavier in silicones to improve spreadability, masking any roughness and filling in enlarged pores thus making the skin feel very soft and velvety - this silicone feel is actually what people tend to identify as 'that primer feel'. But there is also the kind of primer that leaves more of a slightly moisturised, tacky feeling behind which helps foundation stick onto the skin a bit better. This kind may also contain silicone derivatives or silica to absorb oils, but tend to be richer in other emollients in their formula (such as glycerin), making it feel more like a regular skincare product.
It is claimed that a primer creates a barrier between your skincare and your foundation, and of course, silicone being a popular ingredient, it might make sense that silicone-based primers do this, as it is an occlusive ingredient – which benefits I've discussed on my previous article. But applying primer is not a magical step to success, it all comes down to what works for you, and keep in mind: beautiful make-up starts with beautiful skin. Foundation is no more miraculous than primer. As we know, it can be incredibly unforgiving when your skin isn't at it's best, such as when it's dehydrated, as dehydration is foundation's greatest enemy. As with all things beauty-related, it's not supernatural, and it's not out of your reach to understand how things work. Just keep in mind that mainly comes down to a great skincare routine.
Most good quality primers are, in their essence, lightweight moisturisers and so, priming your skin for make-up can be achieved with whatever product you put on your skin that will improve the spreadability, look and wear of your foundation. For me, it’s a moisturising toner rich in emollients - as I prefer my skin feeling plump and tacky with its natural texture rather than have it feel smooth and powdery. But these days there are a lot of silicone based serums that provide a smooth, velvety finish, so for some people it could be that. But you could also use a primer if your favourite skincare doesn’t fit your needs. Personally, I only keep a smoothing primer in my make-up kit, and I only use it on people with very rough skin texture or enlarged pores. I can get everything else I need from prepping the skin with a moisturiser.
There isn’t a defined set of rules when it comes to the realm of beauty, people are just lead to believe they need that extra step, otherwise somehow the beauty spell won’t work. Make-up can feel like magic but you get to choose your ingredients and tailor your spell to your needs. And by the end of your beauty ritual when you look and feel extraordinary, no one will be able to tell whether you’ve used a primer or not!
Follow Sara aka dapperfish on YouTube for more insider tips and knowledge.