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How to Master the Art of Primer

Brittany Kline
By: Senior LetsTalkBeauty Editor  |  Brittany Kline

Have you ever wondered how some people achieve that completely smooth, almost airbrushed makeup look? It’s not a matter of having insane skills or perfect skin underneath but adding a small step to the beginning of your makeup routine: primer! Why primer is used may not seem super obvious when applied, but it makes all the difference between a thick, cakey makeup finish and a light, smooth finish.

How Primer Works

The key to achieving a completely flat and lightweight makeup finish is small pores and few lines. Of course, many of us won’t have these qualities naturally past the onset of puberty no matter how dedicated we are to skin care. And that’s okay. This is where primer comes in to make our faces the perfect canvas for makeup application.

Primer works by filling pores and blurring fine lines. This allows your foundation, tinted moisturizer or BB cream to glide smoothly over the face and provide coverage without the use of multiple layers. It also absorbs excess oil and keeps your makeup in place for longer. You can either apply all over the face or you can focus on areas where pores and lines are most prominent to preserve the product.

Who Should Use Primer

Anyone can use primer to enhance their makeup routine. However, it provides the most benefits to people experiencing large pores, oily or dry skin, redness, fine lines, wrinkles or acne. There are primers that are tailored to each of these skin conditions to provide even further benefit. In your search for the perfect primer, follow these guidelines:

  • If your skin is oily: Opt for a water-based, mattifying gel or primer to fight oiliness
  • If your skin is dry: Opt for a hydrating primer that contains essential oils such as jojoba and argan oils to lock in moisture
  • If you have large pores: Opt for a mattifying primer that minimizes pores and absorbs oils (oil-free formulas)
  • If you have fine lines and wrinkles: Opt for age-control formulas to fill in lines and wrinkles. Look for anti-aging ingredients such as hyaluronic acid
  • If you have acne: Opt for lightweight gels that are formulated to help heal acne and blemishes while prepping your skin for makeup. Stay away from anything that can clog your pores such as thick or oil-based formulas.
  • If you have redness or uneven skin tone: Opt for color-correcting primers. Primers with green undertones fix redness, peach helps to balance hyper-pigmentation, and lavender helps to correct yellowness in the skin. A primer that combines all three hues to work as a general color-correcting primer is most convenient.

How to Use Primer

Primer should be applied after moisturizer and before foundation. It’s definitely still important to moisturize your face as usual to avoid dry skin patches that can affect the final look of your makeup. For oily skin, however, you can skip moisturizer and opt to use a serum with your primer to avoid oil buildup.

After you’ve moisturized, apply a dime-sized amount (pea sized if using a thick formula) all over the face, focusing on any problem areas that you want to blur out. It is best to apply with your fingers, a foundation brush or a synthetic brush, as spongy beauty blenders will just soak the product up. Once your face feels silky smooth all over and you’ve achieved your desired base, you’re ready to apply foundation.

Rubbing primer into the skin with your fingertips is a great technique

Achieve that Perfectly Smooth Makeup Look You Desire

Now that primer is no longer that peculiar product that you were unsure if you should use or not, you’re one step closer to achieving that flawless makeup look you’ve always wanted. Just use our guide to choose the right primer for you and how to apply it, and before you know it, you’ll have a stunning glow in your photos without the use of beauty filters.

Learn more about primer or get tips on your other favorite products by reading more of our articles.

Brittany Kline
Senior LetsTalkBeauty Editor
We sent Brittany to venture across the world in search of discovering basically the world's best products and then bringing those back to you. She has documented all her research so you can receive the most vital information and latest innovations in beauty.
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