Reﬁning, illuminating, pore-shrinking, tone-evening... The latest primer formulas do a lot more than get your makeup to stay put all day (though they accomplish that beautifully, too).
Perhaps your notion of a primer is limited to something you apply before foundation so your makeup glides elegantly onto your skin and stays all day. And you’re not wrong. In fact, primers were created back when cosmetics were heavy and cakey, and needed some extra slip.
But these days, with more advanced technology and formulations, the primer has evolved into a beauty wunderkind, taking on all kinds of new skin-boosting functions – and turning into the active woman’s best pre-game beauty trick.
The purpose of a primer has always been to smooth the texture of your complexion by ﬁlling in ﬁne lines and pores so makeup goes on nicely and lasts, says Derek Selby, the global ambassador for Cover FX. “The molecules in a primer are large, so they sit on the skin’s surface, creating a breathable veil,” Derek adds. The colour pigments in your foundation, in turn, settle over this smooth surface instead of being absorbed or creasing, hence primer’s ability to give your foundation real staying power.
But the newest examples actually double as skincare, says Neah Williams, lead makeup artist at Blushington Makeup & Beauty Lounge in New York City. “They’re loaded with special ingredients that target everything from oiliness to dullness, and uneven skin tone,” she says. In short, they’re your one-minute secret beautiﬁer before you even put on makeup.
SO HOW DO YOU USE THEM?
Primer should be applied directly under your foundation. “If you use moisturiser, serums, or beauty oils, put them on ﬁrst,” Derek says. “For all-over application, I like to pat them in with my ﬁngers so I can really work them into the skin to fill in pores and lines.”
Primers can also be spot-applied with a makeup sponge to problem areas, like where you have large pores or dry patches, says Troy Surratt, a celebrity makeup artist and creator of the eponymous line.
There are also primers for particular features. “Eye primers and lip primers help with the way makeup wears in those areas,” Derek says. Your eyes move more than, say, your cheeks, so eye primers are designed to withstand repetitive motion and its creasing effects on your eye makeup.
Similarly, the lips hold speciﬁc challenges for your makeup, namely speaking, drinking, and eating. “Primers can keep lipstick from migrating into lines around the mouth,” Derek says. Read on to ﬁnd your best formula.
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