Primer : Your Makeup-Saving Superhero
Primer, primer, primer.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of makeup primer, or have read of its supposed importance in countless magazines. And you, like the majority of woman with whom we’ve spoken, probably don’t use it. Why? “It takes too much time!” “It’s too expensive!” “I don’t get what it does!” and “I don’t actually need it!”
Welp — we’re here to bust all of those myths, once and for all. (Sorry, fact-haters.)
Listen, if you’re going to wear makeup, you need to be using a good primer. We cannot tell you how essential it is to your daily routine, especially if you’ve ever experienced caked foundation, raccoon eyes, creased eyeshadow, or flaky, uneven zit-coverage. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Maybelline or MAC, because the right primer can make your face look like a million bucks and give you a smooth, air-brushed finish.
So how does it all work? Read on for all the need-to-know facts, before/after pics, and product recommendations!
What it is: Primer is a silicone-based pre-makeup prep that creates a silky canvas for products. Because of its silky texture, makeup can easily glide over and adhere to skin while still feeling weightless.
How it works: (Get ready — you’re about to get SCIENCED). The main ingredient in face primers is dimethicone, a silcone-based polymer. Silicones retain moisture and repel water, making them a favorite in everything from hair conditioners and frizz-fighters, to moisturizers and good ol’ lubricants. (But we don’t recommend slathering KY on your cheeks.) In primers, the dimethicone acts as a smoother and filler, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and blemishes. Basically, this stuff is Photoshop for your face.
How to use it: A little definitely goes a long way, so you’ll only need a small blob (about the size of half a pea). Using your your middle finger, lightly smooth the primer over your skin like you would a moisturizer. There’s no need to rub it in, since it turns from a gel to a powder-like finish in an instant.
The best brand to buy: There are a ton of different primers on the market. Most are clear and sheer, but some double as color correctors, coming in pink, green, blue, lavender and yellow. We find that these sometimes make skin look ruddy, though, so we usually stick with clear.
While we live for cheap products, there are very few, if any, drugstore primers that come close to high-end brands. However, we have found one very unlikely, yet absolutely extraordinary drugstore product that not only rivals industry favorites, it totally out-performs them. The best part? It’s only $7. (HOLLA.)
So what is this magic product? Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel.
Whaa? Monistat? Chafing?! We know, we know. But trust us, this baby is one of the most talked about and reveled products in the beauty world. It has the same active ingredients as another industry favorite, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, $36, but with a much nicer price tag. Most people can’t even tell the difference between the two — except that their wallets are, well, way happier.
See the proof: The pics below show the comparison between makeup used without primer (labeled N) and makeup used with primer (labeled P). The primer used for this was, of course, Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel.
Here, we swiped two small blobs of foundation on the inside of our wrist, one swipe on dry, clean skin, and the other on a thin layer of primer. As you can see, the foundation with no primer caked over hair, leading to an uneven distribution of product. On the right, the foundation slid smoothly, giving us that nice, air-brushed finish. Which look would you rather have covering your face?
Next, we tested primer with eyeshadow. (Note: When possible, use a primer marked specifically as “eyeshadow primer,” since face and eye primers have different thickness levels, helping eyeshadow stick more to lids.) We applied one downward stroke of turquoise eyeshadow onto both clean skin and primer. As you can see, the eyeshadow on the right adhered to the primer, creating a more opaque look and bringing out the “true” color of the shadow.
As a test to primer’s stay-put powers, we took a wet washcloth and gave our wrist a few scrubs, just to see which side would hold up better. Of course, the primer stole the show again, keeping makeup relatively vibrant even in our harsh, man-made weather conditions.
Alright, if we haven’t convinced you of primer’s tried-and-true wonder by now, we’re convinced no one ever will. (We’ll lose a little sleep over it, but hey — that’s life.) NOW GO BUY SOME PRIMER.
Primp on, folks!
We want to hear from you: Have you used primer before? Which brand is your favorite? Tell us below!
Feature image photo art courtesy of Benjamin Mackey