Which is More Important: Primer or Moisturizer?

If you’re even a mild beauty fan, you know that most beauty gurus and MUAs hail the importance of using a primer. A primer serves as a pre-makeup application step and can come in an array of formulations from whipped creams to lightweight serums and even gels. The benefit of using a primer, according to experts, is that it helps give the makeup something to stick to. And depending on your goals, it can give your skin a much-needed boost in hydration or even help keep your face matte if you struggle with oiliness. 

Are primers required? 

For all the benefits that a good primer can provide, the answer is: sometimes. In most scenarios, a primer is functioning like a moisturizer. And in that case, you would do just as well to focus on your pre-makeup skincare routine rather than solely investing in a primer. Whatever your skin issues (i.e. dryness, flakiness, or oiliness) you should incorporate those into your skincare routine and be sure to use a moisturizer before applying makeup. However, it’s a good idea to let your skin sit for five to 10 minutes so that the moisturizer can be properly absorbed and won’t cause makeup to slide. 

When to use a primer

If you’re applying makeup for a special occasion where you want it to stay in place for long periods, or know you’ll be in extreme temperatures, a primer is a good option. Likewise, primers for your eyelids can help ensure that eye shadows don’t fade throughout the day. 

How to use a primer

The good thing about primers is that they’re incredibly easy to use and can be applied in a variety of ways. The easiest option is to use your fingers to apply your preferred primer to your skin. But you can also use a makeup sponge or brush. Again, you should moisturize first and give your skin time to dry before applying a primer. For best results, ignore your favorite Instagram beauty guru and use just a little bit of product. Slathering your face in oils and creams can have unintended side effects like encouraging makeup to slide or clogging your pores. 

More importantly, make sure that whatever primer you select will complement your foundation or eye shadow formulation. For example, a silicone-based primer should be paired with a silicone-based foundation. Likewise, the primer should be matched to the task at hand. This is especially true for lip and eye primers as their consistency are usually quite different from standard face primers. 

The bottom line on primers

While you don’t necessarily need a primer for everyday makeup looks, they can be useful in situations where you’ll be wearing makeup all day, or don’t want makeup to fade or break down over time. And depending on the makeup, investing in a good specialty primer such as an eye or lip primer can ensure that your colors stay true and you experience less feathering or staining.

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