How to Apply Primer The Right Way
Curious to know how to apply makeup primer? You’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to discover how to apply primer before your foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow, and more in just six easy steps.
For whatever reason, face primer isn't considered a necessary beauty item among all. Scores of people find it to be an unnecessary extra step in their routine, but we're here to change that mentality once and for all. Not only can most primers help your makeup stay put and smudge-free for hours, they can also help improve the look of your skin and address concerns including enlarged pores, rough texture, discoloration, and excess oil on the surface. In order to reap all the benefits, however, you'll have to apply your face primer correctly. Read on for tips on how to apply primer the right way and how to choose the right primer for your skin’s needs—plus, a selection of the best face primers you need to try.
Step 1: Choose the Right Product
First things first: Arm yourself with the best primer for your skin type and concerns. Take the time to examine your skin and decide what you’d like your primer to accomplish, whether it’s helping to reduce the appearance of large pores or mattifying your complexion. To help you narrow down your search based on common skin woes, we’ve listed seven of our favorite primers—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—and their respective benefits.
For large pores: Large pores got you down? Try L’Oreal Youth Code Texture Perfector Pore Vanisher. Scientifically developed for all skin tones, the formula—with the brand’s highest concentration of Perline-P—strengthens and tightens to shrink the appearance of pore size over time. What’s more, targeted LHA micro-exfoliates to smooth skin’s surface while airlite powders instantly give skin a soft-focus finish.
For very oily skin: Help reduce the look of excess shine and prolong your makeup wear with Urban Decay De-Slick Complexion Primer. The oil-absorbing formula glides on comfortably and dries matte to deliver a shine-free complexion.
For discoloration: To help camouflage discolored areas—think: dark circles and marks—brighten dull skin and more, reach for a color-correcting primer like Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluids. The yellow tint can help brighten up fair, lackluster complexions. The peach or pink formulas are the ones to reach for to help disguise blue-hued dark circles. Lastly, reach for the green tint to help counteract spot redness common with blemishes. Check out our step-by-step guide to learn how to color correct.
For dry skin: Treat your dry skin to NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Primer formulated with skin-loving ingredients like chamomile, green tea and ginseng root extract. The result is flawless, long-lasting coverage on skin that feels soft, smooth, and refreshed.
For redness: Maybelline’s FaceStudio Master Prime range is the perfect way to prep your canvas for makeup as the formulas—four in total—can help visually blur the look of specific skin concerns. If redness is one of yours, reach for the brand’s Master Prime Blur + Redness Control primer. The green-hued formula feels weightless as it glides onto your skin, and can help to even the look of your complexion and reduce the appearance of redness. To use, apply the formula all over your face before foundation, or wear alone.
For refined texture: Help ease the application of makeup by applying Lancôme La Base Pro onto your skin first. The formula—with an exclusive Elasto-Smooth technology—helps deliver a refined skin texture and diffuses light to visibly reduce the appearance of imperfections with a satiny-soft finish.
For SPF protection: The only thing better than flawless-looking skin is skin that’s defended against sun damage, and the Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Makeup Primer can help you achieve both! The SPF 50 primer is formulated with antioxidants and targeted fillers that help smooth the look of skin while protecting against harmful environmental assailants like UV rays and pollution. What’s more, it’s suitable for use by even the most sensitive skin types when worn alone or under makeup.
Step 2: Prep Your Skin
Now that you’ve got your ideal primer figured out, it’s time to begin the application process. But before you open up the formula and go to town, be sure to prep your canvas. To ensure all traces of dirt and impurities are off your skin, cleanse your skin at this point. Since you’ll likely be applying your primer and subsequent makeup with your fingers, give your hands a good rinse as well to reduce the risk of spreading germs onto your face. Follow up with a hydrating toner if you wish. Need a rec? We’re sharing five hydrating toners that won’t strip your skin dry, here!
Step 3: Moisturize Your Skin
While many primers boast hydration benefits, they’re not meant to replace your daily moisturizer use. All skin types require daily hydration, so be sure to never skip this step. Once your skin feels clean and refreshed, apply a lightweight moisturizer for all skin types, like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer. The formula is readily absorbed under facial skin, leaving the area soft and nurtured.
Pro tip: Allow your moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin before you apply your primer on top. This can take a few minutes, so be patient.
Step 4: Apply the Primer
Squirt a pea-sized amount of primer onto the back of your hand. A little bit goes a long way with primer, so you really won’t need more than that to cover your face and neck. Besides, using too much primer can cause your foundation to clump up.
Step 5: Blend Well
Start by applying the primer to the center of your face using gentle circular motions and blending outwards, similar to how you would treat your moisturizer. Be sure to reach every last nook and cranny of your face and neck to ensure smooth, even coverage.
Step 6: Prime Your Eyes and Lips
If you have a separate eyelid primer, gently pat it onto your lids in a thin layer. Use gentle but quick tapping motions to blend the formula well, working it around your entire eye contour. This step can help ensure longer-lasting eyeshadow and liner. Just hold off on applying any makeup to the area until the primer is fully absorbed into the skin. Follow with a thin coat of lip primer over a parched pout if you wish.