A Gaggle of Primers

Makeup and skin care just gets more and more complicated, doesn’t it? Primers are yet another step in the endless “layered” cosmetic routine. If your skin is still smooth, not too oily and not too dry, and relatively wrinkle-free, adding a primer may only frustrate you. However, if you are unsatisfied with the performance of a foundation alone, a priming step may be just what the beautician ordered.

The Pore Eraser

Maybelline Baby skin

This all-silicone primer looks like clear, liquid rubber. It doesn’t have much of a sheen but it also isn’t matte—it’s squarely neutral on the shine scale. Where Baby Skin excels is in filling in all your pores, thereby creating a blurry, softened canvas for foundation. Dryer skin types will prefer this primer to oil-control formulation such as Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm.

Pre-Foundation Contour and Bronzer

Niod Photography Fluid 8%

Real talk: this is a strange product with confusing marketing. It’s basically a high-tech liquid bronzer with a tiny bit of highlighting shimmer and fancy sounding ingredients like Icelandic moss. I thought the lighter 8% formulation (a darker 12% solution is also available) would be an all-over type product, but it’s much too dark to slather on. It’s a contour detailing product through and through, and while the fluid works well enough as a liquid bronzer, the eyedropper container is the worst way to apply contour.

Coverage for Aging Skin

L’oréal Magic perfecting Base

One of the highest coverage primers on the market, Magic Perfecting Base is a wood filler for your face. The thick, putty-like consistency has the strength to actually fill in wrinkles and pores and stay there. Because it’s so strong, it does take some elbow grease to both apply and remove. The unique light pink tint adds a rosy youthfulness to aging and sallow skin. Definitely a holy grail product for the middle-aged and older set.

Mattifying for Oily Skin

The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

A solid, affordable primer that helps mattify oily skin. The key with this product is appropriate application on the right skin type. Dry skin beware: the paste-like formula is designed to adhere to oils; if your skin lacks natural oil then the primer will ball up and stick to the oiliest parts. I like this primer directly applied to bare skin, but if you must use a moisturizer, choose an oil-based one such as St. Ives Collagen and Elastin Moisturizer. Let set for at least ten minutes before gently applying a liquid foundation.

Light and Spreadable Oil Control

The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer

Another The Ordinary product with confusing marketing, this is mattifying primer that is less sticky than the brand’s high-adherence version. Best for naturally oily skin or only applied to the oiliest parts of the face such as the nose and chin. This primer is a beauty when used underneath mousse texture makeup such as Rimmel Stay Matte Soft Foundation.

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