Monday, November 29th, 2010

Rant & Rave

This Week’s Topic: FACE PRIMERS!

Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about face primers and all that those entail.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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78 thoughts on “Rant & Rave: Face Primers

  1. I use a face primer everyday. I feel that they do make a difference in the longevity of my makeup but I know a lot of people don’t find them to be necessary. On the downside, there’s so many brands to choose from that offer different formulas which make it almost impossible to choose. There’s silicone based, water based, gels, lotions, etc. The prices vary from extremely inexpensive to way over priced. When you shop online at Ulta and Sephora, they sometimes offer primer samples with your purchase. If they’re offering and you happen to be shopping, that’s a good way to try before you buy.

  2. Marjaana

    I’m yet to find one that I truly like, the ones I’ve tried have been okay but still not quite right for me. I have oily T-zone but sensitive and fairly dry skin on my cheeks.. I have tried Clinique’s pore minimizer and Urban Decay’s De-slick so far. Has anyone tried Clarins’ primer or the Smashbox one? I’m intrigued by those ones.

    • I don’t recommend Smashbox for dry skin… it made me flake!

      • Lorna

        I don’t recommend smashbox for those with oily or combo skin. it makes me feel even more oily and greasy.

        • Avatar of Evelyn Evelyn

          The smashbox one broke me out (oily combo skin). So far the few times I’ve tried the MUFE one my skin’s been ok.

          • I think it’s the silicones. I used MAC’s Prep & Prime and that broke me out too. Took me more than 6 months to realize it was the culprit :/

    • vice

      I use the Smashbox face primer green one and I love it. I have similar skin to you but my cheeks aren’t dry. I will have to check out the Clarins’ one now.

    • Marjaana

      Okay thanks for the replies! :) Maybe I won’t try the Smashbox one then..

    • Avatar of Sarah Sarah A.

      Smashbox pilled on me… I wouldn’t recommend it. I love the Makeup Forever formula! I use the green one, since I have some redness in my skin; helps things look more even once my foundation is on top!

      • Rose

        The smashbox has pilled on me too, but only if I use to much. I find it works beautifully for blending. My skin is normal to oily.

    • Jane

      I use the Clarins Instant Perfecting Touch Primer and so far I like it. It’s the only one I’ve used that I can properly call a primer. It mattifies the skin but still manages to make it look dewy so you don’t look flat. On normal skin it’s enough to even out the skin tone so you can ditch the sheer foundation, tinted moisturizer or bb creams for no makeup days :)

      It can make makeup last longer as long as you don’t put on too much – if you use too much, well makeup will slide off within 4 hours or so. On me it works better with liquid/cream/stick/pressed foundations over loose mineral foundations.

      The only drawback is the price but if you can get good deals from Duty Free shops so if you know anyone who happens to be travelling, ask them to hoard for you ;)

  3. Dawn

    I think they are useless and a waste of money. To put a primer on top of a moisturizer just seems redundant to me! Maybe if I found a brand I really liked, I would feel differently. But I do use an eye primer every day.

    • Lorna

      i use a primer instead of a moisturizer so for me it does 2 jobs in one product. but then again it depends of which primer you are using. obviously not all primers can take the place of a moisturizer but there are some that can.

  4. Avatar of Cathy Cathy

    I love face primers…I won’t do makeup without one.It holds your makeup on all day,holds your moisturizer on so it works longer and can also mattify your skin.I love to experiment with new ones,too.

  5. Danielle J.

    I love the Smashbox photo ready primer in the purple shade! I usually use MAC Studio foundation or Dior Skin Forever powder and it works great. However, I am looking for a more affordable one to try!

    • Maddy H.

      i would try the loreal studio secrets magic perfecting base, its silky and makes your skin feel that way too, it definitely inproves your foundation outcome and keeps your skin from getting too dry during the day and it evens out your skin tone
      its from the drug store, definitely not the most inexpensive primer but it is definitely cheaper than smashbox,etc.

  6. Val

    I love Make Up For Ever makeup primer in green. I also bought the blue one during Friends & Family Sale. However, I absolutely hate the Givenchy one. The sales told me it was very hydrating, instead it was super drying even during humid weather….

  7. Vanessa

    I personally love my face primer, Porfessional by Benefit. It really does a nice job of covering up pores and creating a smooth surface for my foundation. No complaints.

    • Maya C

      I got my eyebrows done at the Benefit brow bar, and while I was waiting one of the girls did my makeup for me. She used the Porefessional primer on me, and WOW! I loved it right away. Not even my Smashbox Photo Finish minimizes my pores like that.

  8. ann

    i personally dont think they do anything more for my face, just another step that is not needed. i dont like the way they feel on my face as well.

  9. Anastasiya

    Some of them make my skin feel a little dry, but nothing i cant handle!

    I love love love the Smashbox primer and if I want something a bit more heavy-duty I go for the l’Oreal studio secrets or w.e it’s called, i find that this one fills in my pores more and it doesn’t “drag” when I start putting the foundation on, like the Porefessional does sometimes

  10. Henry

    I believe face primers are critical for foundation application. Primers help level the playing field on the face and, unless your complexion is near perfect, I find primers necessary. There are all different types of primers–silicone for scars/large pores, rich moisture for dry skin, mattifying for oily skin–and the list goes on! Typically if you wear foundation you have some issue you would like to cover up–and you bet there’s a primer for that.

  11. Rita

    I have been using MUFE HD primer for a year now ( I use it everyday and still haven’t finished the bottle) it works great! I have acne/oily skin and this product did not break me out, I was not oily throughout the day and makes makeup last longer.

  12. daniel

    I have a question, I own no primer, so I’m lacking experience, and I have acne scars which are deep ones. Do I need a primer with silicone in it to create a layer between my face and foundation and to soften these deep scars? Or are the others that are good-quality but has no silicone does the same thing? Thx to anyone for answering

    • Talya

      silicone would be good, also any sort of color-correcting one would be nice too for scars

    • I have a lot of acne scars but they’re like discolouration – dark scars. I use Laura Mercier’s oil free foundation primer. It makes my makeup last a full day at work and does not break me out.

  13. CeeBee

    LOVE a good face primer – Anna Sui Color Correcting with SPF 35 is a favourite, even if it is a total glitterfest – but a bad one (heavy, greasy/oily feeling/looking, suffocating, makes you break out or just plain doesn’t work – you know, when your face slides off by lunchtime :-p) can be frickin demoralizing.
    I’m all for affordable, low price options (L’Oreal, $40NZD for 15mL?!, who are you kidding?) but it actually HAS to be EFFECTIVE and work.
    Unfortunately, I’ve not found a good, cheap alternative to my Anna Sui and Guerlain primers.
    I tried Rimmel Fix & Perfect and it was total rubbish. Don’t like Smashbox Photo Finish either, even though it ain’t exactly cheap…

  14. El

    I like the concept of primers and as a MUA, I believe that they do work and I use them on many people, but my dry, sensitive skin does not like face primers at all. I’ve had ok luck with Arbonne primer, but others like Nars, UD, & Smashbox have all broken me out in a rash. Surprisingly MAC does not give me a reaction but it does feel tight after a little while. The next one I want to try is Cover FX because their products are great for sensitive skin and I’ve had good luck with their foundation. We will have to see! While I always use primers for the eyes and sometimes lip, I tend to skip on the face primers.

  15. Kelly

    Smashbox photo finish face primer is really good, and I have dry skin. May not work for oily skin.

    • Avatar of Shelly shelly

      There’s a Photo Finish Light version for oily skin, which I use (though I’ve also tried the regular one) and like. :)

  16. Shannon

    I think face primers ae very good for people who want to start with a smooth base and want their makeup to stay in place. My skin is pretty much normal and I don’t go out for more than 5+ hours. I like my face primer, but I wouldn’s say it’s an absolute necessity for everyone. People should at least try it once to see if it fits into their makeup routine.

  17. I’m so oily that it doesn’t really matter what kind of primer I use. I’ve had the best success with Smashbox Photofinish and Lorac aquaPrime. I’ve courted other brands, but these are the two that I find myself coming back to time after time. They don’t give me exceptional wear time for my makeup, but there is a SIGNIFICANT increase in how long my look stays in place versus an un-primed face.

    I’m wildly passionate about primers. So much so that I used them as a feature article for the website I work for.

  18. Phoebe

    The only primer i tried was the Sephora Mattifying Primer and BE Primetime. I really didn’t need a primer but since i watch a lot of videos of these beauty gurus in youtube who rave about the advantages of primers, i was convinced that i might actually need it. I was so wrong! I had combination skin, slightly oily or slightly dry depending on the weather, no blemishes and no visible pores. I was very happy with my skin. After i used these primers for couple of times, they clogged my pores and made my t-zone super oily. I totally regret using a primer, i ruined my skin, my pores on my inner cheeks are so visible and blackeheads are all over my nose. I will never ever use primers anymore. I wish there’s a way that i can get rid of these problems. I’m open for suggestions ladies.

    • You could try a Clarisonic to give your face a good clean. I’ve been using it for about 3 months now and I have to say it has really removed a lot of my blackheads and unevenness around my nose. My pores are slightly less pronounced but I believe that they might become smaller over time as I keep using the Clarisonic.

  19. slick

    I think face/foundation primers are a must if LONGWEAR makeup (8+ hours)is your goal. Otherwise I don’t think it is necessary as long as you’ve got a quality foundation. I rarely wear a face primer on the weekends but I will still use my setting spray :)

  20. Ashleigh

    Right now I’m using the bare essenctuals prime time primer. it works pretty well but im not sure that i will spend 30$ again on it. When I need some extra coverage around my nose or under eye area I usually just use my too faced shadow insurance in those areas. You don’t have to use alot and its cheaper than buying a face and eye primer.

  21. Ms. Jimmi

    I adore Lumene Face Primer but it is only available in Finland–so I have to wait until a friend goes there.

    • Pia

      Hi Ms Jimmi, I don’t know if you are US-based but I saw Lumene at my parents’ local CVS last year in Maryland.

  22. Lauryn

    LOVE: Sue Devitt Primer, L’Oreal Professional Secrets #1. Both of these give my skin a fabulous base to apply makeup. I FIND that makeup fades less and looks better with it on.

    DISLIKE! MAC Face primer, Smashbox Photo Finish, both of these gave me wicked breakouts.. Took weeks to clear that mess up.I also found that sometimes Smashbox would “rub off”, it was weird..

  23. Avatar of Marian Marian

    I have tried many primers and can’t see any difference in my skin whether I use it or not. The longevity of my makeup has never been an issue with me….so I don’t use it.

  24. Avatar of Melissa divinem (Melissa)

    I found a primer I’m not allergic to — MUFE High Def in pink to add a little vibrance to sometimes sallow skin. I’m not sure if it really makes a difference or not, but I think I don’t have to use as much foundation when I use it.

    I also very much like MAC’s strobe cream (not the liquid). I wear it on days when I’m not wearing makeup and want to have a dewy, fresh face.

  25. eva

    I don’t seem to use my face primer everyday but when I go out and wear a fuller face of makeup and want it to last for long periods of time I wear Philosophy The Present Clear Makeup and like the results, but not for weekdays. I do use eye an primer everyday UDPP or Palladio eye primer.

  26. Avatar of Street Jaime Jaime

    I honestly don’t see a difference when I use a face primer. I’ve tried a bunch of different kinds, and I feel like they just don’t do anything for me… but that could just be because I don’t know what I’m looking for them to do! I don’t have large pores or issues with shine, and I find that my foundation lasts as long as I need it to, so for me it’s just an extra step that takes up time in the morning.

    • Patricia

      I agree with you, i dont see a difference when I use a face primer, i dont know what im suppose to notice the difference in, i still see that my makeup lasts the same amount of time if i use one or not.

  27. So far the only primer I’ve ever used is Too Faced Primed & Poreless. I’m liking it so far…but we’ll see. I’ve only been using it a short time and I’m worried it is going to make me break out.

  28. Kelly C.

    I have yet to find one that can totally tame my oilfest T-zone. The best I have tired is MAC Prep and Prime SPF 50, which doesn’t totally keep the oil away, but keeps my makeup on like a champ. Ones that failed include Hard Candy, Smashbox, Tarte, and Bare Escentuals. Any recs would be greatly appreciated, especially for a non-silicone one, as those tend to burn my skin a little bit.

  29. vivian

    i don’t really understand them..so far i have used (samples) of mufe, smashbox and sephora brand. however all of them have just accentuated the dryness on my skin and i can’t say that i really see a difference in staying power. i wish they could work for me as wonderfully as eye primers do!

  30. Julia

    I swear by smashbox primer. The clear one. It makes my make-up look freshly applied for 16+ hours.

  31. Liz

    I never used a primer until a few months ago when I started reading about them- now I can’t do my makeup without one! I don’t like the ones with silicone in them, like smashbox, because they’re too thick and make me break out. Surprisingly my favorite one is Sephora brand Perfection Primer and it’s only $18!! Its tinted a little pink and just gives my face a little extra glow in the mornings.

  32. Yumi

    In the summer I absolutely need them because my skin turns into an oil factory working overtime. In the winter not so much, just for longer days. I think a little primer goes a long way to make makeup last longer. That’s just me though…I wish I didn’t need them!

  33. trangaxtman

    mac prep&prime,laura mercier primer and the youngblood primer for mineral makeup.

  34. Red

    I’ve tried several primers from Smashbox’s range to MUFE to drugstore brands and the only one I can say that I absolutely hated was one from one of my most liked brands – Laura Mercier. The hydrating primer from LM broke me out like nothing I have ever seen before. Large, swollen patches of acne that appeared cystic but weren’t…just ugly red spots that hurt from my cheekbones around my mouth and down my jawline. Ugh. I used it for two weeks before I finally realized that it was the only thing I’d changed/added to my skincare/makeup routine and kicked it to the curb. It’s been two months now and my skin is only just now mostly back to normal, the last few red spots are slowly fading. I know some people love that particular primer, but for me it was a nightmare!

  35. Perri

    Laura Geller’s face primer is splendid! I got it with her concealer, 4 in 1 foundation, stick blush, lip gloss and mineralized eye liner kit from home shopping!!

  36. Avatar of Michele Michele

    I use a face primer everyday and feel it makes a big difference in how my makeup looks and how long it lasts. I switch back and forth between foundations and it seems to be a matter of finding which primer works best with each foundation.

  37. Tara

    i luv my MUFE hd green primer since i have rosacea, but i mix it with hourglass primer for the good-for-your-skin benefits!

  38. i use UD pore perfecting primer potion everyday over my moisturizer, with or without makeup, and it makes my acne scars less noticeable while keeping my face hydrated. it has the added bonus of keeping my concealer fresh and in place all day long, without touch ups. i’ve tried smashbox, and wasn’t all that impressed, nor was i impressed with the UD brightening primer potion. my powder and cream to powder foundations give better coverage and apply more evenly with primer potion underneath. in my opinion, it’s a must-have for anyone with less than perfect skin.

  39. Sarah

    I’ve used a lot of different ones…Laura Geller, Nars, Tarte..to name a few. I’m loving Too Faced Primed and Poreless! It’s a silicone based primer that really goes on well and leaves your skin super soft (plus it has a bunch of antioxidants and other good stuff.) I really didn’t like Lorac’s Aquaprime…it did absolutely nothing. Thank goodness I got it off Hautelook for like $8!!

  40. I always have to use primer otherwise my face gets super oily, I use MAC Matte creme, i dont need to retouch through out the day if I use it, but it’s really hard to get cuz it’s only sold in pro stores

  41. michelle

    does any one know of a good primer for really dry skin???

  42. Pernille

    I use La Roche Posay sunscreen spf 50 as a primer everyday. I know it is not a primer per se, but it works for me and I get the added benefit of sunscreen. I have dry skin, but it also exist in a formula for oily skin which I sometimes use in hot humid climates.

  43. Jennifer

    I got free samples of MAC Prep & Prime Skin which is the first face primer I’ve used. I love it, it makes my foundation glide on and helps to give it an airbrushed finish. I’m convinced that my skin has improved too as it is almost flawless now without makeup so I only need a small amount of foundation now.

  44. Edelmc

    I use clarins instant light complexion perfector to give a lovely glow under my foundation. For pores, I use clinque pore filler but I want to check out the benefit one. Tried smashbox line and pore filler but wasn’t impressed

  45. Nicole

    I too used to think primers were an additional step and waste of time. I have normal to dry skin and as long as I use moisturiser, my foundation has always sat quite well. I have tried Giorgio Armani, Laura Mercier and Smashbox primers, however since I found the L’Oreal Professional Secrets (one in the jar, which I believe is a dupe for Nars), I am a convert!
    It really does make a smoother surface for your foundation, and last longer…however don’t use too much otherwise it will just ball up under your foundation!

  46. Avatar of Stefanie The Beauty Queen from Mars

    I did not use face primer until about 4 months ago, but now I cannot live without it! I have normal to oily skin, and especially on long work days (10 to 12 hours away from home), I need some help for my makeup to stay in place. I use MAC Prep&Prime and Laura Mercier oil free primer, though the latter makes my skin feel a bit tight for about half an hour after being applied. MAC does not do that, but I find it has some microglitter in it and I do not like that too much. It is not visible after you apply your foundation, though.
    I just bought MAC Pro Longwear Foundation yesterday and in combination with Laura Mercier, it stays on and on and on! I usually get a bit oily in the t-zone after about 5 hours or so, but with this combination, the effect is much less than usual and I do not feel any need to apply lots of powder there to combat the shine. My recommendation for long office (or school or whatever) days!

  47. Yoyo

    I really don’t like the way silicone primers feel on my face (like the smashbox one). It feels weird and overly smooth if that makes any sense.
    I do, however, really like my RMK makeup base. It’s water based and after putting it on my skin just feels softer.

  48. helen

    I use Dr. Brandt, PORES NO MORE for ages and i think it’s the best on the market. Not quite sure if it’s considered a primer or mattifyer(?) but it creates a lovely canvas for my Guerlain foundation. I have combo skin and even though i “glow” a little throughout the day, (nothing a blotting tissue can’t cure), my foundation is seamless (could also be the fantastic foundation). My one-two punch is PORES NO MORE along with Guerlain Extreme.

  49. I love using a face primer. It serves the following purposes for me:
    (1) Smooths my face and fills in fine lines
    (2) Prolongs the longevity of my foundation

    I have tried several and my favorites are Embryolisse (which I use as a moisturizer and make up remover as well) and MUFE HD primers in yellow (I am an NC35-37 and 155 in MUFE HD Foundation).

    Even though I love face primers, I don’t normally use them regularly. (It’s only now that I do because Embryolisse is a multipurpose product). Before discovering Embryolisse, I did not use a face primer daily and I never really saw a need for it. In fact, I still feel like face primers are a luxury, an added bonus to my make up regiment.

  50. I like the philosophy “the present”, but i really wear it with powder or mineral makeup, seems to keep it put.

  51. Sharon

    I hated mac prep + prime. I was breaking out a lot!
    I used smashbox and it was alright. Really loved the texture though.
    Now, I’m currently using Bare Escentuals Prime Time and it’s great, just need some more time to decide whether I love it or not.

  52. Once I found a primer that worked for me it made such a big difference in the way foundation looks on me- it was incredible. I’m self-conscious about my skin problems and want a lot of coverage but foundation looked so unnatural and it highlighted my dry spots and wore off my oily areas. I tried a drugstore primer a couple years ago, and Laura Geller’s “Spackle,” but neither worked out well. (Spackle was too shiny and Revlon’s was just bad) I got a mini-size MUFE primer from Sephora and fell in love with the stuff. It made such a huge difference! I can get a more even, natural-looking finish and my makeup stays put so much longer than I was used to. Now I love primer and I recommend them to anyone who has problems like I used to.

  53. zombiilove

    Silicones! I hate primers with silicones and as most of them contain them, I don’t use a primer. My face also leans toward being really dry so pretty much all primers leave my face feeling like a desert within a few hours.

  54. I use a face primer EVERY day, and that primer is Paula Dorf’s Perfect Primer in the Normal/Oily formula. After trying many primers from many different companies, I found Paula Dorf’s to stand out among the rest. Previous primers I tried either broke me out; made my face feel sticky; “balled-up” upon application- or made my foundation ball-up when applied over it; or they made my skin too oily, which caused my foundation to slide off my face after a few hours. I was about to give up on primers altogether, and then I stumbled upon Paula Dorf’s. My skin is sensitive & prone to breakouts because it is oily in the T-zone. What I love about the Paula Dorf primer is it contains salicylic acid along with silica, so the primer glides onto my skin, but it keeps my oily spots matte longer. I think it is amazing, and I am on my 3rd or 4th tube of this product already. My only minor complaint about this primer is I can’t find it in any stores any more. It used to be sold in Sephora, then in Douglas Cosmetics stores (until they went out of business), but now- nobody carries Paula Dorf in my area, so I have to order online from her website & pay for shipping costs. It’s expensive, but soooooo worth it for me! I am a loyal customer, and can’t see myself ever switching to another brand of primer since I’ve had so many bad experiences w/ other brands. I just hope Paula Dorf never goes out of business during my lifetime, and she never stops making this fantastic primer!

  55. Kalee

    primers break me out (usually milia) but i do love what they do and how they feel and keep the oil at bay. but then again, something they also expose my dry (almost scaly-like) flakey (wow, that sounds grosser than it is) that sometimes appears on my chin. =(
    i need to find one that doesnt contain dimethicon. ..HAAH! good luck to me.

  56. Jenna

    I use cetaphil moisturizer then I use smashbox primer, just the regular one and it is pretty great actually.
    It last much longer and gives more coverage using less product, never once has broke me out.
    ( I have normal/dry/acne prone skin )

  57. Avatar of Ana Meg

    I only use face primers when I’m wearing liquid foundation (usually on winter) I use Pupa Milano Face Primer. It really helps my makeup go on smoothly.

  58. Chelsie Griffin

    I know I already posted something but I just got off the phone with my local Sephora and their best seller is Smashbox photofinish primer, that is number one, and number two is Urban Decay Complexion Primer potion. Remember girls you can sample at Sephora.