Do you feel primer is an essential part of your routine?

Since I test without primer, I’m really used to NOT using it or relying on it, but I’m inside most of the day, and my coworker is my husband, so looking 100% polished from 6AM to 10PM isn’t necessary either. I think using primers is a good step for ensuring the canvas you start with is smoother, takes makeup better, and does typically help improve longevity (especially fading and some breakup of foundation).

— Christine


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Seraphine Avatar

Yes! My brows are sparse with no tails, and I’ve found that NYX Proof It Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer is absolutely essential to make eyebrow pencils glide on smoothly (when applied while primer is still wet) and keep my brows looking good all day. I also use it under powder eyeshadow.

I’ve tried several different foundation primers over the years, but have come to the conclusion that it’s unnecessary under my favorite foundation.

Anne Avatar

I have the same problem with my brows. They absolutely have to have the tails drawn on or I feel incomplete. I have been trying putting them down first. My favorite products ar mostly pencils with spooly brushes. I have 3 from ColourPop in differend colors. I also picked up one from It that has a pencils type end and at triangle shaped end with a brussh on the lid of that end. It is a generic medium taupey color that works pretty well for me. I have a couple of NYX eye primers. I have not had luck with drawing over primer. It blurs the lines. I will have to try your technique! Thans for sharing this. 8)

Seraphine Avatar

The best pencil I’ve ever used is Diorshow Brow Styler. It’s very skinny and super fragile, but used very gently it is amazing. Problem is, it only lasts about a month and it’s expensive. I’ve never tried Colourpop pencils.

Mariella Avatar

Eyeshadow primer is absolutely a must for me. I remember the days before e/s primer had been invented and wearing eye shadow wasn’t a happy experience. As for face primers, I often either skip them or, in the case of Lise Watier and Becca Backlight Priming Filter, I wear them without any foundation because I love the way they make my skin look all on their own. Just this past week, I purchase the Elizabeth Arden lip primer and I am really liking it. I want to see how it works with UD’s “discomfort” matte lipsticks and if it makes them feel nicer, it will be a whole new item added to my routine.

Erica Avatar

I only consistently wear eyeshadow primer. I find no face primer to work and any benefits are temporary at best. They, for me, don’t give some miraculous perfected look and I don’t see a difference with or without it. I’ve tried primer from Too Faced, Benefit, MUFE, UD, MAC, Hourglass, Becca, Loreal and Bare Minerals. Just not worth it to me and a huge waste of money:(

Eileen Avatar

Essential part of my routine? Not at all! The only time I consider using it is when I need my makeup to last all day and well into the evening—weddings and receptions, graduations and parties, that type of thing. Otherwise, my foundation with a whisper of finishing powder lasts the day without fading.

Nowadays, there are so many beautiful long-wearing foundations on the market that a primer seems superfluous. For those special events or when I am going to be in an extremely humid climate, my go to is Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer.

Debbie Avatar

As far as a face primer on some days yes, on some days no, but I use a primer every day. The type of primer varies from season to season and even from day to day.
My favorites are the Smashbox Primer water, and MAC’s Strobe creme for a more glowy look, and the SuperGoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40. I even like the CoverGirl Tru blend primer.
As far as eye primer, I definitely use one every single day that I use shadow, and even if I am not I will apply and set it for a no make up make up day. Again, I have a few that I turn to, and one glitter glue type for sparkly stuff.
I have the MAC lip primer, but have yet to use it.

Nancy T Avatar

Yes, absolutely! It helps hide and smooth over my rather large pores, smooths out my skin in general really nicely and helps my foundation get a few extra hours of relatively flawless wear. Very necessary during the long 7 months of warmer temperatures, especially if I’m going to be out and about running errands and stuff! If eyeshadow primer is also part of the question above, then you can bet that with my hooded, somewhat oily lids I must use it or else have the yuckiest creasing of my e/s in a very short amount of time!

Alecto Avatar

I used to use Angel Veil religiously (no pun intended), and I would have said yes at that time because I found it really did make a difference to the appearance of my makeup (not addressing how long my makeup lasted, just how it looked over the primer). Eventually I started using Paula’s Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense (because sunscreen) as my base layer and dropped the Angel Veil (because I wasn’t comfortable with so many layers) and it turned out that the PC product has some primer qualities to it. Would I add back a face primer if the PC product didn’t help with the texture and appearance of my makeup? I think I would. While I don’t think it’s “essential,” I’m a bit spoiled by the improvement of my appearance with a primer-like product as a base.

As for eyeshadow primer, I generally only worry about it when I’m using non-matte shadows on my lid or crease, and it definitely does make a difference. Essential? Sure, I guess.

I have lip primer, but I never remember to use it.

Anne Avatar

I don’t wear eyeshadow w/out a primer — period. As for face primers, I love the look they give my foundation, but I skip this step frequently. I can slap on a BB cream w/out a primer easily. For my more expensive foundations, I like a primer. Just depends on where I’m going, I guess.

Denise S. Avatar

I use eye shadow primer under my eye shadow everyday. Right now almost finished my MAC extended base eye primer. I love Nars, Too faced and Urban Decay eye shadow primers.
I also use lash primers every time I wear mascara. I’ve found it to thicken my lashes adding volume.It also protects them from damage as I use the lash conditioning primers. I keep forgetting to use my lip primers before lip sticks!

Deborah S. Avatar

Face: Yes, I like a primer but mostly for the smoothing of rough texture and appearance of large pores. Have I found one that really does that, not so much. I keep trying though because I am sure it is out there! I have tried a million from HE and DS and many recommended by Beauty Gurus without a lot of impact. I had high hopes for the Tatcha Silk Canvas and I find I do like it under my eyes but don’t see much of a difference on my larger pores on cheeks and near my nose. I do like several hydrating primers but that is just for the hydration. I don’t need or wear primer for prolonging the wear of my makeup because if it lasts a couple of hours I am good, being retired.

Eyes: Yes, unless I forget to apply it which I mentioned last week. All of you ladies who are over 50 out there can attest to the change in texture on our eye lids. In my particular case there is sagging skin and texture that is mostly on the inner 1/3 of my mobile lid. The primer’s don’t completely smooth that area but they do help. Again, I don’t need them to prolong my eye looks but the ones that I have tried all do that well. I have very hooded eyes so the fact that I don’t have creasing and transfer is all related to the eye shadow primer, in my opinion. Right now I am using NYX Waterproof primer but have also used Too Faced Shadow Insurance, MAC Prep and Prime and many others and have had pretty good luck with all of them.

Lips: Yes, I have wrinkly lips with extended lip lines both above and below my lips. Also, another wonderful part of getting older is that the demarcation line between your lips and the rest of your skin tends to lessen and in some cases, completely disappears. I use a wax pencil to deal with the feathering and UD Ozone to help smooth my lip texture.

Anne Avatar

It’s getting to be the ‘no primer’ season for me. The weather is warming up and I’m pulling my favorite It 50x sunscreens foundation compact. I really don’t like liquid foundation. It usually leaves me shingy. The It gives good matte coverage along with the strong sunscreens. We had temps in the 80s yesterday (Where did they go?), and sunscreen is important to me. I received a couple primers from my Boxy Charm box and another was an Ulta Premium perk, that I have been using alone or mixed with sunscreen. The Ulta perk was a Becca all around type serum meant for mixing and a new matte primer. The Boxy Charm product is not available on Sephora and is Touch of Sol No Poreblem primer. I like both pretty well.

Brenda C Avatar

When I worked I used it every day and it helped. Now I think something has changed. Maybe my skin has changed or something, I put on moisturizer, primer then foundation and now after a little while it looks splotchy and no matter what I do it still turns out the same. I blend with a beauty blender, I set with powder, spray with a setting spray and an hour later it’s like it has been worn off in spots. I’m going to play around with different primers and foundations it must be one or the other causing this problem. It’s very frustrating.

Josie Avatar

Yes, I do. Other than my lips, I use a primer on every part of my face. I always use a lid primer. My go to is the NARS one in original. I use an under eye primer from Smashbox. And I have a few for my face, depending on what foundation I use. I always make sure that I’m using a silicone based primer with a silicone based foundation. The same goes for when I use a water based foundation. And when I use a powder foundation I use a primer that’s glowy. These are the combinations I find work best for me:
MUFE Ultra HD – No More Poreblems by Touch In Sol
Armani Luminous Silk – Becca Backlight Priming Filter Face Primer
Wet n Wild Photo Finish – Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer
MAC Studio Finish Powder + foundation – Becca Backlight Priming Filter Face Primer or Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer

ShariP Avatar

I used to use Smashbox primer to reduce the redness which I really felt it did. But then I changed my skincare routine and the redness resolved. Unfortunately, I’m now showing some larger pores just below the apples of my cheeks and my chin so if anyone has found a good pore filling primer I would love recommendations. I have normal to dry skin and my foundation always last for a good 16 hour day.

I don’t normally use an eyeshadow primer, but if I do it’s Urban Decay Primer Potion or MAC Paint Pot. They both work great for me.

Lesley Avatar

I am using the it Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores and it does a great job on pores but nothing for fine lines. For fine lines and pores I liked Dr. Brandt Pores No More and Benefit PoreFessional but I don’t use those anymore because I have issues with animal testing.

Priscilla Avatar

Yes, absolutely! I use an eyeshadow primer daily. It smooths my lids and in some cases evens out skin tone. It depends which one I use.

For the face, many times I’ll skip foundation or tinted moisturizer because the primer is sufficient to even out my skin tone. Tarte Smoothing Primer is a must for the pores on my nose. I like Hourglass Mineral Veil, Colorescience Brightening Primer, or Colorescience Calming Primer. Then I’ll use some CT Flawless Filter, bronzer and blush and top it with a bit of powder and I’m good to go.

Phoebe Avatar

I always wear eyeshadow primer, can’t wear eyeshadow without it! However primer under my foundation is unnecessary, I’ve tried many primers with many foundations, but I find primer never makes a difference for me, best just to find a HG foundation. I have dry skin the gets oily and peely around and on my nose (and sometimes chin) with deep smile lines and a few forehead lines and no primer has fixed that. I now just use glam glow’s mega illuminating moisturiser in pearl under foundation.

Nikki Avatar

Sometimes I need face primer (my primer of choice is UD Optical Illusion), sometimes I don’t-it all depends on what my skin decides to do. I usually save eyeshadow primer (UD Primer Potion Original) for days where I’m using 3 or more shadows-I find it to not really be necessary with just 1 or 2 shadows.

Dianne Sabolik Avatar

If I blank out and start applying foundation while having skipped primer, I will wash my face and start again. That’s how important it is

Rachel R. Avatar

Absolutely. I’ve always had really oily skin, including on my eyelids. It makes makeup slide off and/or oxidize to bright oranges and pinks not found in nature, and it was much worse when I was young. Face and eye primers are important for controlling the oil, making my makeup last longer, keeping eyeshadow from creasing, and creating a barrier to keep my makeup adhering to my face and not oxidize.

Without primer, the only foundation that will stay on my face are loose powdered ones.

Dolores Avatar

Because I have dry skin and also flaky at times, especially in the winter, primer is an essential part of my makeup routine. It has to be a moisturizing primer, so I fluctuate between the Armani Prima Glow on Moisturizing light balm and the Bobbi Brown Face base. I will sometimes use a tinted moisturizer such as the Bobbi Brown Extra tinted moisturizer under foundation to give my foundation a little more color and opacity. I also use the La Mer soft moisturizing creme under the primer. In summer, I use a lighter primer or a tinted moisturizer. It sounds pricey but these are the products that really work for me and just small amounts go a long way. Just found out about the Sisley tinted moisturizer, and its beautiful, it can also act as a foundation, so can’t wait for summer to use it without primer. I always use a tinted eye primer, sometime its a long wear cream shadow like Bobbi Brown’s long wear cream eye shadow sticks in Nude Beach or Mac’s Painterly, or even some concealer. At 59 years, its a must for me to prime my eyes for a smoother application of eye shadows!

Sarah Avatar

No, I tend to save it for special occasions

Though on second thought, my sunscreen does claim to double as a primer, so I guess primer is a part of my daily routine

Lesley Avatar

I have used primers ever since they first came on the market. I have large pores and used to have really oily skin. I always use a blurring primer. Currently it Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores, which is good for pores but not fine lines. I also use First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer but only because it came in a Sephora skin care sampler box. I won’t replace it when it’s gone. I also use an eyelid primer every day and I own a lip primer but often forget to use it.

I think I have tried every primer on the market at one time or another. I no longer buy products tested on animals so I won’t buy Benefit or Dr. Brandt, which I thought were the best.

Natalia Avatar

It is in my case, because I use Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil as a face primer. My skin is really dehydrated, so it serves a double purpose – to add extra moistrurising and to elongate the staying power of my makeup.

For the eyes – no question. I can simply see the difference in the shadow application, so yes it is essential 😉

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