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

It used to be, but since testing so many products without, I don’t think it is essential. That being said, I work from home so if my makeup started to fade, it wouldn’t be a big deal to anyone but me. I would make priming part of my routine more regularly if I had to be out of the house for longer than 8 hours a day.

— Christine

72 Comments

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Alicia Avatar

I use Hylamide HA Blur primer in areas where I want to blur my pores and soften wrinkles, but not all over the face. I don’t use it everyday, however–more for when I’ll be out a good deal that day. Sometimes I only use it over foundation in specific spots that need blurring, rather than as a base. I use eyeshadow primer depending on how long I want my makeup to last, or the formula of the eyeshadow itself (shimmers/foils/glitter shadows).

Pearl Avatar

Yes and I prime everything. Thank God for primer. For me, priming is an essential step (plus I love layering!). I didn’t know about it until three or four years ago but was feeling a little hopeless because it seemed like my makeup never lasted the way it used to last. By midday it looked like I hadn’t even bothered to put any makeup on, save for mascara. I use lip, face, eye and lash primers now and love the effect – I really do think they help with texture, application and longevity.

Bonnie Avatar

That’s a good point – lash primer. While I don’t use primers regularly at all, I did receive a lash primer in my Beautycon box and I really liked what that added step did to my lashes. Now I use that most days (L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Primer).

Nancy T Avatar

Oh goodness, yes! Especially before applying eye makeup, otherwise I’m looking at crease city within a few hours, if not sooner, due to my having very hooded and oily lids even at the ripe old age of 57.

And then there is facial, pre-foundation primer. Something I had never used until roughly 5-6 years ago. What a nice difference! Helps me to get a much smoother application and finish, it makes my foundation last longer even when it’s super hot outside, smooths out fine lines and makes my large, ugly pores much less noticeable.

I also use a lip primer, and that is how I get away with wearing matte lipstick all day without getting super chapped lips!

waymire Avatar

After watching a half face test of a setting spray online I decided to test all my primers. I had probably a dozen, from Rimmel to Make up Forever in price range. I checked them compared to bare skin and then later comparing different ones against each other.. initial application, several check ins during the day, and before I removed my makeup. I kept everything else consistent.. foundation, powder, skin care etc. Checking for how product applied over the top, the appearance of my skin, how much oil was produced, how well my makeup lasted etc. Not a single one performed better than my Neutrogena sensitive skin sunscreen on it’s own. Some of them actually were worse than nothing by the end of the day. It was very eye opening, especially since many I swore worked well. There is a psychological effect of believing it’s doing something. You really cannot make a good judgement without a side by side comparison on the same day. If you want to attempt something similar, or with a different type of product, be sure to do it on a day you can stay home most if not all of the day.. sometimes the results are subtle but you can look really odd if they are not.

waymire Avatar

I should clarify.. that test was face primers. I do think priming in general is essential for me personally, I have very oily skin and without my priming routine my makeup would be a hot mess in about two hours. My routine consists of milk of magnesia where needed, eye primer (including brows), under eye primer (I’m 42 and need the extra moisture there), and sunscreen.

Bon Bon Avatar

It is a very important part of my routine. It smoothes my face so much and my liquid foundation and powder blush look so much better. I have done half my face with and the other half without once and it’s such a smoother look for me. I also wear lip primer and used to wear eye primer until I changed from powder to Mally eye shadow sticks. I even use eye lash primer. If there was a primer for my primer I’d use it, lol.

waymire Avatar

Oil control. It was a very common trick used by makeup artists.. and has since become controversial due to the alkalinity of the product. I can tell you I’ve been using it daily for over seven years and my skin is fine. I did some digging and found that overly oily skin is also overly acidic.. so it makes sense that it would balance the issue. Obviously if you don’t have very oily skin it would not be a good idea. I’ve tried just about every oil control product on the market and nothing works as well.

Bon Bon Avatar

Thank you. I have an oily t zone that I have great results using monistat chafing gel as my primer and urban decay deslick setting spray. I’m dry all day. I’ll stick to what I know works, lol.

Joyce Avatar

I used use eyeshadow primer all the time, but after reading your reviews, I’ve come to the point where I hold brands to their claims. If a product claims to wear well without primer, then I use it. If I need it, I typically just don’t use it.

Sometimes I use face primer, but quite rarely lately!

ouineque Avatar

Reading the other comments I just realized that yes: Mac prep + prime for lips is also a favourite… And for under eye I use something silicony to smooth out the skin before putting concealer, so yes: I am definitely a primer girl ๐Ÿ™‚

Brynn Avatar

I use an eyeshadow primer now everytime I use eyeshadows. One of the best things I’ve ever added to my makeup stash! No more wandering or fading eyeshadow. I do feel this is essential to me now.

I also have a face primer, but I tend to use it on its own, instead of under anything. It does a great job at keeping my face from getting shiny throughout the day.

Erica Avatar

For eyeshadow, yes, priming is essential. I don’t prime anywhere else bc I don’t see improved results that last. Face primers,for instance, seem to cause more problems if anything!

AB Avatar

I absolutely do the priming stage every day. I’ve just lately started this, and it works really well for me — smooths the basis for foundation and helps foundation last; I use Laura Mercier’s radiance formula and find it adds a nice little bit of brightness; and, I find I break out less which I attribute to there being a barrier between foundation and my skin.

Linda Avatar

Couple of thoughts:

1. I “prime” my face for two reasons. First is to even out tone/surface with a BB cream (not a primer per se). Then, over that I use an illuminating primer before foundation. I do the illuminating primer in the winter to add a little more dew and glow to my face in the dry, cold weather.

2. Maybe it’s me, but I have never found eyeshadow primers to make much of a difference. In face, I think they can make my under eye work migrate. I am happy with just using concealer and/or a paint pot as a base layer.

3. Lips — At best, it’s rare. I have a MAC Prep & Prime, which I do like. Never remember to use it.

chelsea Avatar

Using eye and face primers really was a game changer for me. With oily/combo skin my makeup never lasted more than a couple hours and seemed to rub off on everything I touched. Iโ€™ve only recently been able to make my makeup last all day by using primers and, in turn, itโ€™s fueled my interest in makeup in general.

Donna Avatar

For eyes, I do use a primer because I have dry eyes which causes them to run, even with using Restasis. Lips sometimes, if I’m using a lipstck that disappears easily. For my face I don’t bother.

Ziwei Avatar

I honestly can’t really tell a difference. But when I have dry flakes I would use Bobbi Brown vitamin enriched face base beneath. I think it’s a pretty good moisturizer that works with any foundation.

Shannon. N Avatar

For me, YES.

I have severely hooded, oily as HELL eyes. So, my eye shadow never stood a chance without primer! It will crease within an hour. And with my hood, the fold of skin, will rub against my lid, and just distroy all of my hard blending work!

I also have oily skin, with surface redness. So I like to use a green tinted primer. Because a lot of the time, my skin is very clear, and even. so I like to just do a tinted primer, and some corrector and concealer under my eyes and setting powder!

But I find my foundation doesn’t break down, and get patchy, and rub off if I wear a facial primer. So I’m a believer in primers!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Shannon. N Avatar

Hey Deborah!! Of course!! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m so extra with my priming, but It works and I use less foundation and only need to touch up once or twice!!

I use: Hard Candy’s Colour Correcting green primer all over my face, and that really takes down the redness in my face, (If Its a full makeup day, I’ll go in further with green concealer though!)

then I’ll pat either Benefit’s PoreFessional onto my inner cheeks and nose, OR I’ll tap some of Paula’s Choice oil absorbing lotion/primer onto my oily areas!!!

I hope this helps!!!

Debbie Avatar

For eyes, always. For face depending on occasion and the condition of my skin. When I have to go to work I am out of my house sometimes in excess of 10 Hours, so definitely. On a day off when I will be home, no. I am constantly in search of a face primer that will go the distance. I have been using Smashbox Photo finish Primer water and I love it. As far as eyes I use a different one depending on what is going on top.

Eileen Avatar

It’s never been a part of my routine. When I was much, much younger, we didn’t have primers, but if we had, I would have loved a good one to help prevent oil from causing my cosmetics to “break up” or quickly fade away. But, that was then and this is now and I simply no longer need a priming product of any kind. In part that is due to the condition of my skin and in part that is due to vastly improved cosmetic formulations.

Glenda Avatar

That depends.
If you need your makeup to last longer than 8 hours, then yes. If you go to a job where you start your day early and end it late but want to look polished all day long, then yes. If you work from home or your “work days” don’t last as long, then priming isn’t absolutely necessary. Many foundations are created to be long lasting and will generally do the trick with or without priming.
I use a pore minimizing primer so it’s part of my routine daily but not for reasons of life extension of the foundation.

Shelley Avatar

I very rarely use primer. I do like it with certain foundations but feel that if you have a good skincare regime, primer is usually not necessary.

Deborah Avatar

I have tried face primers in the past – I never could tell a difference. Now I imagine the primers are better so I would love to hear suggestions on brands to try?!

Aimee Avatar

Yes! For me primers are necessary. I have extremely oily hooded lids so I use Mac paint pot painterly as my eye base. It does help keep shadow in place for most of the day.

As for face, another big yes! I have sooo many different primers but the best for me right now is Stila with the 3 colors. (Can’t remember it’s exact name, sorry, but it has lavender, green, and nude that mix together and solve a plethora of issues: redness, large pores, oil, texture, and so on). So primer is a must or foundation/bb/cc whatever just melts away on my oily skin. I will often wear just the primer and nothing else when I’m not going out.

Lesley Avatar

Face primer, undereye primer and lip primer always. Benefit Porefessional most of the time and Dr. Brandt Pores No More in summer on my face. L’Oreal Miracle Blur Eye under my eyes. Bite Beauty on my lips. On my eyelids, I go back and forth between NYX primer and Kryolan concealer. My eyelids have always been a reddish color and the concealer helps keeps the shadow colors stay true but the shadow may last longer with the primer. I still am deciding. I need primers to blur my pores and lines. I don’t know if they help my make-up last longer.

Silvia Avatar

I tried a couple of primers and didn’t make much difference wearing them. Rarely use it on my eyes even. Instead I’ve switched to CeraVรฉ moisturizing face cream and I find my foundation goes on so smooth after it and my skin has too. I’m nearing 54 and have great skin with some laughing lines developing but don’t need much cover up besides, i like to keep my face as clean as possible and blend everything for a natural fresh look. Don’t like heavy caking. Maybe when I’m 60.

Lea Avatar

I’ll use one on my face in the humid DC summers – especially August. I should use one more consistently on my eyes, but it’ll depend on how much of a hurry I am to get out the door with traffic. It’s not an automatic step like other things, but my shadows do wear better and longer if I use one.

SMITA Avatar

I usually wear primer in the summer. For winter if I need it to last longer ie weddings/special occasions.
I usually use concealer as an eye primer if needed.

But mostly I go w/o since I forget and have found out as a result that it’s not always necessary for me everyday ‘cept summer !!!:)

Primpcess Avatar

Yes! I need to prime….I work 12 hour shifts, so I need my makeup to LAST! Not to mention I’m in a very high-paced demanding work environment (im a nurse). I have yet to find any makeup that can last the full 15 hours that I’m out of the house for, so primer is a must if I don’t want to look like a drowned rat by the end of my shift.

Donna E. Avatar

Yes definitely on my ryes, keeps the shadows true to color for hours. The jury is out, I’m in the experimental stage with a new face primer. I have an oily T-Zone so I would like to see my foundation last longer.

judy h. Avatar

If I don’t wear a primer, after 5 hours, my makeup is gone. Perhaps it is because I use a very light hand when applying makeup. When I use primer, my makeup stays on. I have tried many primers. Several months ago, I was visiting my sister who lives on the other side of the country from me. Her girlfriend was over and started to talk to me aboput skincare and makeup. She revealed she was a representative for Jafra cosmetics. I have funky, sensitive skin and told her I really didn’t care to try anything of my face, skin care or makeup. She was very nice about it and gave me a tube of their Gel Primer. It’s the BEST! Non-drying, silky feel, my makeup glides on over it and wears all day. I had never heard of the company before and don’t think I will buy anything else from them, but I’m a dedicated user of their primer. Prior to that, my favorite primer had been DHC Skin Velvet. Amazing!

Karen Avatar

Yes, definitely.
Face primers do so much more for me than ensure my makeup lasts all day. Many days I will use both a smoothing and illuminating primer together. (I like MakeUp Forever’s Smoothing Primer and Becca Backlight or Too Faced Hangover RX, if I want to skip the glow). I have found that I am able to use a much more sheer base product because of the added benefits from the primers. I don’t like the look of heavier, higher coverage foundations-on me-and as long as I don’t use super heavy silicone primers I can avoid the feel of heavy makeup as well.
Eye primers are also a must because even though my skin is mostly normal my eyelids are oily and any shadows will crease within 3 to 4 hours without a primer. I also think that most eyeshadows look better and are more true to color over a primer.
I have also started using mascara primers and am enjoying how much more volume I can achieve without putting coat after coat of mascara on and risking clumsiness!

Kathleen Avatar

i seem to be a real primer junkie with many types of ptimer. I use facial sometimes two in different parts of the face, eyelid primer 2 kinds thiin layers of each for antiwrinkle and lomgevity, lip primer, lash primer and undereye primer. It makes a big difference in how I look mid afternoon and later

Carolyn Avatar

Only for eyes, and i might eventually get a lash primer, since I like my lashes all-natural (primer alone) or editorial hyperclumpy (primer and primer and mascara x8)

I feel like moisturizer and sunscreen ought to be enough to prepare my skin for foundation. If a foundation needs more than that, it doesn’t seem well formulated to me.

Tamika B. Avatar

I use eyeshadow primer all the time! Even when I’m not wearing eyeshadow…oily lids. I just dust my face powder all over including lids.
Haven’t found a face primer that works for me and does break me out or make my skin feel weird.
I just got into lip priming and it saved me from throwing out all my liquid lipsticks. Love it!

Ana Maria Avatar

I personally feel that a good foundation that works together with the SPF moisturizer I use should do the trick, even for wearing make-up for 9-12 hours. But the ideal combination is hard to find… and sometimes I do want to try a new foundation; so a good primer helps. It can either make a matte foundation look more luminous, either help foundation last or day, either help foundation to not separate, either blur pores.

Susan Avatar

I had never used primer, and never had any issues, Then all of a sudden everyone is marketing it and using it as a holy grail product. I’ve tried so many different kinds, and I’ve never noticed any benefit. If anything I think it diluted the coverage of my foundation. I just use a good moisturizer now and allow it to dry before I use foundation.

Cathy Avatar

Eyeshadow primer, definitely. Face primer, though? No. I haven’t really gotten on that bandwagon, and primarily (ha, see what I did there? lol) because with the application of primer, moisturizer, sunscreen in the summertime and everything else, it just seems like a lot. Also, I get great results with my MAC Fix+ setting spray, so I really don’t feel I *need* a face primer. That said, the new Becca one (the lavender one) looks interesting and I’ve seen some positive reviews on YT. Have you checked that one out yet, Christine?

Tricia Avatar

Yes, it makes a big difference. I’ve been a professional makeup artist for over 10 years. I use it especially on my clients with oily skin. It helps when the skin has texture. You can use less foundation if the skin is primed correctly.

Bonnie Avatar

Absolutely not. I only use primer if I get one in a subscription box/bag. I have never found it to make a huge difference and have heard it actually can clog your pores more than wearing foundation alone so I almost never use it.

Emilie Avatar

Yes! I definitely need it on my eyes to keep my eyeshadow from creasing and disappearing completely, and to conceal the veins on my eyelids (I’m really pale!). I also always need it on my face. I tend to be super dry, so if I don’t use some kind of hydrating primer under my makeup it ends up looking cakey and not very smooth. I don’t use anything fancy for either, though.

Magdalena Plewinska Avatar

I always use lid primer and eyelash primer and, if I remember, a balm underneath matte lipstick. Everything else is optional. But I don’t usually wear foundation or keep makeup on for more than 8 hours, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel a need for a face primer.

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