Do you think wearing a face primer is necessary?

Do you think wearing a face primer is necessary? Do you wear makeup without one?


Yes, if I plan to wear makeup for longer than few hours, but not if I know I’m only going to wear a look or whatever for a couple of hours.


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
Lunachique Avatar

I had never used primer before, but then I was provided some and noted that it really is great so I try to use it whenever possible. It makes the colors pop better and prevents creasing and rubbing when I wear mineral powder shadows.

konconsc Avatar

Even if it does not prolong, face primer helps foundation adhering to the skin better and also it helps the foundation go on smoother. Some primer even minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines while other could help balance out the skin tone.

milaxx Avatar

It depends on the occasion. I vary my foundations depending as well. Light little mu days I use a tinted moisturizer, no primer. Sunday to worship or sometime rushing for work I may not. Sunday’s because I’m only going to have on mu for 3 -4 hours and come home and wash it off. rush days because I don’t have the time. But if I’m going to be photographed or it’s a dressy occasion, I wear a primer because I want my mu to last & look as flawless as possible.

Bridget Avatar

The makeup doesn’t last long on oily skin, it just sort of melts away. :/ I have oily skin but haven’t found a primer that helps my makeup last longer.
If you have dry skin, setting it with powder should be enough. 🙂 x

Kim Avatar

On a normal day, yes, I absolutely must have a primer. I notice that my foundation just won’t go on as smoothly without a primer, and whatever I put on my face absorbs much faster and lasts nowhere near as long as on a day that I do wear primer. I also have insanely oily skin, so I think the primer makeup last longer for me as well.

Mirna Avatar

I wear that one you use. How does your mom like the oil control one? The MUA at bare esscentials at Macy’s counter told me that the oil control one is for people who are practically dripping in oil from their face. I thought I was oily enough for it but she told me to try the regular one. Let me know how it works for you!

Eliza Avatar

I wear a primer just because i feel it’s better for my skin! I don’t really like the feeling of wearing foundation directly on my skin, i don’t know why. The first foundation i purchased i purchased a primer too! That was why i started wearing it! But i guess it does help my makeup to last longer too!

Melly Avatar

No, I’ve tried several (Benefit, MUFE, and Korres), but I always feel like I’m wearing a lot more makeup if I wear face primer. Anyways, I’m pretty sure my makeup stays on just as long! 🙂

Jessica Allison Avatar

Eye Primer was a revolution in the makeup industry, but I can’t say I think the same of face primers. I’ve been a pro artist for 15 years, and we seemed to manage just fine for years before primers came along. Honestly, most are just souped up silicone gels. They feel soft and silk, so they have a great wow! factor, but other than that, I really don’t see that they do much to extend wear or reduce the appearance of pores or fine lines- I have a feeling many primer devotees are victims of marketing hype and placebo effect.

Having said that, if I have a client or friend that craves a primer, I recommend a silicone based skin serum instead (like Olay Regenerist Serum or Estee Lauder Idealist). That way you get the smoothing effects of a primer, with actual skin benefits to boot.

Marian Avatar

I own a good primer and to be honest, I don’t see any difference in my makeup nor does it seem to last longer if I wear it….so, no….I don’t ever wear primer.

Nienel Avatar

I need a primer. I find that my foundation lasts longer. This is especially important when I go to school and then to work. I love primer. I can’t imagine going a day without primer when I wear foundation. Just another reason is it allows my make up to last all day at Disneyland. My boyfriend and I love going to Disneyland. I always had a major issue with my foundation falling off of my face. I found that the primer helped a lot.

Beto Kylie Avatar

Christine, why do you wear face primer when you know you’ll be wearing your make-up for a long time? What happens if you don’t? Would you still use it if you only wore your foundation???

Susan Avatar

I agree with Christine… I use Laura Mercier Primer with Laura Mercier TM… It makes it last for a full day of work! I’ve found Oil Free Primer is best for summer.

Bridgette Avatar

I actually have to and I do find it necessary since I have oily skin. At first when I was getting into make up I didn’t know anything about primers until I did some research on it and gave it a try. After that primer was added to my routine before I put foundation and concealer.

seattle Avatar

i would answer yes but unfortunately for me, i haven’t found a face primer that works on my combination skin (very oily t-zone and normal/dry everywhere else). i’ve tried mac, urban decay, smashbox and even “monistat” (LOL!!!). nothing works. i’ve decided to just give up on the whole face primer thing and do without it as it does nothing for me. my makeup is the same with or without a primer. but EYE PRIMER is a whole different story. i swear by UDPP! 🙂

Christy Avatar

No, not necessary. I think it helps when my skin is in not so great condition since it helps smooth things over. Otherwise, its just an extra step that I can’t be bothered with in my basic routine.

konconsc Avatar

I totally agree with Christine..if I am only going to try on a look, face primer is not something that I must put on. If I am going out or am going to wear the look out, I will for sure.

sara Avatar

I think is not very necessary for the everyday makaup and I think also that use it everyday isn’t a good choise for skin’s health!
But for a special occasion’s makeup is an excellent option 😉

Vale Avatar

Not at all. Moreover, just consider the effect that silicones makes on your skin! It is like you put your face under cellophane! No, thanks!

kasiaj85 Avatar

I very rarely use face primer, useually my makeup holds quite nicely so I simply don’t need another layer of product on my face. But when I know I’m going to spend my evening in a place where the lights are weird or when I know that my skin just has to be flawless, then I sometimes use a primer. veeeery rarely, though.

Simone Avatar

I do think Primer is an essential now, using it has meant my skin looks better with make up since I use a pore minimizing on but I am still on the hunt for the best primer!

Freya Avatar

For the face I don’t think its a MUST. But for the eyes – especially when you are doing a more elaborate look – it really makes a difference.

shontay Avatar

A primer is absolutely necessary. I used to laugh at the idea of wearing a primer, until I actually tried and found the best primer ever: Chanel Base Lumiere. A great primer can just do things that a regular moisturizer cannot do. It makes a world of difference. So yeah, I reach for my primer every single day that I wear foundation.

Sara Avatar

I wear the NARS Primer with SPF for the spf! Plus, I’ve ditched the liquid foundation for the moment, so it helps smooth application of a setting powder 🙂

kristina Avatar

I never wear one and I don’t have a problem with makeup fading or wearing poorly. I have found that the right moisturizer can act as a primer.

Jordan Avatar

YES! I wear it all the time! Not just to prolong my makeup either. It does help to prolong it a little bit in my opinion but it also evens out your imperfections and makes a perfect base for your foundation or tinted moisturizer!

eveli Avatar

Well for me yes I find that when I do my foundation looks more flawless then when I dont ….speaking of primers in the prep for colour pictures I saw on your post there were 3 skin enhancing illuminators purple’ yellow, & peach but when I went to. My Mac counter and asked for them the girls thought I was crazy and was trying to sell me the colorless primer that launched with that collection. …. I’m. Confused? ?

Valerie Avatar

I think that Smashbox face primer works pretty well on me, but I can’t be bothered to put it on unless I’m going out for the evening. I’m a mom of 3 so face primer is a bit too much work for a regular day.

Anitacska Avatar

I’d say eyeshadow primer is essential, but face primer isn’t. At least that’s what I do, wear eyeshadow primer every day, but face primer only occasionally. To be honest, I’m not sure it actually makes a difference, I have to use pressed powder to “mop up” oiliness anyway.

Katy Avatar

I always thought you don’t really need a face primer, that makeup worked just as well without one. That is until I actually tried one. Oh my goodness, what a difference it made!! Anytime I would use foundation I put my primer on first. It made my pores look smaller, and really seemed to hydrate the areas of my skin that were rather dry.

smoondancer Avatar

I use MUFE HD and love it. Could not imagine wearing foundation without it. I have dry skin and it keeps my moisturizer in and keeps my foundation from getting patchy throughout the day.

happybadfish Avatar

I wear primer (Mac) every day, even if I am not wearing makeup. I can see how some people don’t use it, but my skin is dry, and I find it can help to give me a bit of glow.

Charlene Avatar

It depends on what kind of coverage you need or want, Primer definitely gives better coverage of the foundation you put on top.

Jacquelyn Avatar

I used to not use face primer since it wasn’t necessary to wear it and plus I didn’t find the time to put it on when I’m in a hurry for work. Now, I just discovered L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base on Friday and I love it! Now I’m loving face primer again and I’m still searching for the perfect face primer though.

Emily Avatar

I just about always wear one…once I found one that actually worked and saw the massive difference I became pretty dedicated. Smashbox Photofinish Lite is my hero! =)

Julia Avatar

If I’m wearing foundation yes. But on the days that I wear tinted moisturizer, cream blush, and some powder, I usually don’t use a primer.

Vness_12 Avatar

I was never into using primer before. However now I always use a primer as my makeup application is so much smoother and is laid out much nicer. I notice a difference and like it.

Kelsey Avatar

it’s not a MUST have but it does help. Most of the time I don’t wear one but because it’s summer and it’s getting hot I’m wearing it to help my foundation last.

Lauren Avatar

I love how long my makeup lasts when I use primer but every single primer I have used makes me break out. I don’t break out from any other makeup products. Quite frustrating…

Michelle Avatar

The primer I fell in love with is L’Oreal Studio Secrets Face Primer. It’s a solid base, so it rubs in well and doesn’t cake my skin at all. Really reduces the look of pores and lines too, but it’s only something I’d use when it’s a special occasion or I know there will be photos.

Jess Avatar

I Think it is necessary,but i havent found one that actually works for me. I will be buying Laura Mercier’s primer soon since i heard its pretty good,hopefully it workssss 🙂

Christina Avatar

I disliked MAC’s prep+prime with SPF and now only use jojoba oil as a “moisturizer.” It is easily absorbed into the skin & all natural. I use a “primer” because I use quite a bit of concealer around my eyes and I find it helps to moisten the eye area as well as any dry spots I may have.

Aleia Avatar

I had to pick up something @ the Mac counter the other day, and the girl asked me if I need a primer. I told her no thanks, and I have one at home( I thought she was just trying to add on stuff). At the time, I was having a bad breakout and she told me it also serves a purpose of not allowing your makeup to sink into your skin, and it is like a layer of protection. She said it also helps your serums and moisturizers to lock in properly. The next day when getting dress I remembered I had my smash-box primer, tried it for a few days and I really feel like I have been breaking out less. Short story, I am using it everyday!

nicci Avatar

I never used to wear primer but I have been for almost a year. I can tell a major difference – foundation stays put, foundation glides on, skin looks flawless and hides pores.

kim Avatar

I think that its not always required but it should be determined by the type of skin that you have.
Primers are excellent for oily, open-pored skin. As you mentioned, length of time should also be considered, since primers do make your makeup last longer.

Lane Avatar

I really enjoy the texture of the Smashbox Photo Finish primer, but my skin is so prone to breakouts, that I can’t wear it. I picked up the light version, and the texture was completely different. Christine, do you know of any smoothing, pore filling face primers that would be good for someone with acne prone skin? thanks!!

Allison Avatar

The only primers that I have found to make a real difference in how oily I get throughout the day are the cosmesicine medi-matte and mac refined zone. I’m trying out Laura mercier’s oil free primer right now. It does make my makeup go on smoother, but I don’t see a difference in lasting power.

julia Avatar

every single time i put on any type of makeup. even if its just powder. i tried not wearing it once, and my face was crazy shiny in 3 hours.

Sharyn Avatar

Sometimes I wear primer and sometimes I don’t. It depends on how much time I have in the morning. I do notice a difference lately since I’ve been using a Korres anti-aging face primer. Together with the Korres foundation, my makeup has been lasting all day. If I’m in a big rush though, I just slap on a little moisturizer, a little concealer, powder, mascara and out the door.

LB Avatar

A primer is a must for me. But picking the right one for your skin is the key to making it work. I use the MAC prep & prime one with SPF 50, and it’s a HUGE improvement over the oil-free Laura Mercier one that did next to nothing for me. Now, I never have to blot or used pressed powder during the day. Before I switched to the MAC one, I was oily within a hour or so of applying makeup (even powder foundation or tinted moisturizer).

adelinky Avatar

It is not really a primer, but I always apply sunscreen to my face before any makeup. It makes my foundation glide on, but it melts it off right away 🙁

Christine, which is your favorite face primer, or the one you use regularly? (sunscreen?)

Kell Avatar

Saw this Q yesterday, and it made me think. I was convinced that I did NOT like silicone-based primers (which is what I have, quite a few diff ones). But I used one yesterday, and really paid attention to how my makeup looked after I just put it on, and as the day passed, including going to the gym. It definitely looked nicer, and wore better. I used L’Oreal True Match liquid foundation. Usually I would wear MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid. Maybe it’s not that I don’t like primers… maybe I just don’t like SFF over primers. Interesting. Anyways, I’ll be using a primer again today 🙂

lylyoo Avatar

my skin is very dry in cheeks and forehead and now my nose, which used to be oily, is getting dry too. i also have pores which are almost impossible to cover – tried with many foundations and MAC studio fix. also my face gets really red throughout the day and causing and unbalanced look. today i tried MAC primer SPF 50 without wearing anything on it and seems like it balanced the color and closed the pores. but i am not sure if it will be good for my skin if i start using it regularly. does anyone has a suggestion for such skin type? or any experiences? also what exactly is the very big deal about silicons (i mean what negative effects would it cause in long term) (also my skin doesn’t break out).

Sue Avatar

Really, what’s the difference between face and eye primers ? I tried Laura Geller face primer and it seemed to hold the shadow as well as any of the eye primers out there.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!