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What Is Primer Makeup and How Do You Use It?

What Is Primer Makeup and How Do You Use It?

Ever wondered how to get that perfect Instagram filter finish? Or if it’s even possible for your foundation not to slide off your face before noon? Well, the secret lies in applying a primer before your makeup. 

From what it is, to the wonders it can do for your skin, we answer all your questions in our ultimate guide to this makeup bag essential.

What Is A Makeup Primer?

Makeup primer is a cream, gel or liquid formula that’s used as a base (i.e. primer) for makeup application. Applying a thin layer of this product will create a smooth canvas and boost the staying power of your favourite makeup items. You can use primers to enhance your complexion products, eyeshadows, lipsticks and even mascara.

Are There Different Types Of Makeup Primer?

Yes! Whether you have oily, acne-prone, dull, or dry skin, there’s a primer that will perfectly prep your complexion. The two main types are natural and synthetic, and it's important to pick not only the one that’s going to work best for your skin type, but your foundation too. Let’s break them both down.

Natural Primers

Natural primers are usually water-based and are best for dry and dehydrated skin types. Formulated with water or glycerin, they’ll give your complexion a more natural and dewy finish. Use a water-based foundation with a water-based primer to stop your makeup from flaking throughout the day.

Synthetic Primers

Oily and combination skin types will love having a synthetic primer in their makeup arsenal. These silicone-based formulas impart a velvety texture on your skin, smoothing out fine lines, blurring enlarged pores and creating a flawless base for makeup application. 

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Primer?

As well as keeping your makeup in place, there are heaps of other benefits of using this product. Choose one that’s specially formulated for your skin type and they’ll help tackle your common skin concerns too!


Instantly add radiance to lacklustre skin with an illuminating primer. Look out for formulas enriched with ingredients like Vitamin C and pearls to give you a gorgeous, lit-from-within glow. You could even use these primers on their own to subtly highlight the high points of your face.

Smooth fine lines

By blurring your complexion and firming your skin, youth-boosting primers help keep makeup from creasing and settling into fine lines. They create the perfect canvas by tightening, plumping and lifting your skin – some even protect your complexion from environmental aggressors too, what a bonus!


Ever noticed your makeup looking cakey? It could be because you’ve got dry skin. Primers formulated with hyaluronic acid will give dehydrated complexions a moisture boost, all while gripping makeup to your face throughout the day. 


If you’re looking to conceal redness, blemishes, dark circles or pigmentation, colour-correcting primers help to deliver a neutral base to even out your complexion. 


Oily skin types will go wild for a mattifying primer. Gone are the days of foundation melting off your face throughout the day, or that dreaded greasy-looking shine. Mattifying primers will absorb excess oils without making your skin feel tight.

How To Apply Primer Makeup

Step 1: Cleanse your face.

Step 2: Apply your usual skincare routine, including moisturiser and SPF.

Step 3: Take a small amount of primer (a pearl-sized amount is usually enough), and apply it to your skin with your fingertips or a makeup sponge if you prefer.

Step 4: Allow the primer to absorb into your skin.

Step 5: Apply your foundation as normal.

More Ways To Use A Primer

These hard-working formulas have plenty of other uses too. Check out more ways you can use your primer below.

Even out winged eyeliner – Apply a small amount to a cotton bud to neaten wonky or too-thick wings.

Tidy up your lip liner – Overlined a little too far? Use the same technique to tidy up your lip liner without starting over again.

Tame flyaways – Apply a small amount to a spoolie and brush over hair flyaways and pesky frizz.

Clean up eyeshadow fall-out – Sweep away loose powder with a clean brush, then apply a dab of primer to your face brush and apply it underneath your eyes.

The Takeaway

So, do you really need a primer? If you’re looking for a multi-tasking product that will increase the staying power of your makeup, while tackling your skin concerns too, you’ll definitely want to add a primer to your makeup routine.

Remember to choose one that’s best for your skin type and find one that’s compatible with your foundation too. Once you start using it, you’ll always wonder how you ever did your makeup without it!