Do I really need a primer?

Image via Laura Mercier

Primer has overtaken BB Cream as the number one beauty product friends, colleagues, strangers and acquaintances ask me about. Three friends (yes, I have that many) separately asked me about primers over the weekend for a range of reasons: pore minimisation, radiance and others just wanted to know if they should buy one. That’s why I thought it was timely to revisit primers for those who are wondering the same thing.

What do primers do? Primers are skin-smoothing formulations intended to make the products you put on top (i.e. foundation) last longer and look flawless.

What’s the difference between a moisturiser and a primer? Don’t they do the same thing? No. A primer contains silicones, polymers or waxes that smooth the skin rather than emollients in moisturisers, which hydrate the skin.

What order do I put it on? After moisturising and before foundation. Leave a few minutes between skincare layers for the products to absorb into the skin.

Do I really need it? Well, that depends. If you have large pores, acne scars, dull skin, or want a flawless complexion, then yes.

Who doesn’t need it? Anyone who doesn’t like the feel of heavy formulations on their skin, those with sensitive/reactive skin, anyone prone to whiteheads or if you’re luckily enough to have glowing, blemish-free skin.


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Can I use it everyday? I can get a bit addicted to the flawless application primers provide, Laura Mercier’s is a fave, but I’d advise against wearing a primer everyday unless you’re religious about cleansing your face at the end of the day. If you skip a nightly cleanse (and don’t use a cleansing brush) the build up from primers can contribute to millia, blackheads, and dull skin. It’s definitely one you would use for the races, weddings, and special occasions.

What other kind of primers do I need to know about? Eyeshadow primers are well worth the investment if you have fine wrinkles in your crease line, or find that your eyeshadows don’t last. They are excellent for making blending your eyeshadows that much easier. Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is the only one worth buying – it also now comes in a shimmery champagne version. Lip primers similarly help to fill in the lines around your mouth, while making your lipstick last longer.

Do you use a primer?