As Meghan Trainor said, it’s all about the base, and this holds especially true when it comes a perfect face of make up. While a solid skincare routine is arguably, the most important step for make up that stays put and looks good, we could all use a little help every now and then. Enter primers.
Available in cream, gel and powder formula, primers should be the first step in your make up routine after applying moisturiser. It basically prepares skin for your foundation or BB/CC cream, and provides it something to “hold” onto so that it stays put the entire day. If you find that your make up tends to melt off at mid day, then consider adding a primer to your routine. The best part is, these days, primers don’t just work to keep your make up in place, but also help to blur pores, brighten skin, fight aging, treat acne and provide moisture.
If you are the type to rock a full face everyday, here’s another reason to add primers to your arsenal: they act as a barrier between your skin and make up, preventing your pores from getting clogged.
Like your moisturiser, primers are best applied with your fingers as brushes tend to smear it around your face. Dab a small amount on your nose, and spread it outwards over your face.
However, if you’re only looking to cover problem areas like enlarged pores on your cheeks or wrinkles on your forehead, then use your primer on just the areas that need it. Simply squirt a small amount on the back of your hand, and apply. If you are slightly germ-phobic (we know we can be), then use a slightly damp make up sponge. Let it set for a minute or two before applying foundation or BB/CC creams.
Remember to read the labels of your make up too, because not all primers and foundations mix well. Use water-based foundation with a water-based primer, and so on. Silicone, which is a common ingredient in primers, just don’t work with water-based foundations, and can cause your foundation to slide right off.
Tip: if you are using a liquid foundation or tinted moisturiser after your primer, don’t forget to finish with a light dusting of translucent powder.
The world of primers can be a little tricky to navigate! From eyes to lips to face and even your lashes, there seems to be a specific primer for every inch of your face! Freelance make up artist Hannah Lee recommends using the corresponding primer (i.e. eye shadow primer for your lids) as they have been specifically designed for those areas. “For example, a lip primer would contain ingredients to specifically keep your lips moisturized, where an eyeshadow primer might not be hydrating enough if you were to put it on your lips.”, she explains. “It would still work; you just might not get the desired effect.”
Your eyelids are actually one of the first spots on your face to get oily during the day, which means that without a primer, all that effort you put into blending a perfect smoky eye would likely be destroyed by mid day. Help keep your eye shadow in place with the Urban Decay Primer Potion, which not only guarantees hours of creaseless wear for your eyeshadow and eyeliner, but also makes those colours really pop!
Honestly, there is nothing more annoying that spending ages curling and carefully applying mascara, only to have it smudge all over our eyes by the end of the day. Even the best waterproof formulas can’t hold against the Singapore’s humidity (not like you want to take that risk anyway), so we recommend adding the game changer that is an eyelash primer to your routine. Benefit’s ‘they’re real! Tinted primer’ also helps to thicken, define and lengthen your lashes, while keeping them looking completely natural.
Coveting Kylie Jenner-approved puckers? Add a lip primer to your routine to prevent lipstick bleeding, excessive dryness (especially if you’re a fan of matte formulas) and having to reapply every 2 hours – even for glossier shades. For colours that stay no matter how many glasses of wine you drink or people you kiss, opt for the Too Faced Lip Insurance primer. We love it for its quick-drying formula that really helps to lock in those colours.
Your goal is to have the smoothest skin possible after applying foundation, yes? Well if you suffer from wrinkles and enlarged pores, you’ll want to fill up those fine lines and mini-craters to achieve a flawless base. We (and the world over) highly recommend Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer for this. It helps to minimise the appearance of enlarged pores and wrinkles thanks to its lightweight formula that contains a vitamin E derivative, leaving your face velvety smooth after.
Maybe you’re having a particularly bad break out, or maybe you’ve been burning the midnight oil a little too often – this is when it’s time to break out the colour primers. These primers are designed to even out colour and provide a complimentary base for the rest of your make up routine.
Green: for neutralising redness caused by sun burns, wind burn, or acne.
Bronze/gold: combat ashiness that comes with dull and tired skin (or if you’ve been partying a little too hard).
Purple: this is great for most Asian skin that tends to have yellow undertones.
Peach/pink: this colour works for all skin tones, and serves to deliver a lovely rosiness to your skin.
Make Up Forever is a beauty favourite for its comprehensive range of colour correcting primers, offering 7 different hues depending on your needs.
You are probably already painfully aware that acne-prone skin tends to be oily, which is the bane for make up in general. This makes primers particularly essential (see above about preventing clogged pores), and we recommend a mattifying primer (read: oil control) that has ingredients like salicylic acid to help combat those zits throughout the day. Try the Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment, which contains salicylic acid from willow bark to help gently exfoliate skin, de-clog pores and even soothe angry acne.
On the other end of the spectrum, while make up won’t slide off dry skin mid day, it can cause your foundation to look flaky or cracked! Plus, all those hours spent in air-conditioned environments won’t help the situation either. If you have particularly dry skin, we recommend opting for a primer oil that helps create a barrier so you don’t lose moisture throughout the day. We love Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer Oil for this: it’s ultra light without a greasy feel and contains nourishing ingredients like jojoba and chamomile oils.
Glow up with an illuminating primer if your skin is looking a little duller than usual (hey it happens). These primers typically contain light-diffusing ingredients that give your skin that healthy, glow-from-within look. Tip: mix a small amount into your foundation for a day-friendly look, or simply pat small amounts onto your cheekbones for a more controlled highlight. Chanel’s Le Blanc de Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base is one of the best primers available for this.
Available at all Chanel counters.