Partner in Prime: Why Makeup Primers are Worth Using

Whether your weekend plans include strolling on through Central Park or spending the night out with the girls, you’ll definitely want to look impeccable for that Instagram post (we are, after all, millennials). You’ll head out the door feeling confident with a fresh face of makeup but a few hours later, you’re already counting down the minutes before your maquillage starts to slowly make its disappearance. It’s perplexing — why does the girl next to you look as if her makeup is untouched while your foundation is melting off, along with the rest of your eye makeup? Maybe she was born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Or it could also be an insanely good primer.

Confused? Let’s break it down: a primer is a beauty product you apply on your face to smooth out fine lines and pores, mattify the skin and increase the longevity of your makeup. It preps your face just as how a base coat does to a nail polish and a gesso to a canvas. Silicone-based skin primers, which have a light and airy texture, are more suitable for people with oilier skin whereas silica-based ones, which have a denser consistency, are for those with drier skin. Makeup companies have even come up with their own versions of primers for the rest of the face — the eyelashes, the eyelids and the lips.

Everybody has their own take on primers. Some use them religiously for every step of their makeup routine and rave about how it helps lipstick last throughout the day, how velvety it makes applying foundation and how it brings out the colour of eyeshadow. Others use brightening primers to make themselves appear more awake and polished in the morning or to boost their makeup and ensure that it stays on their face in extreme weather.

Not everybody is a big fan of using primer — it may serve redundant to someone with a normal skin type, it adds extra time to your morning routine (which one could rather use to sleep) and not to mention, it does cost additional money so it’s up to you whether it’s worth the investment.

Whether you feel yay or nay about primers, here are some options worth trying out. Every beauty guru would advocate for Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($36.00) because it does everything a primer should: it blurs fine lines, minimizes pores and smooths out the skin. If you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for Rimmel London’s Stay Matte Primer ($7.00) which serves as a cheap dupe. If you feel like splurging, Hourglass’ Veil Makeup Primer ($54.00) is a lightweight and silky option. A few non-skin primers that are worth a mention if you want to make the lipstick and eye makeup go a long way are Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($20.00) and NYX Cosmetics Lip Primer ($6.99).

Featured image by Veronica Liow.

Paggie Tan is a contributing writer. Email her at

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