if you’re not yet using makeup primer, you’re missing out. This simple step can make your foundation look a hundred times better — even if you use less? The result: natural looking makeup that feels weightless and lasts longer.
But don’t just smear makeup primer all over the face the way you would a moisturizer. There’s an art to applying it so you get the best results. Professional makeup artists share their tips for applying makeup primer correctly.
Always use your fingers
“A makeup brush will just drag the makeup primer around,” says Mary Philips. Your own fingers are the best tool for distributing it evenly, or in the case of colour-correcting primers, blending and patting it where you need it.
Applying too much primer can make it pill and cake, which is never a good start to your makeup routine. Start with just a small amount (the size of a nickel) and then spread it before seeing if you need anymore. That’s another reason why your fingers are the best tool — you can feel how much your skin needs, a lot more intuitively and accurately than if you’re using a brush.
Allan Avendano says you can apply more primer if you have dry skin, since it’s more likely to need hydration and will probably drink in the primer a lot faster than someone with oily skin. However, you should still never use more than three squirts: “Your foundation is going to slide off if your skin is already saturated with primer.” If you put too much, press a dry sponge or Beauty blender against your skin to soak up the excess.
Let it set for at least one minute
The biggest mistake that people make when they apply makeup primer is being impatient. Wait at least one minute so it dries before applying your foundation or BB cream.
Choose the best makeup primer for your skin type
There’s really no such thing as a one-size fits all primer. You have to find one that suits your skin concern. For example, the best makeup primer for mature skin will fill in lines and wrinkles, creating a smoother base for foundation. Meanwhile, the best makeup primer for oily skin will mattify and control oil — if you use that on ageing skin, you’ll only accentuate lines and dryness. There’s also special long-wear eye primer if you’re really into eyeshadow or are going to a party.
Make sure your primer and foundation work well together
When you buy primer, bring your foundation. That way, you can check if the formulas are a good match. “It’s really best to buy your primers in person, unless you’ve already purchased that particular product. Even the best primers won’t look good if it doesn’t work well with your foundation,” says makeup artist Vincent Orion.