All About Primers: Part 1

Hi everyone,

I get a lot of questions about primers so I decided to do a little Primers 101 post on it.

What is a primer?

The main  function of a primer is to prep the skin before applying your base (by base I mean foundation) When the skin is well prepped, it gives a good "canvas",  resulting in a smoother, easier and ultimately more flawless base application.

Do you absolutely have to use a primer? To be honest, not really. Your moisturizer may be just fine.  It all depends on your skin type and what you're trying to achieve with your makeup that day.

There are different types of primers, depending on their function. They can smoothen, mattify, increase longevity, minimize pores, etc.

  • Smoothing: As the name suggests, this creates a smooth layer on the skin. They are mostly targeted to fill in large pores and anywhere there is slight uneven texture (I say slight here because if you have giant craters on your face (like me) or huge pimples, this cannot help you, sorry.) It's primary function is to provide a nice smooth canvas for your base. Some examples of this kind of primer are Benefit Porefessional, Maybelline Baby Skin, Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Refining Primer, Make Up Forever Step 1 Smoothing Primer.    
Benefit Porefessional

Maybelline Baby Skin

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Smoothing Primer

  • Mattifying: This is used for oil-control. It's primary function is to keep oil at bay as long as possible and keep makeup looking fresh and matte throughout the day. It is usually marketed for people with combination or oily skin. Examples are Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector ( This also doubles as a pore minimizing primer), Boots No 7 Beautifully Matte Makeup Base, Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro Primer in 002, Make Up For Ever Step 1 Mattifying Primer, Laura Mercier Oil free Foundation primer.

Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro 002

Becca Ever Matte poreless Perfecting Primer

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer

  • Hydrating : This is used as an extra layer of foundation, usually targeted at people with dry skin. Again, it also keeps makeup looking fresh throughout the day, instead of patchy and dry.  Examples are Make Up Forever Step 1 Hydrating primer, E.L.F Hydrating Primer, 
E.L.F Hydrating Primer

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Equalizer Hydrating Primer

  • Correcting: These are primers that are used for colour correcting. Colour correcting just means using certain colours on your face before base application. Part 3 of this post will go in depth on colour correcting, but below are a few examples of colour correcting primers. 
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer in Caramel

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer in Peach

You may also notice that even after using a primer, your makeup does not last as long or it doesn't do what it's marketed to do. One reason may be that it just doesn't work for you, your  mode of application may be wrong ( some primers are better "tapped" into the skin rather than "rubbed"0 or you're using the wrong kind of base on top of said primer. I will elaborate more on this in a later part of the series..

Please read Part 2 HERE

What is your favourite primer? I'd love to hear from you.


  1. Rimmed did not control oil for me. I gave it out.

    1. So sorry to hear that. I had the same issue with the Pore fessional. And I bought the big ol tube that was limited edition ( didn't know, just grabbed it and went to the till). A lot of people swear by Becca, on me I have to mix it with Hourglass Mineral veil and then I have super protection. Another thing thogugh, do you use a water-based foundation with the Rimmel?