Consider this your go-to guide for this efficient beauty product.

Whether or not you wear a full face of makeup every single day, you might want to consider adding face primer to your makeup bag. It's a product that you use on your skin prior to foundation application, and it can help with everything from evening out your skin tone to making sure your foundation stays put throughout the day. To clear up any questions you have about what this product is and how to apply it, we spoke with three makeup professionals to find out everything you need to know about using this beauty essential.

Woman Applying Makeup
Credit: Getty / Christopher Weidlich / Corbis / VCG

What is face primer?

According to celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, face primer is a cream product that can be applied to the face to even out skin tone. "Face primer also primes the face making makeup last longer and [look] smoother," she explains. It can also keep the natural oils from the skin of your eyelids at bay.

How does a face primer work?

These primers work by creating an even and oil-free surface for you to apply your foundation, which allows it to bond with your skin. This can really give your foundation staying power, explains Courtney Summers, a makeup artist and founder of VaultBeauty. Using a facial primer doesn't have to add to the time it takes to complete your makeup routine, especially when you consider the fact that some foundations come with primer built-in. "There are some amazing products with built-in primers that last all day and can save you time."

Should you add a face primer to your beauty routine?

If you're wondering what the biggest difference will be between using a primer and continuing to apply your foundation without one, celebrity makeup artist and social entrepreneur Deida Massey says it's about giving your foundation the best possible basecoat. "Applying a primer to the face before applying a foundation is similar to applying primer before you paint," she says. "Primer helps prep the face so the foundation doesn't move and will adhere to the foundation of choice." But that doesn't mean Massey always uses a primer on her clients. Instead, she'll sometimes use a facial moisturizer in place of a primer.

"There are some downsides to using primer," she adds. "I have used a primer from a company online and it didn't work as well as I expected." In short, using the wrong type of primer, or one you're unfamiliar with, could give you less than desirable results.

How do you apply face primer?

If you decide to give it a try, look for a primer that will work with the type of foundation you use, paying close attention to whether they work best alongside liquid or powder-based formulas. To apply, Greenberg suggests getting the thinnest amount possible, using your fingers or a foundation brush. If you apply too much, it can make blending difficult. "I love to use my hands or a brush to make sure I don't miss any spots."


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