Primers: An Absolute Necessity, or an Unnecessary Step?

Published in: Just For Fun

make up for ever primers

I lurve you, primer!

For me? Oh, so completely necessary! Rarely (um, like, never) do I skip primer. Even when I’m running ridiculously behind, frantically grabbing products, leaving a mess in my wake and rushing to do five-minute makeup, I still leave a little room for primer.

At times like that, it comes down to priorities, like, what do I need the most? It’s usually a face primer to blur mah pores and fine lines, and to smooth the surface of my skin a little before I apply foundation or tinted moisturizer. I call it “taking the edge off.” LOL! It’s so true though…


And when I’m not running ragged and have enough time to put on a full face, I’ll even “go there” sometimes with multiple primers. I might use one (or two!) different face primers that specialize on doing different jobs, like a color correcting peach primer under my eyes and around my mouth, or for spot treating places where I feel my pores need the extra help (usually, my cheeks and nose). Then, I’ll whack some eye primer on my lids to help my eye makeup last longer.

I’m practically married to NARS Pro-Prime for this; I’ll occasionally also work a little into my brows and lower lash lines, too (try it sometime!).

One type of primer I never wear is lip primer. I’ve tried it before, though, a few different brands, but it never seems to make much of a difference. When I used it, I didn’t really notice smoother lips or my lip products lasting longer. I’m still open to the idea, though, so if you know of a lip primer that’s, like, change-yo-life worthy, please let me know. My only prerequisite is that I’m able to hear angels singing when I use it. 😉

How about you, friend? Is primer an absolute necessity for you, or do you think it’s unnecessary?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Sooo, somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that BG is coming early. This is partly because Susan Miller of Astrology Zone mentioned in my horoscope (Insert eye roll here…but seriously, Susan does not mess around! Her horoscopes for me have been crazy accurate in the past.) that a new baby could be arriving on February 22, and also partly because I’ve heard quite a few birth stories from friends whose babies came early at around 37 weeks…

I just hope that BG decides to stay put a while longer because I’m absolutely and completely not ready. I feel like I still have so much stuff to do and prepare before she comes. I’m trying to stay calm, but it’s been a challenge. *Takes deep breath*

It’s all going to be fine, right?? I gotta keep telling myself that…

I hope things are going well on your end. What have you been up to?


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  1. Cindy says:

    Primer is an absolute MUST for me!! I swear by Clinique’s Redness Solutions daily protective base. I have rosacea so the green is a nice corrector and once that primer is on, my face makeup DOES NOT MOVE. EVER. Until I take it off! My favorite lash primer is MAC prep+prime lash base, which I use when I’m going out. I also like the new Benefit They’re Real tinted lash primer. Comes on very smooth and un-clumpy. As for lip primer though, that’s an ABSOLUTE necessity at ALL TIMES for me! My HG lip primer was Paula Dorf Perfect Illusion. Lipstick stayed on until I took it off. NEVER moved. When they discontinued it I was heartbroken. I’ve tried others but I was just settling. Then Urban Decay came out with their Ultimate Ozone pencil, and it’s the CLOSEST I’ve found so far to the Paula Dorf formula. I’ve been using it since and lipstick stays on for 13 hrs+ WITHOUT retouching. And that’s with eating, drinking, etc. I wear bright colors most of the time and I *hate* when lipstick gets messed up or doesn’t stay on so it works for me!

    • Chelsea says:

      I’ll have to try the Clinique base! I deal with redness and could use a primer. Do you wear powder over your foundation?

      • Cindy says:

        Always! In the winter I use BareMinerals foundation with Mineral Veil over it. In the summer I use Clinique Moisture Surge tinted moisturizer with the Mineral Veil over it. For a tinted moisturizer it COVERS, especially with the Redness Solutions primer underneath! I also tried Clinique’s Redness Solutions makeup, and I like it. It has good coverage over that primer as well. It’s a little heavier than the tinted moisturizer so I don’t think I’d use it in the dog days of summer but for the other 3 seasons it’s fine.

  2. Amber says:

    I have large pores on my cheeks so for me it’s necessary to hide those. I want to try some heavier “beauty serum”-esque primers.

  3. Jennifae says:

    Eye primers are absolutely necessary for me, and I try not to skip face primers unless I’m in a rush. I have a lip primer in my stash (MAC’s Prem + Prime Lip), but I don’t really reach for it that much.
    Jennifae recently posted … Win RiRi Hearts MAC Heaux Lipstick!

  4. Icequeen81 says:

    a primer I don’t know, I used one year ago was a local brand and I got itchy skin from it. I don’t use foundation for the same reason, I just keep it with a moisturizer, don’t have the most adaptable skin, so I have to be careful even powder foundations have made my skin itch. I have an eyeshadow primer but I have the idea when I use I need to be very fast in applying my eyeshadow and also very precise. I make a little mistake I get a horrible stripe or an uneven application that looks awful. Wat I need is my blush to stay longer and I don’t have any idea how to archive that.

    Having a runny nose right now, and in my condition, I can have any antiallergics right now. I can I imagine you are not feeling ready, but I guess you will feel that way till the end of the pregnancy when the moment come you will forget that you don’t feel ready. So I think is going to be.

  5. kellly says:

    I always use an eye primer otherwise my eye shadow disappears. And if I use any concealer other than Onomie, I use an undereye primer or else it creases. Other than that, I don’t use much makeup on my face so I skip primer.

  6. Chelsea says:

    BG will come when she wants :p Due dates are not very scientific so it’s really hard when you’re far along. But, my nieces went late, I’ve had friends go early… It’s a crap shoot.

    I can’t go without eye primer, usually Nars. I should try to start using face primer, maybe it would make my base stay on longer. I’m super dry, so nothing oil absorbing.

  7. tirurit says:

    Oh primer, this fair maiden of the oily lids cannot live without eye primer. I will even go as far as layering an eye primer with a paintpot!

    As for face primer, I am still looking for that primer that will make me change my ways and love it forever more. As of today, I have a few that I use now and then but none that I love 😉

    And, well, BG will know when the time is correct. Unfortunately, that sometimes can conflict with mummy’s schedule. And I should know since I decided to arrive at 28 weeks. My mum thought that something that she had eaten had not agreed with her. Hope BG behaves 😉
    tirurit recently posted … MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour: Dance with me and Recollection

  8. Lulle says:

    Eye primer is a must for me to avoid creasing and make eyeshadow colors pop more. Face primer, however, is not. I have to use it with certain foundations that would otherwise sink into pores and emphasize texture, but with a good foundation that already has a blurring effect, I don’t!
    Lulle recently posted … 10 Last Minute Gift Ideas For Valentine’s Day

  9. jessica says:

    MUST use eyeshadow primer. MUST.
    jessica recently posted … Nasty Horrid Neighbor

  10. Tatiana says:

    Can’t live without an eye primer. Go NARS Pro Prime. I have hooded lids and without a primer shadows crease and then disappear in a nanosecond. Whether or not I used a foundation primer depends on my mood and whether I’ve decided to put on a tinted sunblock with priming properties. I love the slightly tinted Shiseido sunblock I picked up in Tokyo. It has SPF50 in it, a nice beige tint (that tones down my redness) and it’s as good as any primer I’ve used. Only downside is that it has alcohol in it, so it tends to be drying which is OK for a hot CA summer day. Do love the new MUFE primers, especially the moisturizing one for summer.
    I would love to find a universal lip primer that would keep my lip color from bleeding down from my bottom lip. I tried the Bite Beauty one, but it was very minty, so it was a no go for me. Minty, plus MAC vanilla or Chanel rose, or any other scented or flavored lippy equals grossness in my book.

  11. Catherine says:

    Don’t worry about not feeling ready. No one is ever really ready for the arrival of a new baby. The fact is, all you really, truly need for the first couple days are diapers/wipes, clothes, and a place for the baby to safely sleep (and bottles/feeding supplies, depending on what you decide to do vis a vis breastfeeding/bottle feeding). Everything else you can (and will) figure out as you go along.

  12. If you count eye primer and corrector under the eyes, I always use primer. If you limit it to things applied to the face I never do. I have been meaning to start doing it, but somehow…
    As for baby coming early, on my last appointment my ob-gyn corrected the due date to one week earlier, which kind of makes me nervous, because Little Bean was an early arriver as well, and they say the second one comes always early. And February is such a short month!
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Concealer – Marks all over my face

  13. Mackenzie says:

    I use like 3 face primers (if I remember to use them at all). Nivea for moisture, MUFE smoothing for little rough spots around my mouth, and a radiance or mattifying depending on what I’m feeling. However, I really don’t think it’s necessary.

    For the eyes I just use a drugstore concealer that is too yellow toned and powder. I did buy the cute lip packaged Tony Moly lip moisturizer for fun on my vanity.


  14. Iris says:

    I use an eyeshadow primer as I use loose powder shadows. It’s a must. For lip primer, I’ve been using Mikalya Beauty’s lip balm. A lipstick I’m using is rather dry and I’ve found the primer makes it easier to apply.

  15. Lauren says:

    Aww, Karen, I’ve heard a saying that “you’ll never be ready for any huge change.” It’s true. EVERY Mom I know says they over planned, etc, and you “learn” as you go! The important thing for BG is a loving home, and I’m sure as heck she has that already. Please take some pressure off of yourself. Necessities are your hospital bag and El Hub. That’s it! Breath, sweetie!

    Until a month ago, primer was a no for me as I broke out with every single one I tried. Fast forward to about a month ago…SOMEONE reviewed Becca Backlight Primer and SOMEONE had to go buy it! Obsessed! No breakouts and for a “matte” girl, Becca and SOMEONE named Karen have totally changed me!

    Now, go rest and BREATH. It will all be ok I promise!! My best friend just had triplets (gasp) a bit early. She cried that she wasn’t prepared…she only had 2 cribs! Those babies, Mom and Dad are just fine, healthy snd in love. <3

  16. JackieC says:

    I always wear an eye and one to two face primers everyday. I do this more out of habit and because that’s how it’s supposed to be rather than because I notice a difference. I’ve done it so long that I don’t know how my makeup even wears without it. As for lip primers, I really like Mac’s lip primer. I does help my lipstick to last longer, but I still don’t wear it everyday. Some days I need more moisture and opt for a lip balm instead.

  17. Rachel R. says:

    Eyeshadow primer is an absolute necessity for me. My oily eyelids will melt off any shadow within a half hour if I don’t. I don’t think face primer is a necessity with my powder foundations, but I think they look better and last longer with it. If I wear stick or liquid foundations, then primer is a must. Again, oily skin. Foundations tend to oxidize really bad on me, so I need that barrier.

    I rarely wear lip primer. If I have a really tricky lipstick that likes to bleed, I’ll use lip balm, Urban Decay Ozone, or e.l.f. Lip Lock Pencil.

  18. Fran says:

    Karen, I don’t think it’s possible to feel ready for the birth unless the baby comes really late — and even then, it’s not so much that you feel ready as that you just want it to be over with! At least BG should be fairly safe by now, if she does decide to come early.

    The only time I don’t use primer is if I feel like I’m just slapping on some tinted sunscreen so I can go for a walk. Primers really do make my makeup go on more smoothly and last longer. What I use lip primer for: being over 55, some lipsticks like to bleed at the corners of my mouth a bit — a good lip primer can prevent that. Primers are also good for keeping matte lipsticks from drying out your lips. I like MAC Prep & Prime. The Ardency Inn primer is also good, but it also mattifies your lipstick.

  19. Jae says:

    Primer is a must for me on my face and eyes. I use the hourglass face primer and NARS eye primer.

    Everything will be fine with BG! Its always a bit scary because you don’t have anything to reference the experience to, but it’s amazing…regardless of everything you have to go through (and its different for every single woman) leading up to the birth. And that experience will be solely and completely YOURS to cherish. Rest up and have fun nesting!! 🙂

  20. Polarbelle says:

    I feel really fortunate to have found primer!! I use Armani the most. It gives me the glow that my skin lacks from being so dry. A lot of times, I’ll skip foundation and just wear the primer. It’s just that good.

    I use others here and there for different areas but I just LOve the Armani and will reach for it over anything else.
    Polarbelle recently posted … Revlon Hair Products Review AND Valentine Blog Hop Giveaway Plus A Suprise!

  21. Sakura says:

    Oh my goodness! Is anyone really 100% ready for a baby? It will turn out OK!
    As for Primers:
    I don’t use products marketed as primers anymore. (I probably haven’t found the perfect one yet.) Instead of eye primer and concealer, I use Rimmel’s Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation. It lasts at least 8 hours and helps eye makeup stay on as well, but doesn’t make my skin dry. I don’t like primers on my face because I have oily skin and all that I’ve tried thus far have made the situation worse. Sometimes I use Milk of Magnesia under my makeup (in the summer.) This helps control the oil.

  22. jaz says:

    February 22 will be a great day for BG to be born – I might be partial to that date though since it’s my birthday lol.

    I don’t use facial primers, but I do use eye primers.

  23. Bex D says:

    Got to be primed. I use Benefit That Gal on all of face then, when putting on eyeshadow, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I also use a little of Benefit Stay Don’t Stray under my eyes.

    Good luck when your little one arrives. It will happen when it’s meant to and everything that you don’t think you can possibly get ready will fall into place in time for her. And you know what? If something is missing you can sort it out later or someone can get it for you. Just enjoy the time you will have together when she’s born. The world will right itself around you xx

  24. cel says:

    I’m not committed to any primer just because I think I haven’t found the one/s haha.

    I really want to try some hydrating ones though, maybe I’ll find the one with them.
    cel recently posted … Regrets #1 // Bite, Essence, Hourglass, L.A. Girl, The Body Shop

  25. Erin says:

    I don’t think primer is a must. I think if you want your makeup to last all day then consider it. I love NARS, Hourglass, and MUFE. Those are the best. Becca has some good ones but they discontinued my favorite a while ago.

    I’m always using a lid primer these days and it’s NARS all the way!
    Erin recently posted … Kunde 2014 Chardonnay

  26. Anna says:

    I ALWAYS use a primer! Right now I am loving Beccas backlight primer filter; the name is something like that lol.. I usually go for something that will give a glow or be hydrating. I have been really partial to the urban decay eyeshadow primer, but I may have to try the NARS one!

  27. Jennifer says:

    I’m with you on this one. Primers are essential even when you’re pressed for time.

    I have a lot of redness so my most favorite is a Smashbox primer, can’t remember the name but it’s green and it works really well. In fact, I’ve tried nearly all the Smashbox primers and like them.

    I’ve tried one of the MUFE primer’s can’t remember which one but I wasn’t in love with it. It’s still floating around one of my makeup bags. I’m sighing because I have so many makeup bags full of makeup and two big baskets–like one Longaberger picnic basket and another giant basket full of makeup plus there’s makeup at work, in my car, in the medicine cabinet, next to a recliner I blog in, and scattered amongst various handbags. The makeup is one of the last areas of my life that hasn’t been kon-maried and it’s making me kind of nuts.

    Have you packed a bag yet for the big day? It will make you feel better if you haven’t. You could even go crazy and have Hubs stick it in the trunk you can just go when it’s time. 🙂
    Jennifer recently posted … Love List: Cookbook Club, Seed Starting Advice + Interactive Art Exhibit from Your Laptop

  28. Sandy P says:

    Primer~I used to use Smashbox but just didn’t like the feel of it. Now I use Laura Geller Spackle which is also a moisturizer and really like it. I also use ELF green primer to take away redness. I still use Smashbox photo finish hydrating under eye primer and an eye shadow primer by Elizabeth Mott called Thank Me Later…both are great on my dry, mature skin. Can’t do powder because my skin is way to dry. But I do use a bronzer and blush and highlighter by IT. It is in a great compact and even though it is a powder doesn’t feel like one….or look drying.

    As for your sweet pea, I have had 4 babes and didn’t think I was ready for any of them. Will you have help when you come home? Hope so as that way if you do need something they can run out and buy it for you.

  29. Ann B. says:

    No one ever feels ready 🙂 I’m a mom & grandmother. When BG arrives, you & your husband won’t be able to imagine life without her.

  30. Laarni says:

    Of course, necessary! Applying a primer just makes a lot of difference! Bless the soul who ever invented this sorcery!
    Laarni recently posted … How to Get Rid of Acne for Good

  31. Teresa Luong says:

    I use FRESH
    Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy as lip primer of sorts. It fills in my deep lip lines, makes my lips smooth and soft and brings a touch of fullness. It’s not much as a lip treatment but as a primer it works.

    • Teresa Luong says:

      It’s not much of a treatment because the effects aren’t long lasting but it lasts long enough to prep and prime my lips for color lip products, especially those that settle into lip lines.

  32. mimi says:

    I think only 5% of babies actually come on their due date. These babies have a mind of their own right? Haha. My two girls came at 38 weeks so yeah, anytime after 36 weeks, be prepared. The first few months are rough, but take it a day at a time, and pretty soon, you’ll be wondering where the time went!

    As for primers, I’m probably the only one here who has never used a primer before? I need to buy one and am on the lookout for a tried and true drugstore one. Any suggestions?

  33. Nothing is necessary in make-up. But I personally can’t live without eyeshadow primer since I have oily eyelids. It just makes SUCH a difference! For skin it’s less essential for me to use a primer, but I can’t deny that when I do use one there’s a noticeable difference in how my skin looks.

  34. Chris25 says:

    There’s nothing wrong with checking out your horoscope every now and again, in my opinion! And regardless of when BG arrives, I am sure you and your partner will rise to the occasion, even if it doesn’t feel like you’re ready right now. 🙂
    Chris25 recently posted … Sally Beauty Supply and MAC Haul

  35. Jennifer says:

    What are some good eyeshadow primers, it seems none are working. I even layered a paint pot over primer and still it slides off. Help!! I have tried concealers, urban decay, wet n wild, elf, and a few other dept store ones.

  36. Eileen says:

    For me, they’re totally unnecessary. I have dry skin and, although I start the day with lots of serums and a good moisturizer, I don’t have oil breaking through during the day. Applying a light dusting of finishing powder over my foundation in the morning, keeps everything in place all day. Although I don’t wear it on a regular basis, I do like Guerlain’s Liftlip Lip Primer for those times when I know I won’t have much opportunity to retouch my lipstick. It smooths out the lips as well as the area around them. It takes a couple minutes to set, but once it does, you apply your lipstick and it won’t feather or fade for hours. Best of all, it doesn’t dry the lips out. So many primers ar made for people with oily skin. Liplif works for those of us with drier complexions.

  37. Kim says:

    Never fear – it’s going to be great! 🙂 I only told you to pack a bag because I had a planned c-section and was going to pack in the AM. My water ended up breaking a couple of hours before the alarm and we were off to the races (the Hubs was trying to throw things together while I stood in the tub, yelling for a phone – I was NOT heading out without a shower and had to call the Dr.’s office to make sure I had time – HAHA!). So, that was a lesson learned on packing early. 🙂 That said, I do hope you’re early as well. Most of my friends were late with their first and they were MORE than ready to stop expanding.

    PS Pro Prime is a daily must for me. I’ve also been wearing Benefit Porefessional for the t-zone blurring, daily. I like it but am open to other options. MUFE is on my list, thanks to your rec.

  38. Lydia says:

    For my oily skin, it’s an absolute must. I use the smashbox photo finish primer.

  39. Christine says:

    You’re so right, Susan Miller don’t play. What she can pull from charts is so eerily accurate.

    As for primer, yes, I’m a firm believer in them. However, I’ve been experimenting with various ones and I gotta say, the best is still Monistat Complete Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel! For eyelids and all over face. 🙂

  40. Katia Audrey says:

    Well, I like the idea of a primer, specially a colour-correcting one for when I use lighter foundations. However, I don’t use any, this is the bitter truth. I did use a primer for some months and it was indeed excellent, yet I find that since I’ve been using fresh, hand-made, essential-oils creams and serums, (as well as my all time favourite sunscreen that creates a velvety film on the skin, it’s Frezyderm, a Greek company, look it up if you’re not bored), any primer is totally superfluous. All the products I’ve mentioned above work as primers themselves, so no need for a primer for now. Hang on in there, all is going to be fine! Kisses from Greece 🙂
    Katia Audrey recently posted … Nuxe Reve de Miel Anniversary Edition

  41. bella says:

    I wear primer every single day. Urban Decay is my HG for my eyes and for my face I was using Nars and then I didn’t feel like it really was making my foundation and blush stay on longer, so I am using samples of both the Hourglass primer, (which I find drying, but my makeup does last longer), and the Laura Mercier primer, which feels nice, but I don’t really feel that it prolongs my makeup. So, I will still keep trying to find the perfect primer. Also, I bought the L’oreal finishing spray and that definitely seems to make my make up last all day.
    I sometimes use the NYX lip primer and that makes my lipstick last, but it won’t sharpen and I can’t find a sharpener to fit! MAC has one, and I think I will purchase that one.

  42. Sun says:

    I have been cursed (although some would say “blessed” but I don’t agree) with very oily skin, with the nose and forehead being the worst, so face and eyelid primer are an absolute MUST! BECCA’s Ever Matte primer was perhaps the most oil-absorbing, but I didn’t find that foundation applied very smoothly over it. Make Up Forever’s Mattifying primer is nearly as oil-absorbing as BECCA’s, but foundation applies smoothly over it. I tried the NARS eyeshadow primer based on everyone’s glowing reviews and had eyeshadow that creased on me after only 6 hours. Currently, I’m using Laura Mercier Eye Basics, which seems to work well, but I rarely wear eyeshadow past the 8-hour mark.

  43. Astrild says:

    Eye primer is a MUST for me because my oily lids. Too faced shadow insurance is my favorite although I’m using the 1$ elf primer right now and I like it!!!. I don’t wear face or lip primer that much.

  44. Natalye says:

    I use primer all the day and I like the smooth surface it creates!

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