An Almanac For The 21st Century

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Primers: The Best Base For Your Face

Primers: The Best Base For Your Face

It boggles my mind that not all people who wear makeup use primers. BOGGLES IT. Primer is, in my opinion, one of the greatest things to happen to makeup since the eyelash curler. And don't you even tell me you don't curl your lashes - I'll drop dead.

Here's the scoop on primers: They prep your skin by creating a barrier between your skin and your makeup. This allows your foundation or eyeshadow to glide over effortlessly, and gives it something to stick to, making it last longer. Primers can brighten you skin, conceal your pores, and decrease oiliness. If you have oily eyelids, and your eyeshadow or liner can't stay put longer than an hour or two? Try primer. There's a good chance it will change your life (and your relationship with eye makeup). I love primers. They're an essential part of my makeup routine, and I honestly don't want to imagine a life without them. I've tried quite a few, and I've narrowed it down to my current favorites, which I'd love to share with you.

Eyeshadow Primer

This one is easy, because in my opinion, there is one and the rest are impostors. Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion is the alpha and omega of eyeshadow primers. I reviewed it already, so I'll just send you over there to read my love letter to what is truly a magical potion. As you can see in the photos, I'm still using my Nordstrom Rack Primer Potion that I got at a significant discount (because of its old packaging). I bought four tubes when Nordstrom Rack was still stocking them (they no longer have them at my store) and I still haven't exhausted my supply.

Face Primers

Using primer for your eyeshadow is one thing. I mean, I think you could argue that some formulas don't need a primer (Maybelline Color Tattoo comes to mind), or maybe you just don't have issues with your eye makeup migrating. Or maybe you don't wear eyeshadow at all! But if you wear foundation or concealer of any kind, I think a good face primer is a MUST. There have been a few days in my years of priming when I've been distracted and slapped on my makeup without first using primer, and my makeup is noticeably Not As Good. It just looks shabbier somehow. These are my top three face primers of the last few months:

L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base: $13

This is my top pick for a drugstore primer. Even before you put on any makeup, once you apply this primer you can see a marked difference in your skin's appearance. Any lines or pores are magically smoothed and you just look... better. The only complaint I have about this product is that it comes in a pot, which makes it hard to control how much product you use. I know a lot of negative reviews I've read of this primer can be attributed to the reviewer just using too much of it. Pro Tip: With any primer, a little dab'll do ya.

Skinfood Black Egg Pore Primer: $18

Skinfood is a Korean brand that has very few stores in the US (seven in California and one in New York), so this one is harder to find. In fact, when I tried to find a link to this product I couldn't find it anymore. There's a product with the same packaging, but now it's called "Black Egg Pore Serum" and it's categorized as skincare, not makeup. So that's where the above link is going to take you. Whoops. Anyway, this was sold to me as a makeup primer, it says primer on the packaging, and oh, right, it's a damn good makeup primer. It's a thick gel that's great for oily skin. It doesn't completely get rid of oil, but it does allow me to go longer without having to use blotting papers.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer: $18 for 0.33oz, $52 for 1oz

Just as Vanessa Williams predicted, I went and saved the best for last. This Hourglass primer is known in beauty circles as the Greatest Face Primer of All Time. That's not hyperbole either - it's been hailed as the best of the best time and time again. It's crazy expensive - as you can see I don't even have the full size version - but once you use it, you'll get it. It's worth every stinkin' penny. This primer is mineral based, it contains physical sunscreens (as opposed to chemical sunscreens. Google it.), and I think it wouldn't be too off base to say that it's actually good for your skin. I can certainly say there's nothing in it that's bad for your skin. Everything I've said up to this point about my other favorite primers is true about the Hourglass primer, but times ten. It's truly an amazing product. It glides over your skin and leaves a satiny finish that's a perfect base for your makeup. I've even read reviews from makeup artists that say you can use the worst foundation, but with this primer underneath it'll look like you're wearing makeup from a prestige brand. Can I rave about this stuff any more? YES. ALL DAY LONG.

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