Beauty tips: why should I use a primer?

Primers are one of those things it took me a while to really ‘get’. For many years, I’d happily slap my foundation straight onto bare skin and then be annoyed when it had started to wear off by lunchtime, but I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. Other than apply more on top (double layer = bad look). That all changed after I discovered a decent primer and since then, I’ve never looked back! 

If you’re not quite sure what you can use a primer for, or how to apply it, I’ve put together some top tips on how to make them your new makeup BFF. 

beauty tips - why should I use a primer?

1. Decide what you want it to do – primers are clever little things. They can have a multitude of uses, but often tend to target a specific concern. Ideally all primers *should* make your makeup last a lot longer and help prep the skin to smooth out it’s surface ready for you to apply your makeup on top. There are dozens of different ones you can choose from – some also promise to hydrate the skin, others work on blemishes, so decide what extra benefits you want (if any) and find the right primer for you.

2. Don’t be afraid to multi-prime – if different areas of your skin have different concerns (oily t-zone, dry cheeks etc), then rather than just using one primer all over your face, why not try using two at he same time and applying each one in the areas that need it most? I have dehydrated, slightly oily skin, so use Smashbox’s Hydrating Primer* on my cheeks as they need the extra moisture, and then Dermalogica’s Skin Perfect Primer across my t-zone as it helps balance oil as well as keep my makeup in place. There’s no rule that says you have to use the same primer all over your face – why not give the multi-prime approach a try! 

3. Don’t forget your eyes – as well as primers for the face, you can also get specific ones for your eye lids, which can help keep eye shadow in place and help to stop it creasing. If you’ve got oiler eyelids, then a primer is a must! Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance* is one of the best I’ve tried – it literally stops eye makeup from budging, even if you get a bit hot and sweaty. And if you’re not a fan of putting a separate primer on your lids, then try covering them with a wash of skin-coloured eye shadows as a base before you do the rest of your makeup. This will act as a bit of a primer, helping to absorb oil and will help your shadow last a bit longer. 

4. Think small – you should only need a small amount of primer to cover your face – about a pea-sized amount for your face primer and about a rice grain sized amount if you’re using an eye primer. You can always add more if it’s not enough, but too much primer can make skin feel a bit slippy. 

5. Use your fingers – I find my fingers are the best tool to apply my primers with as I can spread it evenly across my skin and blend in gently to make sure everything is covered. 

6. Make sure you cleanse well – primers often contain a lot of silicone to help give it a smooth texture, so you need to make sure you give yourself a decent cleanse at night to remove all traces of it. I’ve occasionally found that some primers can break me out if I’m not careful, so I always make sure to double cleanse at night after using one. 

Are you a fan of primers? Which ones are your favourites? 

*PR samples



  1. As an oily skinned girl, I'd be a little lost without primers! My favourite is the Clarins Instant Smooth or Laura Mercier ones. Great post!

    Catherine, xo || Lady Liquor

  2. such a great post, need to stop being so lazy and start priming haaa!

    Alice x
    Sheer Beautiful // Bloglovin'

  3. Tip 2 makes so much sense I can't believe I've never thought to do that! X

  4. i've never used a primer, i'm always really careful because my skin is quite blemish prone so I'm always worried they're going to clog my pores like you say they can because lots of them contain silicone but I guess a proper good double cleanse would reduce the likelihood of that happening... i'm just a bit of a scaredy cat haha!

    Jade x

    Girl Up North |UK Lifestyle Blog

  5. I always use a primer! I love the Laura Mercier one as it feels like a moisturiser - I'm not keen on that silicone feeling xx

    Ramblings of a Beauty Bird | Beauty Blog


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