When is prime time? Every time you wear tinted moisturizer or foundation.
My 16-year-old cousin inspired today’s post. Hey, Arlyn, hey! She spent a weekend with me last month, and we chatted about makeup. How could we not? I found out she doesn’t use a primer, and I couldn’t believe it. It’s such an essential part of applying makeup. How does one skip it? Come to find out, some people just don’t think it’s necessary, don’t know how or when to apply it, don’t know that it is an actual thing or can’t be bothered with spending money on it.
The truth is primer gives your foundation or tinted moisturizer something to hold onto, so that your makeup stays on longer, even in extreme weather. It also creates a smooth base for makeup application, and in my case, helps control oily areas. Eyeshadow primers do the same thing. The best way to apply primer is with your fingers. This allows for you to really work the product into your skin.
I have textured, oily skin and I must say, my two holy-grail primers do an amazing job of combating shine and allowing my makeup to go on smoother. I’ve even worn primer alone; it just gives you a more polished, fresh face. I’ve only done this with Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer (LM), though. All the others I have tried leave a white, powdery finish. In fact, I used to use Milk of Magnesia (MoM) as a toner (doubles as a toner and primer for external beauty purposes), and then I would apply Laura Mercier’s primer to cover up the powdery finish. This combination kept my face matte forever, promise. I specifically used these two together when I traveled by airplane. I don’t know about you, but when I board a plane with just a fresh face, I deplane with a grease-bucket face. Not cute. The MoM and LM combination helped so much. The only thing I didn’t like about the combination is that it made my face feel cakey. It was a weird, heavy feeling – and I assume it is because MoM isn’t exactly the most translucent product when applied to the face. It does leave a fairly thick ghost-face finish even if you use a small amount. Adding a creamy, gel product like LM’s primer isn’t going to make everything feel lightweight, either. Still, my skin looked flawless and oil-free. This partnership is the essence of a no-makeup makeup look.
I’ve tried several primers:
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer
Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer
No. 7 Beautifully Matte Make Up Base
Maybelline Master Prime by Face Studio Blur + Smooth Primer
Milk of Magnesia
Laura Mercier and Milk of Magnesia stopped controlling my oil when I wore them separately with foundation/tinted moisturizer. MoM used to be my holy-grail primer, but then it decided it wasn’t going to come through anymore. Or, maybe my skin is maturing? I don’t know, but it dumped me. I decided to dump Laura Mercier. It just wasn’t working out, so I moved on. No.7 just doesn’t work for me, period. It is not mattifying at all. Maybelline also sucks as a primer for oily skin. The only things I will say it does a great job at are blurring/smoothing fine lines and textured skin. It does not control oil.
Now, Becca and Make Up For Ever? Those two queens are my jam! They really help keep my makeup matte for about eight hours. I only have to use blotting tissue once, and not much oil transfers onto the tissue. I should also note that the application process matters. It is critical that these two products aren’t smeared across your face with your fingers, but instead, dabbed or patted. For some reason the formula will ball up and start to look flaky if you rub it on your face – and that’s not going to give you a smooth-looking finish when it’s time to apply foundation. So, just dab. A raisin amount of primer will suffice for your entire face or just focus areas. Also, wait for your primer to dry before applying foundation. Major key. After I moisturize, I apply my primer and then start to do my eyebrows. This way the primer has time to properly dry and be more effective underneath my makeup.
I still want to try Dr. Brandt Pores No More Refiner, Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, Smashbox Photo Filter Pore Minimizing Primer and Givenchy Mister Mat Matifying Primer. I heard they’re great. I’ll be the judge, though. There should be travel sizes in the Hourglass and Smashbox primers at Sephora, which helps because they’re prestige products (pricey).
Last repetitive piece of advice: use a primer because you should have something in between your moisturizer and foundation, always. Your good looks will last longer.
Feel free to share your thoughts or questions below. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Yasssssss to highlighters! They’re so much fun to use and look at. Who doesn’t like admiring a pretty face with a “come-through highlight?” On the flip side, I’ve been seeing a lot of people abuse highlighters – but that’s none of my business…
At the moment, these four products are my favorite illuminators. I’m always on the lookout for highlighters that will flatter my complexion because not all of them are suitable for all skin tones. Nars and Maybelline are my day ones. The other two are recent purchases that I’ve added to my collection. All of these products would work for women with darker skin tones.
When I first swatched ColourPop’s Avalon on my forearm, I thought it was beautiful. It’s a copper, cream-powder hybrid highlighter with warm orange to red undertones. It feels very satiny on the fingertips and has a pearlized finish, so when it catches the light it shifts from gold to pink. It also blends well. When I finally got around to wearing it on my face, I had mixed emotions. I was not expecting it to be so legit lol! The color payoff, texture and longevity for $8 are too boss and I was stunned, intimidated, impressed and confused. You see, it has a pearlized finish which means it’s frosty/shiny which means a little goes a very long way. In my opinion, that’s key for natural-looking makeup. So, be careful with pearlized illuminators because they have the shiniest finish. Eventually, I figured out how to work with Avalon so that it doesn’t look intense and I’m not out in these streets looking cray. It works for me because when I tan in the summer, my skin undertone goes from warm/golden to red. Anyway, I use my fingers or a flat foundation brush to apply this highlighter. A brush helps produce a more sheer finish whereas your fingers provide the most coverage. So, if you’re new to highlighters and want to try the ColourPop, a flat foundation brush or duo fibre brush will suffice to start. ColourPop also promotes the use of these tools on its site.
As far as the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Topaz, I use my fingers, foundation brush, powder brush or fan brush. Really, it just depends on my mood or what’s within reach or how much coverage I want. I like the Becca highlighter, but I wasn’t always fond of it. Becca’s highlighter in Topaz has to be one of the most hyped highlighters ever, and once I tried it – my only reaction was “oh, okay” and not “slayyyyy.” But, whatever. I’m not going to be fake. I use mine faithfully lol. I sometimes suffer from FOMO, so I had to buy it. I would describe this product as a golden, creamy-yet-light powder highlighter. It has the right amount of gold shimmer, but doesn’t look like glitter. It’s cute, long-wearing and feels like silk.
Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush is my favorite drugstore product. It’s actually an illuminating blush. So, you can skip the blush when using this because it’s a two-in-one masterpiece! It offers a soft, luminous glow in any type of light. However, it’s not as moist and silky like the ColourPop or Becca. The formula is actually a bit dry, which is not a deal breaker for me because the color payoff is exceptional for $9.99! Master Hi-Light is a sort of marble/mosaic of four shades of blush that gives you a warm flush of light when applied to your face with a brush. It doesn’t have as much shimmer as the others and that’s what I really like about it. There’s a great balance due to the two matte blush shades it includes. I recommend using a brush for this particular product. It actually comes with a mini brush underneath the pan. I’ve never used it, though. By the end of the day, the color wears off, but I can still see a bit of a glow in the applicable areas. I have a tip for how to make it last longer. Keep reading.
Nars Illuminator in Laguna is a bronze illuminator. This will be your go-to if you’re looking to achieve a true, natural glow. I repeat, if you want to go bare with just mascara and lip, this is a must-have item. It’s truly the quintessence of Bare With Me. If I could have a mascot for this site, it would be the Nars Illuminator. It has a brown, creamy base with gold shimmer that provides a soft-and-sheer finish. This will not leave any kind of annoying cast including white or pearly ones. I like to mix it with my foundation/tinted moisturizer in the winter. It give me a very warm glow. Tip: Sometimes, I use it as a base highlighter teamed with Maybelline. I find that it helps the Maybelline Master Hi-Light last longer since it has something to adhere to.
A honorable mention is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit.
It’s a palette that includes four “metallic powder highlighters.”
I only use Golden Bronze. Everything else looks like shimmering ash on me. Not cute. ABH describes it as a “sultry, warm bronze with a gold-flecked finish.” I would describe it the same way. The palette will last a very long time as they are highly pigmented. Golden Bronze is intense, but also long-wearing and feels like velvet on my fingertips. I recommend swiping this on once with a brush and a light hand, if you want a more natural glow. I tend to use this for nightlife while I’m on vacation since it’s so luminous. It’s also very good for photo shoots.
That’s me in the featured image wearing both Colour Pop and Becca (heyyyy!). You can watch a tutorial of how I use Colour Pop and Becca to achieve a natural-looking highlight here.
What are some of your favorite illuminators? Please share.