Thursday, November 02, 2006

Is Primer Necessary?

Someone commented earlier this week with a question on primers and requested that I do a post on which products are necessary for someone hoping to look their best for a special occasion. I'll tackle the second part of that question in a later post, but I'd like to address the question of primers today.

First, what is primer? There are different kinds of primers (eye shadow primer, mascara primer, and most notably, foundation primer) but they all serve the purpose of providing a barrier between skin and makeup (filling in creases and pores, soaking up oil) so that your makeup goes on smoothly and evenly. It also helps your makeup last a long time because the makeup "sticks" to the primer and not your skin.

I do not claim to be a primer expert, because I don't use it myself, but I have read a fair amount about it and can give some advice on whether or not you need it and which products are well-liked.

Mascara primer often comes attached to or with a mascara, and it supposedly makes your eyelashes longer and thicker and the mascara stay longer, but I've heard that it often just ends up clumping and being a waste of time. If anyone has experience with a mascara primer that works well, please post a comment.

If you're sick of getting creased eye shadow (this is especially a problem with cream eyeshadows), you should look into eye shadow primer. A popular product is Urban Decay Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Beauty Addict recently reviewed it and reports that it passed every test, and is sweat, sleep and humidity-proof.

Foundation primer is the most popular, because as anyone who uses foundation knows, it's difficult to apply it evenly, make it look natural and get it to stay all day. Unfortunately, most good foundation primers require quite an investment, because unlike eye shadow, lipstick or mascara, it's often hard to find a good primer at a low price, so do your research before buying.

Blogdorf Goodman reviewed 40 different primers earlier this year and ranked them. You can read the wonderfully detailed reviews here and here. MakeupAlley also has hundreds of reviews of primers, so check them out before you shop.

So how do you know whether you need primer? If you wear foundation every day, are a stage actress, live in a climate where your makeup is constantly melting or are going to a big event where you will be photographed many times (your wedding, say, or the Oscars), you should definitely consider it. For the average woman who's pretty low-maintenance when it comes to makeup (I'd put myself in this category), it's not a necessity.

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