Is a primer really, absolutely necessary? Yes! Take it from a professional makeup artist, a primer is the most basic yet important part of your makeup routine. It does two things: it keeps your skin healthy, and it keeps your makeup from smudging and rubbing off during the day. You’re probably a busy person, constantly going from place to place, so unless you want to constantly be ducking into the bathroom to re-apply your makeup, primer is your best friend. But which primer is the right one for you? Not everyone is the same, and not every primer is the same; follow this guide to help you choose the primer that will soon become your favorite product.

Well, what is primer, anyway?

Primers come in all shapes and sizes and have different ingredients and formulas that make them work. The basic thing you need to know about a primer is that it will turn your face into a clean slate, smoothing out your skin so you can apply makeup easily; makeup looks better on a smooth, even finish. You use your primer as a base for foundation and everything that comes after. Primer will eradicate wrinkles and cover rough areas, leaving you looking younger and healthier. Primers come in gels, powders, and liquids – personally, I’m a fan of liquid primers, but you choose what you’re comfortable with.

Which primer should I purchase?

If applying primer and foundation everyday seems a bit overdone for your makeup routine, there are lots of ways to get away with using just a primer. Primers can come in many different colors and shades; essentially, a primer is there to make you look like you’re not wearing any makeup at all, that you’re just naturally blessed with smooth, even skin.

There are primers for different colored skin, but there are also primers specifically for different areas on your body. For example, eye shadow primers use special formulas that are safe to use on your eyelids and dry clear so that you can’t tell it’s there.

If your lips are a problem area for you, especially if you have problems with your lipstick or lip color fading throughout the day, a lip primer will help smooth out laugh lines and will also keep your lip color looking fresh and vibrant all day long.

What else should you keep in mind when considering which primer to buy?

Primers that have silica in them are great for anyone with oily, shiny skin.

Wax in a primer is a great way to keep your makeup from running or smudging.

Primers that are oil-free will help reduce oily skin both in appearance and by actually absorbing the oil.

Every primer is different, just like every person is different. Some primers are bad for dry skin, other primers are bad for oily skin. When you’re shopping, always keep your skin type in mind: just like you wouldn’t buy a foundation that could leave your skin in bad shape, you shouldn’t buy a primer that’s meant for a different skin type than yours. Be aware of your special needs and you can’t go wrong!

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