How do decide which makeup primer is best for you

Makeup primers are so commonplace in the cosmetics world today that it is sometimes difficult to remember that they are a fairly recent innovation. Commercially available products only hit the market about 10 years ago. The first widely-available primers were adjuncts to mascara. These milky-white solutions are applied to lashes first and are supposed to give an illusion of length and thickness to the color solution applied over it. Some lash primers have tiny fibers inside to actually add length to your eyelashes.

Makeup Primer

Applying makeup primers.

Lash primers, especially those with lengthening fibers, should not be used by people who wear contact lenses. Mascara tends to flake more when applied over primer than to bare lashes.

Lip primers were the next big thing when they first came out. Not only did they promise that your lipstick would last longer, they also promised smoother lips and a reduction in “feathering” at the lip line. This is one product you can skip; lip liner prevents bleeding of the color, exfoliating with a rough washcloth smoothes the lips and lipsticks and glosses come off anyway. Using a sealer over a lip product will most likely offer more benefit to you than a lip primer.

I first became a convert to primers when they became available for eyelids because I have really oily lids. By noon most days (even in the dead of a Canadian winter), my eye liner all but vanished and my shadow had gathered in the crease. My makeup bag was always packed for endless touch-ups.

The first primer I purchased was from a Canadian company called Quo. This is the house brand for the largest drugstore chain in the country, Shoppers Drug Mart. A fluid that takes a bit of time to dry, I bought this in the summer and was amazed at how well my eye makeup stayed on, even after a long bus ride home during the dog days of August.

But I had to branch out, and decided to try the product that had been recommended to me for years – MAC Paint in Bare Canvas. What I love about the paint-style eye primers is that they dry quickly to a lasting finish. Color versions can be used alone, as with the Dior Eye Show cream-to-powder eye shadow.

For years, I’ve been using Benefit Lemon Aid for my eye makeup primer. This product is an excellent choice for anyone with a bluish tint to her eyelids caused by blood vessels close to the surface. Not only does it neutralize the blue, but it slips on easily and dries almost instantly. And my makeup stays all day, even in the hottest summer weather.Primers designed to go under foundation or over bare skin are extensions of color correctors. The first ones were lightly tinted fluids that imparted a soft pinkish glow to skin (Estée Lauder Spotlight is the first product that I got in this family). Their purpose is to help makeup go on easily and give it staying power. Most are silicone-based.