For the past two to three months, I haven’t been wearing face primer. I let my moisturizer sink in and dry, and go straight to applying foundation. You might be asking: Don’t you need primer to keep your foundation on? Won’t you become shiny? Won’t your foundation slip off?
It started out accidentally. I would start to do my makeup and skip primer because I knew I’d only be wearing the look for a few hours to get a YouTube video done, or Instagram photo taken. I wanted to cut down on prep and save product. But then, I started accidentally skipping it in my normal routine by habit. Not wanting to start all over, I’d just set my makeup and be sure to check my compact every so often to see how my foundation was holding up. To my surprise, I didn’t really notice a huge difference in how my foundation performed without versus with primer.
Here’s the thing: the newest foundations that have hit the shelves recently have been pretty darn great— both from drugstore and high-end brands. A lot of the formulas now feature ingredients and “technology” that we would normally use a primer for: skin blurring, mattifying, long wear & transfer-resistant. A lot of my own go-tos are supposed to last up to 24 hours, in fact.
The key to getting these foundations to live up to their claims is choosing a formula that’s compatible with your skin type, which may take some trial and error. For my acne-prone, uneven combo skin, full coverage foundations with a demi-matte or soft matte finish are best. They give me a fresh-faced finish without getting too shiny in my T-Zone throughout the day. Anything too dewy will slip off my oily areas— anything too matte will make my dry areas look crusty. It’s all about finding your Goldilocks foundation. Just right.
Above I’m wearing the Maybelline SuperStay Full Coverage Foundation without any primer underneath, set with some setting spray. It’s a demi-matte yet radiant finish with full coverage. On its own, eight hours of wear reveals that it works pretty well without much help. I could see a bit of discoloration on my cheeks poke through, but that could be easily combatted with a bit of concealer prior to application. I was surprised to see absolutely no patchiness, or breakdown around my normally oily areas. Plus, in my opinion, my skin looks much more natural and it definitely felt a lot lighter without primer under this full coverage foundation.
When I come to think about it, I didn’t even start wearing face primer until my later college years. My foundation just worked before then, and I usually set it with powder or setting spray anyway. And over the past few months, I’ve found that setting my makeup does enough to help everything stay in place.
So am I done with primer for good? Yes and no. I don’t think I’m going to be using it for my daily routine anymore— I’m just going to stick with foundations that do what they’re supposed to! However, there are a few reasons why I’ll keep a couple primers around. Some offer color correcting benefits, like the Covergirl TruBlend Color Neutralizing Primer. Others might add more radiance to the face with an illuminating formula like my fave Physicians Formula Spotlight Primer. Some might just give me a more airbrushed look that will look great for photos during special occasions. Using primer will definitely be on more of a case-by-case basis now, though, instead of a normal part of my routine. Also, I’m definitely not giving up eyelid primer. Shadow and foundation are two different animals!
Have you ever tried skipping primer?