Is makeup primer really necessary?

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base

Every week on Wednesday, the stylish ladies of Smart magazine will answer beauty and fashion questions. Have a question? Email

This week’s question:

Is using a primer on your face a necessary step before makeup application?

Read our take …

April Trotter

April Trotter Smart Editor and blogger: I am going to be honest, I didn’t know what makeup primer was until recently (thank you Ulta beauty consultants for clearing that up!).

I’ve never been big into makeup.

I spend about five minutes on my face each morning. I use a tinted moisturizer — Burt’s Bees was my favorite until it was discontinued and now I stick with Cover Girl’s Natureluxe — with some spot concealer and powder to set everything. I usually add some blush and a little mascara before running out the door.

I might only double that time to add some eyeshadow, eyeliner and curl my lashes for a special occasion/night out.

I think taking the extra step of adding a primer would be too much for my low-maintenance routine — and could even require me to wake up even earlier!

My makeup seems to last all day without it, so I’m going to say it’s an unnecessary addition to my makeup bag.

Ashley May

Ashley May Multiplatform journalist and Smart blogger: It’s not for everyone. Primer seals oils in skin, allowing foundation to stay put all day. The right primer allows foundation to go on smooth and prevents it from wearing off during the day.

With that said, I don’t use primer. When I say it “seals oils,” what I mean is that it clogs pores in your face, which might encourage impurities to build under your skin. For me, primer doesn’t work, because it makes my skin break out.

I have friends that use primer almost daily, and I understand it assists with a finished look. If you choose to use primer, make sure to use an exfoliating cleanser in the morning and night to keep skin healthy.

It’s not for me, but if your skin isn’t prone to breakouts and you feel like your foundation wears off before the end of your work day, try it out. But don’t feel like it’s a necessary step before makeup — there are plenty of other ways too keep a fresh, finished look without it (like using a brush loaded with mineral veil in the afternoon to keep away shine).


Sam Dellinger

Samantha Dellinger Multiplatform journalist and Smart blogger:

I like using primers for the face. The one primer I use is so good at its job that I can actually skip foundation. It’s part of L’Oreal’s Studio Secrets Professional line its called Magic Perfecting Base. I use a makeup sponge to apply it and my pores instantly disappear. It’s available at most drugstore chains for $13

NYX Eyeshadow Base

I also love NYX Eyeshadow Base. It helps keep your eyeshadow from creasing and makes the colors pop more. It comes in three different color choices. I use this primer if I’m creating a heavier eye makeup look, like smokey eyes. It’s available on the NYX website and Ulta for $7.

One of my favorite foundations that I use regularly has a built in primer, so I don’t need to use a separate one. That foundation is also by L’Oreal and it’s called Magic Smooth Soufflé. It’s available at most drugstores chains for $15.

L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle

Some people might not like the idea of a primer because it’s another step, but if you choose the right one it will help your makeup stay longer, keep oil at bay and even out your skin.

Please leave your thoughts on this week’s question. We’d love to hear what you have to say about makeup primer. If you have a fashion or makeup question for Smart, email

Read last week’s question: Can short, petite women wear maxi dresses?

Samantha Dellinger

I'm an artist at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Outside of work, I keep busy as a freelance artist. When I'm not creating art, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. I also have a somewhat crazy obsession about my English bulldog, Diesel. I do not like bare feet, clowns and ferris wheels. My favorite bands include: New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, The Cure and Electronic.

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1 Response

  1. August 8, 2012

    […] See the article here: Smart Magazine | Is makeup primer really necessary? […]

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