Face Primer and How to Use It

Face primers are most commonly used to help prepare your skin for foundation application by smoothing out the texture of your skin. It helps you apply foundation easily and smoothly as well as help eye shadows, blush, and lipstick last longer.

I like using clear (colorless) face primers, since my foundation does most of the work to even out my skin tone. There are also other primers out there with a tint, like green ones that are supposed to counteract redness. However, I’ve found it easier to correct redness and other discolorations with concealer after I apply my foundation.

When looking for a face primer, find one that is water-based with a small amount of silica in it. Silica helps fill in and smooth out lines and minimize pores. Silica is also a drying agent. With such a small amount of it in the primer, I don’t feel my skin to be dry at all after use. More importantly, my skin doesn’t feel or look oily!

The face primer I’ve been using is Bare Escentuals bareVitamins Prime Time. First I apply moisturizer, and then I use one full pump of the face primer (about the size of a dime) on my face before I apply my foundation. I apply and blend the primer with my fingers. I target specific areas of my face, such as under my eyes, on and around my nose, cheeks, etc., but I end up blending the primer to cover most of my face. You don’t need to put it everywhere if you don’t need to. For example, you might just want to use it under your eyes to knock out fine lines.

I like using face primer because it really makes my skin feel silky smooth, and it helps make foundation look flawless! However, I don’t use it as part of my everyday routine (as it’s pricey) — just those days when I’ll be out the whole day taking pictures or when my skin is having a bad day. If I had a lifetime supply of it, I would definitely use it all the time! :)

Just remember, when it comes to face primers:

  • Apply moisturizer before the primer.
  • Less is more — only use as much as you need; otherwise, it could end up looking oily.
  • Use your fingers to apply and blend — this helps save product (and works just as good if not better than using sponges or brushes).
  • Wait for the primer to dry before applying foundation — this only takes about 20 seconds.
  • Not everyone needs it! Use it when you want your makeup to really look flawless or if you have areas on your face with uneven texture.


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raeDecember 20th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

can i use this primer if i dont use a liquid foundation?

WyceeDecember 27th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Hi Rae,

Yes, I like using this primer with cream and mineral foundations as well as liquid. :)

WillowJanuary 24th, 2012 at 9:53 am

You should try using monistat chafing relief powder-gel as a primer. Many beauty experts compare it’s value as a primer it to pricier brands such as clarins and I think it works much better than the PrimeTime. (It runs for about $7 for a 1.5 oz tube and you can buy a 3 pack on amazon for around $17) Just a suggestion if you’d like a more affordable alternative. It sounds weird to put a monistat product on your face but it’s just a chafing barrier so it’s not actually for your lady parts!

WyceeJanuary 24th, 2012 at 10:59 am

Hi Willow,

Thanks for the info! I’ve heard of Monistat being used as a face primer, but I haven’t got around to actually trying it. At that price, it would be much more affordable! :)

p.February 20th, 2012 at 3:41 am

I’m totally OBSESSED with Prime Time! Wear it everyday even though it is pricey (or pricier compared to cheaper brands) but I figure it’ll make my skin look better which is the whole point of face base make-up :)

WyceeFebruary 21st, 2012 at 1:24 am

Hi p! Yay, another Prime Time fan! I use it everyday too :)

victoriaMarch 1st, 2012 at 7:59 am

I use smashbox….expensive though

chukkyMay 18th, 2012 at 4:55 am

is it compulsory to use moisturizer before using primer?

RoseSeptember 3rd, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Where can you buy Prime Time?

WyceeSeptember 5th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hi Rose! You can buy it at Sephora, Ulta, BareEscentuals.com, and also on Amazon.com. :)

[…] certain to use a small drop of foundation primer, this will lead to easier application, minimized pores and longer lasting […]

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