When I delved into makeup, I found it to really be an educational process. You don’t just slap on foundation and pat some eye shadow on and think: ‘Yes girl, on fleek today!’. It’s about not looking too orange, too pink, too ashy; It’s about blending your eye shadow, transition shades; It’s about the staying power of your makeup. All of this intimidated me to the point of anxiety, but thankfully I follow some really amazing blogs that really educated me in this process and I think I learnt some things as I went along.
I had a colleague walk into my office complaining that her makeup only lasts 2 hours, so what’s the point, she asked? I asked her which primer she used…and all I got back was a blank stare and then she muttered…’What’s a primer?’. So I realised….she is the type of person I started this blog for, who like me, didn’t really know where to start. I’m not sure I want to say that I’ll be starting a series of posts, but I thought it would be a good idea to start at the beginning and work our way through doing the whole makeup application. Let me know if it’s something you’d like to read.
Today’s post will focus on getting the face ready for makeup application, to get the most out of your makeup application, to last longer, look more airbrushed and polished. Let me say again, I am NOT a makeup expert. I can’t do a wing to save my life, I’m really just trying to learn as I go along, so what I share may be useless to you, or it may be helpful. Apologies in advance….this is a long one.
Your face is basically a blank canvas for your makeup. If your canvas is dry and patchy, it stands to reason that your foundation will look dry and patchy and in the end, there’s no point, it just isn’t a good look.
There’s dry skin and there’s dehydrated skin – an important lesson I learnt from Luzanne over at Pink Peonies. For dry skin, you need to moisturise, use a night oil, get your skin feeling smooth and nourished with good quality products, BUT you can use all the moisturiser in the world, if you’re living on caffeine and no water, in an air conditioned office or with a heater on all day, your skin could start showing the effects of dehydration. It can feel tight, itchy, feel irritated, etc. This happens to me when I’m negligent with my water consumption, then the best moisturisers in the world won’t help getting my skin feeling good, and if they do, it’s temporary. There’s a lot of info on the internet about how to remedy this and which products to use and which products to avoid.
This is my moisturiser of choice, Visible Difference by Elizabeth Arden. I have an oily/combination skin so I never want to add products that make me feel greasy. This is a lovely thick moisturiser, but it’s really light on my face. I use this every morning before I add my
face makeup and at night before my serums/oils.
If you want your makeup to last longer than 2 hours, a primer is a must have in your routine. It acts as a ‘grip/base’ to make your foundation go on smoother, hold your makeup in place, therefore lasting longer. Have you ever applied blush and gone to check on your makeup a few hours later and either the blush is missing or it’s sitting below your cheeks? Melting off your face? I used to wonder if that’s where I had actually positioned it to start with. ha ha.
There are many primers for different skin types, different uses, different price tags, etc. Smashbox has a whole range of primers that are oil free, colour correcting, hydrating, luminizing, etc. Benefit has a good offering of primers as well for oily skin, a mattifying primer, long lasting primer, etc. Catrice and Maybelline also have good budget offerings, so you don’t have to spend R300 plus on a primer.
I personally need an oil free primer and I like the benefit of using one that minimizes the appearance of pores as well. The one that fits the bill for me is the Porefessional Pro balm from Benefit.
The Porefessional Pro Balm is so silky soft and glides onto my skin. I like that it makes some of my pores literally disappear and I also find it really helps with oil control when combined with my oil free foundation.
The Dark Spot Correcting primer by Smashbox to me feels more like a light moisturizer and not a primer. I use it after my moisturiser some days, before the Porefessional balm. I have seen no difference with any dark spots/pigments since using this primer. It’s a pity, as it’s not a cheap product.
The Primer Water by Smashbox I use on lazy days and also when time isn’t on my side. Moisturise, change baby’s nappy. Spray Primer Water, stop older 2 kids from killing each other. Wet my beautyblender, stop baby from making a run for the toilet with my cellphone…..you get it right? If I’m doing my makeup in the car, I also use this to dampen my beauty sponge for applying my foundation. I bought this because Nikkie Tutorials raved about it as one of her ‘Yes’ products last year sometime, however there are a lot of negative and mixed reviews on this water online.
The last little 15-Hour Primer from Benefit I have only used once. I don’t like the application process. I’m concerned I’m going to miss spots and not apply it to half of my face. It glides on really nicely and leaves a lovely silky feel to the skin. Perhaps the full size one is a better bet, but this tiny little one I’d rather use as an eye shadow primer.
Eye shadow primers/base
So our face is feeling nice and moisturized, we’ve primed….now we need to prime one more area, our eyelids 🙂 Say what Simone? Yes gals, we don’t want our eye shadow disappearing half way through the day and an eye shadow primer really assists with this.
Another reason I use an eye shadow primer is that before, I found that eye shadow all looked the same colour on my lids. I have some freaky eyelids obviously that absorb colour and everything just goes ashy. This was the reason that I actually hated makeup and never bothered with it….Enter the eye shadow primer! Most of them have a bit of a nude colour tone to them, so they become like a base for my eye shadow and just helps the colour pop a bit more on my lids. If you have really dark lids you get primers that are white that would help the colour show up even more.
Essence I <3 Stage Eyeshadow base is by far the most affordable and does a pretty decent job of acting as a base for your eye shadow. This is the one I reach for most for day to day wear to work. It has a doe foot applicator so I just dot it on and blend it in with my ring finger.
Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray is a primer for eye shadow AND concealer, but personally I didn’t like using it under my concealer. I creased so much the day I used it, but that could be due to a lack of technique as I just can’t get my under eye area looking fresh and crease-free. I create creases…..urgh…anyways, I am straying off topic. This is a great primer, but because it’s such a little teeny tiny bottle, I don’t use it much (saving the awesome stuff is a stupid thing to do with makeup.). The doe foot applicator is the perfect size to dab little bits onto your lid as it’s so teeny tiny. I would pinch it’s cheeks if it was a baby….teeny tiny cute primer packaging…aahh Benefit and their packaging <3
The Hard Candy Eye Shadow Primer I got in a set with an eye shadow palette and with a mini eye pencil. I really like this primer. I used it just yesterday and my eye shadow stayed put all day. Nothing faded. It’s very creamy, blends well and feels smooth on the skin. I have no idea why I didn’t think to try this primer out sooner.
The Body Shop’s InstaBlur Eye claims to be a ‘tinted concealer, primer and colour intensifier’. I’m not sure if I’ve had this too long because it’s really grainy and it seems to create patches on my eyelids. I haven’t used it in a while, so I’m going to check out a few reviews and give this one another try, because I love The Body Shop’s products. *Just googling now and I didn’t realise this doubles as a concealer, so I’m going to give that a try. *
So that concludes our primer talk. If you want us to go into the makeup and and and, let me know and I’ll see what I can throw together 🙂
Do you currently use a primer? I’m looking for a good drugstore primer so if you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments section below.