In general, primers are designed to neutralize skin imperfections and create a smooth canvas to allow makeup to look its absolute best. Primers are also used as a key layer in prepping the skin to give makeup a lasting finish beyond the standard six to eight hours of wear. Copious varieties of primers are formulated to provide solutions for skin conditions and concerns, such as to conceal redness; minimize hyperpigmentation; control excess oil; temporarily blur fine lines, wrinkles, and pores; provide additional hydration, sun protection, and radiance; and smooth out the overall texture of the skin.
The saturated market offers an area-specific primer for each focus on the face; skin, lip, eyelash, eyelid, and décolletage. Available as a lotion, cream, gel, or powder, primers are typically either water- or silicon-based. Water-based primers are made to extend the overall wear of makeup and are usually oil-free. Silicon-based primers are used to correct the surface and texture of the skin by using ingredients like silica, dimethicone, retinyl palmitate, tocopheryl acetate, propylene glycol, waxes, and other polymers.
A routine makeup application should follow a basic sequence: wash the face, apply moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, then foundation. Acting as a base for makeup, primers should be applied to the skin properly. A pea or dime-size amount is ample product to get the job done, depending on the size of the area to which it is being applied. Massage the product into the skin using a brush or the fingers and allow time for the product to set. Once the primer no longer feels wet, tacky, or sticky, the skin is ready for foundation and other cosmetics.
It is important to read ingredient labels carefully on these products. Due to the different additives found in primer formulas, allergic reactions and common irritations can occur, such as redness, puffiness, and flaking of the skin. Best practices suggest testing any new product on a small patch of skin to avoid such reactions. Given the staying power of these products, it is equally as important to always cleanse the face thoroughly, twice daily.
Selecting the correct primer is a parallel concept to choosing the right foundation color and formula best for the client's skin type. Identify any additional conditions clients want to target outside of extending the wear of their makeup and then choose the formula accordingly. Of course makeup can be worn without the use of primers, however, it probably will not have the same polished or lasting finish.