Prime Mover

11 May 2017
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

Making our make-up last throughout the day is a challenge, and a good primer can make all the difference, says Christine Karan.

As we dawdle along the beauty counters of supermarkets, pharmacies or make-up shops, we are always in two minds when it comes to some products, often thinking: “What do these do?” and “Do I really need this?”

There are literally thousands of beauty products in several forms and formulas to beautify us from head to toe. 

One example is primer. Although it has been around for a few years now, it’s the latest product that almost all your favourite beauty brands are attempting to reboot.   

What is a primer? Essentially, it is a base for foundation or face make-up that enables it to stay on longer. It gives your face a fresh look, sheen and a high-definition finish, according to several beauty experts, including one quoted in The Dermatology Review, an online resource for skin care specialists and industry leaders.

Why use a primer, which is an extra step to your make-up routine?  Many women, especially those who have to get through a long day, swear by it as it keeps their make-up smudge-free all day. 

Another advantage with primer is that make-up stays on irrespective of whether the weather is cold, hot, humid or dry. And as most primers contain SPF, it adds another layer of sun protection. Primers also help to even the skin tone and get your complexion ready for a long evening out with flash photography. 

With all those positive things being said, primers do have their own not-so-positive side, just like any other product. As silicon-based polymers or mineral particles constitute the predominant ingredients of primers, it may clog your skin pores by not allowing them to breathe. If you have large pores, primers may not be a make-up essential for you. It can make your skin oilier when combined with make-up.

Cindy Sim from says: “The mineral powder in primers absorbs your skin’s natural oils, which urges the skin to produce its own oils in response.

“Additionally, make-up makes your skin dry out faster because they also contain mineral powders. When primers and make-up are used together, they cause your skin to produce excess oils.”

However, some new brands such as LORAC Cosmetics have introduced primers with a robust blend of plant extracts to soothe the skin, vitamins to nourish it, and antioxidants to protect it.

Makeup Forever’s Lijha Stewart says that if you are happy with your skin texture and the wearability of your foundation, then “not everyone really needs primer”.

Another downside of primers is the price. They are quite expensive and can eat up a good chunk of your beauty budget.

So, just like any beauty product, primers have their own pros and cons. However, make your call with due regard to the above facts and your discretion.

And always make sure to patch-test the product.

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