We all know that true beauty is most often held together by tiny, sometimes undetected details—like the subtle outline of a gorgeous red lip or the expertly painted flick of your cat eye. What sets apart the perfectly composed beauty looks is the care that went into creating the perfect base—the priming, if you will. And before makeup artist sets to work, they always prime the skin to hold makeup in place.

So we consulted the experts— Lori Taylor Davis, global pro lead artist for Smashbox Cosmetics and Gee Beauty’s Stephanie Gee—to share their top beauty advice on how to apply makeup primer for an always-perfect finish.


Makeup primer—How to use it
For the best finish and flawless skin, incorporate a primer into your daily skin care routine. Apply on a freshly washed face, says Taylor Davis. “After clean or moisturized skin, prime your skin for foundation application and concealer,” she adds.

As part of your morning regimen, cleanse skin, and use a vitamin C serum immediately after, says Gee, who recommends SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic ($159, at skinceuticals.com/Canada). Then follow up with a moisturizer and sunscreen. “Primer would be the last thing on the skin,” she adds.

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There are two primary ways of wearing primer: as your base, underneath our foundation and concealer, or on it’s own, to quickly refresh skin before dashing out of the house or heading to a workout.

It’s all in the application

For the best coverage to achieve flawless skin, apply makeup primer with a foundation brush. “It allows you to get full application and it also makes for a cleaner process as well so your hands aren’t touching the face as much,” says Gee. “And it actually wastes less product.”

Start at the outer edge of face and work inwards toward forehead, and down around the sides of the face. Make sure to dab along the chin, nose, cheeks, and around the lips. “You’re painting it on, just the way a painter preps a canvas,” says Gee. “It’s the same motion.” Brush in outward strokes or in tiny circles. “What’s nice about primer is that it’s really foolproof,” says Gee. “You can apply it everywhere.”

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More primer makeup application tips for flawless skin on the next page…


If you’re going for full eye makeup, apply a primer to eyelids beforehand to set the shadow. “Apply after clean or moisturized skin and before [eye shadow] application,” says Taylor Davis. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Eye Primer ($29 Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale and Sephora) to hold your eye shadow in place all day.

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Your double-duty beauty product
Even though adding a makeup primer is an extra step in your beauty routine, look for double-duty products to combat multiple skin care issues at the same time. To create an even overall texture, use a pore-minimizing makeup primer (try Benefit The Porefessional primer $34, at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale).

Find a makeup primer that’s tailored to your skin type. For someone with an oily, combination complexion, opt for salicylic acid-based primer. Before makeup application on acne-prone skin, dab on Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control ($50, Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale and Sephora). With two per cent blemish-fighting salicylic acid infused in the primer, “It’s the highest amount you can get without a prescription,” says Taylor Davis.

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Get flawless skin
So what’s the point of using a primer before makeup application? “It’s meant to hold the makeup, and what’s nice is that it really does last all day—on it’s own and also to hold the foundation,” explains Gee.

For a quick way to get instantly glowing, flawless skin, she recommends applying Gee Beauty Mineral Tinted Primer ($56, at Gee Beauty). “I do just a pump and a half of the primer, put it all over the skin, do a little bit of blush and gloss, and it instantly changes the skin,” she says. “It creates a very fresh look.”

Read more:
Beauty basics: The best makeup primers

How to apply concealer: 4 expert tips
Beauty products: 8 best matte foundations

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