How to... prep and prime

How to... prep and prime
Professionals know that the key to the ultimate make-up finish is in the preparation. The right primer can take transform a look from ordinary to sensational! There is now a wide range of preparation products available to improve skin texture or combat shine, as well as improve make-up performance for ultra-long wear.

A primer is used to help smooth the skin's texture and create a surface onto which the foundation, eye shadow or lipstick will adhere and apply evenly. Some face primers will also soften flaky skin, subtly neutralise imperfections, minimise the appearance of large pores and enhance and brighten skin colour. Some are specifically designed to matte the face, while others contain pearly pigments and will add a glow to the skin.

  • A face primer prepares the skin’s surface before foundation is applied.
  • An eye shadow primer prepares the eye-lid’s surface before eye shadow is applied.
  • A lip primer prepares the lip’s surface before lipstick is applied.

    The product texture varies depending on its purpose and again from brand to brand – sometimes it's a clear or opaque gel, sometimes a cream and other times a stiff stodgy consistency.

    Primers sound quite fancy and advanced, but they are far easier to select than other make-up products, so don't be intimidated by their technical names. They're like the 'one size fits all' part of the make-up range, so you don’t need to go through a lengthy shade selection process like you would when purchasing a foundation. Generally they offer a no colour finish, unless they have a double purpose such as prime and correct redness in the skin.

    How to apply primer?

  • Primer is always applied before any other products.
  • Face and eye shadow primers are easy to apply with fingers – in the same way you’d apply your moisturiser.
  • Lip primers are general packaged like a lipstick or lip-gloss – so you'd apply in the same way you apply lip products.

    How to select primer?
    It's a good idea to find out more about your primer before purchasing because not all primers serve the same purpose. For example a formula may have specifically been designed to minimise the appearance of large pores and maybe your need is rather to ensure the make-up adheres better to the skin for a longer-lasting finish.

    The best way to test the effectiveness of your primer:

  • Test a pore minimising formula on the large pores on the back of your hand above your thumb or baby finger.
  • Test a texture smoothing formula on the centre area of the back of the hand.
  • Test an anti-shine formula on the oiliest part of your face which is often the nose.
  • Test a long-wear formula by asking for a small amount to be decanted for you to take home and use in your make-up application the next day. The best way to test a long-wear formula is to see how long it actually lasts on your typical day.

    There are some brands out there who have introduced a primer to their range, but there is no noticeable difference on the skin when comparing the 'with' and the 'without'. They may have done so just merely to jump onto the 'prep and prime' retail bandwagon! Bear in mind that when purchasing a primer you are adding another step into your daily make-up regime, so be careful not to be tricked into a sale that's not worthy of the additional time spent at your make-up mirror.

    If you love to look natural, invest in a primer and wear without make-up, taking full advantage of the wonderful benefits offered to minimise shine or improve skin texture!

    Joy Terri offers Learn Make-up at Home training material with an easy self-analysis system and make-up demonstrations. Contact Joy through her website

  • We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
    In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
    Subscribe to News24
    Voting Booth
    Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
    Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
    Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
    22% - 652 votes
    Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
    9% - 272 votes
    There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
    50% - 1496 votes
    Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
    1% - 40 votes
    It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
    18% - 540 votes