Style Beauty

Sunday 17 December 2017

Primed for perfection... advice from an international make-up artist

We've enlisted the help of a top international make-up artist to show you how to buy and use primers

Perfectly Primed Skin
Perfectly Primed Skin

Andrea Byrne

Ah, primers. We know we should use them, but most of us aren't sure which to buy, or even how exactly we should apply them. Right?

A primer's function isn't just about ensuring your make-up stays in place for longer, says Janine Bird, national make-up coach for Smashbox, widely considered the leading purveyor of make-up primers.

"Primers work in a number of ways, this is dependent on what the overall intended outcome is," she says. "For instance, if you have someone with an oily/combination skin with enlarged pores, you want a primer that will tackle oily breakthrough, deliver oil-free hydration and have cosmetic complexion smoothing elements that blur imperfections like open pores."

Yes, despite what you may have been told previously, there is no such thing as a one-fits-all primer. "I would always say to anyone who is seeking their perfect primer, you are unique and come with a unique set of concerns and needs for your skin, so you need to ensure that your primer is going to hit those marks. Don't be shy, ask for advice," Janine adds.

In terms of application, she advises against overzealous use of product. "It may seem that if you use more, then surely it will work better. However, the opposite can be true if you put on too much. If you have ever used a foundation over a primer and found that the foundation is 'rolling' into pieces (this often happens around eyebrows and temples), make sure you are sticking to the user guidelines with your primer on quantity because you are either using too much, or it isn't smoothed out evenly in those areas".

And finally, she recommends that we check that our chosen primer is safe to use right up to the lash line. Often they contain oil-control ingredients that are not applicable for use in the delicate eye area.

How to: get perfectly primed skin

When using a primer, apply it to clean, moisturised skin. No waiting time post-moisturisation is needed. Using a pea-sized amount, start at the centre of the face and then smooth (don't rub), working upwards and outwards towards the hairline and jaw.

Top product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, €33

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