Beginner Basics: Prepping and Priming

Like my post on makeup brushes, I had an old post on this subject, but I’ve reworked it.


Photograph of Asian girl washing face because, Asian represent. Image from here.


I cannot begin to stress on how important the preparation before putting on makeup affects how your makeup will last look. It’s what makes your makeup last longer, decreases oil product on your face, it evens out your skin and fills in fine lines so you end up applying less product, and eye primers are also there to make eye shadow colours appear richer and more intense.

Within this post, I’m going to be talking about a variety of primers: face primers, eye primers, eyelash primers and lip primers. I’m not just talking about products that are specifically labelled as primers, but general stuff you should be doing to prep the face to make your makeup last longer.

But first, general stuff you should already be doing:

PREPPING IN ADVANCE: things you should already be doing


Because we see far too few men taking good care of their skin, I picked this one. Image from here.

1) Exfoliating two or three times a week. And this isn’t just dry patches like your knees and elbows, but your face, your neck, and your lips. This gets rid of dead skin that prevents a smooth canvas for you to apply your makeup on. There are so many ways you can go about exfoliating now; physical scrubs (lots of easy DIY sugar ones out there, St Ives’ products are affordable and good too), chemical peels, deep cleansing tools like the Clarisonic and clay masks. Do not overexfoliate. Your skin will become dry and damaged as a result. Personally I don’t use my Clarisonic more than once a week.


Make sure you rub that cream in! Image from here.

2) Moisturizing your skin after exfoliation. Or you know what, just moisturize every day. Keep your skin all nice and plump. It’s best to moisturize just as you’re stepping out of a shower. The steam from a hot shower or bath will open up your pores, so the cream you put on after bathing will be better absorbed in the skin. I’ve never used very expensive products for my body, Vaseline creams, or Johnson products always work. If you have sensitive skin, get non-scented baby creams – a friend once pointed out that if it’s safe for babies, it’s probably safe for everyone else. Or if that doesn’t work either, there’s always Vaseline (for dry patches like the knees and elbows) and products from brands like DermaVeen. Moisturizing my face however, is a whole different ritual that requires many other different products, you can check out whole my routine here



Image from here.

This is where I admit that I skip standard makeup primers on a daily basis. If you’ve read my post on my skincare regime, you know I already pile all sorts of products (serum, emulsion, eye cream, lotion, etc) onto my face, so it already feels all nice and smooth. As such, I feel that a primer is unnecessary. Even before jumping on the Korean skincare wagon, I never used primer either. In Singapore’s hot and muggy weather having too much on your face is bound to mean that your products will start sliding and separating. In fact, the only time my trusty MAC Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage sees any action is when I use it on other people’s faces when doing their stage makeup.

However, if you have less oily skin and/or live in a cooler climate, go for primers! There are lots of different kinds of primers out there these days that deal with all sorts problems, so they don’t just moisturize anymore.

  • Colour correction – there are pink primers like benefit “that gal” brightening face primer that can liven up a sallow correction, or green primers like Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Correcting Primer in Green that will correct redness.
  • Anti-acne ingredientsSmashbox’s Photo Finish More Than Primer contains 2% salicylic acid! Do be sure to skip other spot treatments or trouble-treatment moisturizers so you don’t dry out your skin too much with all the products.
  • Oil controlBenefit the porefessional primer is supposed to reduce shine.
  • Reduce the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles – most silicon-based primers will do this for you. Silicon basically fills in those fine lines, and is what gives the primer the silky smooth feeling. (Some people are allergic to silicon though, and too much of it is thought to cause breakouts as it clogs your pores so do be careful with silicon-based products. To read more on silicon click here.)


Okay, this I don’t usually skip. My lids aren’t exceptionally oily, but I do like a good base that increases the vividness of my eyeshadows. There are two kinds of products that can function as eye primers, the stuff that’s actually labelled as eye primers, and cream eyeshadows.


Image from here.

The Official Eye Primers

These are actually labelled as eye primers (duh) and like your face primer, tends to have silicon in it for that nice slip on your skin. These also tend to be flesh-toned, which is great, as they neutralize the veins or any redness on your eyelids, giving your shadows a neutral base to work on. Why is this important? Think of it as foundation. Most times, your eyelid has a blueish or reddish tinge to it, or has veins you want to hide. These slight colour tinges can affect the colour of the eyeshadow you eventually apply to the lid, so the resulting colour won’t really look true to pan. (Which is why lipstick can look so different on different people, as people’s lips have varying levels of pigmentation.)


Image from here.

Cream Eyeshadows

I like using cream eyeshadows like MAC Paint Pots and Maybelline 24 Hour Colour Tattoos as my eye base, as they tend to give more depth to the colour of the eyeshadows I apply on top. People also use white bases like NYX Milk Jumbo Pencil which makes your eyeshadows look brighter on the lid. 

Screen shot 2012-03-03 at 18.52.29

Image from here.


These are applied before you put on your mascara to get a better curl and longer lashes, and hopefully to prevent your lashes from smudging. (I actually should invest in one.) Some people think it’s a necessary step, others are more meh about it. I’m not much help here as I’ve never tried one before. If you want more info, check out this forum.


Image from here.


Or just known as lip balm. Exfoliate the lips once a week by scrubbing gently with a toothbrush at once a week, and use lip balm regularly (applied two or three times a day) to ensure the lips aren’t dry and cracked to begin with.

I always apply lip balm after I moisturize my face, which gives it time to sink in. By the time I’m done with my eyeshadow, foundation and blush, my lips would be ready for lipstick, even for something as drying as MAC’s Ruby Woo.

I also find tinted lip balms help to increase the intensity of whatever lipstick I happen to be wearing. For instance, I like to use my Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter under a red lipstick, so my lips would already be fairly red before I apply anything on.

That’s about it for primers, do let me know if I’ve missed anything out!

The Beginner Basics Series:
A Beginner’s Guide to Makeup
Beginner Basics: Foundation
Beginner Basics: Makeup Brushes
Beginner Basics: Primers
Beginner Basics: Eyeliner

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4 Responses to Beginner Basics: Prepping and Priming

  1. Pingback: Beginner Basics: Makeup Brushes | Natzi's Stash

  2. Pingback: A Beginner’s Guide to Makeup | Natzi's Stash

  3. Pingback: Beginner Basics: An Introduction to Foundation | Natzi's Stash

  4. Pingback: Beginner Basics: Eyeliner | Natzi's Stash

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