Ask Ellbee ~ Primers

Dear Ellbee,

Do I really need to use primer?


Hi, Kathy.

If makeup migration isn’t an issue, you can totally skip the primer.  Just be sure to use sunscreen, moisturizer or foundation containing a multi-spectral SPF of at least 30.

For those of us in need of a good “base” to keep makeup in place ~ or just wishing to even out skin tone ~ quality primer is a definite “do.”

Primer can cover and smooth, making skin appear flawless.

Primer is a simple one-step product with a multitude of benefits.  

  • It diminishes the look of pores.
  • It helps smooth out fine lines.
  • It minimizes redness associated with blemishes and burst capillaries.
  • Dark spots and, to a degree, under eye discoloration are nicely reduced.

Primer’s main function, however, is to create a solid seal between makeup and skin.

A light layer prevents natural oils from compromising water and silicone components commonly found in makeup bases.  The result?  Your foundation remains in place.

Additionally, primers can provide moisture and often offer minimal to medium protection from the sun. Some even act as bronzers or self tanners.  Check the label for emollients and an SPF number to see exactly what you’re getting.

There are currently dozens of primers on the market.  Ellbee recommends Primed and Poreless Face Primer by Too Faced ($30) and Face Magnet Primer by Pop Beauty ($26) for oily skin; Amazing Anti-Aging Face Primer by Amazing Cosmetics ($34) for dryer skin; and Age Smart Skin Perfect Primer by Dermalogica ($48) for mature skin.

Depending on formulation, some tinted moisturizers may be used as primers.  Ellbee regularly uses and recommends Tinted Moisture by Studio Gear in Natural ($25).

Still not sure?  Try a simple Beauty Balm ~ or “BB cream.”

These creams, relatively new to the beauty market, give fair coverage and create a functional bond between skin and makeup.  Not quite as effective as primer, the price point (around $10) is appealing, especially if you’re looking for a trial run.  Ellbee recommends Garnier’s BB Cream ($12).

NOTE:  Many makeup companies have created eye-specific primers as well.  Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($20) will keep shadow from fading, slipping and creasing.


  1. Gabrielle says

    Thank you for the note about eye primer… I rarely go without my bareescentuals Prime Time eye. Plus they have colors that make great first layers for the rest of my shadow looks.

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