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What Is Foundation Primer?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 17, 2024
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Foundation primer is a type of cosmetic applied before any other facial makeup is applied. Most often, this kind of cosmetic provides two services. It both improves the application and appearance of other types of facial makeup, like foundation, and provides a certain degree of skin protection. Companies manufacture different kinds of foundation primer, since people have different kinds of skin types. Foundation primer is available nearly everywhere other kinds of cosmetics are sold.

A person applies foundation primer to her face before she applies any other kind of facial makeup, and the primer serves two purposes. First, it prepares the skin for foundation by smoothing and evening the skin’s texture. Second, it provides a protecting layer between the skin and the makeup, and prevents the makeup from absorbing into the skin. Not only does foundation primer help the foundation look better, but also it keeps the makeup’s ingredients, such as talc and color pigments, from entering the woman’s skin. Some foundation primers are also designed to even the coloring of the skin tone, which also helps diminish the need for much foundation.

Women apply foundation primers in much the same way they apply facial moisturizers. Generally, a woman gathers a small, dime-sized amount of primer on her fingertips, and gently applies it to her entire face, using more as needed. She then allows the primer to thoroughly dry before applying foundation, which typically takes only a few minutes.

Foundation primers are similar to foundations in that certain kinds of primers work better for certain skin types. Just as a woman chooses a particular kind of foundation based on her skin type, she also chooses a particular kind of foundation primer based on her skin type. For example, women with normal or combination types of skin might use gel-based foundation primers. On the other hand, a woman with dry skin might use a water-based foundation primer. Often, the effectiveness of a primer depends on whether the woman is using the right one for her skin type.

Customers can find foundation primers in most of the same retail locations where makeup is sold. Similar to other kinds of cosmetics, the quality varies from primer to primer, and if a woman is already satisfied with the cosmetic brand she uses, she might try that manufacturer’s foundation primer first. Still, shopping for primers can be just like shopping for anything else, and a woman might need to try several different types and brands before she finds the one that works best for her.

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