What is primer?
Think of your skin as a piece of freshly cut wood, being made into furniture or art. It has already been sanded (through exfoliation) and cleaned (though cleansing). Is it ready for the paint to hit the canvas? Not quite. The surface is still slightly uneven, in an organic manner. It’s time to paint on a white layer before use. That way, paint will go on smoother and brighter.

Makeup primer is the same way. It seals in all your good skincare product, while creating a smooth base for your makeup. With primer, your makeup looks more flawless and lasts longer.

Primer Quick-Reviews

Bare Escentuals Prime Time ($22) was my main primer for quite some time. It’s a clear gel that applies smoothly. I notice that makeup stays fresh a bit longer than usual, though it’s not really notice-able to the average person. It gets bonus points for being natural and having an XL bulk size available at Sephora.

Bare Escentuals Prime Time Brightening ($22) is the same as the above, but with an extra element of brightening. On paper, it sounds great. In execution, the spinoff falls far behind the original. The primer is a ochre color, instead of a clear gel, and it did not seem to have a significant brightening effect. The formula is also poor, as it became chunky and solid when I was halfway through with the bottle. It was returned, where even the sales associates were disgusted by how the primer had congealed.

Bare Escentuals Skin Rev-er Upper ($21) is a product I don’t really understand. It’s often listed as and referred to as a primer, or general product that preps the skin for makeup. But it’s not as effective as Prime Time. t also has the same problem as Prime Time in regards to the pump dispenser that becomes wasteful when you reach the end of the bottle. It’s somewhere in between a serum and a primer, but doesn’t do either well enough.

Too Faced Primer & Poreless Primer ($30) is the primer with the best results and the only flaw is that it’s not natural or preservative-free. It goes on smoothly, is a light fluid, has a tan coloring, and is packaged in an easy squeeze tube. Pores really do disappear with use of this primer under foundation.