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What is a Foundation Primer? And Do I Need it?

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Beauty shot woman putting on makeup
Michael Goldman/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Question: What is a Foundation Primer? And Do I Need it?
Answer: Just like you prime a wall before you paint it, you can prime your face before you apply foundation. Primers work much like a moisturizer under your foundation does: they ease the application of foundation and are meant to create a barrier between foundation and skin.

See my list of the best foundation primers.

Primers have become hugely popular in the past few years, a sales in the US jumped to $46.6 million from $26.9 million in the years between 2006 and 2011, according to this November, 2012, New York Times article.

If you don't want the added step of a primer to your beauty routine, you can slather on moisturizer before makeup application, says Linda Wells, Allure's beauty editor, in her book Confessions of a Beauty Editor. But makeup artists swear primers go one step further than moisturizers, they help your makeup stay on longer and some help even out your skin tone.

Other benefits of foundation primers, according to makeup artist Laura Mercier, include:

  1. They allow foundation to "stay put" in hot weather.
  2. Help prevent skin from absorbing talc and pigment from your foundation as well as preventing talc from drawing oil from the skin.
  3. They contain botanicals such as lavender, orange, jasmine, rose, geranium, grape, kiwi and aloe extracts to soothe and refresh the skin.
See more on makeup:
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  5. Primers
  6. What is a Foundation Primer? And Do I Need it?

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