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Make Up Basics: Face Primers & Base

Let's kick start the Make Up Basics series with face primers and base.  Depending on skin conditions, foundation formulation and whether your make up is casual or for events, applying a face primer and base is pretty much optional.


For face, the primer and base are usually one and the same.  Despite the label, both products perform pretty much similar functions and contain more or less the same ingredients.  Some sunscreens are also formulated to work as a make up base.  However, since these have SPF properties, it's more suited for day time make up.


Primers and bases are part of the skin prepping step when applying make up and can come in either liquid, gel or mousse formulations.  Depending on the actual product itself, primers and bases typically helps to smoothen skin texture, fill in fine lines, mask enlarge pores and makes foundation and concealers glide on better.  Apart from that, these types of products also helps control excess sebum/oil production so make up won't slip off throughout the day as well as some moisturizing elements to take care of dry patches and flakiness.  There are many different options available (e.g. mattifying, brightening, pore minimizing, etc) so choose one that best suits your needs.  Primers and bases helps make up last longer through the day without much fading.


Primers and bases are applied after your regular skincare regiment (i.e. after moisturizer or sunscreen) and before foundation and concealer application.  It can be applied with either a foundation brush or if you prefer, clean fingers.  Leave the product on for 10-15 minutes in order for it to properly set and work as it should before proceeding with your foundation or concealer.


  • Generally good skin condition : Save the primer and base for special occasions.
  • Sensitive skin : Try a small amount of the product on your skin first to check on your skin's reaction to the product.
  • Casual/daily make up application : Skip the primer and base.
  • Enlarged pores, acne scars and fine lines : Apply the product on problem areas and blend outwards.
  • Concealing acne and pimples : Apply the product on and around the problem area and blend outwards.  Test the product prior to an event to make sure the product won't irritate and cause more breakouts.
  • For porcelain smooth skin or special occasions : Apply all over face.

Due to it's ability to provide a matte or satin finish on the skin, it is tempting to use these products to keep oils & shine (oily skin) and dry patches & flakiness (dry skin) at bay.  However, for those problems, I recommend investing your hard earned cash in a skincare routine that is targeted towards your skin type/condition instead.

Most (if not all) primers and bases are silicone based so if you are allergic to silica/silicone, I strongly suggest you check the ingredients before purchasing.  Alternatively, if you can, get a sample first to try out.


  1. i use mac prep and prime as my primer and it works fine for me. i only wish putting on make up didn't take long cos i'd hate standing 15-30 mins before the mirror everyday (for work). that's why i'm going to try the bb cream.

    used dr young the other day.. seemed ok but i have yet to use it regularly.

  2. I fell in love with the texture of MAC's Prep & Prime but if it hasn't set, I find that the foundation on top tends to glide by mid day. BB creams or even tinted moisturizers are great I think for quick application. Most convenient for travelling too. Hehe.

    Which Dr Young product did you try? The BB cream? I have the Dr G one but am trying out the one from Maybelline for the moment. Tempted to try the one from Bio-Essence one but I think I'll try to refrain myself for the time being. :)


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