PRIMER OR BASE?
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.
WHAT ARE THEY FOR?
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.