Primer – Yay? Or Nay?

Primer - Yay? Or Nay? 1

Even though beauty brands have been putting out makeup primers for what feels like forever, it still remains one of the more mysterious and puzzling base products on the market. There’s such a vast array of different primer options available — hydrating, mattifying, blurring, luminizing, and more — it can be very confusing to figure out which type of primer will work for you. Oh yeah, and then there’s the application factor. Yes, apparently there is a wrong way to apply primer. If confusion and frustration are the main reasons you’ve been avoiding primer, we’re here to change that.

primer for eyes and face

What is primer and what does it do?

Put simply, primer is exactly what its name implies: It’s a preparatory product that’s applied after your skin care to create an ideal canvas to hold onto whatever makeup comes afterward — like foundation, tinted moisturizer, or concealer. Your primer might come in the form of a hyaluronic acid-spiked facial serum that boosts hydration, a sunscreen that protects and softens the appearance of pores, or a traditional silicone-based primer  that smooths and blurs.

It’s worth pointing out that the newest primers don’t just smooth skin, keep makeup in place, and blur pores to near invisibility. They can also brighten, fade fine lines and wrinkles, target acne, and add tons of moisture. Some can even give skin a temporary face-lift, all without feeling heavy. The bottom line: If you’re wondering whether or not you need a primer in your life, just ask yourself how happy you are with the overall look, feel, and finish of your face makeup. If there’s something off or missing — maybe you want to add more overall glow or trim shine from your T-zone — a primer could be precisely what you need.

What’s the best way to apply them?

Unlike products that lock your makeup in, like setting powder or setting sprays, primers are almost always applied after your last skin-care step and before your makeup. In regard to application, we recommend using fingers to apply primer, as they say it’s the best and easiest way to blend everything and get a seamless finish. “A makeup brush will just drag the primer around, alternatively you can always use a slightly damp beauty sponge.

How much is too much?

A primer should be used sparingly – as a little goes a long way. If your skin is dry you can use more – remember to always let the primer settle into your skin before applying any other makeup products (about a minute). Apply lightly with the tips of your fingers and remember too much can sabotage your makeup look before you ever get to create it.

What’s the difference between eye shadow primer and face primer?

Eyelid primers, or eye shadow primers, and face primers are formulated differently. It’s important to know the differences in order to decide how best to apply them. Especially considering the sensitivity of your eyes something for your face is not necessarily the best product for your eyes.

Eye shadow primers are specifically for helping eye makeup last all day without creasing. These primers can also neutralise the tone of the bare eyelid and make product colours more vivid.

Face primers serve a variety of purposes. However, their main function is to smooth out skin and ensure longer-lasting makeup. General makeup primers are formulated to work well with foundations and concealers, either liquid or powder.

Whilst both products increase longevity, eye shadow primers are often thicker. This heavier texture is more compatible with the oilier and thinner eyelid skin. Face primers have a lighter consistency to keep foundation from grabbing or caking.

Can I use my normal face primer under my eyes?

Face primer can and should be used on the under-eye area. This type of primer is the best option for keeping your under-eye concealer in place. However, you can apply eye shadow primer lightly under the eye if you’re planning to use shadow and liner on your lower lids. This will ensure the products hold.

The eye area can be very sensitive, not just because the skin is much thinner but also because of the vulnerability of the eye itself. You should always be careful to keep products out of the eye, especially if they’re not formulated and tested for the eye area.

Can I use my normal face primer on my upper eyelids?

Using a face product so close to your eye area can cause sensitivity and isn’t recommended. Face primers are also less effective at tackling oily lids and ensuring eye makeup lasts all day. Instead, use an eye shadow primer, which has a thicker consistency and is both better and safer at the job.

Your eye area is the perfect place for primer, as the right primer can really make your eye makeup and concealer last much longer. It’s always best to reserve face primer for face products and under-eye concealing and use eye shadow primer on the eyelids. You can browse our entire range of primers to find the best face and eye primers for you.

How do you know which primer to use?

This is the simplest question – dry skin needs a product that is hydrating so you would then use the Hean Stop Drying Primer  and for oily skin you would look into the Hean Oil Free Primer which you basically only apply to the oily areas of your skin. Our range Hean is cruelty free and also hypoallergenic so it is for all skin types and tones. To read more on cruelty free makeup and why you should always choose brands that are cruelty free read one of my other posts. This gives one confidence in applying makeup because you won’t break out into a rash or have any other allergic reactions. These are the primers which are available from Pierre Rene we will have them here in South Africa as soon as possible.


Can I use Concealer as a primer?

Concealer is the one staple in a woman’s beauty arsenal that can dramatically change your appearance. Used correctly, concealer can brighten a tired face, it can cover up blemishes and it can totally conceal under-eye circles. In fact, many beauty editors use concealer primarily and skip foundation completely. But it cannot replace a primer – it is used over a primer and under foundation.

There are so many types of concealers on the market, choosing one can be daunting. Keep in mind concealer is not a beauty product to scrimp on. A basic rule of thumb is to choose a concealer that’s yellow-based and a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. Don’t go too light or you could end up with the dreaded raccoon look. If your skin is darker in summer, you should choose a darker shade for summer months and a lighter one for other months. We have 9 different shades of liquid concealer from Pierre Rene – so choose a shade lighter than your foundation.


Do you use a primer – would love to hear your thoughts. Be safe and remember the sun will always shine tomorrow.