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Tricks of the Trade

The best makeup primers for your skin

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STOP oiliness in its tracks with a primer. PHOTO TAKEN BACKSTAGE AT DOLCE & GABBANA SPRING-SUMMER 2012,WWW.STYLE.COM

I have a little problem with my oily skin. How can I keep it matte and fresh when I wear makeup throughout the day? I remember in your past articles you recommended primer. What brand is the best?—Marge Lee

Oily skin can be difficult to control, especially with the kind of heat we’re having right now. Powder alone won’t cut it, and neither will a thick layer of makeup on your face (it may only make your problem worse).

Makeup primer is the likeliest solution to your oily skin woes, as it will allow you to wear makeup minus the melting, streaking or blotchiness brought about by a hot day.

In a way you can consider the primer as both a skincare product and  makeup, as it works to nourish skin, minimize oiliness, and allow makeup to adhere better to skin. It may seem like an extra step that’s tedious or redundant. But I can attest that it makes all the difference in terms of giving skin a smoother appearance and lending makeup a fresh look that lasts for hours.

Many makeup brands carry primers that come in many forms and are made for different skin types. These can be in the form of rich balms, light foams, invisible creams and lightweight gels with shimmery, matte and skin-like finishes. With so many brands to choose from, I have to admit it was difficult to narrow down my choices to the best one.

So, instead, I am happy to share three of my favorite primers: MAC Prep + Prime Skin Smoother, Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse and Smashbox Photo-Finish Foundation Primer.

I chose these because each one offers slightly different results, which means I use a different one depending on where I’m going and what look I want to achieve. Of course, these still deliver what’s expected of a primer, which is to minimize oiliness and keep makeup fresh. But I wanted you to be able to choose the best one based on your needs. Read on to find out more about my top makeup primers.

MAC Prep + Prime Skin Smoother Compact Primer: If you need a primer to smoothen skin imperfections, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and basically give your skin a more perfect look, this is the one to use.

The unique solidified primer in a handy compact promises to reduce the look of wrinkles by 28 percent. Its creamy and balmy consistency gives skin a hydrated feel without being oily, and stretches your foundation’s life by many hours. Worn after applying moisturizer and under your foundation or powder, this product allows your makeup to look flawless and finished.

Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse. I’ve been a fan of Shu Uemura Underbase for years, and this one is an improvement from earlier versions. This primer really does its job to mattify skin, but it also gives skin a nice sheen so it still has a luminous finish after applying. It feels matte, and you notice the difference after application, but it doesn’t make skin look or feel dry.

After you’ve applied foundation and/or powder, skin looks more finished and fresh. The UV is a plus, as you always want everyday sun protection underneath your makeup.

Smashbox Photo-Finish Foundation Primer. This primer is formulated to give you picture-perfect makeup when worn underneath your foundation. Fine lines are smoothened, pores disappear and skin appears even. My favorite thing about this is you can wear it alone, so it works well if you want to keep your skin matte without wearing makeup. Of course, expect the product to deliver, too, after you’ve applied your makeup.

Got a beauty question? E-mail the author at ask.kellymisa@gmail.com.


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