The down low on primers

BRONWYN WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 20/07/2012

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Makeup & Skincare

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You've heard about them. You've probably seen them in the stores. But what do primers actually do?

"Think about your makeup application as if you're painting a house," says makeup artist Michele Perry.

"A primer is your undercoat, the initial layer you paint on to smooth out any lumps and bumps, and to seal the wood."

Primer is a relatively recent beauty invention and not everybody needs it, although it does have some fantastic benefits.

"Different primers give you different benefits," says Mecca Cosmetica's Rhian Morris.

"Although they all help to achieve a smoother canvas and you'll find you use less foundation."

How to find the right primer for your skin

Oily and combination skin: Morris recommends water based primers, or a silicone based primer specially designed to matte down shine.

"You don't need any extra grease or moisture for oily or combination skin. A water based primer will give you a smooth and even complexion while keeping your skin looking matte and fresh."

Uneven skin tone: Look for a primer with colour correcting benefits. Morris recommends Stila One Step Correct.

"A colour correcting primer will correct any uneven skin tone and smooth out imperfections. You'll find you use less foundation as you'll have less problem areas to cover".

Dry skin: Hydrating silicone-based primers are fantastic for dry skin, as they hydrate and stop foundation caking to dry patchy areas.

Large pores: Perry's all-time favourite product for large pores is Dr Brandt's Pores no More Pore Refiner.

"This slightly tinted product reduces pore size and also mattes down any shine. I use it a lot for TV work."

Perry's top tip: "Our pores have little hoods on them which face downwards. Brush your primer upwards on your face to fill in the hoods and make your pores appear small and even. Then brush your foundation downwards and your skin will look perfect".

Water versus silicone: Whether you choose a water-based or silicone-based primer is really about personal preference.

"I think silicone-based primers give you a smoother feeling, more of a slip-feel which I love" says Perry.

Tips for primer application: For even coverage, apply your primer with a foundation brush.

Allow 60 seconds to dry after application. And as Perry says: "The more love you put into your skin prep, the better finish you'll get."

The Key Players
M.A.C Prep + Prime Skin, $56. This silicone-based primer soothes the skin, blots away excess oil and evens out skin redness.

Maybelline New York Dream Smooth Primer, $19.99. This newly released primer has a cushiony gel texture with a silicon base for smooth glide-on effect.

Revlon Photoready Primer, $40. This primer is a lightweight formula, designed to reduce pore size and the appearance of fine lines. Fragrance free.

Napoleon Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer, $58. This primer is Napoleon's no.1 selling product, so they've repackaged it in gold. This primer not only smoothes skin tone, it also soothes the skin with vitamin E, chamomile and yarrow extract. Very hydrating.

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Dr Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner, $88 from Mecca Cosmetica. This mattifying product reduces shine and oils, and reduces pore size with microspheres and flaxseed. Is lightly tinted so can be worn alone or under makeup.

Stila One Step Correct, $76 from Mecca Cosmetica. This strange looking toothpaste-like product has colour correcting properties to brighten and cover imperfections and discolouration. You'll find you use less foundation as you have a better base.

- Stuff

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