Home Common Questions and Answers About Makeup

Common Questions and Answers About Makeup

by Sandy Taylor

Here is a list of common questions and answers related to applying and selecting makeup. that I’ve compiled from my readers over the years.

If you cannot find the question that you want to ask, simply contact me and I will get back to you with the answer.


Concealer FAQ

Yes, you can just use concealer under your eyes if your concealer is a close shade to your natural skin tone. However, it’s not recommended if you have wrinkled skin because the concealer will settle into the cracks, making the wrinkles on your skin more prominent. 

Here are a few things you need to consider if you’re planning to use only concealer under your eyes and skip primer and foundation:

Harder to Match Shade – Concealers come in much fewer shade options than foundations. If you’re going to use just a concealer under your eyes, ensure that the shade matches closely with your natural skin tone.

Cakey Feeling – The job of a concealer is to cover hard-to-cover areas like dark cycles and acne. They are designed to be thicker than foundation and applied in thin layers. Some people tend to over-apply concealer and adding thick layers could make your under-eye area feel cakey and uncomfortable.

Reduced wear time – The job of a primer is to help your makeup stick better. It provides a barrier between your skin and makeup. The natural oils on your skin will take longer to break down your makeup, making your makeup last longer. If you skip primer, you lose this benefit and you will find yourself re-applying your concealer more often.

Settling Into Cracks – Primers also help to create a smooth surface on your skin for makeup application. It’s designed to fill in cracks and wrinkles so that when you apply your concealer and foundation, they won’t settle into the cracks. If you skip primer, you will need to apply extra layers of concealer which may also lead to your makeup feeling cakey.


No, you should not use concealers all over your face because concealers are mainly used for spot coverage to help you hide hard-to-cover skin imperfections.

There are a few reasons why using concealers all over your face is not a good idea:

1. Consistency – Concealers have a thicker consistency than foundation and when applied all over your face, they will make your skin feel cakey and thick. This is not a great feeling especially if you’re planning it wear your makeup all day.

2. Price – Concealers come in smaller bottles and are more expensive per volume when compared to foundation. Using concealers all over the face is simply not economical and will hurt your wallet over time.

3. Shade Options – There are fewer shades to choose from. Shaded concealers are commonly used under foundation with a similar shade. Since your concealer will NOT do the main job of matching your skin tone,  companies don’t create many different shades of them.

This means that you will most likely need to mix concealers of different shades together in order to create a shade that matches your skin tone if you want to apply concealer all over your face.

Yes! You can use BB creams as concealers but BB creams may not be as effective as a concealer for tougher spots. 

A Concealer is mainly used to conceal and hide tough-to-hide imperfections. They can help cover eye lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags, dark circles, blemishes, and other skin impurities.

A BB cream, aka ‘beauty balm’, ‘blemish balm’ or ‘blemish base’, is designed to cover and conceal minor imperfections with a light finish.

The main distinction between BB creams and concealers is that BB creams contain skin-care ingredients that are meant to help moisturize, hydrate and protect your skin. BB creams are supposed to make the skin look better and more energized. They are sometimes referred to as tinted moisturizers because they are essentially skincare products that are designed to blend into your skin.

Concealers are usually not considered skin-care products. Although some do have skincare features, the features are limited.  They have a thicker consistency than a BB cream and their main function is to cover blemishes or skin imperfections with deep colors that are hard to cover.

Opinion: Concealer is better than BB Cream because you can sheer down your concealer by mixing it with moisturizer. This allows you to have more control over your coverage without buying another product. 

The above opinion assumes that you are comparing a BB cream and concealer that has similar skincare ingredients and that you are trying to cover up spots rather than your whole face.

Determining which product is better for you depends on what you are trying to cover with your makeup and how much coverage you need.

Should You Use Concealer or BB Cream?

Most skin care routines will incorporate the use of both concealers and bb creams as these products work great together to hide skin imperfections. Concealers are usually applied first before layering BB cream on top.

However, if you only want to buy 1 product and want to make the best use of it. It’s best to understand what each product is used for.

A BB cream blurs imperfections like dark spots and fine lines which in turn conceals the skin slightly.  It also plumps the skin because BB Creams generally have nourishing ingredients. BB cream is best for a natural day look.

BB creams come in many different shades and it’s much easier to find shade matches than concealers.  BB creams combine the benefits of tinted moisturizers, sunscreens anti-aging creams.  Common ingredients in BB creams include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide (sunblock), hyaluronic acid (for skin hydration), antioxidants and vitamins.

BB creams are ideal for people with dry skin because it can hydrate your skin while giving you the coverage you need. However, they are generally to use for all skin types.

A concealer is much thicker, and when used with skin prep can completely hide dark circles, redness, age spots, and blemishes.

Concealer can be used to target spots you would like to cover up (spots, under eyes, redness, etc) while still letting the other areas of your skin breathe.

If you want to also use something across the whole face, you can sheer down some concealers you already own by mixing it with some of your moisturizer or face oil. If you have a good concealer you don’t need much else for natural, everyday face makeup.

Although you can wear concealers alone, there are fewer shade options. This is why they are usually used under foundations. Check out my guide on how to apply concealer, foundations, and primers if you want to know more.

Contributors To This Answer:

Theresa NovickyTheresa is a licensed makeup artist in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Theresa’s background is in modeling and acting. She has been doing make-up for weddings and photoshoots for over 10 years.

Lindsay Kastuk – Lindsay is an NYC-based commercial makeup artist who specializes in bold, creative looks. She recently was the lead artist for Kim Petras’ VMA performance and has worked on high-profile campaigns for several popular beauty brands including FENTY Beauty and Covey Skincare.


Eyelash Extensions FAQ

A lash bath is a method of cleaning eyelash extensions with the use of foaming lash cleaners. This method of eyelash extensions cleaning is usually performed in a salon but you can also do it yourself at home. You can also clean your natural lashes using this method.

How to Do a Lash Bath At Home

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to do a lash bath at home. If this is your first time doing it, you will need to do it on one eye first so that you can see with your other eye. After doing it a few times, you will be able to do it with both eyes closed to speed up the process.

What You Will Need:

  • Gentle foaming lash cleanser
  • Eyelash cleaning brush
  • Water dispenser or small water bottle with a thin nozzle
  • small cotton pads (2×2)
  • Eyelash brush
  • Handheld fan

What You Need To Do:

Step 1: Apply the foaming lash cleanser to your eyelash extensions directly. You can also apply it to your cleansing brush first before applying it to your lash extensions if you want better control of the number of lash cleansers you are using.

Step 2: Clean your lashes with the eyelash cleaning brush by brushing on your lashes gently in a circular motion first and then brush your lashes from left to right. This ensures that you’ve covered each strand of your lash with the cleanser.

Step 3: Tilt your head to the side and rinse your lashes with water using the water dispenser. Place the cotton pads at the outer corner of your eye to catch and soak up excess water.

Step 4: Once you have rinsed out all the foam, use another cotton pad and gently press down on your lashes. This will help speed up the drying process.

Step 5: Use the handheld fan to dry your lashes while brushing them gently with your eyelash brush. Twist your brush in a circular motion while brushing the lashes if you want to give them a natural-looking curl.  Depending on how wet your lashes are, the drying time should take no more than 20 secs.

Eyeshadow FAQ

Yes, you can use eyeshadow as eyeliner. To use eyeshadow as eyeliner, simply dampen an angular brush with water or setting spray, dip the brush in loose eyeshadow pigments and then apply it to your waterline. If you don’t have loose eyeshadow pigments, this also works with eyeshadow sticks.

If you’ve run out of eyeliner and need to improvise, you can use eyeshadow as a substitute for eyeliner!

For this trick, it’s recommended to use an angular eyeliner brush. This type of brush is perfect for applying your eyeshadow as eyeliner because it makes it easy for you to draw a thin line. Turn the thin, angular brush on its flat side to apply your eyeshadow tightly on your waterline.

As you will be using a sideways brush motion to apply your eyeshadow, it’s important to ensure that all the bristles on your angular brush are pointing upwards. This will make your application easier as you don’t need to worry about stray bristles that might mess up your line.

For more intricate applications that might require more precision, I recommend trying thinner nail design brushes. These types of brushes have a pointed tip, making it easy for eyeliner designers that require precision.

Here’s How to Use Eyeshadow as Eyeliner:

The steps below assume that you are familiar with applying eyeliner with an angular brush.

Step 1: Clean the bristles of your angular eyeliner brush.

Step 2: Apply your eyeshadow primer. The eyeshadow primer helps to create a smooth surface for your application and helps your eyeshadow last longer by making it stick better on your skin.

Step 3: Dip your brush in water or spray the tips with setting spray. You want to tip of your brush to be damp but not soaked. squeeze our extra liquid with the tips of your fingers if needed.

Step 4: Dip your brush in loose eyeshadow pigment, ensure the tip of your brush is coated with a thin layer of pigment.

Step 5: Apply the eyeshadow the way you normally would with your eyeliner.

If this is your first time using an angle brush to line your eyes, you may end up with a thicker look. If this happens to you,  check out my tutorial on how to fix eyeliner that is too thick.

Yes, it’s good practice to apply concealer first before applying eyeshadow. This is important especially around the eye area because a concealer will help you hide any skin imperfections around your eyes. If you apply concealer after you’ve applied your eyeshadow, it will be harder to work your concealer around your eyeshadow.

Here’s the order in which you should apply your makeup:

  1. Face Primer
  2. Foundation
  3. Concealer (including under-eye concealer)
  4. Eye primer
  5. Eye shadow
  6. Eye Liner
  7. Mascara
  8. Blush

Note that it’s also good practice to apply eyeshadow primer before applying your eyeshadow. Your concealer will help you cover any imperfections around your eyes, while your eyeshadow primer will help you create a smooth surface for your eyeshadow application. It can also help your eyeshadow last longer on your skin.

Doing your face makeup first allows you to gauge what dramatic or natural you want your eyes to look. Depending on how dramatic or subtle your eyes look, you can adjust your blush to balance the look.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to apply primer, foundation, and concealer. Check out my in-depth post where I go through everything you need to know to apply these makeup products properly.

Foundation FAQ

Yes, you can just use foundation if you have smooth skin with light skin imperfections that you can cover with your foundation. If you choose to use only foundation, select a full-coverage foundation and opt for a good skincare routine.

Things You Should Consider if You Want to Just Use Foundation

1) Your Makeup Won’t Last Long – Without a primer, your foundation won’t last long on your face. The natural oils from your skin break down your foundation which may leave you with a melted look. Consider using a full coverage oil-free foundation on its own if you are planning to just use foundation.

Most oil-free foundations are great for oil control and many come with added skincare benefits to keep your skin moisturized. However, keep in mind that aside from making your makeup last longer, a primer helps to smooth out the rough surface of your skin, which helps to make your makeup application look flawless.

By skipping the primer, you are also missing out on the skin-smoothing benefits of a primer. Any bumps or pockmarks will still become visible after your foundation application.

2) Your Makeup May Feel Cakey – By skipping the concealer, your foundation will need to do the heavy lifting of covering off any skin imperfections on your face. A concealer is usually used to provide heavy spot coverage on skin imperfections that are hard to cover. These are usually dark pigmented skin, like birthmarks, beauty spots, and acne marks.

Since you will be applying foundation all over your face, you may need to apply additional layers to cover off hard-to-hide areas. This may leave you with thick makeup on your face and a cakey feeling.

Keep in mind that even a full coverage foundation will not work as well as a concealer for hard-to-hide areas like birthmarks and beauty spots.

Another option is to use BB creams. These are tinted moisturizers that are designed to give your skin light coverage while providing your skin with great skincare benefits. It’s a great option if you’re going for a natural look or simply want to just use foundation. I recommend using Korean BB creams as they provide the best balance between coverage and skincare.

3) Your Makeup May Look Flat – The job of a foundation is to give your face an even tone. However, by just using foundation, you cancel out all the natural colors on your face which will make your skin look flat. This is why it’s important to bring your natural colors back with blush or bronzer. Try cream blushes if you are opting for a natural look.

Although you can just use foundation, there are some drawbacks of using it alone. It’s a good idea to incorporate primers concealers, bronzers, and other makeup into your daily routine. These products have a specific purpose and work great together if used properly.

If you want to learn the proper way to apply these products, check out my complete guide to foundation, concealer, and primer application!


Yes, you can apply foundation directly on your face but it’s not a good idea to apply it without an undercoat of primer.

Although foundations are great at covering blemishes, they can’t substitute the function of a primer. Depending on your skin condition, you can try to use a foundation as a primer but you probably won’t achieve a good result without your makeup looking cakey.

Primers have 3 important functions that cannot be substituted by foundations:

  1. A primer helps to create a smooth surface for your foundation and other makeup. It fills in fine lines and wrinkles, making the application of your other makeup smooth and easy.
  2. A primer helps your makeup stick better to your skin
  3. Some primers have skincare benefits that nourish your skin and create a barrier between your makeup and your skin.

By applying foundation directly to your skin, you are missing out on the great benefits of a primer. Even if you have perfectly smooth skin, your foundation would not last long without a primer. This is because the natural oils on your skin break down the foundation and this leads to a melted / patchy look requiring you to constantly re-apply your makeup.  A primer can help prevent this by absorbing the oil and delaying the time it takes for it to soak into your foundation.

If you have oily skin, you will still need to pad your makeup down from time to time with powder even if you wear a primer. However, your makeup will last much longer and will usually be able to get you through the day without issues.

You can wear foundation without setting powder if you have dry skin or use matte foundations.

It’s still possible to wear foundation without setting powder if you don’t want to use matte foundations or have oily / combination skin. This can be achieved with a good makeup routine using oil-free products that control sebum production.

I consulted with a few beauty professionals for tips and included a step-by-step routine for wearing foundation without setting powder in this post.

Matte Foundations Don’t Need Powder

Foundations that have a matte or satin finish, need little to no setting powder. This is because matte foundations are designed to reduce shine on your face. They do this by absorbing the oil on your face.

Less oil means your makeup is less prone to breaking down and can last longer on your face. Therefore, you don’t need to set it.

Note that setting a matte or satin foundation can make your skin feel cakey because setting powder mattifies the skin.

Do You Really Need Setting Powder?

Whether or not you can skip setting powder generally depends on your skin type. Dry skin types often find that their skin cakes up and become flaky no matter how finely-milled their setting powder of choice is! If you have dry skin and your makeup lasts all day anyway, skip the face powder! Just add a small amount of translucent powder under the eyes to set your hydrating under-eye concealer to keep it in place all day.

The best way to tell if you need a setting powder is to test out your base products on a lazy day at home. Keep checking in the mirror every hour to see if your foundation is melting away or if your skin looks greasy. In those cases, you should definitely use a setting powder! If you cannot find a setting powder that works, try a setting spray instead.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Foundation Without Powder

If you can’t decide to set your foundation or not, here are some benefits and disadvantages of wearing foundation without powder:


  1. You look younger without setting powder as there is no powder accentuating fine lines
  2. Skin maintains a better glow
  3. Foundation stays flexible without coagulating with powder


  1. Some foundations can be too shiny looking without being set
  2. Foundation can transfer or rub off easily without being set

How to Wear Foundation Without Powder

Here’s a great makeup routine you can try if you want to wear foundation without setting powder

Step 1 – Apply your moisturizer as normal. Use an oil-free lotion or cream and wait a couple of minutes before you apply your foundation. You want to hydrate your skin but allow your skin to absorb that moisture before you start on
your makeup application. You will be creating a good base for your foundation to blend into your skin.

Step 2 –  Use a foundation primer. If you are a particularly ‘glowy’ person, select a mattifying primer.

Step 3 –  Choose an oil-free, water based foundation. This can be a liquid or cream.

Step 4 –  Grab some blotting papers to take with you. Use these on your T zone as needed throughout the day. These will absorb oil and won’t disturb your base.

Foundation without powder is actually a great solution for dry winter skin. A good tip is to also use a crème blush and cream contour, to keep that hydrated dewy look.


Contributors To This Answer:

Andrea Claire – Hair and makeup artist at AClaireBeauty.com. Andrea has extensive advertising, beauty, and editorial portfolios which include campaigns for L’Oreal Paris, Revlon, Lancôme, Neutrogena, Unilever, P & G, and editorials in Solstice, Shape, Bazaar, ELLE, L’Officiel, Lucy’s, HUF, Beauty Archive, and more.

Laura Burns – Laura is a makeup artist living in Manhattan with over 15 years in the industry. Her career has been diverse, ranging from Editorial, Fashion, and Advertising to TV and Red Carpet.

Laura Chawke – Laura is the founder of Makeup Scholar, a site that combines a passion for beauty & makeup with rigorous research.

You should always put foundation first before applying contour.

There are a few reasons for this:

Reason 1: Especially if you have a light skin tone, applying the darker shade under your foundation can lead to it mixing together and creating an ashy grey color on the cheeks.

Reason 2: If your foundation is full coverage, you may just fully cover all the work you did on your contour leaving it unnoticeable

Reason 3: If you are using a powder contour, it is very rarely advised to put powder under a liquid so you may create separation or texture issues.

Reason 4: A lot of contours are cream-based and a lot of foundations are water-based and just like oil and water in a pan, different based products may cause them to separate on the skin. You usually want to mix like products (cream with cream or water with water). If you want to mix oil-based products with water-based makeup products, you want to have the oil-based product sitting on top of the water-based product, just like it would in its natural separation if you mixed them in a glass.

You want your contour to look as if it is coming out of your skin instead of on top which is why you might find recommendations to apply it under your foundation. We recommend achieving this by applying your contour and
then using the brush or sponge you used to apply your foundation to finish blending the contour in. It will give you the same effect without all the complications!

Answer provided by Molly Mackay-Smith, a Professional Makeup Artist from Peka Studio.  Peka Studio is a team of professional and highly talented makeup artists currently serving the Greater Vancouver area


Yes, some makeup foundations do irritate rosacea.  Always check the label to make sure that your makeup doesn’t contain any rosacea triggers.

Here is a list of some makeup ingredients that will irritate rosacea skin:

  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance Additives
  • Menthol
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Mineral oil

I’ve written a detailed guide on the best foundations for sensitive rosacea skin. Check it out if you’re having trouble finding the right foundation to cover your rosacea.

No, your foundation brush does not need to be wet before applying foundation.  Here are the reasons why:

  1. A wet foundation brush will dilute your makeup – Wetting a foundation brush and then dipping it in makeup will force the water and makeup on the brush to interact and mix with each other. This extra water content dilutes the foundation and you end up with a watered-down coverage.
  2. Water changes the shape of your brush – Foundation brushes are circular or flat with the bristles spread out so that they can hold more makeup. The circular brushes are shaped that way to help you easily buff your makeup. If you wet your brush, the shape of the brush will change and this will affect its performance and the ability for it to buff or apply makeup.
  3. Water and powder don’t mix – You can’t set your powders properly with a wet brush as you will end up with clumps of powder on your face.

The only time that I would recommend using water is when you’re using a beauty blender to apply or blend your foundation.  The beauty blender should be wet because it will suck up your makeup otherwise. The water displaces the makeup and prevents it from soaking into the sponge. 

If you’re having trouble blending your foundation, you can use a slightly damp makeup blender to help you blend. 

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Apply your foundation with a foundation brush
  2. Wet your beauty blender and then dry it with a towel. It should only be very slightly damp.
  3. Dab it gently all over your face. The blender will help to blend the foundation and create a smooth appearance. Do not swipe the foundation on your face with the blender as this will spread the foundation around.

In the world of foundation, you are presented with 3 choices for application. You can choose to use a makeup sponge, a foundation brush or your own fingers.

Each method has its own pros and cons. However, it would be a clever idea to practice and master all 3 techniques.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of using each type

1) Makeup Sponge


– Smooth Application
– Easy to control
– Easy to Blend
– Easy to carry around


– Shape may become distorted over time. (Need to get new ones consistently)
– Can get expensive over time
– Not as flexible as a brush or using your fingers
– Takes time to master
– Requires good cleaning after each use

Makeup sponges are my “go to” choice as a Professional makeup artist. They work extremely well for smoothing out your application and makes it extremely easy for you to blend your foundation with your concealer. They are not built to last you a very long time but their disposable nature ensures that you will be using a new (or newer) sponge each time you apply makeup.

2) Foundation Brush


– Smooth Application
– Great control
– Great for blending / highlighting


– May leave behind streaks (Depends on the quality of your brush)
– Requires good cleaning after each use
– Excellent quality brushes are expensive

If you use a foundation brush, you enjoy the much of the same benefits of using a makeup sponge, i.e., smooth application and blending. The one thing that you need to keep an eye on is the quality of your brush. Also choose brushes with soft bristles. The handle should be comfortable to your hand. Always remember to clean your foundation brushes after each use. If you are wondering how you can clean your foundation brush. I have written a quick tutorial here.

3) Your Fingers


– 100% Free
– You have maximum control
– Works well for quick applications


– Hard to maintain an even complexion (depends on your skills)
– Bacteria on hands can cause infections on sensitive skin
– Not a good long-term strategy for applying makeup

It’s nice that you can use your fingers for application, However, I won’t recommend this as a long-term strategy. Due to the unevenness of your skin / fingers, it takes a lot of practice to get the complexion right. I only use my fingers for small areas that require quick applications and then blend in the look with a brush or sponge. Always remember to wash your hands before and after the application of makeup.

There are a lot of confusion around this area and people seems to be confused as to why they need a concealer that is lighter than their foundation.

The idea is simple, although this is not a hard and fast rule, there are certain advantages that can be gained when your concealer is lighter than your foundation.

Let’s have a look:

1) Easier to cover – Everyone who reads my blog knows that I always recommend applying concealer first before foundation. Having your concealer one shade lighter than your foundation allows it to be covered up easily. E.g. it is easier to cover a lighter color with a darker color then to cover a darker color with a lighter one.

For those of you who apply blend your concealers on top of your foundation, the idea would be reversed and in which case, your foundation should be lighter than your foundation.

By the way, I have written an entire guide on the proper application procedures for primers, concealers and foundations. Check it out here.

2) Can be used as a Highlighter – If you choose to apply concealers after foundations, the concealer can act as a minor highlighter. However, unless you are experienced and know what you are doing with your makeup, using a concealer this way can be tricky, so experiment a little!

I recommend that you choose a concealer that is 1 shade lighter than your foundation. I’ve found that this works best for both blending and highlighting and really gives you that natural look.

Primers and Concealers are completely different things. Depending on your skin condition or the look that you want to achieve, you may need either one or both.

So let’s look at each one of these in detail:

Primers – A primer is used to prep your face and to get it ready for the application of foundation and other makeup. They fill in fine lines, wrinkles and any unevenness on your skin. A lot of people skip primer in their makeup routine but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Using primers the right way can actually make the application of foundation and concealers easier. This is because primers actually help your foundation and other makeup “stick on” better.

Many primers on the market today also have skin protection and nourishing properties that make them worthwhile to consider in your makeup routine.

If you’re not sure of how to apply primer, I have written a complete guide on this subject here.


Concealers – Concealers are designed to cover tough spots that your foundation couldn’t cover. Some people have severe skin conditions that are challenging to cover even for full coverage foundations.

Concealers usually have a thicker formula than foundation and it’s commonly applied only on areas that require additional coverage.

Concealers usually come in less shade options than your foundations. Therefore, it’s recommended to apply concealers before foundation.


The word “Non-Comedogenic” is being thrown around in the makeup and skin care community but no one seems to have a complete definition of what this word actually means.

Sure you could look up the definition on Merriam-Webster to find more information about this word.

However, it’s important to understand what this beauty label means in the makeup world so that smart consumers like yourself can make a good judgement call of what to buy (or not to buy).

In the makeup world, the word “Non-Comedogenic” is used to label makeup that will not block pores. You may find this label common in makeup products designed to treat and prevent acne.

According to howstuffworks.com, non-comedogenic foundations are usually oil free because they help to absorb the excess oil on your skin in order to prevent blockages.

It’s important to understand that no cosmetic company can guarantee 100% non-comedogenic products. Just because something works for you, it doesn’t mean it will work for others.

At Foundationfairy.com, we only recommend the best non-comedogenic products to our readers. These products are tried and tested. As a result, we are confident that the non-comedogenic foundations or other non-comedogenic products that we recommend will work for most people, no matter what skin type they have.

Check out some of our posts on non-comedogenic products:

2017 Non-Comedogenic Foundations For Acne (That Work Fast)


When looking for non-comedogenic makeup, look for these ingredients:

1) Benzoyl Peroxide – Kills acne bacteria and doesn’t add extra oil to your skin

2) Salicylic Acid – Doesn’t kill acne bacteria but it unclogs pores. It reduces skin shredding which is a cause for blocked pores.

3) Sulfur – Usually found in cleansers, washes away excess oils and dead skin cells

4) Mineral Oil – Very gentle and doesn’t irritate acne skin.

I think we can all agree that liquid foundations are a great makeup for covering up imperfections on the skin. However, many of us seem to be having trouble with getting it to not look cakey.

The good news is that applying foundation is more of an art than science and the key to achieving flawless application is patience, practice and using the right methods!

Here are some tips to apply liquid foundation without it looking cakey:

1) Use Primer and Moisturizer

Think about it this way. If the surface that you are about to apply makeup on is bumpy and uneven, what would be the outcome of your skin after you apply the makeup? Yes! It will look bumpy and uneven!

So before you do anything else, ensure that you are applying your primer correctly (I have written a tutorial on that here). Remember to moisturize your skin regularly so that any dry spots and fine lines are reduced.

The key to having a smooth appearance is to have a smooth surface to begin with!

2) Apply in layers

When you’re starting out with a new foundation (or if you are new to makeup), you need to have control of the amount of coverage that you require. This requirement is different for everyone and different parts of your face will require different amounts (forgive my wording).

Start off with thin layers first and gradually add more until what you want to be covered is covered (forgive my wording again)! Don’t overdo this part because applying too much foundation will make it look cakey.

Most people think this part is cumbersome but the truth is that you only need to do this once or twice. Once you have a good idea of how much foundation you need, you can speed up this process next time by applying the amount you need all at once (instead of layers).

3) Blot Out Extras

If you’ve found that you’ve applied too much. Simply blot it out. You don’t need expensive blotting papers for this. Simply using a facial tissue will do the job.

4) Apply Right Amounts of Powder

Here is the part that many people get wrong. Far too many times have I seen people apply a good makeup base, only to ruin it by applying too much powder. It’s important to lock in your foundation with a powder. Apply in light layers. Usually, a few light dabs is good enough.

5) Use the Right Tools

Although it’s great that you can use your fingers for pretty much everything makeup related. Don’t rely on them if you want to take things to the next level. Invest in a good makeup brush or beauty blender. This will make your application process easier.

Another tip is to apply foundation cross-hatching strokes for a nice even look.

Primer Is Your Air-Brushed Friend, Ladies

Those of us who have an oily complexion know how challenging it is to keep our makeup looking fresh, matte and flawless. Some of us apply our foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, etc., only to see our favorite cosmetics fade away into our pores, leaving behind a shiny face after only a couple of hours.

Carrying a stash of blotting papers around in your purse and touching up your makeup might work for a half hour. Even the more expensive blotting linens fail to make a perfect grade. There is still a shiny look and feel, and if you’re at work, at school or some event where you can’t leave, you’re stuck with the “greasies” and large, clogged pores.

The best advice to stop oily skin after makeup for oily-faced girls is to fight back with primer. This is the ultimate skin prepping product that delivers a flawless smooth canvas, making it ideal for foundation to glide over the complexion. Lines, wrinkles, pores, and imperfections appear to vanish instantly. Best of all, primer allows your oily face to remain matte for hours.

Remember: The primer always goes on to a clean face before your foundation. It is specially designed to sop up oil, smooth the skin and create a flawless surface for applying the the rest of your cosmetics.

Primer that is water based is best for an oily complexion, and be prepared to spend a considerable amount for a good brand. Primer can cost more than your foundation.

Set Your Foundation With Staying Powder

Once you’ve applied your primer and then your foundation for oily skin and put on the rest of your makeup, like blush, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, you’re ready to seal it in.

Professional makeup artists also believe in keeping a made-up face as matte as possible. No one likes re-applying cosmetics, because we just don’t have time to re-do our faces, and sometimes we are unable to get a few minutes to even bother. That’s where a great setting powder comes in.

Modern setting powders are different from decades ago, both in their texture and weight. Women would use their compacts to apply a layer of powder to halt the shine. The old setting powders would settle into fine lines and wrinkles, creating a parched, dull complexion causing these imperfections to stand out even more.

You want to kill the shine, ladies, but not the glow. Modern makeup has come a long way, and beauty science gets better and better. These days, setting powders are made with incredible ingredients that can reflect light and actually highlight your cheekbones, brow bones, and so forth.

Some of these awesome, natural elements include kaolin, mica, silica and zinc oxide, and these lightweight ingredients are genius at oil-absorption. Just a quick dusting and you’re good to go.

If you want to keep your makeup on for hours and look gorgeous without the oily shine, then a primer before foundation and setting powder after.

Can Certain Types of Foundation and Makeup Actually Clog Your Pores?

Yes! Not all makeup is created equal and certain types of makeup and foundation can actually clog your pores. Here are some tips for selecting foundation that won’t clog pores:

1. Be Cautious of Liquid Foundations – Liquid foundations have a high tendency to clog pores. This type of foundation is designed to fill in lines, wrinkles and pores. The nature of the product makes it easy for it to form a layer over your pores and clog them. When selecting a liquid foundation, be very careful and read the ingredients on the label. If you see mineral oils and petrolatum, it means that the foundation has a possibility of clogging your pores.

However, this shouldn’t mean that you should avoid liquid foundations altogether. I have clients who sing praises to this type of foundation. It really depends on how your skin responds to your chosen product.

2. Double Think Silicone FoundationsSilicone foundations are great because they can give you that smooth, flawless finish. Contrary to popular belief, silicone doesn’t actually clog your pores. When applied to your skin, silicones allow other ingredients to “steep” though. It is often these other ingredients that cause break outs and gives people the wrong impression that silicone foundations clog pores. When selecting silicone foundations, avoid ingredients like benzoic acid, algae extracts and oils. Although these ingredients have their own unique benefits in makeup, they often “steep” though silicone foundations and clog your skin underneath.


Is there a way to prevent this from happening while still being able to wear makeup?

Yes! You don’t need to shy away from wearing makeup because you are afraid that they will clog your pores. The key is to find the right makeup that works for your skin. However, there is no magic formula. I always suggest people to test new products on their skin. Look for products that are labelled non-comedogenic and always do your research before buying a product.


Does it come down to the length of time we wear foundation, whether we perspire while wearing it?

If you choose your foundation or makeup correctly, you will be able to wear the product for an extended amount of time without having to worry that the makeup might eventually clog your pores. The length of time that you should keep makeup on depends on your own skin type. For example, if you have oily skin, your skin will continuously produce oil thoughout the day. The oil may mix with the makeup on your skin and end up clogging your pores. Perspiring sweat has the same effect. If you will be involved in a lot of sports or sweaty activies, then I would recommend considering sweat proof foundation or makeup.

The answer to this question may seem obvious for most people. After all, doesn’t everyone already know that foundations are used to cover skin imperfections? Well, that is just part of the answer.

You see, there are a lot of other reasons why someone might consider using foundations in their makeup routine. These reasons are less obvious but I will go over each one.


REASON 1: Moisturizer – Oil based foundations are the foundation of choice for people with dry skin. Most brands will pack certain moisturizing ingredients in their products. If you see ingredients such as Cyclopentasiloxane and Glycerin, you know that your foundation has superior moisturizing power. Obviously, you wouldn’t use a foundation the same way you would use a moisturizer. However, foundations with moisturizing ingredients is simply handy and will save you time.


REASON 2: Sunblock – Choose a foundation with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and you will be good to go for all outdoor activities. Im seeing a lot of brands these days including sunblock as part of their ingredients in their foundations. Look for ingredients such as OctenylSuccinate and Titanium Dioxide to ensure that your foundation has sun protection.

A quick world of caution: Some foundations with SPF are known to cause your face to “wash out” when taking pictures. This is due to the ingredients in the foundation that reflect light off your face. If you plan on using a foundation with SPF while taking pictures, I highly recommend Revlon PhotoReady Makeup. As long as you match the shade correctly, this foundation is wonderful for photos.


REASON 3: Pollution – Your foundation acts as a barrier between your skin and the outside world. Dirt, dust and other pollutants are all around us. The dangerous pollutants are actually the ones that you cannot see. These pollutants causes excessive free radical damage to your skin. Free radicals causes pre-maturing aging of your skin.

Now, this does not mean you should cover every inch of your skin with foundation in order to protect it. Your foundation will not be able to stop all free radical damages caused by polluants. However, it is a smart idea to include it in your makeup routine so that the protect is there when you need it.

Yes! You can use bronzers as foundations but it would be a bad idea. Powdered bronzers are supposed to be a finishing product that gives the illusion of a subtle tawny glow. They’re not formulated to provide sufficient coverage for imperfections or to correct uneven skin tone.

Using a powdered bronzer as a foundation will most likely leave your face with a greasy texture and an unnatural hue. The natural oils in your skin will absorb the bronzer, leaving unattractive splotches around the face, ultimately defeating the purpose you intended it for. Self.com has great a great article that will take you step by step through using powdered bronzer correctly.

Liquid bronzer, on the other hand, is far more versatile. It can be used alone, and even though it won’t give you the full coverage of foundation, it will give the illusion of a natural sheen around the face. This is a good option if you have clear, normal, or dry skin. I wouldn’t recommend this if you have acne-prone skin.

According to makeup.com, the best of both worlds is mixing liquid bronzer with foundation. It’s best to use a lightweight liquid bronzer formula in an equal dime size amount to your foundation. This will give the bronzer the base it needs to provide proper coverage for your skin. Using bronzer this way is an excellent solution for people with blemished or dry skin.

Radiant, healthy skin has been best exemplified by superstar Jennifer Lopez. Her gorgeous signature dewy look makes her appear to be decades younger, and it’s been emulated by women around the world. While everyone’s skin is different, adjusting your existing full coverage foundation can help you achieve this look.

In order to create that dewy glow on your face, you can mix a moisturizer and lightweight facial oils (jojoba, argan, apricot),  to your liquid or cream-based full coverage foundation. Uses only a drip of oil in your foundation. The oil is what provides your skin with that beautiful dewy look.

I would say experiment with different amounts to find the combination that you like. Once you have applied the foundation, do not set it with powder. This is obvious as the powder will ruin the dewy look by absorbing the oil.

I find that lightweight oils work great with oil-based foundations and silicone-based foundations. Water-based moisturizers can be used with water-based foundations. Matching the foundation type with the right moisturizer or oil will allow your foundation to have that right dewy effect.

You don’t have to be too concerned about whether or not a certain brand of oil/moisturizer will mix with a certain brand of foundation. The mixture should be safe for most brands. However, don’t do it unless you are 100% comfortable with the mixture. Be sure to test the mixture on your skin to ensure that it’s the right combination for you.

In addition to adding moisturizers and oils to your foundation, prepping your skin before applying makeup is essential to ensuring that your foundation works properly.

Trying to salvage mismatched foundation in order to make it darker can be arduous and frustrating  especially after spending a lot of time choosing your foundation, and paying a pretty penny for that foundation. How do you deal with this issue without having to spend even more time and money replacing your products?

Luckily, there are some simple beauty hacks that can solve the problem, and keep you from having to dig into your wallet. One quick fix comes from professional makeup artist and E! Style Collective beauty pro Ashley Rebecca who suggests that you mix liquid bronzer to your foundation to deepen the color and add an overall healthy looking glow. Professional makeup artist Wayne Goss also has a brief, excellent YouTube vlog on how to change your foundation undertone. The key is to use appropriate adjusters (water or silicone based) in black, white, brown, red, blue, green, and yellow, which will deepen or lighten your color by addressing your undertones.

Another approach according to Bellasugar (via allure.com), is to use your too-light foundation with a layer of darker powder on top. Because almost no one has the same skin color throughout their face (skin is lighter in the middle of the face and darker towards the perimeter), this solution can work well for most people, and it’s a nice way of developing natural angles around the face. You can also use powdered bronzer over your foundation for subtle darkening and a sun kissed effect. For a demonstration on how to darken foundation with bronzer take a look at this short vlog from YouTube channel The Makeup Chair.

Many people feel that applying foundation will ruin their skin. It’s easy to see why people would be concerned. Afterall, not many people are comfortable with putting things on their face if they are not 100% sure what it is they are getting into.

It is difficult to provide a solid “Yes” or “No” answer to this question. This is because the effects of foundation on your skin depends on a couple of things:

1) Your Foundation Ingredients – certain ingredients in your foundation may irritate your skin, causing redness and other skin complications. Just because a certain foundation works for your friend, doesn’t mean that the same foundation will work for you. Knowing your own skin type is essential and will help you select the right products.

For example, did you know that essential oils in some foundations may cause irritations? Even organic ingredients may cause irritation if its not right for your skin Judy Johnson at getthegloss.com provides great pointers on exactly which ingredents you should avoid.


2) The Brand of The Foundation – Do research and choose a brand that you trust. Popular brands like Mac may be all the rage these days. Although this is a good hint that Mac foundations will generally work for most people (given they select the right foundation to use), it is still up to you to do your own due diligence. Bigger brands put more research into making their products. They use better methods to source their ingredients. For example, two foundations may have the same ingredients on their labels, but what makes one foundation better than the other is how the manufacturer puts the ingredients together and where they are sourcing the ingredients from. Poor quality ingredients will damage your skin.


3) The Type of Foundation – I have created many posts on selecting different types of foundations. The general rule of thumb is that:

– If you have oily skin, use a powder foundation.

– If you have combination skin, use an oil-free foundation.

If you have dry skin, use a foundation with hyaluronic acid.

Selecting the right type of foundation for your skin is absolutely essential and will keep it healthy. If you still feel uncomfortable and feels that the foundation you are using might be clogging your pores. You could try to switch to a non-comedogenic one as these are designed specially to prevent pores from clogging. 

As you can see in the 3 points above, using foundation makeup doesn’t automatically mean that it will ruin your skin. In fact, if you select the right foundation, it can protect your skin. This is because foundations provide a barrier between your skin and the harmful UV rays of the sun. 

Here are some tips to stop your foundation from oxidizing:

  1. Use a Silicone Based Primer – If you have determined that the oil on your skin is what causes the oxidizing, using a silicone based primer before applying foundation can help to create a barrier between your skin and the foundation.
  2. Always Try It on Before You Buy – When selecting the right foundation, don’t be afraid to try it on at the store and let it sit for at least 3 hours. Ensure that your face is clean before applying the foundation. Keep an eye on the color of the foundation and only make the purchase decision if you don’t notice any color or texture changes.
  3. Better Oil Control – Which ever method that you are already using to control oil during the day, you need to increase the frequency of doing it. Less oil = less oxidzing.
  4. Go One Shade Lighter –  The method here is to select a foundation that is one shade lighter and hope that when it oxidizes, the color will match your skin perfectly.

There is nothing wrong with this method but there is a couple of things I don’t like about this. First of all, you will look like a lantern for the first couple of hours after applying the foundation. Unless you want to wake up early and wait for the color change before heading out, you basically have no control as to when the foundation will finish oxidizing. Second, it simply takes too much time and too much trial and error to find a foundation that will match your skin tone when it oxidizes.

There is no sure way to ensure that your foundation will not oxidize. As mentioned above, it all depends on your PH make up, the oils on your face and the ingredients used in the foundation. If it is the case where you simply cannot find a foundation that won’t oxidize on you, maybe consider using a BB cream instead.

Why Does My Foundation Oxidize?

There are a couple of reasons as to why your foundation oxidizes. Some of the ingredients in your foundation could be reacting with the air, the oils on your skin or ingredients from other makeup products that you happen to be wearing. The PH level of your skin also has an affect on your foundation.

How Long Does it take for Makeup to Oxidize?

Makeup can oxidize within 1 to 2 hours after application. Most makeup that is stored properly at room temperature and capped can last for up to 6 months but may oxidize after that.

What Happens When Foundation Oxidizes?

Depending on the type of foundation that you are using, you will know that your foundation has oxidized if you notice it:

– Turns hard (dried out)
– Becomes clumpy
– Becomes faded (loses color)
– Turns orange

makeup brushes

When it comes time to clean your foundation brush, you want to make sure that you do it right. Dirty brushes will lead to more skin complications later down the road. I recommend cleaning the brushes at least once a week. If you have the time, doing it twice a week is worth it. Clean brushes simply helps you apply makeup easier and keeps bacteria off your face.

All you need for cleaning your foundation brush is mild soap, warm water, a large bowl and some paper towels.

Follow these easy steps:

1) Simply mix 1 part mild soap with 4 parts of warm water in a large bowl

2) Dip only the tip of the brush into the warm water

3) Using your fingers, gently massage the tip of the brush to rub off the foundation

4) If the water gets too dirty, simply use a new bowl of water-soap mixture

5) Rinse the bristles in running water and double check to make sure it’s clean

6) Dry off the brush using paper towels and shape the brush with your fingers

7) Leave brush on table top to dry

Tip 1: Do not use harsh soaps as this will dry out the bristles of the brush. For best results, consider a makeup brush cleanser like Ecotools Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo

Tip 2: Keep soap water away from the base of the brush. The soap will loosen the glue used to set the base and bristles. This will destroy your brush.

If you have dry skin, then you may know that applying a bit of Vaseline (petroleum jelly ) over your facial moisturizer can really help seal in the moisture and quench your dry skin.

While you can apply foundation on top of Vaseline, you must be careful, because too much Vaseline can prevent your liquid foundation from properly setting, which can lead to it smearing off your face very quickly.

Also, many women actually use Vaseline to remove their makeup, since it works so well to break down the foundation and make it very easy to wipe off with just a damp cloth.

If you mix just a dab of Vaseline in with your daily facial moisturizer, wait five minutes for your moisturizer to sink in, then apply your liquid foundation, you are likely to have good results. Dust your foundation with a setting powder to help keep it from smudging.

However, if you use mineral powder foundation, then a little bit of Vaseline can actually help your powder foundation adhere to your face and give you a more full-coverage look. Just be sure not to over-do the Vaseline and apply it how you would apply it before using liquid foundation.

Can you use Vaseline as a primer?

Vaseline can be used as a makeup primer substitute. However, it depends on how you use it.

If you are considering using Vaseline as a primer, consider the following factors:

  • Factor 1: Your skin type – Take a look at your skin, if you have oily skin, I wouldn’t recommend using Vaseline as primer as it will make your face even more oily. If you have combination skin, take a moment to study your face and map out the areas that are heavy in oil and the areas that are dry. You can use Vaseline as a primer in the dry areas only if you have considered factor 2, which I will discuss below.
  • Factor  2: What you are trying to cover – Keep in mind that Vaseline is a clear, thick jelly that is mainly used to moisturize dry skin. It’s not very effective for clearing up dark blemishes or hard to cover areas (which is what a primer is used for). It does however, allow you to create a smooth surface for the application of your foundation while providing some moisturization benefits to your skin.

Therefore, considering what I had mentioned in Factor 1 above, I would use Vaseline as a primer only on areas of your skin that is dry or uneven. The point is to use a rather inexpensive product to “smooth out” areas of your skin before applying your makeup.

My only tip for using Vaseline as a primer is that you should only apply a light layer of it. If you apply too much, your makeup won’t stick which will ultimately create a mess.

If you are serious about your makeup, I would definitely recommend using a proper primer which will not only get the job done, it will save you time and give you less headaches!

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Can Vaseline be used as a face moisturizer?

Yes, Vaseline makes a great face moisturizer. Although it’s thick, it’s non-comedogenic which means it will not clog your pores. Vaseline is most effect on skin that is extremely dry. If you have oily skin, I recommend using an oil free face moisturizer which is usually more light weight and feels a lot more comfortable than using Vaseline.

Can you mix Vaseline with foundation?

Although you can physically mix Vaseline with foundation, there is no real benefit in doing so. If you are trying to add Vaseline to increase the thickness of your foundation (maybe for better coverage?), I would recommend using a primer instead.

If you are mixing Vaseline with foundation in hopes that it will give you better moisturization, I would recommend simply look for another foundation (such as a water based foundation) which will help moisturize your face.

Furthermore, not all foundations mix well with Vaseline and if you don’t know what you are doing, you may end up wasting foundation. Therefore, with all these reasons in mind, I wouldn’t recommend mixing foundation with Vaseline.

Can you remove makeup foundation with Vaseline?

Yes! You can! As a matter of fact, you can remove pretty much any type of makeup with Vaseline. It’s not going to be as effective as using your everyday makeup remover but it will get the job done if you don’t have a makeup remover lying around. If you want to use Vaseline to remove makeup, follow these steps:

  1. Dab a small amount of Vaseline on your fingertips and apply it on the area of your face that you want makeup removed.
  2. Using a makeup removal pad or small piece of facial tissue, apply light pressure on the area that Vaseline was applied and wipe in an outward motion
  3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all makeup is removed.
  4. Wipe away any excess Vaseline

You may find that it takes a lot longer to remove makeup with Vaseline. If you are in a hurry, I suggest using an actual makeup remover to do the job. One “go to” makeup remover that I use often is the Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes. These wipes are really handy because they allow you to remove makeup and clean your pores at the same time. They even work on waterproof mascara!

Can you use Vaseline as a highlighter?

A few of the readers of my blog have been asking me this question so I decided to write about it here. I guess what people are really trying to know is: Is it possible to mix Vaseline with other colored products (like foundation) and use the mixed solution as a highlighter. Although this in theory could be done, I highly don’t recommend it.

First, the mixed solution of Vaseline and other colored products may not be the exact color that you want to achieve. You may end up wasting a lot of time mixing and remixing the products together just to get it to the right shade.

Secondly, the mixed solution may not be in the right consistency for use as a highlighter. This makes it harder for you to apply the solution which again wastes even more time.

With these factors in mind, I highly suggest getting an actual highlighter instead. Highlighters like the Wet n Wild Megaglo Highlighting Palette is not expensive, comes in 4 different colors and is easy to apply.

A foundation cannot be used as a primer for the face. An exception is to use it as a lip or eye primer. 

Foundations do a great job at covering blemishes and other skin imperfections. However, it cannot replace a primer because it cannot create a smooth surface on your skin or make your other makeup last longer.

If you apply foundation directly on your skin, chances are that the natural oils on your face will break it down, causing it to look patchy and slide off your face.

If you have smooth skin and want to skip the primer and go straight to foundation, you can try to apply two coats of liquid foundation to build coverage and then set it with powder. This will help your foundation last a little longer. 

Use Foundation as Lip or Eye Primer

An exception is if you want to use your foundation as a lip or eye primer. Foundations can actually work very well as an eye shadow primer because the skin on these areas are usually less oil-prone.

You can use a foundation alone on your lip or eye areas or create a quick “foundation eye / lip primer” the can help your makeup last even longer.

Here is an easy DIY eye shadow or lip primer recipe using foundation:

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of natural lip balm, 1 teaspoon corn starch, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of liquid foundation. Apply the mixture to your eyelids before you apply eye shadow to help it last longer.

There are mixed opinions among beauty experts as to whether foundation primer is actually necessary or not.  When considering whether you should use a foundation primer or not, consider how long-lasting your current foundation is. If you find that you cannot go a full day without having to touch it up where it wears off, then it is a good idea to try a primer and see how you like it.

Color-correcting primers also offer a great way to help make your skin look brighter or eliminate redness without adding an extra step to your beauty routine. They also advise using your foundation primer on your eyelids to help your shadow last longer.

It is important to choose a primer that is compatible with your foundation, though. If you wear a water-based foundation, then stick with a water-based primer. However, if your foundation is silicone-based, which many popular ones are today, then go with a silicone-based primer.

While there are mineral powder concealers that you can use along with mineral foundation, liquid concealer can also be used with mineral powder foundation.

Most women who use liquid concealers with their mineral foundations prefer to put the concealer on first, then apply the mineral powder foundation, others apply to concealer after they apply their powder foundation.

Which is best? By applying the liquid concealer before the powder foundation, the powder foundation will set the concealer into place, which can help ensure it stays put all day long without smudging or creasing.

However, if you have a blemish and think your powder foundation will cover it and then realize it didn’t, don’t be afraid to pat that concealer right on top, and then dust it with a little translucent powder.

Many years ago, it was common advice among makeup and beauty experts to suggest that women wear concealers that are one shade lighter than their foundations. This advice circulated many years ago when it was not common for teenagers to wear makeup, and before adult acne became even more common.

According to beauty expert Paula Begoun, you should use a concealer under and around your eyes that is just a shade lighter than your foundation, but when choosing a concealer to cover acne and any other discolorations on your face, you should choose one that matches your foundation exactly.

The technique you use to apply concealer to hide blemishes is also very important, so check out this youtube video to see a great blemish coverage tutorial.

Using a concealer on acne that is a shade lighter than your face will not only call attention to the blemish, but also cause it to look larger. However, you want your makeup to draw attention to your eyes, and concealer around your eyes that is a bit lighter than your foundation will help them stand out and make you look more well-rested.

Primer FAQ

Sleeping with a primer on is not recommended, especially when you wore it throughout the day. It may trap pollutants, sweat, bacteria, and excess sebum, blocking the skin’s pores that can lead to acne breakouts.  Generally, wearing make-up, including a primer, for longer periods may block the pores in your skin.

You should avoid using a primer at night because sleeping with a primer on may interfere with the natural renewal process of the skin, which may lead to the development of wrinkles on the skin.

Sleeping in a primer with SPF or pearlescent ingredients such as mica or silica is not recommended. In fact, some sunscreen ingredients can irritate skin and chemical sunscreen ingredients are absorbed into the body to potentially harmful levels.

However, there are exceptions.  Some makeup primers are fine to sleep in and it depends on the primer. Some primers act like moisturizers to prevent skin dryness and may contain beneficial ingredients such as vitamins. Others may help unclog pores such as those with salicylic acid. Primers with dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and other related ingredients (called siloxanes) are fine to sleep in.

If you’re not sure whether your primer will harm your skin while you’re sleeping, it’s recommended to remove the primer before sleeping.

There are better products for nighttime beauty such as retinoids that help stimulate collagen renewal and can only be applied at night.

Contributors to This Answer: 

Daniel Boyer M.D. – Dr. Boyer is a practicing Doctor of medicine at Farr Institute with a focus on medical research. He specializes in molecular biology, histology, pharmacology, embryology, pathology, pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, and obstetrics.

Cynthia Bailey, MD, FAAD – Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey is based in Sebastopol, CA (Northern California wine country). Over the last 30+ years, she has helped over 15,000 patients overcome frustration and embarrassment caused by rosacea, acne, melasma, sun damage, dry skin, wrinkles, and other skin impurities.

Generally speaking, it’s fine to wear a primer every day.

Primers come in two main categories, water-based and silicone-based formulas. Silicones can trap sweat, dirt, and bacteria to further exasperate issues, particularly in those with acne-prone skin. While silicones based primers are considered a low hazard for human use and many skincare or beauty influencers swear by their performance, water-based primers are preferred for daily use.

How to Choose a Primer for Daily Use

Many of us have unique triggers that can cause breakouts, flare-ups, or other skin irritations, so always test a new primer in a smaller area for a couple of days to ensure you’re not overly sensitive to it. The good news is that there are many primers that offer a lot of variety to cater to the various skin types.

Looking for products that are labeled as non-comedogenic is what you should look for. These are specifically formulated to minimize pore clogs and issues, which we can all benefit from.

Primers are tailored towards the 4 major skin types:

  • Normal
  • Oily
  • Dry
  • Combination

Some are specifically tailored to help matte your natural shine (for oily skin) whereas others add hydrating elements (for dry skin).

What’s great about primers is that you can use them alone without adding additional foundation or make-up. This approach can be desirable for many who want to achieve a clean and refined no-make-up make-up look. If this is what you want to achieve, then wearing primer daily would be even better than your previous routine of products, as it lessens the number of products you apply each day and that gets absorbed in your skin.

How to Make Your Primer Last All Day

Some tips to give you the most mileage from your primer and skincare routine include:

Step 1: Apply your moisturizer within the first 2-3 minutes of exiting the shower. This is known as the Two-Minute or Three-Minute Rule. We recommend this because that timeframe from exiting the shower is when your skin will be most receptive to moisturizers, so by applying them then, you ensure the most absorption.

Step 2: If you use SPF each day, apply that next. Combination products exist and there’s no harm combining the moisturizer + SPF, but you want to make sure they’re applied below the primer.

Step 3: Add your primer once both of those products have dried. There are even combination primers that include SPF, which is better than nothing, but I’m a firm believer that having a designated SPF is important as its own layer.

If you go by the above approach, you shouldn’t have any issues wearing primer daily – whether that’s part of a skincare routine or a standalone product.

Contributors to This Answer:

Todd Minars, MD – Dr. Minars is a Board Certified Dermatologist at Minars Dermatology. He is the Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami School of Medicine and former Chief Resident in Dermatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

You don’t need a primer if you don’t wear foundation. However, there are still tons of great benefits to priming if you find the right one for your skin!

The makeup industry is constantly innovating and many modern primers are full of multiple skincare or makeup benefits.

Here are some benefits of using a primer if you don’t wear foundation:

Benefit 1 – Primers can benefit your non-foundation makeup: When you choose the right primer, your concealer (and any other makeup) will last longer and look better on top. A makeup primer can provide benefits for your other makeup even if you don’t wear foundation.

Benefit 2- Some primers can double as skincare products: Secondly, the right primer can work with your skin type or counteract skin issues that you may have.

If you have oily skin with a lot of visible pores, a mattifying pore-blurring silicone formula can make a huge difference to the appearance of your skin throughout the day!

If you have dry skin, a water-based primer containing hyaluronic acid or glycerin will help keep your skin hydrated all day! What about blemishes or redness? A green-toned primer can help counteract that redness to give the appearance of a more even skin tone.

Benefit 3 – Primers can make your bare skin glow: Certain primers can change the finish of your makeup or your bare skin. For example, illuminating primers provide a lit-from-within glow all over the face.

Benefit 4 – Some primers have built-in sunscreen: Primers often contain broad-spectrum SPF protection (anywhere from factor 15 – 50). This is important to keep your skin safe from the sun and reduce the chances of premature aging!

Contributors To This Answer:

Laura Chawke – Laura is the founder of Makeup Scholar, a site that combines a passion for beauty & makeup with rigorous research.