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How makeup primers can help you get through the holidays looking your best

Use foundation primer for a smooth canvas on your face
Use foundation primer for a smooth canvas on your face

There has been much talk lately about makeup primers: for your face, for your lashes. But what exactly IS a primer and do you really need one? We already have enough stuff we put on our faces--do we need to add even more?

Well, in a word, YES; and a good primer can actually help you wear less makeup in the long run. Here's how:

Primers act a barrier between skin and foundation (or whatever you put on next). Think of it this way--just as a painter prepares a canvas, a primer prepares your skin. It smooths the skin, filling in little cracks and crevices, wrinkles, blemishes, etc. The main difference between a primer and moisturizer is that your foundation adheres to it, making it stay true throughout the day. So you will need less touch-ups during the day, which is always a good thing.

The number one selling primer in the U.S. is Laura Mercier's--available in several versions--normal, hydrating, oil-free, mineral, etc. for $30.00 per tube. Just a tiny dot is needed for your whole face, so that tube will last a long time. You can mix it in with your moisturizer to save a step if you'd like.

Another quite popular brand is Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. Winner of practically every award under the sun (Winner of Best of Sephora Award for Best Primer, one of Marie Claire's "25 Products That Will Change Your Life", & an InStyle Best Beauty Buy) this fabulous primer is your one-stop step to fabulous! Available at Sephora, Ulta, and directly from Price: $36.

Now lashes: we've discussed lashes here before but I can't stress enough the importance of a good lash primer. People literally stop me on the street to ask what brand of false eyelashes I use (for the record: never worn them in my life!) and I tell them it's all due to my primer and good mascara. Here's my trick:

Start with the Smashbox Layer Lash Primer with Panthenol. I've tried lots of lash conditioners (which is something different but we'll discuss that in another article), lash growers (which contain prostaglandins and cost hundreds of dollars), and I always come back to this product. For sixteen bucks you get lush, full lashes, no matter what you have to start with. Quite the deal.

Simply apply at the base of your lashes, let dry, curl, (I find lashes curl better after you apply the primer), apply a bit more, then put on your mascara (one or two coats) while product is still a bit sticky. Applying while sticky helps the mascara adhere better to the primer. You will notice a significant difference in both the volume and length of your lashes. Perfect for party season!

For more tips on application, go to They offer free shipping on any order and free jumbo samples. Quite fun and great for this time of year.