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Looking as good as you do doesn't always come easily. It takes skincare and artfully applied cosmetics to make your face flawless. If your skincare routine involves using moisturizer and makeup primer, you may wonder what the right order is, or if you even need to use both at all. While there's no perfect mathematical formula to this skincare debate, the answer may depend a lot on your unique skin type.
Two Products, Similar Purposes
Before primers, your moisturizer kind of worked to accomplish the same goals. It kept your skin soft so your makeup was easier to smooth on. In some instances, moisturizer and primer are like oil and water: They don’t mix. This is particularly true when your primer is a moisturizing primer. Unless your skin is super, super dry, you don’t need to double up on the moisture. Otherwise, your skin may actually start to look uneven, which is the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish.
Yes, it’s OK
Sometimes your primer can serve double duty, containing moisturizing ingredients and even sunscreens that make a moisturizer unnecessary. In this instance, it’s perfectly acceptable and even saves you a makeup step when you use primer without moisturizer. As an added bonus, your primer can extend the life of your makeup whereas extra moisturizer can cause your makeup to feel “slippery.”
When You Need Both
If you have really dry, flaky skin, skipping the moisturizing step may not work before you apply the primer. That’s because you need moisturizer to rid your skin of dryness. Even if a primer has moisturizing ingredients, the primer may not be as effective as a dedicated moisturizer. If you need both, be sure to leave plenty of time between applications. Let your moisturizer soak in for a few minutes before applying your primer to allow each to set appropriately.
Keep Everything Oil-Free
Whether you apply moisturizer or primer or both, make sure the products are oil-free if you're prone to acne breakouts. Oil-containing products can clog your pores and affect the consistency of your makeup application. If you do apply both, use your moisturizer before your primer, then apply your foundation. If you apply the products in reverse, the makeup-clinging effect may not be as pronounced. If you find the right primer, however, you likely can skip the moisturizing step.