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What Is Makeup Primer? And Do I Need it?

What is makeup primer and do I need it? These were questions I found myself asking on numerous occasions. I suppose the hype around primers and the fact that there were so many on the market led me to ask the questions. And so with questions must come answers and the next step was to go about finding them. I am not one to profess that I know all there is to know about make up but being on sets for the past 20 years and having my face beat week on week has helped in securing knowledge of the basics!

So where do I start? Who do I ask? And my answer came thanks to Smashbox. I have been using other Smashbox products for a while now and love them so much they seemed a good place to start.

Basically, it seems that if you haven’t been using a primer up until now you really have been missing out. I’ll be honest, the idea of paying for an extra layer of make up wasn’t really in my future but once I started using it for myself I was hooked. I think the most important thing to note is that you need to decide on the right primer specific to your own individual needs. I found it easier to breakdown the main benefits of primer into five consolidated points and then see which one best suited my needs. So here goes my breakdown and I hope it helps you and your new primer journey.

PRIMER BENEFIT #1: Smoother and Longer Lasting Makeup!

Who doesn’t want their make up looking like you’ve just applied it, despite having had it on all day? This benefit is one of the main reasons for using a primer so if you have days filled with appointments and need to look at the top of your game all day primer is for you! Not just limited to the office of course but also anything outdoors. Not only do primers help decrease sweating through the pores, which makes your makeup stay in place longer, they also act as a natural shield for dust, water and debris.

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

  • diminishes the look of fine lines and pores
  • smooths uneven surfaces
  • adjusts uneven skin tones

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light

  • protects combination skin
  • lightweight texture
  • ideal for sensitive, acne-prone, oily or combination skin

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer

  • 24 hours hydration
  • locks on foundation and makes it last
  • smooths skin, softens dry fine lines and stops makeup settling into pores

A side note on what the Smashbox brand is actually about. The brand was founded in a photographic studio FOR set life. Which is why this long-lasting characteristic of primers makes perfect sense when it comes to Smashbox.

PRIMER BENEFIT #2: Minimise Pores!

Granted not every woman suffers from large pores, but what is great about primer is that it helps no matter the size of the pores. I myself have never really had large pores, but even if I use a liquid foundation it can make them more visible. Makeup primer can therefore help by sealing your pores (not clogging) and creating almost a layer over them.

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer

  • instantly blurs and reduces the look of pores
  • absorbs oil all day for flawlessly smooth, shine-free skin
  • sweat and humidity-resistent

PRIMER BENEFIT #3: Skin Protection!

Living in Africa we all know the dangers of the sun. Having said that I do love it and so having an extra layer of SPF on the face which simultaneously enhances makeup seems like a win win situation.

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Dermaxyl Primer

  • protects against UVA/UVB rays
  • supports anti-aging with SPF 20

PRIMER BENEFIT #4: Colour Corrector!

I myself suffer with pigmentation which leads to a slight discolouration in my skin. Using a primer can counteract the discolouration and allows for an even distribution of foundation on the skin. Other issues that woman commonly suffer from are redness and dark spots. By using a colour correcting primer on these areas (whether its the entire face or concentrated areas) you are able to even out the skin tone.

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Colour Correcting Blend

  • apricot colour tames discolouration
  • minimises the look of fine lines and pores
  • evens out skin tone

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Colour Correcting Adjust

  • green colour counteracts redness
  • minimises the look of fine lines and pores
  • reduces redness


With contouring and highlighting on the tip of everybody’s tongue it only seems natural that there would be a primer that adds to this ever-popular makeup trend. Whether you are posing for photos for a wedding or just at a friends braai, adding a primer with a radiant glow will enhance your skin tone two-fold whilst of course allowing for that added benefit of smoothing out your foundation and making it last longer.

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer

  • adds a golden-hour glow
  • hyaluronic acid for all day moisture
  • doubles as a highlighter

Suggested Primer = Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil

  • instant radiance
  • reduces appearance of dry and fine lines
  • ultra light and fast-absorbing

From the above benefits I quickly came to realise that I fitted into more than one category and so I like to have at least two primers depending on the day. Having said that, even though one primer may be more beneficial than another dependent on the issue, on the whole all of the above Smashbox primers can tick most boxes just by using one of them.

I do hope this helps you on your primer journey, I know I’ll never look back.


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