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Makeup Primer: It's Underwear for Your Face

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Welcome to Girl Friday, our new weekly column, where professional makeup artist Amanda Storey shares the latest in trends, tips and tricks in the world of makeup and beauty.


Image by Aleshyn_Andrei via Shutterstock

You know how your clothes look so much better when you wear Spanx underneath? Well, primers are Spanx for your face. Sure, you can get away with not wearing them, but you'll always get a better result when you layer primer under your makeup. Here are my favorite tried and true makeup primers.

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is a product I cannot live without. I like to think I have normal eyelids, not oily and not dry, just the standard issue eyelid skin. So it's puzzling to me that when I put eyeshadow or eyeliner on my bare eyelids, within 10 minutes it has smeared, creased or disappeared. I've tried just about every eye primer that you hear about, the ones your friends swear by. None of them worked for me. Finally, while checking out at Sephora, I was asked if I wanted to redeem "my points" and pick a sample of my choice. I chose the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, but I did not expect it to be my Holy Grail of eye products. I now wear it every single day, whether I wear eye makeup or not. It is completely clear, smoothes the texture of my eyelid and keeps them from getting shiny. When I layer eyeshadow or eyeliner over it, the products perform amazingly all day. They don't budge until I remove them. The NARS eye primer is $24 and mine lasts for about 6 months with everyday use.

Girl Friday Tip: The opening of the primer tube has a little plastic "inner tube." If you are getting to the end of your primer pull the "inner tube" out with needlenose pliers. There is seriously two more months worth of primer stashed inside that the wand can't reach with the "inner tube" intact. You're welcome!

I've been hearing about makeup setting sprays for a few years now, and I've always been skeptical of their abilities and a little afraid of what ingredients it would take to lock your makeup on all day. This year my skin has been changing. I used to have super dry skin, but now I am noticing that it gets a little oily and my makeup starts to fade midday. I am not a fan of packing on powder or touching up so I decided to give sprays a chance. After watching a few of my favorite youtube makeup artists swear by Skindinavia Bridal Makeup Finish ($29), I put it in my online basket.

Skindinavia claims their product keeps your makeup intact for 16 hours, makes your skin appear smoother and more radiant, and reduces smudging, sliding and oil-breakthrough. All of these claims plus no parabens, no sulfates and it's safe for sensitive skin—it seemed too good to be true. I couldn't have been more wrong! I absolutely adore it. I complete my makeup and spritz my face twice, before mascara. My makeup looks fresher, less "makeup-y" and extra radiant. I have completely abandoned my touch-up compact since I began using this spray. It hasn't caused my skin any irritation or breakouts. I picked the Bridal Makeup Finish because I am getting married next year and it's never too early to begin testing out ways to enhance my blushing bride makeup look.

A few months back I was glam-a-fying a bridal party of eight woman in Sonoma. I made sure to pack all of my wedding essentials: waterproof mascara, smudge resistant eyeliner and kiss-proof lipstick. As an afterthought I threw the Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour primer ($32) in my makeup case too. I counted on it being hot that day, but I had no idea it would be 108 degrees and that the house they would be getting ready in would have no air conditioner. These poor women were irritable and sweating profusely. None of them wanted to wear clothes, let alone a face of glamour makeup. I rounded up as many fans as I could find and primed each of their faces with Stay Flawless. Their makeup stayed intact perfectly, even with the sweat beading through. Since then I have used Stay Flawless on all of my clients on the most important days of their lives. Days when you really need perfect makeup and have no time to think about it. Stay Flawless is weightless, paraben-free and really enhances the wear of anything you layer on top it. One downside to this primer is that you have to act quickly! I apply Stay Flawless on one side of the face and then quickly apply makeup over it. Then I repeat the application on the other side.

Girl Friday Tip: While Stay Flawless is not touted as a lipstick primer, I have found that it greatly extends the wear of my lipstick. I apply it all over my lips and promptly layer my lip color over it. The pigment seems brighter, it doesn't fade or bleed and lasts hours longer!

What products do you use to extend the life of your makeup? Please comment, I'd love to know what works for you and what I should try next!--by Amanda Storey
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