What different colour primers mean

Thursday, 17 November 2016


Makeup primer is a godsend! Whether you use it when wearing a full face of make-up every day or you prefer to keep it simple with BB cream and tinted lip balm, it holds your make-up for longer and combats shine, amongst other things. So, if you haven’t been using them this is the wake-up call you need.

Do you need it?

Many people often skip using primers because they believe they don’t really need it, are unsure of how to use it or don’t think it’s worth the investment. But make-up fundi’s will tell you different. According to La’eeqa Yunus, in-house make-up artist for CATRICE SA, a primer is important as it fills in any fine lines and wrinkles on your skin and acts as a barrier between your skin and the make-up. ‘Primers allow your foundation finish to look more natural and imitate the appearance of flawless skin,’ adds Ryno Mulder from Bodyography.

How to use them

Because you’ll be applying foundation right after you prime your skin, you don’t need to coat your face with it. ‘Use a pea-sized amount and apply it to your nose and the centre of your face and spread outwards using your hands, a foundation brush or the original beautyblender, R398, available from Placecol, Perfect 10 and Dream Nails countrywide,’ says Ryno. ‘Concentrate on problem areas. If you have enlarged pores, press the primer into the pores filling them up in order to make the skin surface even and smooth. If you are using a colour correcting primer concentrate on the areas of the face where there is obvious discolouration in order to neutralise redness or pigmentation.

How to choose

Here comes the hard part – which primers should you use and for what? There are a billion types of primers out there. Experiment a bit to find a primer suitable for your skin type. ‘If a person has oily skin, I’d advise using a primer that is mattifying. If you have dry skin, choose a primer that is hydrating/ illuminating, like CATRICE Prime And Fine Smoothing Refiner, R104, 95′ she La’eeqa. Ryno thinks you should opt for a clear primer if you’re a first time user, like Bodyography Clear Veil Primer, R425, which is universally suitable and will make your skin look flawless.



Colour primers

Primers also come in an array of colours, each with a different function. ‘Colour correcting primers work on the principle that a contrasting colour neutralises the colour on the opposite spectrum of the colour wheel,’ says Ryno. ‘If your skin tone is overly warm and looks red because of rosacea or flushing or acne, green primer knocks out the redness. Your face won’t look green, it will just not look bright red anymore. If your skin has grey or brown spots due to pigmentation marks, a peachy-toned primer acts as a corrector by removing that ashy appearance. If your skin looks lacklustre, a bronze primer will give it warmth,’ he adds.

Not sure how to separate your blues from your pinks? Here’s our simple guide on which colour you should be using:

Clear – a clear primer offers all the benefits mentioned above, but does not have any additional colour correcting properties. Stick with a clear formulation if your only concerns are evening out your complexion and perfecting your foundation application. Try Palladio Foundation Primer, R129,95

Green – these neutralise redness, so if you have any red spots or marks on your skin, this is the colour to go for. Try Bodyography Green Primer, R425

Pink – best for brightening the complexion. No matter what your skin tone, if you feel your skin needs some extra radiance and luminosity, this is the colour for you. Try Revlon PhotoReady Color Correcting Primer, R249.

Bronze / gold – caramel shades combat ashiness in medium and dark skin tones. If you find your skin looks dull or colourless, this is the colour for you. Try Bodyography Veil Foundation Primer in Tahitian Glow, R425

Yellow – these have a lightening effect, so can be used where the skin is uneven or to hide dark marks and imperfections. These shades are best suited to medium and dark skins. Try Inglot Yellow HD Corrective Primer Base Corrective, R499

Purple – purple primers counteract sallow undertones (these are mostly yellow undertones). Especially common in Indian skin tone, yellow undertones can leave the skin looking a bit pasty. Try NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer, R209.95

Multi – some primers contain swirls of more than one colour. Look at the colour combinations used, as each of the colours in the formulation will serve a different function. These primers are great for anyone who wants more than one benefit. Try Almay Smart Shade Primer, R199.

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  1. Monica Ritter

    I need to get my hands on a green primer! I’m just wondering though, is it better to cover up redness with a green primer or a green concealer?

    3 years ago •


    I use a CC cream sometimes. It gets the job done.

    3 years ago •

  1. gail.swart@momentum.co.za

    I am currently using catrice prime and fine primer, but I have noticed that my Foundation flakes when wearing the primer underneath. So I have now stopped using the primer and don’t know if I should try a different one. I have dry skin and thought the catrice one would be perfect.

    3 years ago •

  1. Amanda Dugmore

    I have never used primer before, but after reading the article it is definitely worth a try. As my skin is older now, it would be interesting to see the difference between primer or not.

    3 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    The only primmer I tried was by Rimmel. Interesting insight. I was unaware of the various shades and colour contrasts.

    3 years ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    Now, this was interesting information. I was not sure about the different colour primers.

    3 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    I always opt for the clear ones! Really love what primers do to the skin. :)

    3 years ago •

  1. Lorraine

    Thanks for the advice , they say you are never to old to learn

    3 years ago •

  1. Limakatso Mthimunye

    Very informative, I actually knew nothing about primers, imagine!

    3 years ago •

  1. samantha.m87

    I have tried the Inglot colour correcting primer in yellow and it really lives up to its claims as well as ensuring the longevity of makeup once applied.

    3 years ago •

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