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April 7, 2010

To Prime or Not to Prime


It’s one of the most frequently asked questions I get, and I am always afraid to answer it! So I called in makeup artist—and majorly honest—Suzy Martin for the bottom line on primers.

Q:  Do I really need a primer?

A. Sometimes. It can feel like an extra step, but primers have come a long way in that they now target specific issues. My favorites are by BECCA cosmetics—there’s for every skin type and situation:

BECCA Mineral SPF Primer ($42) contains SPF 30, has a visible smoothing effect, helps makeup adhere and wear longer, seals in moisture, and increases hydration.
BECCA Silky Hydrating Primer ($39) plumps, tightens, firms and refines the skin to create a soft, even surface for makeup. It visibly smoothes fine lines and pores.
BECCA Mattifying Primer ($39) also smoothes fine lines and pores, but is particularly excellent for oily skin that needs mattifying. It also doubles as a non-greasy hand cream!
BECCA Line and Pore Corrector ($36) minimizes large pores and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that create a smooth base for under-eye concealer, eye shadow, and lip color. I like to use it as a liquid powder for on-the-go shine reduction.

If the extra step is still too exhausting to think about, all of Bobbi Brown’s moisturizers—which I love—have a built-in primer. They may not perform specific duties like BECCA’s, but you get a 2-for-1 benefit without the added step.

This weekly column features beauty advice from yours truly, with help from some of the brightest experts in the business. Whether you’re searching for the best bronzer or contemplating Botox, send questions to

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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