The Not-So-Well-Known Product About To Become a Staple in Your Makeup Routine

The tug-of-war between wearing makeup and wanting to look natural is a game we have all played since we first started wearing makeup. And, as we age, makeup, especially foundation, can be a key tool in looking and feeling younger. But how do we balance the fear of overdoing it with the desire to enhance what we’ve got? The answer lies in one of my favorite makeup tools: primer.

Primers have entered the makeup category stealthily. There aren’t many ads for them, and they are not (yet) a household name. But it won’t be long before this new best-kept makeup secret is a one of your favorite makeup tools. If you have ever wondered how some women manage to look fresh all day, their secret is most likely a primer.

The primer category is teeming with options; it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. For those of us who like to wear a light foundation to minimize fine lines, moisturize, and even out skin tone, hyaluronic-based primer is the way to go. Jouer’s Anti-Aging Moisture Primer is one of the most popular. The hyaluronic properties work by plumping the skin and minimizing pores and fine lines. Just a pearl-sized portion spread over clean skin serves as the perfect base for foundation. Use a primer in the morning, and eight hours later, your foundation, blush, and eyeshadow will magically still look like you just applied it.

Primers are a workhorse of a product. Yes, they prime the skin for makeup application, but they can also be used alone. I like to use the Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer to give my face a polished, dewy look when I am going au naturale. Illuminating primers like Stila’s HD Illuminating Balm are also a great way to give your face a natural polish when you aren’t wearing foundation. I like to use a primer as a morning moisturizer when I am heading to the gym and don’t want a full face of makeup.

And I love the natural glow of an illuminating formulation. My absolute favorite right now is Kevyn Aucoin’s Neo-Elixir Weightless Beauty Oil. Lightweight and long-lasting, it’s formulated with squalane oil that’s deeply moisturizing and elastomer powder which softens the skin. It has an illuminator that gives your skin the most beautiful glow. If I had all the money in the world, I’d take a bath in it…that’s how good it is. In fact, I sold out of my first shipment in two days because I am totally obsessed with it.  Not to worry, I have ordered a TON more.

Primers also solve a lot of problems with eye makeup as well. Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer line features a Lid Primer which will keep eyeshadow locked in place and looking fresh all day. One of my favorites from the Smashbox line is the Hydrating Under Eye Primer. This formulation is infused with gentle ingredients like peptides and caffeine, which help combat puffiness and dark circles. It works wonders at keeping concealer smooth and preventing it from settling into fine lines. And, it’s a great hydrating pick-me-up, used alone or under makeup.

Primers can also offer an opportunity to sneak some sunscreen into our skin care regimen. There are several products that include sunscreen as an ingredient. One huge benefit of using a primer with sunscreen is that it doesn’t affect the feel or scent of the formulation like I have experienced with some foundation/sunscreen mixtures. One great primer with sunscreen is the Coola Mineral Primer in Daydream for all skin types. Not only will it blur pores and fine lines, but it’s also water resistant up to 40 minutes.

With spring slowly but surely approaching, it’s the perfect time to give a primer a try. Come into Bellacara to check out the different options we have, and let us recommend one for you. Primers are a great way to give your makeup a jumpstart and treat your skin to a good dose of TLC.


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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