I Stopped Using Primer For Two Weeks & Here’s What Happened.

So I dunno if you guys remember, but I’ve been moaning for a few months now that no matter what I do, my foundation seems to keep playing slip and slide on my face. 

I’ve switched moisturisers, used a combination of primers at the same time. I’ve used mattifying agents before and after my foundation. Dude nothing worked. All of my foundations refused to set, or my face got oily about two hours after application. 

My routine looks like this. Wash, moisturise, sunscreen, primer, colour corrector, translucent powder over the colour corrector so that it stays in place in that order. Depending on how I’m feeling I may use powder on the oil prone parts of my face before I put my foundation on. 

Then, after all of that, foundation. I have a pretty decent stable of primers, but there are a few that I tend to use more than others. Up until recently all the primers that I’m gonna list worked wonderfully, this problem just cropped up recently. So this may turn into a “Great Primers” post also, two birds y’all.

My most used primer is this one, the Make Up For Ever Step One primer in Caramel. I use it when I have a foundation that is warm but not warm enough for me ore or leans a bit neutral, it really is a great first step. But I only use it with those sorts of foundations because otherwise it’s just too warm for me on it’s own, particularly in the summer time.



When I use that one, I also use the H&M Mattifying primer because the Step One on it’s own doesn’t keep the oily sections on my cheeks in check. I would never use this on it’s own all over though, because it’s too drying. It is an excellent dupe for Becca’s Ever Matte Poreless Primer so oily girls should have a go at this one, as it’s no more than $12.99 I believe. 



If I have a foundation that’s just fine, doesn’t need any sort of adjustments, I use this Anna Sui Gel Primer. It’s just a nice no muss, no fuss primer. It does have a tiny bit of a white cast, but after applying foundation it disappears. It is $36 though for a really small amount, but a little goes a long way so it may be worth it to some.




When I have a foundation that’s just too matte, I use the Makeup Revolution Blur Primer, which is a great dupe for the YSL Touche Éclat Blur primer as well as the Guerlain D’Or primer.



These are just a fraction of the primers I own, but as you can see, I’m invested. So the first instant when my brain said go without primer, the next instant it went “Nooo! Are you mad? You need primer!”

Turns out, I don’t. In fact I stumbled upon a few interesting bits. One, some of my foundations actually performed better without primer. They all look vaguely the same with primer and without, some looked better. Some happened to last longer. 

And just about all of them (I only tested the foundations that I reach for the most), either stopped transferring immediately or lessened considerably. I’ll break down the foundations I used and how they performed.


Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation – Look I love this foundation to bits. I love the finish and the absolutely perfect match. The fact that it’s full coverage without looking full coverage or cakey, just like my skin without the numerous hyperpigmentation marks on blast. 

What I hate about it, the way it seems to just sit on top of my skin without blending in and looks a little bit slick. The way that it transfers like a bitch. Of all my foundations that transfer, this has got to be the worst. I’m usually surprised at the end of a day that I’m still even wearing any foundation.

What Happened when I left the primer out of the equation – Literally everything that I hated about it disappeared. Did it still transfer? Yes, but only in the first I’d say ten minutes of me wearing it. After that, it stayed put. Bonus points to the slick look being abandoned and I seemed to have to use less of if than when I use a primer. Presumably because the primer was causing the foundation to either shift around or sticking to my brush.


Laura Mercier Candleglow Foundation – Everyone knows that this is my HG foundation. It also transfers like mad. If I randomly touch my face and then anything else, there it goes. The papers on my desk are covered in foundation fingerprints, that is embarrassing AF when I have to hand something to my boss.

What Happened when I left primer out of the equation – Just about everything improved. The transferring stopped, in fact it never did start. Like the Vanish I seemed to be able to use less as well, and probably the weirdest part was that the finish actually looked a lot better than it normally does and it generally looks fabulous.


Sephora 10hr Wear Foundation – This one doesn’t transfer near as much as the rest, but it still does and it never seemed to quite set. Or rather, it would seem to set and then about an hour later that satiny/dewy look would start to look a bit hyper.

What Happened when I left primer out of the equation – It stopped any sort of transfer. Once it was set that was that. It didn’t turn hyper-dewy. The satin matte finish that I started off with is what I was left with. Once again, seemed to use less product as well.


Black Radiance HD Mousse Foundation – The slippage was real with this one. Literal lines of foundation on my forehead like marching soldiers. Transference to every damn thing in sight. Heaven forfend, I lay my head on someone’s nice light coloured shirt. That happened by the way, the absolute mortification.

What happened when I left primer out of the equation – It stopped. All of it. It became the beautiful foundation that Black Radiance created it to be, and it looked even better than it did previously, mostly because you know, it stayed on my face. The Longevity was also obviously increased and I got a day’s wear out of it rather than a few hours, so now I’m most definitely getting one for the summer time.


Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation – Another one that I had some transfer issues with. Oxidisation was an issue as well although it only oxidised a small amount, it was still noticeable to me at the very least.

What happened when I left primer out of the equation – Oxidisation disappeared and so did all the transference. Once again I was able to use less product and the finish was as good looking, if not better than it was when I used primer.


When I didn’t use primer, the only thing that changed was me not using primer. I still moisturised, alternating between the lighter choices that I use in the daytime. I still colour corrected, powdered down the colour corrector and everything. 

The one thing that I found interesting was that after not using the primer, I didn’t need to use a translucent or mattifying powder. The first time I tried it, and the powder made me look very dry. The next time, I skipped the powder and didn’t see it making a difference in the wear time. 

When I insist on wearing a powder, it’s a hard habit to break y’all, I mostly use either my Sephora Sun Disk bronzer or the Guerlain Les Saisons powder/bronzer both of which have a radiance that offsets that dry look.

Of course not all of my foundations responded favourably. My waterproof foundations rebelled outright and did what they never do, slid right the hell off my face. 


Final Thoughts.

I’m not really sure what this all means. Does it mean that I won’t ever be wearing primer again? I doubt that, but I will probably do a thing where I alternate, maybe two weeks with and two without or even one week on and one off. 

I think perhaps my skin was reacting to that particular barrier by overproducing oils that were then breaking through and causing havoc with my foundations. Maybe there are ingredients in the particular primers that I was using, though I doubt that because they’re all so different. 

I dunno, at this point I’m just speculating, I’m just very surprised by this little experiment. Note that I’m not telling you that primer isn’t needed. I believe that in some instances it is, clearly waterproof foundation being one of them. But as this showed me, we probably need it a lot less than we think that we do.

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