Can Moisturizer Act as a Primer?

Now I know that when you first start out with beauty products, it can be a bit overwhelming. You read a lot about how to use makeup and which makeup to use but it all seems daunting. Then, when you get some experience and it all makes a little more sense. You know what to use and how to use it for the purpose you want. And then there is the next step. Using products for other things than for what they are meant. The question of today “can moisturizer act as a primer” is such a thing. I know that in my early stages I didn’t know that I could use moisturizer as a primer (oops… spoiler alert!) But how to know which one to use? Which one will suffice for what you want with your skin and makeup?

That is where this article comes in. Read it entirely and find out if moisturizer can act as a primer if it’s the same as a primer and what other products you can use as a primer when you forgot it on your weekend away!

With so many makeup options, it can be difficult to understand what your face needs. Even if you do not wear much makeup, you should take care of your skin with a moisturizer. Primer can also be useful, even if you don’t wear anything over it. A question that many makeup wearers ask is can moisturizer act as a primer?

What is Primer?

Primer is a product you apply to your face so that the makeup you put on afterward stays in place. You put on primer before you put on foundation or a tinted moisturizer. Primer sometimes has serums with skin-softening benefits like hyaluronic acid. Others have sunscreen or soothing silicone as its base. 

Primers offer several benefits to skin besides preparing it for makeup. Primers can make pores practically invisible. They can also cause lines and wrinkles to disappear, too. Primers are often loaded with moisturizers while fighting acne. Primer can also make skin look more youthful, almost like a temporary facelift. 

You don’t have to apply a primer all over your face. Some people use them on their eyelids or brows to prep the skin for makeup applications. Others put their primer on their T-zone to control oil and shine. It’s all up to you. 

Can Moisturizer Act as a Primer?

The short answer to the question can moisturizer act as a primer is yes, but not all moisturizers will suffice. Moisturizer could act as a primer, but you shouldn’t use primer as a moisturizer. It helps if you put moisturizer on your face to protect your skin cells, but you do not need to use a primer. 

Moisturizer is a key to keeping your skin looking youthful for many years. Dry, irritated skin is prone to breakouts. Moisturizers balance the skin and should be part of your daily routine. If you are going to use a moisturizer as a primer, it should be one that absorbs quickly and makes the skin smooth and non-oily. 

Another moisturizer that would work as a primer needs to include ingredients like perlite that reduces pores’ appearance. 

Is Makeup Primer the Same as Moisturizer?

If you are wondering can moisturizer act as a primer, then you might wonder if a primer can moisturize. Makeup primer is not the same as moisturizer, but they can do similar work. Moisturizers enrich the skin, while primer prepares it for makeup applications. 

Some moisturizers are too oily, so makeup does not stay in place. Some primers do not include moisturizers. 

What Can Be Used Instead of Primer?

If you run out of primer before you can get to the store, a few options can take its place. One of the most commonly used substitutes is fragrance-free deodorant. It keeps the skin dry, so makeup stays in place, even in heat and humidity. 

Another popular replacement is BB cream. If you use it as a primer, just put a little bit on your fingertips before applying it. Many people actually prefer BB cream as a primer because it is light and airy and improves skin quality. 

Milk of magnesia will also prepare the skin for makeup. Instead of using it for an upset stomach, put some on a cotton ball, and dab it on your face. It keeps the skin from becoming too oily, so makeup stays in place. 

Finally, another standard replacement involves two substances that you probably have in your home: moisturizer and aloe vera gel. Mix a bit of each to get the redness-reducing benefits of aloe vera with the smooth finish from moisturizer. Let the combination dry on your skin before you apply makeup. 

Is Face Primer Necessary?

Primer is not necessary. But, primer can help even out skin tone and can be used on its own. Primer can color-correct. It can reduce redness, and it can accentuate the best qualities of your skin. It can also smooth your skin and plump it to add a youthful quality to it. 

Any makeup choice is yours to make, and some people do not feel they need a primer. If you have tried primer and didn’t like it, you might want to try a different type. Primer does help keep makeup in place. If yours does not stay on, then primer might be something to try. 

What Happens If You Don’t Use Primer Before Makeup?

If you have been using a primer that clogs your pores or flakes off during the day, then stopping usage is perfectly reasonable. But, if you haven’t tried a good primer, you are missing out on the benefits. Not using primer means that you aren’t getting all of the benefits of your makeup. It should stay on all day, and primer will help do that. 

You can use a primer that moisturizes dry skin or helps fight oily skin. It can reduce the sizes of your pores, and it can keep your makeup from flaking off during the day. If these things are important to you, you should apply primer as a part of your beauty routine. 

Is Primer Bad for Your Skin? 

Some primers are bad for your skin. Some will clog pores, but if they do, there is probably an underlying problem with your skin. Fortunately, some primers do have acne-fighting ingredients. It is best to use primers with hyaluronic acid and with moisturizers that include glycerin. 

Primers should not irritate your skin. If they do, stop using them. Makeup should make your face look better, not make it look red and irritated. 

What is the Best Face Primer?

There are several outstanding primers, but not every primer works the same for all wearers. Primers come in different formulas for dry, oily, and combination skin. They also come in different formulas for skin-care needs. For example, some primers have acne-fighters, while others make mature skin look younger. 

Primers are also available at several price points. It is possible to find primers with price tags under $5 and some that cost over $200. The best face primer is one you can afford that also enhances your skin. No primer should irritate your skin or make it look red and blotchy. They should all make your skin look smooth and supple. 

So, first, you should know what your “skin type” is. With this, I mean that you have to figure out if you need something for a dry, oily, and/or combination skin. Then you can start searching for something in your price range. A good alternative is always to just go to a beauty store and let them advise you. They know what they’re talking about :).

Reading material

If you found this interesting, I can’t even imagine what you’ll think of the other articles on this blog! That’s why I chose a couple of articles that I think you will find interesting. Click on the links below to go to the articles. Happy reading!

Can you use concealer as foundation?
How to clean your makeup brushes – is it important?
10 Makeup books for the makeup fanatic!

Joy-Lee Founder and writer of


Hi, my name is Joy-Lee and I'm the owner of As you might've noticed, I'm a true beauty lover, and made it my passion, my work and my hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings on a variety of beauty aspects and want to thank you for reading!