Can You Wear Makeup Without Primer?

Learn here if you can wear makeup without using a primer

Makeup can make your skin look amazing, but you have to start with a good base. If you’re like me, you probably like to play with your foundation and different products to use before and after this crucial step. One of the best tools in your cosmetic bag is primer. If you’re new to primer or not sure if you’re using it correctly, no fears! We are here to help guide you through it because we want you to look and feel confident no matter what skin you choose to be in.

Can you wear makeup without primer?

You can absolutely wear makeup without primer. You can also wear primer without makeup. (We’ll get to the benefits of primer in a bit.)The cool thing about makeup is that it is a unique and personal experience for everyone. Some people just don’t like to have an extra step by using primer, and that is perfectly fine. My makeup routine changes depending on my mood or the look I want to create that day. Do your thing, my girl (or my guy). You are beautiful either way.

Can you wear foundation without primer?

You can definitely wear foundation without primer, and there are several foundations available that are formulated with primer built-in. There are also products like BB creams, CC creams, or certain tinted moisturizers that can be used instead of foundation that I actually do not recommend using with primer.

Something to keep in mind is that these products usually only give light coverage, so if you have blemishes or discoloration you wish to cover, you will want to use concealer as well. It is ultimately up to you and what you feel looks best based on the look you are going for on that particular day.

What does primer do to your skin and makeup?

Primer smooths pores and blurs texture (think enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles, dry patches, and/or bumpiness from skin conditions) for a nice, even canvas for foundation or eye shadow to bond onto. For foundation, this will make your skin look more flawless, both in tone and texture. For eye shadow, you will definitely notice a huge difference in color payoff and less creasing.

A great makeup hack most people don’t know is you can use eye shadow primer on your lips to make the color last longer, product not settle into vertical lip creases, and control feathering. If you are a lip color lover, you should definitely test this. The eye shadow primer I have found to work best on everyone is made by Thank Me Later and makes eye makeup look gorgeous for hours and hours without budging.

Which face primer formulas work best for you depends on your skin type. If you have dry skin, opt for a hydrating primer. When you have oily skin, opt for a mattifying primer. or when you have combination skin as I do, look for formulas that specifically claim “for all skin types.”

Sometimes I like to mix products by using mattifying primer on my oily and acne-prone T-zone area and hydrating or illuminating primer on my cheeks to make a nice base for bronzer, blush, and highlight. Primer also comes in different consistencies.

Creams are formulated more like a moisturizer but can also be slightly translucent and more slippery like a gel. Sprays are very lightweight and usually double-duty as a setting spray to set the entire makeup look once complete. Putty (or sometimes called jelly) primer is super thick and “sticky,” but really locks the foundation in place all day or all night, especially if you’re going for a glam look or combating sweat and humidity.

Is wearing makeup without primer bad for your skin?

Wearing makeup without primer is not necessarily bad or good for your skin. This all depends on preference and how your skin reacts to cosmetics. Some people find that primer (or certain formulas of primer) clogs their pores while others have to wear a primer for their foundation (or certain formulas of foundation) to NOT clog their pores.

Any time products are applied to your skin, no matter how synthetic or natural, there is a chance for irritation, clogging, or even allergic reactions. Skin irritation and allergies can also change at any age or stage of life, so what works for you now may not work for you a few years down the road – and vice versa.

Can primer make your makeup look worse?

Primer can be tricky to get right, and if done wrong, you can have a very not cute situation on your face. First things first – know your skin type! Are you normal, dry, oily, or in combination? Also, you may not be the same skin type all the time. I usually have combination skin, but become very oily in the humid summer months and dry-combination in the winter. My skin type also changes according to geographical location and hormonal fluctuations.

Knowing your skin type at any given time is of utmost importance with most skincare and/or base makeup routines to properly care for your skin and get the most out of your skincare and makeup products. If you have oily skin and use a hydrating primer, chances are your makeup will look fantastic for about an hour or so. Then your foundation will start slipping and separating because you have too many oils that cannot absorb into your skin for your foundation to be able to stay in place.

On the other hand, if you have dry skin and use a mattifying primer, your makeup is going to start flaking off very quickly and can actually make you look older by accentuating fine lines and wrinkles and exaggerating any other texture issues you may have. If you have mature skin, the brands L’Oreal and No. 7 have wonderful options made specifically for your needs, and I highly recommend you try it out!

What can I use if I don’t have primer?

A natural alternative that has loads of skin-loving benefits is aloe vera gel. Mix with a dab of facial moisturizer to smooth the skin while hydrating. Aloe vera is rich in antioxidants and folic acid, ideal for sensitivity, discoloration, acne, and overall skin health and can be used as a daily moisturizer for a healthy glow for all skin types.

A great (and budget-friendly) alternative to primer is the milk of magnesia. This works especially well for oily skin. It mattifies as it smooths, making a nice canvas for your foundation. I do have to warn you that it is best to use a beauty blender for foundation application afterward to avoid flaking the dried milk of magnesia off. This is also not a primer you can use without makeup, as it will give your skin a chalky cast with some patterning.

The result is nice, but it does look a little crazy while en route. Another alternative is anti-chafing cream. Yes, I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. It is non-greasy, dries on contact, and has a silky feel (to save your thighs from friction rash and heatstroke in shorts or dresses). This works really well if you are in a pinch or don’t want to spend extra money to try out primer before you commit to a purchase.

In conclusion, primer is in no way a necessity to wear makeup. However, it can greatly enhance your makeup routine if utilized correctly. You may wear primer by itself or under makeup, depending on the formula, your skin type, and the look you want to achieve. My favorite primers are NYX Marshmallow 10-in-1 Primer for a more “daily” look and E.L.F. Poreless Putty Primer for when I really want to go all out and need my makeup to stay put and look flawless for a long period of time.

There are primers readily available for literally every skin type and budget. Even though my two favorites are very affordable drugstore brands, there are also excellent high-end primers to consider if you really want to treat yourself, like Urban Decay’s All Nighter Primer and Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer. I hope you found this read helpful and try adding primer to your routine. I promise you will love it!

Furher reading material

Now you know if you can wear makeup without a primer and how and why you might do just that. I hope you learned a lot today and that this information can help you in your future makeup endeavors! To give you a jump-start, I have hand-picked a couple of articles that you just might like! Click on one of the links below and find out more about your favorite subject.

Can Moisturizer Act as a Primer?
Can You Wear Eyeshadow Without Eyeliner?
How to Set Makeup Without Powder?


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!

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