Primers are great. They can make or break your makeup look by making your foundation last longer, smoothing out your skin’s appearance, and helping with oil control. The trouble is that some people may be allergic to the ingredients in their primers.
Primer allergies are a fairly common occurrence amongst women of all ages. So much so in fact, that many have wondered if it’s simply an allergy to the primer itself or whether their skin is just particularly sensitive. The silver lining here is that, since it is such a common occurrence, there are many alternative base products that work just as well and some even better than your primer.
1. Starting With The Basics
A primer is a base coat for your skin before applying foundation or lotion that helps to smooth out imperfections and even out skin texture. If you’re having trouble applying your makeup with oily skin, a primer can help with oil control. It also helps keep your foundation and other cosmetics in place longer throughout the day.
Some of the ingredients in common primers include dimethicone, which gives it that silky smooth feel, silicone emulsions, to make them oil-free, and glycerin, for a nice slip. If you react poorly to any of these, whether it’s dermatitis or another allergy, you can try using some substitutes.
2. Silica powder As a Silicone Substitute
Dimethicone is a common ingredient in eyelid primers because it’s so effective at keeping your eyelids matte and helping eye shadows stay put all day long. However, if you’re allergic to it you’ll want to find a replacement. Luckily, there are several alternatives to this ingredient. The main one is silica powder, which is a form of silicon dioxide that we know as “sand.”
You can buy it in loose powder and mineral makeup forms and use it as a great eyelid primer substitute — just like you would with traditional silicone primers! It helps your eyeliner to stay on for hours without cracking or fading.
3. Rosewater For a Hydrating Primer
If you’re trying to avoid silicone altogether, try out some options that don’t contain them instead. Some great ones include aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, and glycerin. You can also try using a face mist that contains witch hazel to help with oil control.
As a lightweight moisturizer, hypoallergenic rosewater is perfect for sensitive skin. With its refreshing scent and natural antioxidant properties, it’s also a great tool for calming inflammation caused by redness or breakouts. If you’re in the market for a new makeup base that’ll help your face look more dewy and rosy, rosewater is a great alternative to face primers.
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, micellar water can be a great way to gently remove dirt, oil, and makeup without the risk of irritation. It’s also more versatile than rosewater or glycerin because it can be used as a cleanser or a moisturizer. However, it might not be as effective at helping your makeup stay on longer. To achieve that, you can mix it with ingredients like olive oil or aloe vera.
4. Coconut Oil As a Primer For Oily Skin
While coconut oil is known to help with acne and reduce redness, its main use has to be as an alternative moisturizer for dry skin. It contains several fatty acids that act as emollients, helping the skin to retain moisture and remain soft while also giving it a nice glow. It’s great for oily or combination skin, too. To use coconut oil as a primer, just mix some with your foundation to help it go on smoothly and reduce shine all day long! Just be careful when removing makeup at night — it may leave behind some oil, too.
5. Shea Butter As a Glycerin Alternative
Glycerin is great because it helps the products you layer on top of it spread evenly over your face. It has humectant properties, which means it can hold onto water and keep moisture locked in. For this reason, glycerin-based primers are best for those with dry skin. However, if you have oily, acne-prone skin, glycerin can make your complexion worse by creating a barrier on top of it.
If that’s the case, you may want to try shea butter as a primer base instead. In terms of its molecular structure, shea butter is a triglyceride just like your cell membranes. This similarity makes it very useful for penetrating deep into the skin without clogging pores or causing acne.
If you have oily or combination skin, shea butter can be a great way of getting the hydration you need. It’s also versatile because it can be applied to damp or dry skin, allowing for different levels of coverage and slip. Shea butter is thick and rich, so it works best when paired with lighter ingredients like aloe vera juice or rosewater.
6. Jojoba oil For Sensitive Skin
Jojoba oil is an amazing ingredient to try as a primer base for several reasons. First, it’s very similar to the oil your skin naturally produces, which means it’s unlikely to irritate your complexion or clog pores. Instead, it will help balance out sebum production and keep your face healthy overall.
It also contains high levels of vitamin E, making it a great antioxidant for free radicals and other environmental stresses. This will help your makeup last longer by preventing oxidation caused by pollution or sunlight.
Just like shea butter, jojoba oil is versatile because it can be used on damp or dry skin. You can mix it with other moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, rosewater, or glycerin for different effects.
7. Rosemary Extract As a Mattifying Primer Alternative
Rosemary extract is a great alternative to primer because it contains high levels of antioxidants that improve the skin’s health while giving your makeup a smooth finish. It can help tighten pores and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, making it perfect for mature skin. It’s also a natural astringent, which means it can be used to control shine and keep your face fresh all day long.
Rosemary extract has many of the same benefits as rosewater but is more potent thanks to its high antioxidant content. It can also help balance pH levels in the skin, making it less likely to overproduce oil.
These are by no means the only substitutions available. The best way to find the right ingredient is to experiment by mixing different moisturizers or foundations and applying them on your eyelids without any makeup. After you’ve determined what works for you, try switching primers and see if it makes a difference in your favorite products’ wear time and overall look. Happy priming!