A Perfect Palette

Every artist needs to prime his canvas before he begins to paint. The same is true for makeup artists. Applying a primer to the face, eyes and lips is a must for creating a flawless, long-lasting finish, says Brian Duprey, a New York City–based makeup artist. "When applied before foundation, the result is a smooth, even skin surface," he says.

Primers work by putting a barrier between the skin and makeup and acting as a buffer to outside elements while filling in lines and pores, covering imperfections and extending makeup wear. And, unlike foundation, Duprey says most primers are created equal. "The ingredients are simple, silicone being the key component," he adds. "I recommend waiting for the primer to dry before applying foundation. But there is minimal waiting time; primers dry quickly."

While the buzz about primers in consumer markets seems to have hit a high point recently, professional makeup artists have known about the benefits of makeup primers for years, according to David Klasfeld, CEO of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. "As makeup gets more modern, people are wearing less of it," he says. "Most people really only need moisturizer, primer and foundation. The primer provides a subtle touch that makes a real difference."