makeup looks Primer vs. Moisturizer: Which One Comes First?

We’re here to help you find the truth.

May 18, 2022
Primer Or Moisturizer First

Whether you consider yourself to be a beauty guru or a novice, you most likely know how important it is to use a primer and moisturizer consistently if you wish to sport a flawless complexion. However, you may not be sure whether you should use primer or moisturizer first in your beauty routine

While there is flexibility for when to apply certain products in your routine, that isn’t true for these two products in particular. With them, you want to get it right. If you’re ready to learn the answer once and for all, follow along to learn whether or not you should use primer or moisturizer first. 

Is Primer The Same As Moisturizer? 

Believe it or not, it’s commonly believed that primer and moisturizer are one and the same or that one can replace the other. However, both of these products have key differences and purposes for your skin. 

Primer is a makeup product designed to give your makeup an even base for a smooth application and help it last longer. The best way to think of primer is as a barrier for your skin and your makeup products. Depending on the formula, it can add a mattifying effect or boost the skin with moisture to help your makeup look go the distance.

On the flip side, moisturizer is a skin care product that’s formulated to hydrate your skin. Like primers, moisturizers come in a myriad of formulas designed specifically for different skin types. Whether excess oil, dry skin, or a dull-looking complexion is your skin care concern, a moisturizer provides the right amount of nourishment and can address other issues in the process. 

You might be thinking, then what about moisturizing primers? Popular for being multi-use, these work to provide skin with an extra boost of hydration while preparing your face for your makeup application. They’re typically used by those with super dry skin that have issues with makeup drawing attention to their dry patches. But, moisturizing primer is not meant to replace your moisturizer. Think of it as additional moisture, not the only source of moisture your skin needs.

Should You Apply Primer or Moisturizer First? 

Now it’s time to answer the age-old question — should you apply primer or moisturizer first? The truth is, you should always apply moisturizer before reaching for primer (seriously, always). As we mentioned above, the purpose of a moisturizer is to lock in moisture to keep dryness at bay. If you apply primer first, you run the risk of sporting dry, lackluster skin. Since primers are not formulated to provide skin with moisture, it can take a toll on your overall makeup look if it’s not used correctly, which is the last thing you need.

An easy way to remember the right order is to separate your products into two separate routines. Moisturizer (or sunscreen) should always be the last step in your skin care routine. Primer should always be the first step in your makeup routine. Your skin care routine always comes first.

How to Prime and Moisturize

Now that you have a definitive answer on whether you should use primer or moisturizer first, it’s time to put your knowledge to use. Follow this step-by-step routine.

1. Cleanse Your Skin 

Before you reach for your moisturizer, your skin should be nice and clean. After all, you don’t want to moisturize your face with dirt, oil, and impurities still on the surface of your skin. So, kick things off with a cleansing session. 

Grab the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser, which is formulated with three-pure clays and charcoal to purify skin for a fresh and balanced feel.

2. Bring On The Moisture

Now it's time for the step you’ve been waiting for — applying moisturizer. You’ll want to make sure that you’re using a formula that suits your skin type. Try the light but hydrating L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 if you have oily or normal skin, and the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Collagen Expert Day Moisturizer with SPF 30 for extra moisture if your skin is on the drier side.

3. Prime, Prime, Prime

The Next step is Applying makeup primer, of course. By now, you know that face primer is an absolute must to ensure your makeup applies smoothly and stays in place. Once your moisturizer absorbs, use the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Lock Makeup Primer to create a glowing base for the rest of your makeup.

If you Prefer a matte complexion Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Lock Makeup Primer to help keep shine at bay. With your primer in place, you can now move forward with your actual makeup. 

Next: How Are Creams and Lotions Different?

Edited by: Shannon Stubbs, Photo Credit: Crystal Simone