Can You Apply primer After Foundation?

Primers are the perfect base for any makeup look. They come in many different formulas and textures to suit every skin type.

We often use primers to prepare the skin for the application of foundation, concealer, or powder. They are designed to fill in pores, minimize flaws and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

People often ask if primer can be applied after foundation. In this article, you’ll know what order of application is ideal for getting a flawless face. We’ll also show you how to avoid many mistakes a lot of people make when it comes to applying their primers.

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Can you apply primer after foundation?

We all know that a good primer can make your skin look fresh, healthy, and poreless. 

Applying primer over the foundation can give any look a beautiful and flawless finish. This technique can make a huge difference as it gives the skin a more even look without any obvious pores.

A bit of primer on top of the foundation can work great for setting the makeup and is less obvious than a setting powder. It’s also an easy way to touch up over makeup.

Related: Primer Vs Setting Powder

With that being said, it is important to keep some factors in mind before applying the primer over your foundation.

Choose the best formula

The most important thing to remember about primers is that they can make or break your makeup application. The type of formula you use will determine how well it sits on top and interacts with your foundation.

rare beauty primer

You want your foundation to look smooth no matter what’s the look you are going for. However, some primers can be too thick for application on top of a liquid foundation, and many others don’t dry down completely, leaving an oily layer on top.

The best primer formula should look natural when applied over foundation. Choose a lightweight primer that can blend quickly into your skin. Avoid using a thick hydrating primer with heavy moisturizing ingredients over your foundation. These primers might cause your makeup to look worse and move throughout the day.

While tinted primers can be used on top of makeup, clear primers are the best for creating a natural look.

Color correcting primers cannot be applied on top of makeup. These primers come in many different colors, such as green, yellow, or orange. They help to hide redness and dullness; that’s why they should be applied before foundation.

nyx green primer

Many makeup brands offer makeup primers that can be applied over foundation. This feature is also mentioned in their product specifications.

This face primer is a good example. It can be applied on top of the foundation to add blur the pores.

Match primer with foundation

There are different types of primers available on the market, so how do you know which primer and foundation to use together?

The answer is simple! Choose a primer and foundation with the same base ingredients. This step is called ‘primer and foundation matching.’ It’s an essential step in any makeup routine as it prevents the foundation from separating throughout the day.

The main idea is to use a water-based foundation with a water-based primer and a silicone based foundation with a silicone based primer.

How to put primer over foundation?

To apply primer on top of the foundation, you can use your fingers or a brush. Here are the steps you can follow to get a flawless look:

 Step 1: Apply foundation to the skin using a makeup sponge or brush. 

If you’re using a light to medium coverage foundation, you can buff it on with a kabuki brush in circular motions. This technique gives the skin flawless coverage, and it prevents the foundation from looking streaky. 

For a full coverage foundation, use a soft makeup sponge


This tool gives the skin a natural finish by soaking all the excess product that might look cakey later on.

Let the foundation set on the skin for a couple of minutes. If your foundation is still wet, don’t apply anything on top of it. Give it enough time to dry on the skin. 

Next, blot all over your face using a tissue. Pay attention to the areas where your foundation tends to settle like in your pores or smile lines.

If it creases in fine lines or wrinkles, remove any excess product using a q-tip and go over with a damp makeup sponge to smooth the skin.

Step 2: Dab a small amount of primer over the areas where it’s needed. If you rub or drag the primer over the makeup, it may move the foundation. Gently pressing the primer on top of the foundation should be sufficient.

apply primer over foundation

If you’ve got textured skin, use a silicone-based primer to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

For large pores, use a pore-minimizing primer. It helps to blur the look of the pores and make your skin look smooth.

Use a hydrating primer if your makeup looks dry, and dab it gently to avoid moving the foundation underneath.

Best primers to wear on top of makeup

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pore Minimizing Primer

benefit porefessional primer

This lightweight and oil-free primer blurs any imperfections and gives your skin a smooth finish. It blends easily on the skin, and it sits well over makeup.

It helps smooth fine lines, and it doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the skin.

To touch up makeup, apply a tiny amount on your problem areas and dab gently. Less is more with this primer, so make sure you use a very small amount.

Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Oil-Free Foundation Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish primer

This clear gel primer reduces the appearance of fine lines and pores.

It has antioxidants and vitamins A and E, which help protect your skin from pollutants. It’s also oil-free and vegan.

The formula blends easily on the skin, and it sets quickly without effort. 

For quick touch-ups, dab a tiny amount over your problem areas and let it set.

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

rimmel stay matte primer

This primer has a silky formula that can be applied on top of makeup. It minimizes the appearance of pores, and it controls shine for a soft matte finish.

You only need a small amount as a little bit goes a very long way with this primer. It blends easily on the skin, and it doesn’t feel greasy or oily.

It’s one of the best drugstore primers, and it works nicely for touchups throughout the day.

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

If your skin appears dry and dull, warm a tiny amount of this face primer between the palms of the hands and press onto the skin for more hydration.

This primer contains coconut water which hydrates the skin without making it look greasy. It works well over foundation, and it brightens the skin for a dewy complexion.

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

This primer is formulated with light-reflecting microspheres for an added glow. It has a shimmery formula that blends easily into the skin.

If you want to add a boost of luminosity to your complexion, apply a small amount of this glowy primer on top of the foundation.

The unique formula highlights the skin without emphasizing fine lines.

Related: Concealer Vs Primer

Can you use more than one primer?

Primers work nicely to give your makeup an extra boost, especially if you’re looking to blur pores or add some glow to the skin. You can use one or multiple primers depending on which problem areas need more attention than others.

The first step is figuring out what type of skin issues you want to hide and then using one primer for each problem area.

No matter what type of problems you want to be covered up, avoid layering too many primers if unnecessary as it may cause your skin to look cakey.

For the oily areas, try using a mattifying primer that will help absorb excess oil throughout the day.

If you have dry skin, applying a hydrating primer on top of makeup is a great way for touchups throughout the day.

And for those who suffer from large pores, a pore-minimizing primer fills in fine lines and wrinkles while minimizing the appearance of pores so that they appear smaller and less noticeable over foundation.


There are different opinions about the best way to apply primer.

Many people think that it is better to apply primer before foundation, as it has a “sealing” effect and it helps the foundation stay on the skin.

This is true, but applying primer after foundation can give good results too. It helps to set the makeup and blur the skin. 

It’s not as heavy as a setting powder on the skin, and it gives a natural and flawless look. 

The key is to choose a primer with a lightweight formula that sits well on top of makeup. It’s also important to match the base ingredients of the primer and foundation. 

No matter which way you choose, make sure your skin is moisturized before application for the best results.

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Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

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