Primer VS Moisturizer

It’s commonly believed that primer and moisturizer are the same or that one can replace the other. But this is not true! Both of these products have different purposes for your skin.

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What Is the Difference Between Primer and Moisturizer?

A primer (like this lightweight face balm) will form a barrier between your skin and makeup products. It ensures that you get an even base for the smooth application of foundation or powder without getting patchy spots on your face.

A moisturizer will add moisture back into dry areas around the nose, cheeks, and forehead, where wrinkles appear first over time.

So primer is makeup, and moisturizer is skincare. While some may believe they can be used interchangeably, this isn’t true. Moisturizer hydrates our skin and prevents dryness, while primer helps create an even surface, so you don’t get patchy coverage when applying foundation.

A primer can help your skin look its best for longer. Many people don’t know what primers do or why they need them. The truth is that primers like this lightweight face balm can help you get the most out of your makeup and keep it fresh all day long. There are many formulas of primers depending on your skin type and the look you are looking for.

Some primers can also be worn on top of makeup to help blur the pores and set the foundation.

You can also mix your foundation and primer for a non-cakey makeup look.

See Today’s best moisturizers List

We’ve created this primer guide to give you the answers on everything from choosing the best one to applying it correctly.

primer vs moisturizer

Moisturizers help in preventing dryness and replenish moisture in your skin. After applying moisturizer, your face can feel soft and supple with no dry patches or cracks.

Moisturizer is NOT just a cosmetic product. It’s a very important step in your skincare routine. Many types of moisturizers are available on the market today, like gels, lotions, serums, creams, and oils, depending on your skincare concerns. Moisturizers are designed for different purposes, so you must choose the one that works best for your skin type.

 If you have dry skin, you can use a rich moisturizer like this hydrating cream with ingredients like shea butter or a face oil like this skin therapy oil.

For oily skin, use a lightweight gel formula like this hydro boost moisturizer or an oil-free cream like this daily moisturizer. Avoid heavy creams, as they can make your skin look greasy. Choose a non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.

If you have a combination skin type, choose a lightweight formula like this facial moisturizer with ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid.  You can use two different moisturizers depending on your skin needs. For oily areas, try a lightweight formula that prevents excess oil production, and use a rich formula for dry areas.

primer vs moisturizer comparison chart

Primer or Moisturizer First?

You’re always wondering which comes first, primer or moisturizer. Primer is the first step of your makeup routine and should be applied after moisturizer. Applying moisturizer first hydrates the skin and prepares it for makeup application. 

cetaphil cream

The first step in any beauty routine is ensuring your skin is clean and well-prepared for the makeup. If you have dry skin, it’s hard to get that perfect canvas for applying foundation without moisturizing the skin first. 

Most people don’t realize that applying a primer BEFORE moisturizer can make your makeup look worse. It’s important to use the right order when putting on your makeup. If you put on primer before moisturizing, it will be harder for your foundation to stick and create an uneven finish.

cerave cleanser

Foundation can’t sit properly on top of dry skin. It will emphasize dry patches, which can make you look older. Always use a moisturizer first to help restore moisture balance and even out the surface of your skin. That way, makeup can sit well on top of it, and the rest of your makeup routine goes smoothly too!

Every woman wants to look her best every day. The key is knowing the right order for your beauty products, so you can start looking and feeling great in no time!

We’re going to break down the best routine for skin into three steps:

  • Cleanse

The best way to start your routine is by washing off all the dirt. Use a gentle cleanser to eliminate all the impurities. Wet your skin and massage gently with the cleanser. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the product, as this might irritate the skin.

  • Exfoliate

Exfoliating helps to get rid of dead skin cells. It also allows you to clean the pores, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Not everyone needs to exfoliate daily, so it depends on your skin type. For oily skin, it’s recommended to exfoliate two-three times a week, while for normal or combination skin, one time per week is more than enough. Make sure to find a gentle exfoliator instead of a harsh one that can irritate.

  • Moisturize

Moisturizing is the third step after exfoliating. Choosing the best moisturizer depends on your skin type. If you have oily skin, try a gentle gel formula that doesn’t make your skin feel greasy or oily. For dry skin, rich creams are the best choice. Face oils are also a great alternative, especially for extremely dry skin.

How Long to Wait Between Moisturizer and Primer?

To get better results, apply a thin layer of moisturizer first, then wait 30-60 seconds before applying primer or any other products. If you have dry skin, you might be using a rich moisturizer, so waiting longer allows your moisturizer to soak into your skin, which makes it softer. If you apply the primer right away, it might not sit well on top of your skin, and it might cause your foundation to crumble and separate.

Well-hydrated skin is the perfect canvas for makeup application. It helps your foundation to blend easier. Remember that these extra few minutes are worth it for flawless-looking skin!

Choose a primer that is compatible with your foundation. Using a silicone-based primer with a water-based foundation might not give the best results. it might cause your foundation to separate. If you’ve ever wondered why primer makes your foundation look worse, it could be because of their formulas. Always choose a primer and foundation with the same base ingredients.

Can You Use Moisturizer as Primer?

Moisturizer and primer are two different products, so using a moisturizer as primer won’t give the same effect as a real primer.

Depending on your skin type, you can skip primer and replace it with a moisturizer.

If you have uneven texture or big pores, you need a pore-minimizing or smoothing primer. It helps to prepare the skin, so the foundation sits nicely on top.

We also love this oil-free primer! It has a clear gel formula with vitamins A and E to protect your skin.

People with oily skin need a mattifying primer like this waterproof one to help control the oil.

A moisturizer can’t solve all these issues. However, if your makeup sits well on your skin, you probably don’t need a primer, and you can replace it with a lightweight moisturizer.

Primer or Serum First?

The order in which you apply your skincare and makeup products is just as important as choosing the right products.

Serums have a thin consistency, so you should apply them before primers.

After cleansing and toning, apply a thin layer of serum to your skin. Give it a few minutes to absorb before applying your moisturizer.

Then apply your primer to create a smooth, even surface for your makeup. Most primers contain silicone which helps to fill in fine lines and pores.

In summary, the recommended order for applying skincare and makeup products is as follows:

  • Cleanse
  • Tone
  • Apply the serum
  • Moisturize
  • Apply primer
  • Apply foundation.

Should You Apply Primer Before or After Tinted Moisturizer?

A tinted moisturizer includes hydrating ingredients that help to moisturize and nourish the skin. It combines skincare and makeup, so it should be applied before primer.

Primers create a barrier between your skin and makeup, so they might not let the hydrating ingredients of your tinted moisturizer get absorbed by your skin.

So for best results, apply your tinted moisturizer first and let it sink into your skin for a few minutes before applying primer.

Hydrating Primer vs. Moisturizer

Primers come in many different formulas, and a hydrating primer is one of the best options for dry skin. It’s a moisturizer and primer that helps hydrate the skin while preparing it for makeup.

If you’re looking for extra moisture in addition to the makeup-prep benefits of a primer, you can try a hydrating primer. This product contains many beneficial ingredients that help lock in moisture, so your face feels fresh all day.

It’s a versatile product that sits well under makeup. It has a lightweight texture that makes it easy to apply the product without feeling greasy on your face!

A hydrating primer is an easy way to add moisture to your skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

However, this primer is not meant to replace your moisturizer. It’s only an additional step to help to hydrate those dry patches on the face!

TIP: If you have dull skin, apply face oil before makeup. Face oils help to give the skin a healthy and radiant glow.

Final thoughts

The difference between moisturizer and primer is that moisturizer is the last step in your skincare before sunscreen, and primer is the first step in your makeup routine.

Using a primer depends on your skin type. If makeup sits well on your face without issues, you don’t need a primer. Using a moisturizer to hydrate and nourish the skin can be enough. It makes the face smooth and prepares it for makeup.

However, if you have large pores, skin texture, dry skin, or oily skin, using a primer can help to smooth your skin so that makeup sits nicely on top.

The best way to start your routine is by washing off any dirt or impurities, then moisturizing to avoid dry skin patches, which can look awful under the foundation.

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Primer vs Moisturizer

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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