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Can I Just Use Primer Without Foundation? – 6 Skin Benefits

Can I Just Use Primer Without Foundation-

Foundation typically goes along with primer BUT sometimes it’s an overkill when we create a more natural look. 

So, the big question is: Can you wear primer without foundation?

Of course, you can!

It can even feel great for your skin. As long as you know the right techniques when putting primer, it’s possible to use it without foundation.

Table of Contents

Makeup Application 101: How to Use Primer Without Foundation

Makeup Application 101

Makeup artists recommend you use non-comedogenic primer without foundation on a clean, newly washed face. Apply sunscreen for sun protection and then select one of your favorite primers that work best for you.

Apply primer with either your fingers or a brush.

Below is a step-by-step process on how exactly to do your routine.

  • Wash your entire face and gently pat dry with a towel.
  • You and your skin need hydration, so use a moisturizer suited for your skin type. Wait one whole minute to allow the moisture to be fully absorbed. This routine will give your primer a great base to work with.
  • Don’t forget sun protection: APPLY. SUNSCREEN. Though some primers already come with SPF. However, it is still advised to apply sunscreen so you have a good, strong layer of sun protection.
  • Using a brush or clean hands, apply your primer. Start at the center of your face around the nose and forehead, and smooth out the primer evenly all over. Wait 60 seconds for it to set before adding anything else if you will.

Tip: The best part about using a primer is that we don’t need to put makeup on top of it.

This means it can be incorporated into your skincare routine for an extra glow. You can skip the concealer and foundation and embrace yourself as amazing as you are.

If you’d like you can add a thin layer of setting powder just to keep the matte texture all day long!

Benefits of Using Primer Without Foundation


For those of us that have solidified our makeup routine as we apply primers and wear foundation together, this may still be a new thing.

But trust us when we say it comes with pleasing skincare benefits, for all skin types!

1. It Gives You That Instant Glow

A good highlighter will normally do the trick, but for times when we wanna go for that almost bare and super fresh appearance, try going for a brightening primer.

Brightening primers give you that extra shine without the need for extra glitters or glimmers.

2. It Adds That Extra Hydrating Finish

A lot of water-based formulas contain moisturizing ingredients such as botanical extracts that hydrate and soften you up.

When you use primer, it keeps you healthy and glowing all day.

3. It Helps Protect Your Skin from the Sun

We want that perfect glow to last till the end of the day, right? Like we’ve said earlier, some face primers contain a formula with broad-spectrum SPF.

Never skip the sunscreen, but adding that extra layer of sun protection won’t hurt. 

Give your face that extra boost with some SPF-infused primer to prevent redness from the sun all day long.

Not only do you look great, but you’ll be protected.

4. It Helps Maintain Your Skin's Oil Production

Priming could be the key to keeping that dewy glow last all day.

A lot of primers are made to have a mattifying finish and control sebum production.

Some of the best primers even have antibacterial and anti-acne ingredients. This helps keep your pores clean and closed, an extra layer of protection.

5. It Evens Out Your Skin Tone

A good makeup primer can help even out the most uneven of complexions.

Wearing no or less makeup may seem like a bold move if you want to hide redness or dark spots.

Primers formulated with healthy, skin-enhancing components such as Vitamin C or Vitamin E can definitely help with color correcting.

Priming with Vitamin C can even help with fine lines and wrinkles.

6. It Reduces the Time You Spend on Your Makeup Routine

When you use primer and skip the foundation, it’s less time preparing your look for the day.

When applying with your fingers from your nose down to your jaw, you’ll be glowing but have a lighter feel. Priming without the use of foundation is less heavy on the face and less time on the vanity.

Perfect for rushed mornings and quick runs to the store without looking like a greasy mess.

Primer vs. Foundation

Primer vs. Foundation

Just a quick refresher before you decide to wear foundation, just primer or even both, let’s get to the bottom of what they really are.


  • Not tinted and generally has a thin, serum-like consistency with a lightweight formula.
  • Used on the face before any other makeup products as a base.
  • Put on after non-comedogenic sunscreen and moisturizer.
  • For smoothing out any bumps or roughness to make it have an even texture.


  • Tinted resembling the shade of your skin.
  • Use to even out your skin tone, to hide any spots or blemishes.
  • Put after applying a set primer.
  • For smoothing out your complexion.

It was an old rule that you can’t just wear primer, and it always went along with foundation, especially if you have large pores. Now makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts alike are letting you know that you can wear face primer as it is.

Whatever works best for you!

If you’re prone to freckles, you might want a thin layer of specialized foundation added!

Different Skin Types

Different Skin Types

When wearing face primer, you have to know what best goes for your skin type. Here are the different skin types and what kind of primer works best for them.

1. Oily Skin

People with oily or acne-prone skin definitely need primers to be part of their skincare routine to keep them from being greasy and their makeup from getting off easy.

Mattifying primers are usually best for oily skin, as they have a nice and clean matte finish. 

It is also good to note that although silicone primers create a smooth finish, they’re not the best option for the sensitivity of this skin type.

Remember to be on the lookout for products that help control your sebum production too. 

Sometimes, the key to regulating oily skin really just lies in the products you use.

2. Dry Skin

Those of you with dry skin might need a little extra moisture and love. Choose primers that will help those with a flaky, loose skin type.

A makeup artist would surely recommend a hydrating primer. 

For those of you with this skin type, it’s best to avoid matte finished and go for those dewy, velvety finishes instead.

It’s best to work with products that nourish you with lots of moisturizing goodness.

3. Combination Skin

Skin types like combination skin generally mean there are some areas of your face that are dry, while others are oily.

Sometimes this means that it needs extra care and hydration that it over-produces its natural oils while being really dry in some parts.

Apart from that perfect glow you want, combination skintypes require a more specific application process. This means you should ONLY apply it in areas or spots you want to target.

Types of Primers

Types of Primers

Now, we talk about the different types of primers. There are primers with a different base and for different use.

Here are different primers based on their main component:

1. Silicone-Based Primers

A face primer with a silicone base is normally best for smoothing out pores, wrinkles, and roughness.

They’re made to be thicker, with a vaseline-like texture.

2. Water-Based Primers

These kinds of primers are lightweight and feel like you have nothing on compared to silicone-based ones. 

It is hydrating and ideally made for drier and more sensitive skin.

Water-based primers have a watery texture and are good for an extra moisturizing factor.

Here are the different primers based on their uses and finishes:

  • Mattifying Primer. As we’ve mentioned earlier, these are used best for those of you with oily skin. They make a smooth, amazing finish that works as a great barrier for foundation and bb cream, or even on its own.
  • Hydrating Primer. Ideal for those with dry skin. Works best with non-comedogenic moisturizer, as it adds an extra kick of hydrating goodness for that beautiful glow.
  • Color-Correcting Primer. These kinds are designed to counteract underlying skin tones, creating a nicer, even finish. Most of the time, these are really made to fit with foundation and not to be worn alone.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Yes, you can wear primer without foundation. Let your skin breathe after a whole day of wearing too much makeup.

Primer is best for keeping those fine lines and wrinkles or bumpy textures of your skin in check, or just looking for that extra glow.

It can be worn with or without your foundation, serving as a great base for any makeup you’ll choose to put. 

You can put it on with clean fingers or a brush when you’re in the rush.

It keeps your pores from getting clogged by foundation!

There is no rule that prevents you from doing this. 

What matters the most is that you know yourself and your skin and the best primers and products to choose for yourself.

It’s all about being comfortable with yourself and what you use. Now, go on and wear primer with ease!


August 17, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content

August 13, 2021 – Updated article links

July 15, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.