What goes first, moisturizer or primer?




So you’re trying to fit your skincare routine into your makeup routine but you’re wondering, what goes first moisturizer or primer?

The answer is simple: moisturizer first, always.

Do You Put Primer or Moisturizer First?

Primer and moisturizer can be good steps in your morning skin care routine.

If you’re wondering whether to put primer or moisturizer first, remember that your makeup application needs a healthy skin base first.

You can’t get a flawless complexion without moisturizers!


Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer with BowTiedFawn branding

You need to apply moisturizer whether you have:

  • Oily skin
  • Dry skin
  • Combination skin
  • Normal skin

What does moisturizer help with?

Healthy vs. compromised skin barrier diagram with BowTiedFawn branding

A good moisturizer will help control excess oil production, soothe dry patches, and give you a radiant glow.

Moisturizing for Different Skin Types

SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry Brightening Moisturizer with BowTiedFawn branding

You only need a thin layer of a lotion with a lightweight texture if you have oily skin. If you have dry skin, you’ll do better with a rich moisturizer.

For oily skin, check out the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line.


NYX Marshmallow Primer with BowTiedFawn branding

A good rule of cosmetic product rule of thumb is that any makeup product comes after your skincare product.

Primers are commonly believed to be a good for creating a base that your makeup can stick to.

There are a bunch of different kinds for all skin types like:

  • Hydrating primer
  • Silicone based primer
  • Mattifying primers
  • Moisturizing primers

Hydrating primers

Elf Hydrating Primer with BowTiedFawn branding

A hydrating primer or moisturizing primer is best for dehydrated skin before makeup application.

These often have hyaluronic acid to pull moisture into your skin before you start your beauty routine.

Mattifying primers

Similar to an oil free cream, a good mattifying face primer is ideal for people with oily skin.

Do You Apply Primer Before or After Sunscreen?

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral SPF 30 with BowTiedFawn branding

After! Remember, your skin care routine should be completed before you start applying primer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Skincare Questions with BowTiedFawn branding

Can you wear primer without makeup?

You can, but it is unnecessary. You wear primer to get the perfect canvas for your makeup routine even if you don’t have normal skin.

If you’re not doing your makeup that day, try focusing on your skincare concerns (like dead skin cells) instead.

For example, check out my Paula’s Choice Redness Relief Toner Review if you’re dealing with skin texture or skin redness.

Is primer good for your skin without makeup?

The best primer is one you can wear that will retain moisturizer, not clog pores, and make a good base for your makeup.

Focus on beneficial ingredients in your overall skincare routine instead of looking for them in your primer.

For inspiration, check out my Nighttime Routine for Glowing Skin.

Can I use primer without foundation?

Applying foundation sticks better to an even surface with primer. However, primers are unnecessary without base makeup like foundation and concealer.

Do you put primer or moisturizer first for oily skin?

Your skin type doesn’t matter much here. Applying moisturizer always goes first.

Regardless, check out Understanding Your Skin Type so you know for the future!

How to wear tinted moisturizer?

Tinted moisturizers hydrate and retain moisture just like other skincare products do. It has the same benefits.

Plus, it can give you the same effect like illuminating primers!

Just follow these steps:

  1. Rinse gently with a cleanser
  2. Apply a toner for extra moisture or preventing dryness (optional)
  3. Add moisture with a tinted moisturizer

Should you exfoliate daily if you use moisturizer and primer?

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant with BowTiedFawn branding

No! That’s a good way to destroy your skin barrier.

Instead, get a good cleanser and use it to wash off your makeup products and morning skin care at night.

Check out my Stratia Velvet Cleansing Milk Review if you’re looking for a good one.

When you finally decide to it's time to improve your health and appearance, you need to sign up for my Substack below. Find specific skin routines and protocols in My Roadmap or start with my Basic Skincare Guide.

Also, you should be following my other socials for free skincare, health, and beauty content daily:

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