We’ve all been frustrated by the lack of wear-time from a given foundation at some point.  And we’ve learned to love some brands of primers and hate others.  Recently I caught myself fawning over my skin in pictures from last spring.  I did a little investigating to figure out what products I was wearing and then did a little more digging to find out why they worked.

Making Foundation Last


I learned that the first ingredients in my primer and foundation from a year ago were the same.  I tend to prefer water based foundations (such as NARS, Sonia Kashuk, and Becca) and this spring my makeup was breaking down when I applied them on top of a silicone-based primer.

Because ingredients at the beginning of a list are in higher concentration than those at the end, I started to focus on the first 5-7 ingredients of my foundations and looked through my primers to find similarities.  The more similar the lists, the longer my foundation stays in place.

A key ingredient that I look out for is Dimethicone.  It is a common silicone and I find it very finicky to deal with.  If my foundation has Dimethicone in the first 2-3 ingredients, I opt for Too Faced Primed and Poreless primer which helps thicker foundations thicker foundations such as Kett Cosmetics Fixx Creme or theBalm Time Balm Foundation glide smoothly across the skin.


…..Here are some of my favorite primers with the first seven ingredients:

NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer: Aqua (Water), Isododecane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Dimethicone, Poly(Glycol Adipate)/Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol

Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Vitamin Serum Primer: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate,Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymner, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Caprylic/Capric, Triglyceride, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crossploymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone, Crosspolymer, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil

Becca Resurfacing Primer:  Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Hydrogenated Didecene, Tribehenin, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer


…..And here are some of my favorite foundations with the first seven ingredients:

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation: Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene, Glycol, Glycerine, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/vinal Dimethicone Crosspolymer

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer: Water, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Glycerin

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Magnesium Chloride

Becca Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation:  Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Titanium Dioxide, Hydrogenated Didecene, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Disteardimonium Hectorite

Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Luminous Foundation: Water, Isohexadecane, Isododecane, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Alumina, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10-1 Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

Too Faced Amazing Face Liquid Foundation: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone


If you’re still with me (and really I hope you find this as fascinating as I do), you might be wondering about Cyclopentasiloxane.  CPS is indeed a silicone and clearly it is a very common one in cosmetics.  I won’t pretend to know the science behind silicones, but I don’t find CPS disruptive at all and therefore don’t pay it much attention.

I used to have trouble with radiant foundations staying put, but since learning to read product labels, I am having much more success.  I even find myself preferring radiant foundations over matte ones now.  My current favorites are NARS Sheer Glow and Becca Radiant Skin Satin Finish.

One final tip… check your moisturizer and sunscreen ingredients too.  If oil is one of the main ingredients, chances are it will break down your water-based primer and foundation.  I have had zero luck with using skin oils in the morning for this exact reason so I reserve them for at night.

Until now, I didn’t know a primer could do more harm than good for the wear time of my foundation and I thought setting powder and spray were the only ways to extend the life of my daily makeup.  But knowing to match up ingredient lists has my makeup lasting longer than ever…just in time for summer.

What are some of your longest lasting primer and foundation combinations?

Disclosure: The products in this post were provided by PR for consideration.