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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Sutter

Prime, Set, Finish - Oh My!

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

Prime, Set, Finish - Oh My!

Follow me down the Beauty Product Road

Makeup can be so scary, I get it! What's a primer? What do you mean there's different ways to set your face? Wait I can change the finish of my makeup too after it's completed?


I'm sure you're now equally as terrified as you are curious to learn a little more.


So Let's start from the beginning!


Primer - a product usually in a cream form but can also be a spray or oil, used to prep your face, based on a few factors;
  • Skin Type

  • Amount of oil in or not in your skin

  • Type of foundation you're going to use

  • Can even be used to combat some skin reactions or conditions


Just to get you up to speed I love using only cream makeup in my professional kit and my favorite brand is MaskCara Beauty. Because cream makeup is wax based it glides onto the skin and melts in so beautifully and looks like a second skin. But if your skin is too dry and has zero slip, or you have too much slip (combo or oily) you will need a primer to neutralize the area by creating a barrier between your makeup and your skin.


With cream makeup it either has to be water based or an oil, no in between. Oil primers soak into the skin and attach themselves to the surface to give you a soft canvas to work with while still nourishing the skin.


Water based primers, provide the prepping qualities you need without the extra oil and actually give the skin a matte appearance. When you apply cream makeup onto a water based primer instead of it sliding around it will stick to the skin but still glide around until you've set it.


Which will bring us to our next point in a second but not until I share with you some of my favorite primers from least expensive to most expensive.


Setting Products - I am going to make this as simple as possible... Once you're finished applying your cream foundations and you are ready to set them... Try my tried and true approach and then of course adjust as necessary depending on the season / weather or even if your skin is going through hormonal changes.

Setting in my professional opinion is more about the type of skin you have and making sure your makeup lasts all day and less about the appearance or finish to your skin.


  • Dry Skin - Try just a Setting Spray and maybe your damp IIID Perfector Sponge to dab it into the skin.

  • Normal Skin - First try out just a setting spray, if that just doesn't do the trick for your entire face than feel free to use a pressed setting powder. If you are on the Fair to Medium side I like Vanilla Dust.

  • Combo Skin - You will definitely need a loose (translucent) setting powder. I will list a few based on a few different skin tone ranges in an image below. With Combo skin you don't need the powder all over your face just where you have extra oil so don't forget to use some Stay Spray all over after powder to address the rest of your skin.

  • Oily - I recommend a loose (translucent) powder in your highlighted areas and if you do need to set where you have bronzed or contoured as well a powder of the appropriate shade, so an actual bronzer. You can still use a setting spray if you don't like to have a matte finish.



Finishing Products - Ok, so you prepped your skin by using a primer, HAC-ed (Highlight & Contoured), set your makeup so it lasts ALL DAY!!! Now it's time to decide how you would like your skin to look the rest of the day.

I am not going to necessarily recommend products in this section as much as I am going to explain that the finish you wish to have for your makeup is a personal preference.


You set your makeup so it doesn't budge all day according to your skin type. BUT just because you have oily skin and need to use mattifying products doesn't mean you also can't appear to have dewy glowing skin.


This is where you can play with different Illuminators whether cream or powder. If working with cream over top of any powder definitely spray the face with some setting spray so the cream sticks to the spray and does not disrupt the powder, or put it on underneath the powder before you set, but just know it will dull it a little.


You can also purchase sprays that illuminate, or just use a setting spray in general that doesn't provide a matte finish.


If dewy in your mind translates to shiny, and you think that is not the finish you wish to achieve then stick with my tried and true way to set your Cream Foundations... Just make sure that you pick products that leave you matte, and if you wish to illuminate use a powder.


Don't forget at the end of the day makeup is supposed to be fun, and almost like a science experiment, so if you have the means to purchase a few items to try out until you get the perfect Prime, Set, Finish - Oh My... then please do.

Makeup has come such a long way even in the last five years. Return and exchange policies are so much more forgiving so you can truly open and test out a product and if it's not for you than no biggie!


Ready to chat more? I am SO here to help you with your beauty journey! I know how overwhelming it can be, so that's exactly why I offer FREE ONLINE COLOR MATCHES. Let me take a look at your beautiful face so I can recommend the perfect shades and products to tell your color story.



Love Chelsea


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