5 Primer Substitutes That Work Like Magic

So, there I was, my face looking all patchy right before my big date with the guy I had been crushing on for the longest time ever. While I dabbed some loose powder on my face to ‘fix’ it, the little rounded mirror that comes with the powder failed to show me the ‘bigger picture’. It was only when I went to my office washroom did reality hit me, stab me rather. I was Ms. Patchy, with different parts of my face sporting different colors, or tones. Oh dear, I was in the soup.


I quick 911-ish consultation with my colleague (and beauty expert) made me understand where I went wrong. I hadn’t used a primer. A pri what? Primer. This is the stuff that goes on your face before your foundation, duh! Primers are supposed to be this magic potion that makes your makeup stick around for longer, and also ensures that you don’t end up looking patchy like me.

Now, if you don’t want to buy a primer, here are a few substitutes that’ll work.


Milk of Magnesia

I’m not trying to fool you here, I swear. I don’t have ulterior motives of making you poo a lot on any of your dates! Agreed that Milk of Magnesia is a laxative, but we are asking you to use it just on your skin; so chill, you won’t poo uncontrollably, okay? It’s a great substitute for a primer as well. It creates a layer over your skin so that the foundation doesn’t seep in and cause damage to your skin. Also, it’s great for your oily skin, as it absorbs that sheen and makes the skin look matte.

BB cream

By now, you must be sure that I am not trying to prank you. BB cream is something I’ve heard many of my friends rave about, so I’m sure you’ve heard about it too. BB creams create a perfect base for your foundation, and are a great way to prep your skin for makeup. In fact, BB creams are almost as good as foundations, and give you great coverage, which means you’ll only need a very small amount of foundation. They can also be mixed with the foundation, if you’d please. So adjusting! They are also a great option if you want to opt for a no-makeup look!

Chafing gel

Yes. Chafing gel. It’s inexpensive, unlike some of the primers, and works like magic. If you’re a sucker for silky smooth skin, then chafing gel it is. It fills up the fine lines and wrinkles that you might (notice the ‘might’?) have, giving your foundation a smooth base to work its magic on. So, if you don’t want to buy a primer and are looking for a cheaper alternative, say yes to chafing gels!

Aloe Vera Gel

I needn’t even get started with how beneficial aloe vera is for your skin. In fact, if you happen to have dry skin, aloe vera should be your best friend. The thing about having dry skin is that makeup tends to look very flaky and patchy. This is where your new best friend will save the day. It will moisturize and soothe your skin before the foundation gets on. Not only will it provide a good base, but also its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-pimple properties will make your skin happy.


Serums are another way of prepping your skin for both heavy duty and light, everyday makeup. They come with silicons that work just like primers, but are just a tad less expensive. They also have antioxidants that protect the skin from premature aging. This is an added advantage over primers, because they can’t do anti-aging stuff. So, serums over primers, any day!

With so many alternatives to primers, you really have no excuse to ax this important step from your makeup routine. If you do that, you run the risk of making the same mistake that I did. So, master the art of good makeup, with choosing the right kind of primer, or its substitute being the first step. Good luck!

Author Bio
Karishma Sehgal

Karishma-Sehgal 300x300 (1)

Being an ardent fashion, beauty and lifestyle enthusiast, I have contributed to a number of popular lifestyle magazines and blogs. My writings are mostly targeted towards young women on a budget who enjoy the art of looking good. Follow me on on my brand new Blog and Twitter!!

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