Let's Talk Primers In Makeup

7 Reasons to avoid primers on skin

No matter what your skin type, one of the ingredients I recommend avoiding in primer is silicone or silicones, these slippery polymers go under dozens of different names, with new compounds being developed all the time. 

1. Silicones trap debris in your pores.

Like plastic wrap, silicones form a barrier on top of your skin. That barrier can lock in moisture, yes, but it can also trap dirt, sweat, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells and other debris along with it!

2. Silicones can cause acne and congestion.

Prolonged exposure to oil, dead skin and bacteria underneath the semi-occlusive seal of silicones can lead to increased breakouts. If you are acne-prone, I consider silicones among the most important ingredients to avoid. Silicones can also be a culprit in under-the-skin clogs (a.k.a. congestion.)

3. Silicones can make your skin dull and dehydrated.

Silicones may cause clogging to your pores, but manifesting as dryness and dullness instead of acne. Not only do silicones prevent additional moisture from getting in, but the impacted materials can dehydrate your pores and throw your skin's natural regulatory processes off-balance. The result? Your skin becomes less able to shed dead layers and hydrate itself.

4. Silicones interfere with cell renewal.

Our skin renews itself every 28 days, whereby old cells are sloughed off and new cells make their way up to the surface. Silicones inhibit this process by slowing down the production of new cells and keeping dead cells longer. Impaired cell renewal could decelerate the improvement of conditions such as pigmentation, redness, fine lines and scarring!

5. Silicones deliver nothing beneficial to your skin.

When you use skincare products heavy in silicones, you're not actually hydrating or nourishing your skin, no matter what the label may claim—it's simply a short-term smoothing. As beauty consumers, you benefit from higher-quality ingredients that support skin health. Think: botanicals.

6. Silicones block other ingredients from absorbing.

If you are layering products , silicones can prevent them from doing their jobs properly. Let's say you use a silicone-based micellar water or serum. Any moisturizers or treatments you put on next could have a diminished ability to penetrate, rendering them less effective.

7. Silicones can be difficult to remove.

The most common silicone, dimethicone, is extremely heavy and leaves a coating on the skin unless it is carefully removed. This is often why people see such a difference from nightly double cleansing, because it's properly removing the silicones from your skin, they can leave behind residue that triggers back and hairline acne

Ingredients such as cyclopentasiloxane are still silicones, even though they don't end in "-cone.

Different identities for silicone to look for:


  • C10-30 Alkyl acrylate crosspolymer

  • VP / VA Copolymer

  • Polybutene

  • Polyisobutene

Hydrogenated polyisobutene is a silicone oil.

Can be found in:

  • Skin Care

  • Make Up

  • Hair Care

What has been your experience? We'd love to hear from you.

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