Are Face Primers With Silicone Safe?


OKIE! This is gonna be science-y science-y post. But I’ll try to be make it more sexy than science-y!

Benefits and effects of silicone in skin products is one of the most passionately debated issues in the makeup world. Nobody has the right answer nor evidence to prove that it is or not beneficial, or hazardous to our health or skin.

I’ve been using the Monistat Chafing Relief Gel as a face primer for 6 months and it doesn’t clog my pores, doesn’t cause breakouts, doesn’t leave a greasy residue, and as a makeup face primer, works like magic for prepping and priming my face.

Here are 5 good reasons why using silicone on your face is more YAY! than NAY.

1. Silicone is used in most products these days

Silicone is everywhere. Just so you know, most off-the-shelf hair conditions and serums; and face moisturizers and foundations contain a fair bit of silicone, especially in those that are waterproof or ‘long-wearing’. The fluid properties of silicone make them feel like silk on the skin and act as a water-binding agent that holds up makeup well as silicone repels water and sweat.

Just turn your shampoo or conditioner around spot for ‘Dimethicone’. Dimethicone forms a barrier that locks in the hair’s natural moisture and waterproofs it to block dryness from humidity, reduce tangling and hair loss. Now you know why your hair shines!

Makeup products like the much loved Urban Decay Cosmetics Eyeshadow Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance – Anti-Crease Eyeshadow Primer are silicone-based eye primers. That’s how your eye makeup stays on the lids forever and why we all love them!

And they are, erm, also used as lubricant on condoms.

2. Good for oily skin or sensitive skin

Now, now, I know some people detest silicone-based primers because they flake or cause some allergic reactions to the skin. But for those who are willing to give the awesome silicone-based makeup facial primers a try, it’s good to know that because they are oil-free, and due to silicone’s occlusive nature, are even suitable for those with sensitive skin. They do not irritate the skin nor cause acne (at least for oily and sensitive skin like mine!) because they’re nonreactive and are in fact, often used as a barrier against irritation.

Then again, there ARE people with sensitive skin who avoid silicone primers like the plague.

3. Makes your face makeup, eye makeup, lipstick last longer

Silicone fills in uneven skin textures like acne scars and fine lines. You know, like how painters fill up cracks in the wall with paste first before giving it a fresh coat of paint. With slight imperfections in the skin covered, a smooth canvas for foundation is created and face makeup can last longer.

4. Improper removal of makeup, maybe?

Some people complain that some foundations or primers are causing acne or they are allergic to silicone-based products. I can’t say for the rest, but some people have the habit of not removing makeup thoroughly. They use general mild facial wash thinking it removes makeup and I know of people who think it’s no big deal going to bed with makeup on. Optimum breeding ground for bacteria! That’s how pores get clogged. Please always make sure not a trace of makeup is left on your face before going to bed. Sometimes it really just boils down to proper makeup removal.

5. Silicone is approved by FDA

Well, if it makes you more confident about silicone, silicone is FDA approved. And did I mention that it really IS in everything? =)

So if you have problems with cream or lotion makeup face primers being too greasy or not making your makeup last as long as you desire, give silicone-based face primers a go. You never know, it might be your next Holy Grail makeup item!

5 best-selling face primers:

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Travel Size $16

MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream $15.99

Bare Escentuals Prime Time Foundation Primer Oil Control $21

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Hydrating $30

Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel

Worldwide shipping at


Buy Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel


Isn’t dimethicone amazing? =)


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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

Throughout this blog you will see Bun Bun in different poses.

Instead of using numbers (3/5, 4/5) or alphabets (B+, A+) to rate products, I put Bun Bun in different positions and expressions to represent the rating given to the product after a review.

In Bun-O-Meter, the first on the list would mean a 5/5 rating and the last one a 1/5 rating.

You can always refer to the sidebar any time you don’t understand what Bun Bun’s pose means.

I hope you enjoy reading my makeup and beauty posts as much as I did writing them.

Talk to you soon! =)


Juli & Bun Bun

  • Charleen Covis

    Silicone liquid reeeally messes up my pores and causes horrible breakouts. About 6 months ago, I tried using the Smashbox silicone gel for a week, and it clogged my pores so badly I had to get two facials done to unplug them. My aesthetician said I might have better luck with a primer that contains Silica rather than the Silicone. I would have figured these two are the same, but I guess not. I went with her suggestions, and tried the Mattify Cosmetics Ultra powder and the Clarins Instant Smooth Primer. These both have Silica Spheres, but not the liquid Silicone. So far so good, my pores have not gotten clogged at all, and I’m actually having fewer breakouts than ever in my life. For me, Silicone is a big “no-no”!

    • Bun Bun

      Awww shucks! Sad to hear that silicone does such evil things to your skin. I must try the Clarins Instant Smooth Primer one day. Sounds promising!

  • Jason

    Your post is a little misleading…You rave about the benefits of silicone, but for those with oily skin prone to break-outs, silicone is a nightmare. Silicone, or any ingredient ending in –cone, are simply emollients that demonstrate occlusive properties. While great for waterproofing and spreading/gliding like velvet on your skin…. Silicones form a layer or barrier on the skin which retains anything and everything beneath it, including impurities, sebum, and bacteria, as well as water. Essentially if you use a product with this silicone based product, you have just lathered a layer of plastic on your skin and occlusive properties also means clogged pores – leading to pimples, bumps, and blackheads. See the definitions below and you will realize you actually contradict yourself several times when referring to silicone/occlusive/comedogenic.

    Definitions from EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database:
    DIMETHICONE: Dimethicone is a highly occlusive silicon-based polymer used as a lubricant and conditioning agent.
    NON-COMEDOGENIC: (non-occlusive) Refers to products that do not cause skin breakouts because they do not plug the pores of the skin. Therefore any skin care/cosmetic product labeled non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic should not contain any occlusive ingredients.

    • Bun Bun

      Thanks a lot for your inputs Jason! Gosh, glad to have such in-depth explanation of the -cone family. Really, I had such a hard time researching when I was writing this topic. It seems there is a great deal of information on the web regarding issues on whether silicone is beneficial to oily skin prone to break-outs, but as to how accurate those information are, we have no clue. Unless, well, you’re a chemist or someone in an associated field.

      This post was written in super layman’s terms – from what I gathered from makeup artists, blogs, videos, and what has worked really well for me. I guess one man’s meat is another man’s POISON!
      Good to have you around to shed light on such a science-y post. Hope to see you around more! =)

      • Kahani

        Gosh babe, you have no idea how lucky you are that Dimethicone works for you. I fall into the Josh-camp, the stuff breaks out my oily skin so badly I’ve had to cut it from EVERYTHING I use. Which means no primers and foundations with next to no slip. *sobs*

        • Bun Bun

          Oh dear! You must have such a hard time looking for face products that don’t contain Dimenthicone then. Like, not even a little? I think some products would have less Dimethicone than others. How do you go about making sure that it doesn’t contain any form of that? Some products can be sneaky with their ingredients…

          What primer and foundation do you use then? I’m interested to know. =)

          • Kahani

            Hey Bun, yes it iiissss… I can tolerate a little I think in my gel moisturisers and powder. But foundations tend to have a lot, and if I add that then my skin won’t even put up with my moisturisers and powders and gosh darnnit those things are irreplaceable!

            I wasn’t about to plug my own blog on yours, but since you asked, I wrote a detailed-ish article here: =P

            Keep up the great blog!

          • Bun Bun

            Oooh, I got your point. It’s a pity your skin disagrees with silicone. =( I might want to give the Korres Silicone-free Face Primer a try one day, just to see if it helps to clear my skin further.

  • Lilies

    Hi Bunbun…so u said on my mail…’proper make up removal n cleansing’..the question: what is proper enough to cleans them all ( the primer on our face)?…so at d end we don’t hv to worry about this chemist thing…(was facial foam n cleansing lotion plus luke warm water :) good enough?)….or we need to use some delicate scrub every wash this primer thing?…thanks Bunbun

    • Bun Bun

      Hi Lilies!

      It is good that you are concerned about proper makeup removal and face cleansing. These are important steps to take to ensure that makeup, grease, and bacteria do not accumulate on the skin.

      To remove all traces of makeup on the face, you must use products made specially for that. I suggest using an eye makeup remover – my favorite is the Biore Makeup Remover For Eye & Lip Review, and continue with a general makeup remover for the rest of the face. Remember that using only makeup remover is not enough to clean the face, you need to follow up with your regular face cleanser, then toner to remove the last trace of impurities, and then your serum/moisturizer.

      Luke warm water is fine. I don’t use scrub too often because I have sensitive skin. It tends to burn my skin if I use it too often so I keep it to once a week.