1. Prime only: This is the most basic type of primer; it just gives your face a smooth surface that makeup will adhere better to. Most of these are a combination of a volatile silicone (e.g. Cyclopentasiloxane) with a heavier silicone (e.g. Dimethicone) as their main ingredients. Some are based on silicone and water. These may or may not contain mattifying ingredients, powders that help reduce shine (e.g. Silica, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Tapioca Starch, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate,t.c). An example of “primer only” primer is Smashbox Photo Finish Primer.
  2. Mattifying primer
  3. Prime plus colour correct
  4. Prime plus anti aging

Milk of Magnesia (MOM) is mainly Magnesium Hydroxide suspended in water and some Sodium Hypochlorite. It is commonly used as an antacid. So when your stomach (pH level between 1.5 – 3.5) is very acidic and painful, MOM (pH level 10.5 – strong alkaline) is used to neutralize your stomach leaving you with water. (A little bit of chemistry here – acid + alkaline = water + salt).

Ammonia has a pH of 11, which is pretty close to the pH of MOM; imagine putting Ammonia on your face for hours. Yes, using MOM will stop the shining short term because Magnesium Hydroxide has very good absorbing qualities and Sodium Hypochlorite commonly known as bleach has degreasing attributes. What looks like the most amazing gift ever in the short term can completely wreck havoc on your skin in the long run.

The protective layer on the skin surface known as the “acid mantle” has a mildly acidic pH (about 5.5), which helps maintain skin integrity and keeps beneficial flora attached to the skin and bad flora like fungus away. MOM will increase the alkalinity of the skin thereby destroying this acid mantle, leaving your skin unprotected. Your skin becomes dry (loses moisture), prone to irritations; impede your skin’s ability to shed its dead layers and damage overall skin integrity.

When you use MOM as an everyday primer, you are ruining the acid mantle on a daily basis. This has the potential to be quite dangerous. Below are three primers that can help control oil; according to their ingredients list, I believe they should do a pretty good job. These primers are mattifying primers, if you have very dry skin, I really won’t advice you to use them.

Becca Ever-Matte Priming Perfector

Ingredients: Water, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylene Glycol, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Oleanolic Acid.

This has a pretty basic formula. The main ingredients here are Water and Magnesium Aluminium Silicate. Once applied, water will evaporate leaving Magnesium Aluminium Silicate which is a clay-derived absorbent (good for oil absorption) giving a powdery finish.

Make Up Forever Skin Equaliser Mattifying Primer

Ingredients: Water, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lactic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Parfum (Fragrance), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate.

Just like the Becca Primer, the main ingredients here are Water and Magnesium Aluminium Silicate. Like I mentioned earlier, water evaporates once applied on the skin leaving Hydrated Silica, which is a good absorbent like Magnesium Aluminium Silicate.

Sacha Mattifier Face Primer

Ingredients: Water, Stearic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Corn Starch, Triethanolamine, Cyclomenthicone, C12-15 Akly Benzoate, Perfume, DMDM Hydantoin.

This primer contains 2 oil-absorbing ingredients, Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate and Corn Starch.

Online beauty stores in Nigeria that may have these primers are: GlamBeautyJay, Beauty Revolution, Beauty Kink.

Photo Credit: Daily Mails, Dermaviduals, Beauty Junkies Unite, Beautypedia, Sacha Cosmetics



  1. Wow thank you so much for this. I don’t use MOM everyday, more like once or twice a week, is it still bad.
    I sometimes use Sephora primer too, hope that is OK?

    • Hilary Rodriguez-Taiwo Reply

      Hello Dami, using MOM once or twice a week will not be as bad as using it everyday but personally, i will just stay well away from it and use the Sephora primer instead.

  2. Hi Hilary,Thank you very much for the post. Its really insightful. I use sebamed facial cleanser for my face to treat acne. The acne reduced but i still have black heads and occasional break outs. Pls what natural ingredients can I use to treat black heads and prevent acne? Thank you.

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