Skip to main content

All About Makeup Primers

All About Makeup Primers
Team LF
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Team LF's profile

As we all know, makeup primers are the key to long-lasting makeup but they also offer other benefits than just setting your foundation. Find out how to choose the right primer to make the most out of it, and your makeup.

Why Use A Makeup Primer?

In a nutshell, a makeup primer is a base that creates the perfect canvas for makeup application.

  • It allows your makeup to last longer. Apply it after your favourite moisturiser, as the first step of your makeup routine, or if you love a fresh no-makeup look, a primer is a great and lighter alternative to foundation.
  • Makeup primers also help to even your skin tone and deliver a skin-perfecting effect. As a result, they make every other product you put on top look instantly better.
  • They are also able to instantly smooth fine lines and blur pores.

To really work the primer into your skin, massage the product with your fingertips to activate blood circulation. For smaller areas like the eyes, a concealer brush makes the application easier.

How To Choose Your Makeup Primer

The number one rule is to pick a product that suits your skin’s needs. There are a lot of different formulas out there that serve a variety of purposes.

Whether you’re looking to combat oiliness, get a radiance boost, blur fine lines or calm irritations, primers help you achieve this while allowing your makeup to stay longer. At lookfantastic we have a wide range of primers and to help you choose, we've selected our top picks for every skin type.

The Best Primers For Normal Skin

If you’re not experiencing any particular skin issue, all you need is to create a flawless base that allows your makeup to stay put all day long.

One of our top picks is Illamasqua's Satin Primer. The lightweight, soft texture not only prolongs the wear of your foundation but also delivers a luminous glow. Plus, it is infused with moisture-rich Vitamin E for an extra layer of hydration and a smooth finish.

Among bareMinerals fabulous range of primers, the Prime Time Foundation Primer, containing Plant Extracts and antioxidant Vitamin E is an absolute staple. When your skin gets a bit dry in winter, this multi-tasking formula is able to nourish any dry areas. As a result, your skin looks perfectly even, refined and smooth.

If you're looking for a face primer that keeps your skin shine-free, try the NARS Pore & Shine Control Primer. It helps to absorb excess oils without drying out your skin, making it perfect for an even makeup application and a smooth finish.

The Best Primers For Dull Skin

Face primers can do wonders to revive dull and tired complexion. The secret to getting the glow back in your skin is to choose a primer packed with illuminating properties.

When your stress levels and fatigue show on your skin, go for the ELEMIS Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm. It helps to hydrate tired complexions and leave the skin with an incredible glow and illumination.

For a cult product, try the One Step Illuminate from Stila. This triple-swirled helix primer contains 3 illuminating shades that warm, highlight and brighten up your complexion in one single step. Plus, it features Stila's exclusive Youth Revival Bio-Available Mineral Complex that works to balance, nourish and illuminate your skin. You're just one step away from a gorgeous complexion!

If you're an Illamasqua enthusiast, you have to try the Beyond Veil Primer. Both a primer and illuminator, the gel formula infuses your skin with light thanks to its hydrating and brightening formulation.

The Best Primers For Oily Skin

If your skin tends to get shiny, look for a primer that absorbs excess oil and provides a matte finish.

If you haven't tried the famous benefit's POREfessional yet, give it a shot! It works with all skin tones and will help keep shine at bay without making your complexion look flat or lifeless. It's one of absolute favourite primers to use when we know we need our makeup to last all night.

Lancôme’s La Base Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer 01 is a hero product for anyone with oily skin. The lightweight formula contains the brand's Elasto-Smooth Technology, which helps to visibly smooth the skin and reduce pores. It's completely oil-free too; sheer perfection.

We also recommend DHC's Clarifying Pore Cover Base, formulated for combination to oily skin types. The powdery-gel texture combines purifying Zinc Oxide and hydrating Olive Leaf extracts that give you a matte complexion without drying out your skin. This is your go-to if your T-zone is shiny but the rest of your face needs a bit of hydration.

The Best Primers For Sensitive/Dry Skin

If dryness and irritation are your main concerns, you need a primer that will nourish and calm your skin, leaving it soft and smooth.

For sensitive skins that experience rosacea, Dermalogica's UltraCalming Redness Relief Primer SPF20 is a must-have. This highly moisturising primer contains sunscreens and anti-irritant agents to nourish and protect your skin against UV rays. It also delivers a light green tint that counteracts redness and leaves you with a perfectly even complexion.

Another option is the Smooth & Protect Primer SPF 50 from NARS. Its Invisible Defense Technology protects your skin from environmental factors while its Skin Smoothing Complex blurs imperfections.

Another great primer for dry skin is Lancôme’s La Base Pro Hydra Glow Illuminating Makeup Primer. It delivers 24 hours of hydration to keep your skin supple and moisturised all day long. Apply it before your foundation to ensure a radiant glow.

The Best Primers For Mature Skin

The best option for mature skin is a makeup primer that features age-fighting benefits and reduces the appearance of fine lines.

We absolutely love Murad's Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF30 for the incredible youthful glow it delivers. Its ultimate anti-ageing technology not only blurs fine lines, wrinkles and imperfections but it also encourages natural collagen production. Plus, its SPF30 protects you from sun exposure and environmental aggressors.

One of our favourite Laura Geller Face Makeup products is the Spackle Under Make-Up Supercharged Primer. Supercharged with soothing Botanicals and age-fighting Antioxidants, it improves skin elasticity and creates the perfect canvas for long-lasting makeup.

Elizabeth Arden's Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer is a top pick as well. Its light-diffusing technology and triple blurring-complex instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, for a youthful glow.

Team LF
Writer and expert
View Team LF's profile
Our team of beauty experts cover everything from makeup to skincare, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the LOOKFANTASTIC blog, and find all your essentials in one place.