What retouching does for photos, primer does for your complexion. Just ask any makeup artist and they’ll tell you it’s the secret to flawless skin. It’s the best way to prevent your makeup from melting, smudging, and fading away plus primers smooth the complexion, visually blur imperfections, minimize pores, even out skin tone, and create the perfect base so your foundation glides on easily, evenly, and stays put all day.
All primers give your skin a soft-focus finish and smooth, silky texture but there are those that are chock full of added benefits to bridge the gap between skincare and makeup—they’re formulated to counteract redness, moisturize, absorb oil, protect from UV damage, reverse the signs of aging, and more. The best primer for you will address your particular complexion concerns.
You Should Know:
- Apply your primer after your moisturizer and sun protection and before your foundation.
- You won’t need as much makeup as you usually wear since the primer will act as a smooth barrier so your makeup will just glide on.
- Choose to use it all over or spot apply to areas where you really need it.
10 Power Primers:
Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30 ($48) combines sunscreen to prevent environmental damage, peptides, and white tea to build collagen and protect from free radicals, and natural mineral pigments for a more even-toned, luminous complexion.
Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer ($45) is ideal for oily/combination skin. It instantly mattifies shine, regulates sebum production, minimizes pores, and resists sweat and humidity so your makeup stays put.
Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control ($42) treats breakouts thanks to the addition of 2% salicylic acid in the product. With continued use your skin will get clearer and stay that way.
Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base SPF 15 ($21) has a sheer green tint—don’t worry, you won’t see it!—to subtly tone down any redness in your complexion. It also contains sun protection to prevent rosacea flare-ups and shield you from future sun damage.
Dior Skinflash Primer Radiance Boosting Makeup Primer ($42) can be used all over the face or on select areas like the forehead, nose, chin, and cheekbones for extra added radiance.
L’Oréal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother ($25) is oil-free and can be worn alone or under foundation. It instantly fills in lines, wrinkles, and pores for a smoother, younger-looking complexion.
Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray ($35) won’t irritate sensitive skin. It’s a lightweight, vitamin-based, silicone-free spray loaded with antioxidants. It’s formulated to soothe redness, prevent breakouts, control oil, and can be worn with or without makeup.
Ramy Elixir Skin Conditioning Primer ($40) can also be worn at bedtime to reduce morning puffiness. It contains cucumber and St. Johns Wort to reduce redness and inflammation and safflower and apricot kernel to firm.
Korres Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Primer ($30) has a silicone-free formula and is enriched with ultra nourishing, high protein Greek yoghurt so it glides onto the skin leaving a dewy glow behind.
Jouer Anti-Aging Moisture Primer ($38) visually turns back time. It hydrates, restores elasticity, protects against free radical damage and downplays fine lines and wrinkles.
For Your Eyes Only:
Some primers can cause irritation around the delicate eye area. Instead use an eye primer or shadow base specifically formulated for this sensitive area like
NYX HD High Definition Eye Shadow Base ($7) to help your eye makeup last longer, prevent creasing or smudging, and intensify your shadow.