Whether you’re dealing with dry, oily or dull skin, a primer can help create a flawless canvas for the rest of your routine. But you need to find the right formula to match up with your top skin concern to get the best results. Here are the best primers to get the job done.
There’s nothing worse than trying to apply makeup over dry skin. A flaky canvas will struggle to hold anything in place so make sure you prime yourself with a moisturising product to tackle dryness while also smoothing the surface. These are some of the best makeup primers for dry skin:
The Body Shop Skin Primer Moisture It: Packed full of vitamin C, aloe vera and beeswax, this pretty little hydrating primer creates a smooth and invisible layer to prepare the skin for makeup.
L’Oreal Paris Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer: The light-enhancing formula illuminates the skin with 40 per cent pure water, working to restore its optimal glow.
Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer: Just because your skin is dry, doesn’t mean you can’t have a luminous, moisturised face. This serum primer will help you get your glow back.
To build a natural look without your makeup slipping off, anyone with an oily skin type needs a mattifying and non-greasy base to control excess oil. Keep shine at bay with our picks for the best primers for acne-prone skin:
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Oil-Free: This lightweight, water-based gel controls oil, minimises the look of large pores, fine lines and imperfections, and helps makeup stay fresh.
Estée Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer: If you can mattify and create a velvety finish in your priming step, you’re off to a good start. Blotting and controlling oil is just an added bonus with this mattifying primer.
Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer: Combination skin will love how this primer mattifies shine along the T-zone while at the same time imparting a luminous finish on the complexion. It also blurs the appearance of fine lines.
There’s nothing worse than applying your makeup only to find it’s all but gone come lunchtime. These primers are long-lasting and will help prevent the need to reapply your makeup throughout the day:
Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer: To enhance your foundation application, this stick formula glides easily onto skin and acts like a magnet to lock in your foundation for up to 15 hours of wear.
Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer: With a patented flexi-hold technology, this primer has micro-correctors to absorb sweat and sebum throughout the day while extending the wear of your foundation. It's a great addition to your post-gym makeup bag.
Rimmel London Lasting Finish Primer: This nifty little tube visibly blurs imperfections and minimises the appearance of pores for up to eight hours.
If you’re lacking a little brightness, sometimes your base needs a good glow to kick off your whole look. Try these primers:
Shiseido Glow Enhancing Primer: This face primer distributes light over the complexion, covers dullness and discolouration, and evens out skin tone for a beautiful glowy effect.
Thalgo Source Marine Perfect Glow Primer: Get an airbrushed look with this lightweight gel, which contains correcting prisms of coloured light to conceal imperfections.
Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Brightening Skin Primer: Australian makeup artist Napoleon Perdis loves a primer. The special blend of algae extract, sorbitol and vitamin E in this radiance primer helps invigorate and brighten dull skin.
Primer + sunscreen
The sun is so sneaky it will attack in rain, shine, cloud and even snow, so applying it every day is imperative. To save yourself a step in your beauty routine, opt for a product that combines the power of a sunscreen and primer in one, like these:
Face Of Australia Face Base Primer SPF 15 3 in 1: As well as being a moisturiser, primer and sunscreen with SPF 15 protection, this hydrating primer also fills lines and controls shine, making it the ultimate multitasker.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 30: Formulated with vitamins A, C and E, this one is also a protectant from environmental aggressors, including the sun’s harmful rays.
Mary Kay Foundation Primer Sunscreen SPF 15: Acting as an invisible buffer, this primer protects skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays, which we’re in no shortage of down under.
The best thing about tinted makeup primers is that if you want to simplify your makeup look, they let you cut out the need for a lightweight foundation or a tinted moisturiser. Less beauty products, same flawless effect. We love these:
Australis Bronzing Primer: Not only does the hint of bronzer amp up your skin's radiance from the get-go, it also smooths the surface for an extra perfect complexion.
glō.minerals Sheer Tint Base: Available in Golden, Natural and Honey, the dewy formula of this mineral primer helps create a natural canvas while calming green tea extract soothes irritation.
Jane Iredale Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer: Best used under a mineral-based foundation, this oil-free tinted moisturiser acts as the perfect skin primer in whichever of the seven shades suits you best.
Foundation likes to hide in wrinkles and lines, giving the complexion a cakey look. With the right anti-ageing primer, you can smooth your base and fill in those pesky fine lines to create the look of flawless skin.
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Magic Blur Instant Skin Smoother: With blurring polymer technology, this velvety-soft primer smooths the skin’s appearance without over-drying.
Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Skin Transforming Primer: Promising to fill crow’s feet and expression lines, this slightly pink-tinted base promotes a subtle, youthful glow for your makeup base.
Dermalogica Age Smart Skinperfect Primer SPF 30: Packed full of anti-ageing technology, the white tea, peptides and sodium hyaluronate act to protect the skin and promote collagen production. Silica fills in fine lines, while pearl powder and soy protein even skin tone and stimulate cell renewal. It also contains no artificial fragrances or colours so it's great for sensitive skin.
Looking for the best foundation to complete your makeup look? These are the ones we love (with reviews).
What are your top priming needs? What's your go-to primer for creating a flawless complexion? Share your product recommendations with us below.
Stephanie covered BEAUTYcrew's beauty news and social content for a joyful stint in 2016, and now lives and plays in New York City, salivating over unlimited Sephora options and everything bagels while working as the Marketing Manager of Global Goods Partners, a women-empowering social enterprise.
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