February 20, 2024

16 of the best primers that will make you a total convert

Fill those pores and calm that redness with this multi-purpose miracle. Provides a satin base that still allows the skin to breathe. It’s the best of both the skincare and makeup world.

Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15, £55, Hourglass

Skin To Die For, £55, Peter Thomas Roth

This purple tube of mattifying magic literally feels like silk on your face. Oily-skin girls, rejoice! This will keep your foundation matte for waaaaay longer and without caking your makeup. Yes sir, we tell no lie.

Foundation Primer, £30, Laura Mercier

One of the originals, Laura Mercier herself never does makeup – on herself or her celebrity clients – without starting with this. Gives a slightly matte, long-lasting base.

Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm, £44. 50, Bobbi Brown

If you’re less about a pore-less flaw-less base and more about looking all fresh and glow-y and wonderful, stop right here. Available in 3 shades, we love ‘Golden Glow’, which adds a hint of healthy bronze.

The POREfessional Face Primer, £27. 50, Benefit

A best-seller, this magically blurs the skin to minimise the appearance of pores and leave a smooth surface for foundation. Not just for young skin either, as it covers fine lines like a dream.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £25

Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £26, Smashbox

This blend of vitamins A and E, grape seed extract and green tea gives skin a lovely, silky soft surface. Use it on top of makeup too to touch up.

Wonder Glow Face Primer, £38. 50, Charlotte Tilbury

This magical stuff works to diffuse light, giving skin an instant glow, while boasting anti-ageing benefits. Very good if you’re looking a little tired (read: hungover).

Hydrating Confidence Boost Primer, £12. 50, Autograph by Marks Spencer

You might be used to swinging into M&S for your pants and socks but next time drive-by the beauty department, because it’s pretty mega these days. This primer moisturises like no other. A proper steal.

‘Instant Eclat’ Glow Primer, £60, Sisley

It’s a small tube for £60, we know, but a little drop of this does wondrous things. It’s thinner than most, so sinks into skin leaving redness soothed and dullness brightened. Use it on a Sunday when you can’t be bothered to do much else.

Backlight Priming Filter, £32, Becca

This primer is quite heavy, but is bloody hard-working. We dare your foundation to move or melt over this stuff.

Prep + Prime Fix +, £19, MAC Cosmetics

Very different to a classic primer, this lightweight formula is simply spritzed onto clean skin to leave a hydrated base, and can also be used on top of makeup to fix it in place. Makeup artists swear by it.

Lumi Magique Primer, £10. 99, L’Oreal Paris

Just a thin coat of this purse-friendly primer illuminates and hydrates, meaning your finish is brighter and smoother. Great for dry skin.

Resist Anti-Ageing Primer Serum SPF 30, £31, Paula’s Choice

A primer, serum and SPF all in one, this leaves a lovely velvety base for makeup. It’s also clear, so can be used on any skin tone.

Light Master Primer, £39, Giorgio Armani

To be worn on its own on makeup-free days, this primer blends with your skin’s colour and corrects imperfections, while prepping for foundation if you decide to layer it.

Touche Éclat Blue Primer, £29. 50, YSL

Part of YSL’s iconic Touche Eclat line, this does what the legendary little pen does – adding radiance to the skin – but on a bigger scale. Great for dull skin that needs a lil’ boost.

Complexion Enhancing Primer, £57, Tom Ford

Underneath your foundation, it gives a healthy glow. On it’s own, it evens out a patchy skin tone in one quick swipe. Good for combination skin.

‘Hangover’ Face Primer, £27, Too Faced

Free from silicones and packed full of kind-to-the-skin ingredients like coconut water, this primer is perfect for those seeking a natural finish. Great for young or turbulent skin types.

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