Face Primers have had a bit of a hard time over the years, labelled simply as just yet another product cooked up by the beauty industry to get us to part with our cash, but one that we don't need. And although I like to think of myself as a frugal beauty editor, face primer is just one product I'd never go without. Keep scrolling, and I'll explain why.
First, I turn to my face primer for an extra helping of skincare benefits. Many of them come with ingredients that hold the power to fill fine lines and wrinkles, or light-reflecting pigments to skin that give the appearance of a smoother complexion and more radiant skin tone. Even more brilliant than that, they act as a barrier between your makeup and your skin, creating an even surface for your makeup products to sit on (or, conversely, less even—more on that later) and stay flawless for longer.
You can also employ the best face primers to banish shine, so if you suffer from oily skin, it might be worth investing in an oil-control primer—We've found the best ones here. These mattifying beauty primers contain a fine powder, which helps to keep skin shine-free for longer by absorbing excess oils and providing a slightly textured surface for your foundation to cling to. Certain makeup primers also target enlarged pores or issues such as redness or sallow skin and even out bumps or blemishes.
But the real reason I won't go without this step in my makeup regimen is because a face primer is the answer to keeping makeup in place all day long. And I mean all day long. But if that isn't enough to convince you, click through into the gallery to find the seven top face primers that'll do all of the above (and a whole lot more).
We were already massive fans of Illamasqua Matte Veil Primer (£34), but the brand's newest addition to the range might just about trump it. This primer has the consistency of blancmange and is the colour of butterscotch Angel Delight, but when it hits your skin, it feels just like water. Hidden within the formula are light-reflecting highlighter particles that impart a subtle glow, as well as vitamin C to boost the brightness of skin and fruit extracts to aid hydration.
If you're being plagued by a shiny T-zone, this primer will tissue up excess oil throughout the day, as well as blur pores into oblivion. But the weirdest part is that it feels just as light as a serum.
This skincare shield–meets–face primer provides your skin with SPF 50 protection, boosts your skin's moisture levels and delivers a powerful hit of antioxidant ingredient idebenone to ward off the damaging effects of pollution. We'd recommend this as the primer for you if your main skin concerns are dryness or fine lines and wrinkles.
Whether you're suffering from a hangover or not, applying makeup to dehydrated skin is just asking for trouble—your complexion will suck the moisture from your makeup throughout the day, leaving you with a patchy complexion. This primer contains coconut water that replenishes skin, as well as probiotics to induce a healthy glow. Plus, it doesn't contain any silicone, so it doesn't have that odd powdery feel.
Our pick for minimising the appearance of enlarged pores and smoothing uneven skin tones, Benefit's POREfessional is a super-lightweight balm that gives skin a blurred, more even finish. If you like a super-natural makeup look, just apply a layer of this and finish with a dusting of loose mineral powder.
An absolute classic, this vitamin A– and E–enriched primer reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and keeps makeup in place for longer. It's a great choice for combination skin types—oily areas are left mattified, while dull, dry areas are given a radiance boost.
This perfecting primer is the best choice for adding radiance to dry, flat skin tones. The tiny light-reflecting particles add a subtle glow to skin—use it under your foundation for a flawless, dewy finish, or on its own for model-off-duty vibes.