Primers: the should we, shouldn’t we step that we’re not quite sure is necessary. If we’re going to add an extension to our beauty routine – and an extra layer to our face – we want to be certain it’s worth the effort. So, um, is it?
We know that good things take prep, and if our Skims are anything to go by, that we should never underestimate our underwear; whether it’s on our face or our bod. Like shapewear for your face, or priming your walls before applying silky paint on top, priming our faces before our foundation can give us a smoother, more seamless canvas to work with. It can glide over weird patchy bits and extend the wear of our makeup. So, we’d wager that it’s a step worth taking.
“Primers are essential for long-lasting and flawless makeup,” says leading makeup artist Lan Nguyen-Grealis. “The idea of a primer is to give a base for the actual makeup to grab and sit on.
Better yet, primers aren’t a one-size fits all. The primer that works best for you may be different from the one your mate swears by, depending on your skin type. Laura Mercier’s Pure Canvas Primer is a prime (sorry) example. It comes in five different versions – blurring, perfecting, protecting, illuminating and hydrating – to accommodate an array of different skin requirements and concerns. “Blurring primers will minimise the appearance of lines and pores so you have the illusion of perfect skin or you can pick enhancing primers such as ones that add illumination,” explains Lan.
And with loads of us ditching full faces for a lightweight foundation, you could even find that your primer offers you the face-perfecting action you need to skip foundation altogether. Your primer can do a lot of the heavy-lifting, meaning you only need to touch-up with a teensy bit of concealer on top.
Best makeup primer at a glance:
- Best primer for glow = Estee Lauder The Illuminator, £28.50, Selfridges
- Best primer for oily skin = Peter Thomas Roth Skin To Die For, £22.95, Beauty Bay
- Best primer for combination skin = Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Perfecting Primer, £32.50, Look Fantastic
- Best primer for dry skin = By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Primer, £42, Feel Unique
- Best primer for acne-prone skin = Fenty Pro Fil’r Instant Retouch Primer, £24, Boots
- Best primer for filling in pores = Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer, £29.50, LookFantastic
As for application, you have options. You can apply it all over, so your whole face can benefit, or apply it tactically, just where you need it, for instance on the areas with more visible pores, texture or oiliness.
With most high street brands offering up their own effective options, there are solutions to suit all budgets, skin types and tones. Therefore, there really is a primer for everyone. And – bonus – your primer could even double up on extra functions across your makeup bag. For example, it makes a handy brow gel. Just pat it directly into your brows, and brush through with a spoolie. Wear alone to help keep every hair in place or layer your brow powders and pencils over the top.
Looking for the best way to make your perfectly primed makeup last even longer? Check out our round up of the very best setting sprays for lasting staying power.