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The best make-up primers

Do you find that you apply the perfect face of make-up in the morning, only for half of it to have rubbed off by lunchtime? We understand the struggle, but there is one little product that everyone forgets about that will eliminate the need to reapply your make up throughout the day (and not have to lug your entire make-up bag around in your handbag!) That product is known as primer. 

Make-up primer has been around for a while, but many of us chose to skip that step when perfecting our beauty regimes. However, now that beauty trends such as contouring have become an essential part of doing our make-up, primer is more important than ever. Think of your face as a work of art, and the primer as your blank canvas. Many people assume that primer is only for oily skin, and although there are primers out there designed with this in mind, its main purpose is to prep all skin types by smoothing out and evening skin tone, after moisturising, and before applying foundation. 

So “what is the best make-up primer for my skin?” I hear you ask. There are many different primers designed for a range of skin types to ensure you get that flawless finish make-up artists so effortlessly achieve. Oily skin can be tackled with a mattifying primer, whereas dry skin will require a thicker, creamier primer to achieve that dewy look that keeps your skin hydrated even when applying lots of product. For combination skin you may wish to use two different primers to even out your skin in different areas, and if you have sensitive skin make sure you check it’s fragrance-free to avoid irritation. 

One thing to be aware of is that most primers contain silicones which can irritate sensitive or acne-prone skin, so it is important to look out for silicone-free alternatives which are ideal for those who want to reduce redness. You’ll also find the best make-up primer for you offers a special function such as anti-ageing, SPF protection, colour-correction or just simply moisturises for silky-soft skin. Some primers can be applied with a sponge or a brush, however most women have found that applying with clean fingers allows for the best coverage. 

Now that we’ve primed you with the knowledge you need, take a look at our top picks to complete your beauty and skincare routine! 

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

An all-rounder winner for masking those imperfections

Best for: Everyday use | Skin type: Normal/combination | Finish: Natural

Contains essential vitamins
Light and dewy feel
Pricey for a beginner 

If you consider primer an essential part of your daily routine, then we recommend investing in the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer for its lightweight feel that won’t make you feel like you’re caked in product. This is one of the best make-up primers for everyday use because it caters to all skin types and leaves you with a dewy finish that is bang on trend. Although pricey, a little goes a long way meaning this product will last you a long time.  

Cover FX Mattifying Primer

Beat the blemish with this anti-acne primer

Best for: Hiding imperfections | Skin type: Acne-prone | Finish: Matte

Hides and improves acne
Eliminates shine
 Not fragrance-free 

If problem skin is getting you down, then the Cover FX Mattifying Primer will work miracles on your skin. This is the best make-up primer for acne-prone skin due to its Dermaveil Technology which instantly brightens the skin and blurs imperfections, while still allowing your skin to breathe. You won’t have to worry about reapplying your make-up again when you use this primer, because it’ll keep everything set in place all day long so that your pores don’t get clogged with products. 

Too Faced ‘Hangover’ Face Primer

The ultimate moisturiser for a healthy-looking glow

Best for: Hydration | Skin type: Dry skin | Finish: Dewy

Rehydrates skin
No good for oily skin 

We’ve all been guilty of not drinking enough water or falling asleep with our make-up on after a night of heavy drinking. If long days in the office and non-stop partying on the weekends is taking its toll on your skin, then the Too Faced ‘Hangover’ Face Primer will do wonders for your skin. This coconut infused primer revives your skin’s radiance and achieves a fresher look for longer which is guaranteed to encourage you to feel as good as you look! Forget Maccy D’s because the ultimate hangover cure has been found and it’s the best make-up primer for dry skin! 

Benefit POREfessional Face Primer

Feel the benefit of the porefessional

Best for: Minimising pores | Skin type: Oily | Finish: Matte

Absorbs excess oil
Easy to apply
Not the best coverage 

If you’re sick of the shine, then Benefit’s POREfessional is without a doubt one of the best make-up primers for oily skin. This water-based gel absorbs any unwanted oil with its diamond powder and minimises the appearance of your pores. This product is easy to apply and only requires a thin layer to achieve noticeably natural-looking results that last all day.  

e.l.f Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer

A beginner’s primer with professional results

Best for: First-time buy | Skin type: All | Finish: Natural

Suitable for all skin types
 Not the best coverage 

If you’re still a little sceptical about how effective primer really is, or you’re concerned your skin won’t agree with it, then opt for e.l.f Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer. This is an all-round winner for all skin types as it doesn’t contain silicones and it comes in a small bottle that's really good value for money. It’s a great entry-level primer that does a good job on its own or as a base for your make-up. 

MAC Prep & Prime Natural Radiance

For that professional finish at home

Best for: Fair skin | Skin type: Combination | Finish: Natural

Creates glowing skin
Absorbs oil

If you want to achieve beauty salon perfection from the comfort of your own home, then the MAC Prep & Prime Natural Radiance is the best make-up primer for a natural finish that will make you selfie-ready! This is one of the best make-up primers for fair skin as it contains an illuminating pearl powder that helps brighten the skin to give you a beautiful glow. It comes in two skin tones depending on whether you want to achieve a warmer or brighter look.