The Very Best Primers (As Rated By The Beauty Team)
By Sam Freedman Posted on 16 Feb 2017
Since we’ve adopted South Korea’s multi-step beauty routines, adding yet another product, even if it’s the best primer under the sun, can seem a little testing. But, whether you have dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin or even just slightly mature skin, a primer can be the difference between your make-up lasting and it looking tired after a few hours. In other words, this beauty product is worth the effort. The question is, which is the best primer out there? So it doesn’t become yet another item to languish unloved at the bottom of your make-up bag or clutter up your bathroom, the Grazia team has been researching the best primers on the market.
Of course you don’t absolutely NEED a primer. You’d survive without it, but with it (especially with our favourites below) you’ll certainly notice a difference.
It’s not just the longevity of your base that will get a boost (if you want your make-up to stick around past lunchtime in your not-so-air-conned office, a decent primer is a must). A good primer will also improve the quality of your finished make-up look. We’re talking added radiance, a reduction in the appearance of fine lines (thanks to clever, multi-tasking ingredients) and (if you choose the correct formula for your skin type) a dewy but shine-free finish.
All things considered, a primer should be an indispensable addition to your beauty arsenal.
If you find that your complexion tends to be oily, with shininess emerging around the T-zone throughout the day and with enlarged pores, look out for oil-free mattifying formulas that won’t exacerbate the issue: many of the newest launches (along with cult favourites like Smashbox and Cover FX’s offerings) even feature salicylic acid to help fight blemishes during the day.
If your skin sits on the drier end of the complexion spectrum, opt for a hydrating product to use in tandem with a foundation targeting dry skin, and bid goodbye to your base becoming flaky and dull as the day goes on.
Whether you want to secure longevity, need a touch of colour correction or a much deserved moisture boost, with products to suit almost every budget from high street to high end, we’ve got you covered in our edit of the best primers below.
You can thank us later…
The Best Primers: The Grazia Edit
llamasqua’s Hydra Veil, £32
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llamasqua’s Hydra Veil, £32
BEST FOR: Dry skinPacked with potent ingredients like microalgae, Vitamin C and B3, this primer will not only maintain but boost hydration levels within the skin, as well as creating a healthy glow.
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Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Fatigue Blur Primer, £7.99
BEST FOR: Those on a budgetThis primer is designed to fill in pores and fine lines whilst creating a silky canvas for your base. The genius mattifying effect is perfect for those with oily skin who want to hide the shine.
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Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Primer, £42
BEST FOR: Protecting against pollutionSpecially formulated to protect from (much needed) environmental damages with its blend of botanical extracts, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. It’s lightweight, plumping and it shrinks pores – what’s not to love?
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Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base, £35
BEST FOR: Hiding rednessGuaranteed to be in every make-up artist kit bag- this genius brightening formulation does a mean job at hiding redness, but apply it over make-up, over the tops of cheek, and expect an un-shimmery punchy highlight.
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Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow, £32
BEST FOR: Lacklustre skinThe ultimate fixer-upper for dull and lack-lustre skin. Charlotte’s clever concoction works to boost radiance when worn on bare skin, or mixed in with your foundation. Expect dewy and supple skin that lasts all day.
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Too Faced Hangover Primer, £22.95
BEST FOR: Foundation longevityBurning the candle at both ends? A morning dose of this beauty is very much needed. Designed to boost radiance, promote elasticity and hydrate while locking down make-up. This is most definitely designed for those battling a work hard, play hard lifestyle.
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Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer, £30
BEST FOR: Glow boostingSmashbox are the ‘Queens of primers’, but it’s their latest launch that we’ve fallen for. Designed to give your skin that golden-hour lighting glow with its micro-fine amber and bronze pearls. You can leave highlighting behind with this on.
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BECCA First Light Priming Filter, £32
BEST FOR: Colour correctingDon’t be put off by this lilac liquid. Using clever colour correcting abilities, the purple-tone will dispel dullness while oozing that gorge ‘gym skin’ finish you often see on the catwalk.
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Benefit POREfessional Face Primer, £26
BEST FOR: Disguising enlarged poresHaving won more awards than we can even mention. This classic primer is perfect for giving skin a baby soft base ready for foundation. Expect pores to look non-existent (especially around the chin and cheeks) and skin to feel ‘airbrushed’.
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Hourglass Veil Minerals Primer SPF 15, £55
BEST FOR: Sun bunniesSpenny it may be, but Hourglass’ glorious primer boasts a multitude of benefits - one being its added sun cream. Save time (and money) with this all-in-one super slick pump.
The Best Primers For Dry Skin
Find that your foundation gathers around fine lines and appears a little patchy as the day goes on? We recommend a rich, hydrating formula such as Laura Mercier’s Hydrating Foundation Primer, £30 (it does exactly what it says on the label) or Glossier’s Priming Moisturiser, £18 (also available in a richer formula).
The Best Primers For Oily Skin
Finding the best primer for oily skin can be a game changer, locking your make-up in place for the day, minimising shine and reducing the appearance of enlarged pores, too. Here are some of our favourites…
The Best Eyeshadow Primers
An often overlooked beauty hero, eyeshadow primers can help banish creases and keep your cat’s eye flick in place all evening. And no, concealer on the lids definitely does not count…
WATCH NOW: The Dior Beauty Eyeliner Trick That Makes Eyes Look Bigger
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