Like most works of art, a canvas needs a base: enter makeup primer. As the name suggests, makeup primer preps your skin for cosmetics application by helping makeup last longer, smoothing out texture and evening skin tone. Arguably, a good primer can make an inexpensive foundation look luxe and last all day. Here are our picks for the top primers to put your best face forward. —Vicki Duong
for dryness. The perfect hybrid of primer meets moisturizer, meet Smashbox’s Primerizer ($50). Just as the name suggests, this 2-in-1 product aims to add moisture while prepping your skin for makeup application. With hyaluronic acid boosting your moisture levels and niacinamide improving uneven skin texture this primer is perfect for skincare fanatics. Bonus: it's vegan!
for dullness. If your skin has been looking a little lacklustre lately, Dr. Brandt’s Luminizer Primer ($48) will get you glowing in no time. Slightly tinted with a hint of shimmer this illuminating primer adds the perfect touch of “natural” glow to your makeup application (while lentil seed extract (you read that right) provides a skin-tightening effect).
for on-the-go. Looking for something fuss-free? Check out NYX Cosmetics’ First Base Primer Spray ($10) for its ease of application via a super-fine mist. Ultra-nourishing ingredients like cornflower extract keeps your skin feeling supple while also locking in makeup. Need an extra pick me up? Leave it in the fridge overnight for a cooling sensation to kick-start your day.
for mattifying. Oily skin types, rejoice! Benefit’s iconic POREfessional primer now comes in a mattifying formula, Matte Rescue ($43) to keep your skin shine free. The formula is a water-based gel dries down instantly to reduce excess shine leaving an ultra-natural matte finish while diamond powder adds a soft focus pore-blurring effect. Think of of it as your filter in a bottle.
for redness. For those looking to colour correct while prepping their skin for makeup application, look no further than the Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime collection ($13 each). Our favourite is the anti-redness, green-tinted formula. Not to worry, this formula is lightweight and won’t leave you looking ghoulish; rather, the green helps counteract redness in the skin leaving your skin tone more even.
bonus. Bear with us on this one. We know it seems insane to use Nivea Men After Shave Balm ($7) as an all-over face primer and we definitely don't’t recommend it for every sensitive skin since it’s fairly heavily fragranced but, due to the high amount of glycerin in aftershave, this product actually makes for a very effective makeup primer. Glycerin gives your skin grip for makeup to adhere to while also smoothing out texture by filling in pores. While it may not be your new go-to it’ll definitely work if you find yourself needing to raid your boyfriend's medicine cabinet in a punch!