The best primer for radiance, blurring, UV protection and keeping make-up in place

Because it's the one buy you need for truly flawless skin

A quick poll of the office tells us that you’re probably one of two types of people: either you wouldn’t be caught dead applying your best foundation without putting on your best primer first, or you just cannot be bothered with it.

For those who can’t be arsed with one, perhaps we might be able to convince you? When you’ve spent time applying your make-up just so, wouldn’t you quite like it if it stuck around all day? Because some of the best primers offer 24-hour staying power. Whilst you mind not need the full 24 hours, you can’t really argue with that promise.

As for those who might fancy a new primer to play with, read on to find one that best to suit your needs.

What is makeup primer?

In case you’re not already well-versed in why they exist; they ‘prime’ the skin and create the perfect canvas for your make-up, while simultaneously keeping it on your face for as long as possible.

But depending on the formula, a primer can also soak up excess oil, blur the appearance of pores, smooth out bumpy skin, neutralise redness and even protect your skin from sun damage. Not bad, eh?! We’re yet to find a concern that the right primer won’t fix…

Best primer for oily skin

Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation Primer, £30, Fabled

best primer laura mercier

Hailed as one of the best primers for oily skin that money can buy, Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer (Oil Free) is a classic in many a beauty lover’s make-up bag, offering maximum priming power, sans oil. The water-based, gel primer blurs the skin’s texture to create a kind of ‘airbrushed’ finish, while also protecting the skin against environmental damage by acting as a vitamin-enriched antioxidant barrier.

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Best drugstore primer

The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer, £5.50, Beauty Expert

best primer The Ordinary

‘High-spreadability’ is the key phrase here. This serum-like primer glides onto the skin and makes make-up blending so much easier. Foundation and concealer will melt into skin, rather than accumulating. Can also be worn alone as it creates the most beautiful blank canvas. If you have dry skin, you’ll love using this.

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Best primer for dry skin

Estée Lauder Double Wear Flawless Hydrating Primer SPF45, £28, Fabled

best primer estee lauder

As well as applying the best moisturiser for dry skin, you need a primer that stops your make-up drying your skin out throughout the day. There’s nothing worse than spotting a dry, flaky patch when you pop to the loo half way though the day. This ultra soothing primer will keep your hydration levels up and has the added bonus of a high SPF, so you’re essentially getting two products in one. Yay.

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Best eyeshadow primer

Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer, £17.50, Fabled

best primer eyeshadow Urban Decay

Of course, the world of primers doesn’t stop at your face – eyeshadow, lip and even mascara primers are equally as essential in our opinion. Once you’ve put all the hard work into creating a smokey eye or steely metallic shadow look you want it to last no?! Well duh. For this you need a concentrated formula that will stop unwanted smudging and creasing. Urban Decay’s Primer Potion is a firm favourite of beauty editors and bloggers all over the globe . Once you’ve tried the original formula, look out for the extensive shade range tailored to specific eyeshadow looks.

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Best primer for pores

Benefit The POREfessional, £28, Fabled

best primer porefessional

Enlarged pores are a nightmare. If you have them, then you probably avoid magnified mirrors at all costs. Those giant craters stand between you and your flawless base and something must be done about them. Spoiler: Your pores will never completely ‘close’ – they are not doors. They also won’t disappear. Sorry. However, with a cracking skincare routine and the right primer you can reduce the appearance.

Your best buy here is one of the most famous primers in the world, Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer – the clue’s in the name. This little beauty makes short work of minimising the appearance of enlarged pores with its lightweight and velvety formula. It kind of blurs everything – a bit like your favourite Insta filter.

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Best matte primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Iconic Primer Stick, £22, Fabled

best primer smashbox

A mattifing primer does wonders if you have oily skin – especially around the t-zone area. This genius primer stick by Smashbox, arguably the most notable brand synonymous with primers, can be used under your foundation in the areas you feel you need it most and then over the top of make-up when you feel you need a top of matte.

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Best SPF primer

Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer, £42, Look Fantastic

best primer armani

If you struggle with introducing an extra SPF step into your routine in the mornings, then why not look to your primer as a way of getting it in? This Armani number goes on like silk, but turns to velvet when it dries down. Make-up stays put and you stay protected.

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Best primer for sensitive skin

Too Faced Hangover Primer, £26, Cult Beauty

best primer Too Faced

If you have sensitive skin, you know the drill: you want to avoid anything that can irritate. So you’re after a formula that’s silicone, fragrance and alcohol-free wherever possible. Unfortunately, this can take a little trial and error, as what irritates one person’s skin could be another’s complexion saviour. Patch tests are key before slathering it all over your face. This one is a super-light solution, so not gloopy or pore-clogging and non-irritating. Hooray!

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Best primer for acne prone skin

bareMinerals Remedy Mattifying Prep Gel, £22, Fabled

best primer bareminerals

If you have blemishes, you actually benefit from using a primer the most. Why?  Because not only will a primer help to create a smooth base on any bumpy areas, but find one that contains spot-busting ingredients, like this one, and you’re also treating the issue throughout the day too. This one also mattifies any annoying oiliness that so often comes hand-in-hand with spots.

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Best cruelty-free primer

Cover FX Mattifying Primer, £30 Cult Beauty

best primer cover fx

If you only use cruelty-free and vegan beauty products the Cover FX is an excellent brand to have on your radar. The products are hardworking and the ingredients completely clean. Their range of primers are also incredible, including this nourishing mattifying number.

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Best illuminating primer

Nars Radiance Primer SPF35, £29, Fabled

best primer nars

Not only does this keep your makeup in place for as long as you’re awake, it also give you the most beautiful glowy sheen. It brings life back into skin. Whether you’ve had one hell of a heavy night or you’re a seasoned sufferer of dull-skin-syndrome, then this will instantly give you that much needed radiance boost.

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So there you have it, the best primer for your skin type, solved. Read on for more of our favourite buys and consider your skin priming needs well and truly fixed.

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