Makeup primers: the 8 best formulas you can buy in 2020

The best primers smooth out imperfections and make your make-up last all day long, whatever your skin type.

If you’re even remotely interested in beauty, you’ve probably heard about them, even if you don’t use them. Makeup primers, or pre-makeup fluids, may not be a new trend, but their popularity has been consistently growing for years, along with our understanding of what they can do. So, naturally, brands have responded with a steady flow of new formulations for every area of our faces and every skin concern.

Are you a face primer fan looking for your next dream product?  Or do you see them as an extra step of faff and wonder if they are a bit of a waste of money? Perhaps, like so many women I meet, you are just curious about makeup primers, but don’t really know what to look for? Whatever your reason for being here, read on to discover the best makeup primers for smoothing lines, brightening complexions, plumping skin and more.

How primers became a big a thing in beauty

You can’t talk about primers without mentioning Smashbox – the very first brand to launch a primer to the mainstream market and Photo Finish is still one of the best primers around today.

The Smashbox primer – the original primer that started the trend

The idea first came to Davis Factor, a photographer and grandson of Max Factor. He noticed models needing constant makeup touch ups during shoots and this got him thinking.

With his family history of cosmetics he whipped up a clear silicone paste that could be applied to the face before cosmetics to keep makeup fresh and flawless under the hot lights in his LA Smashbox studios.  An instant hit, celebrities and models began smuggling pots into their handbags, leading Davis and his brother Dean to launch an entire cosmetics range. Specifically designed to withstand the hot lights, the range went down a storm on Hollywood movie sets and thus Smashbox Cosmetics was born.

Best primers: Smashbox Classic Photo Finish Foundation Primer

VIEW NOW: Smashbox Pore Minimizing Photo Finish Primer 

Smashbox Pore Minimizing Photo Finish Primer‘s signature silky texture effortlessly glides over  pores to smooth and blur. Gently dab a pea-sized amount into oily areas such as the T-zone where foundation is  prone to slip,  leave for 30 seconds before applying your next product.

Do I need a makeup primer?

Well the short answer is no. In as much as, you don’t need any particular item of makeup. But if we’re talking about wants rather than needs, and what you want is lovelier-looking skin and longer lasting makeup, then priming could be for you.

There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s an extra step in your routine, but effort-wise you’re looking at about 10 seconds and no requirement to apply it neatly or use tools.

Types of makeup primers and face primers

There are as many different varieties of primer as there are faces to prime, but they mainly fall into four categories.

  1. Traditional silicone-based primers, which smooth over lines, blur pores and give all other makeup extra staying power.
  2. Oil control primers take this one step further by including absorbant and mattifying ingredients
  3. Illuminating primers which, unsurprisingly, add radiance with peach pigment and light-reflecting particles.
  4. Colour correcting primers, which come in an array of pastel tones to neutralise redness, sallowness, dark circles and any other complexion woes.

Feeling convinced to try a makeup primer yet? Discover our favourite primers to transform your beauty and skincare routine and make your makeup stay all day…

Best primers to buy right now

These are the best formulas for sale in 2020…

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