The Best Makeup Primer | What You Need to Know

Makeup primer is designed to make your makeup last longer. However, not everyone swears by makeup primer to make their makeup last. Learn about the different types of makeup primer and whether or not you need to add this product to your daily routine.

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best makeup primer

How to Choose the Best Makeup Primer

What is makeup primer for? How do I use makeup primer? Is makeup primer even worth it?

It depends on your skin type and makeup routine.

Choosing a makeup primer that works for you will depend on your skin type and makeup routine. Some makeup products have primer built into the formula, meaning the product naturally has properties that will make it last longer.

If you have oily skin, you’ll need to choose a makeup primer that works for your skin type. If you have dry skin, there are moisturizing primers for you.

How to Apply Makeup Primer

Makeup primer is applied before your foundation and after your skin care products soak in.

Whether or not makeup primer is neccessary for makeup depends on your skin care routine and the quality of your makeup. I find that the higher the quality, the longer the makeup stays and I don’t need to invest in other products to make the makeup stay on all day.

There are other benefits however, to using makeup primer. It creates a protective barrier for your skin. Some professionals use skin care products instead of makeup primer.

Important note about makeup primer: If you work in the food industry (which I did for many years) I would recommend using makeup primer to create a protective barrier for your skin and prevent breakouts that happen from the oil in the air. Since I was working in an environment with a lot of oil, doing this helped me prevent breakouts from working over a hot grill all day. However, everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you. Putting too many products on your skin could also clog your pores so you’ll need to experiment.

Types of Makeup Primer

There are two main types of makeup primers:

  • Makeup primers for skin types
  • Makeup primers for different areas of the skin

The type of primer you choose will depend on the area you need to prime (eyes, face, etc). You’ll also need to consider your skin type when choosing a makeup primer. If you have oily skin or combination skin, you’ll ned to choose a different type of primer with ingredients that will not exacerbate your pores and attach to the oil on your skin.

It’s best to consult a dermatologist if you have a skin condition or acne-prone skin that needs specific products. If you’re shopping for a product on your own, the list below will steer you in the right direction. Deciding which primer is best for makeup will depend on your skin type and routine.

Makeup Primer for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, the American Association of Dermatology (AADA) recommends choosing products without oil that are labeled as noncomedogenic. The AADA also recommends using an oil-free or water-based product.

There are many primers that are oil-free or water-based that are designed for oily skin. However, they’re not all comedogenic so it’s important to read the labels carefully.

Oil-free Water-Based Primers

Below are several water-based and oil-free primers for oily skin.

True Skin Radiant Priming Serum | Ilia

The True Skin Radiant Priming Serum from Ilia is a silicon-free and moisture packed primer that is designed for oily skin.

100 % Pure Luminous Primer

100 Pure Luminous Primer

Vitamin E, aloe, avacado, and green tea make this product the perfect formula for refreshing your skin and smoothing pores for makeup application. An added benefit is resveratrol, an antioxidant with anti-aging properties. The formula is also infused with vitamin c and jojoba seed oil.

Honest Beauty Matte Primer

Honest Beauty Matte Primer is designed to create a smooth canvas for makeup application and blur imperfections. I like this primer because it lightweight, but I prefer not to use it with oil-based products. This product is EWG verified and PETA-certified cruelty-free.

Noncomedogenic Primers

Priming Moisturizer Balance from Glossier is a noncomedogenic primer with a gel formula designed for oily skin.

Quick Guide: Is Glossier Clean?

Moisturizing Primers (Makeup Primer for Dry Skin)

The Beautiful Primer | Kjaer Weiss

Kjaer Weiss infuses elegance into everyday products. This simple formula can be applied with a brush or your fingers and is a moisturizing formula for all skin types.

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer

For mature skin, products infused with vitamin c and double as skin care to nourish the skin are ideal. Juice Beauty has a primer infused with vitamin c that anyone, especially those with mature skin types, can see benefits from.

Eyeshadow Primer

Eyeshadow primer is important because your eyelids move so much during the day. Although some eyeshadows are powerful enough to withstand the day, most need some help to stay on.

Ilia On & On Brightening Eye Primer

Alima Pure Eye Primer

Vapour Gentle Illuminating Primer

Makeup Primer for Mature Skin

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer

For mature skin, products infused with vitamin c and double as skin care to nourish the skin are ideal. Juice Beauty has a primer infused with vitamin c that anyone, especially those with mature skin types, can see benefits from.

2-in-1 Primer Makeup Products

2-in-1 primer products have multiple benefits. Most of the primers you have seen on this list offer more than one skin care benefit. Many of the primers above are also moisturizing, oil-wicking, or illuminiating. However, products marketed as 2-in-1 will usually be tinted or offer SPF protection.

  • Tinted primers offer coverage
  • Primers with SPF offer sun protection

While 2-in-1 products are amazing because they reduce your time getting ready in the morning, it’s important to pay attention to the labels on your products. You don’t want to choose the wrong product for your skin type.

Household Makeup Primer

If you don’t have makeup primer, you can use your skin care products or an SFP product as a primer. You can also try oils, but I could be careful applying too many oils before your makeup.

Drugstore Makeup Primers

If you’re looking for a drug store makeup primer, I would recommend looking into ELF which has several green scores (cleaner scores) on the Environmental Working Group, one of the strictest clean beauty databases. This database is so strict that is has caused controversy about whether or not to use it as a guide.

I think as long as you treat it as just that–a guide– it has great information to keep you informed about what is in your products. I would also recommend Honest Beauty and Mineral Fusion (mostly EWG verified).

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