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The It List 25 March 2021

The Only Primers Worth Knowing For Every Skin Type

The best pre-makeup skin prep according to the skin that sits beneath it.

Just like cosmeceutical skincare, choosing a primer according to your skin type or skin concern is imperative. For that reason, we have filtered our curation of cult-status primers.

Words By Brittany Lyons

Oily/Congested Skin

Excess oil begins to form in the skin when the sebaceous glands overproduce sebum, an essential compound which helps hydrate and protect the skin. Unfortunately, when there is too much sebum, the skin appears oily, slippery and shiny.

To counteract the shininess of the excess sebum you’re prone to (especially in the T zone), we rely on mattifying ingredients such as silicon and avoid products with oil.

If you’re frustrated by your makeup slipping off your face by 12pm, a great primer is most certainly about to change your life.

Pore Professional by Benefit Cosmetics has earned its cult status by existing as one of the best performing mattifying primers on the market. Reducing the visible size of pores, blurring imperfections and turning an oily canvas into a velvety dream, if you haven’t tried this formular, we recommend giving it a go.

Below are the best mattifying primers on the market for those experiencing excess oil and looking to avoid congestion, without compromising on the longevity of their makeup.

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer,$56, Sephora

Dry Skin

For those experiencing bouts of dry or dehydrated skin, nourishment is key when selecting the perfect primer.

As opposed to oily skin types, dry skin has an imbalance of the sebaceous glands, whereby they aren’t producing enough sebum. In order to counteract this underproduction of oil, thirst-quenching elements must be replenished through re-hydrating products.

Lucky for us, hydrating primers are available in the absolute masses. Containing ingredients to plump and moisturise like natural oils, hyaluronic acid and shea butter, these products work really hard.

Applied after moisturiser and daily SPF, a hydrating primer should promote an overall glowy complexion and radiance from beneath your foundation of choice. If luminosity and hydration are what you seek, we recommend the Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Hydrating Primer as a start. This is the ultimate nourishing, lightweight and glow-inducing formulation that is a dream underneath both liquid and powder foundations.

In an attempt to avoid cracking, peeling or a dry finish to your makeup application, we also recommend using a hydrating liquid foundation or BB cream and finishing off your beat with a hydrating setting spray or mist.

Also, drink plenty of water!

Embryolisse Laboratories Lait-Creme Concentre, £13, Cult Beauty


Balanced Skin

Feeling neither oily nor dry? Fantastic!

Balanced skin suggests that you’re treating your concerns correctly and that your skin is happy and healthy. Big ups to you!

Working with a balanced canvas means that achieving your desired finish is so much more likely to nail.

Essentially your primer choice needs to really be according to how you want your skin’s finish to look. Matte, dewy, glowy, glassy, all of these can be achieved by the use of the right pre-makeup primer.

A recent beauty phenomenon you mightn’t be familiar with is the glass skin trend. Popularised out of the Korean beauty scene, glass skin is a continuation of the glowy, super-radiant skin finish. Trying to resemble the perfection and luminosity associated with the surface of glass, this very difficult canvas is more easily achieved with the help of a hardworking primer.

The Makeup Revolution Glass Skin Primer is a dewy gel that boosts hydration to leave skin radiant and perfectly glowy. If glass if what you seek, this primer is the perfect foundation product.

The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer, £3.90, Cult Beauty

Ageing Skin

Technically all skin begins are ageing from birth, but this selection of primers is specifically formulated for those who are actively targeting concerns of ageing.

Whether you’re treating signs of fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots or anything growing older comes with, these products support your efforts of care and help to diminish signs of ageing pre-makeup application.

When it comes to anti-ageing cosmeceutical care, we all know that sun protection reigns supreme. It is for that reason that most of these expertly formulated primers contain some form of SPF. We still recommend using your regular sunscreen prior to applying a primer containing SPF, always.

Aside from Sun Protection Factor, some of the below-featured primers boasting anti-ageing elements contain brightening ingredients to combat the signs of pigmentation and acting as blur blur of imperfections of the complexion.

Dr Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Ageing Primer is a product of high accolades due to its multi-faceted approach to tackling signs of ageing right before makeup application. You can thank peptides and antioxidants for their healing powers whilst and working hard at protecting skin against free radical damage. It certainly is a product that wears many hats.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Primer, $171.32, Net-a-Porter

Redness Prone Skin

For those susceptible to inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, broken capillaries and overall redness of the skin, sometimes concealing doesn’t quite cut it.

Instead of relying only on the final stages of the makeup application process where concealer is applied, colour correction is usually more successful when introduced earlier in the mix.

The addition of green hues within a primer rebalances the colour of haemoglobin coming through the skin’s surface and equips the skin with the chance to start with an even-toned canvas.

Whilst the application of a green toned product to areas of redness may alert alarm bells, the buffing of the product into the skin seriously blurs any red or greenness, quite magically.

Unfortunately, skin experiencing these vascular concerns can also be sensitive in other departments. This is while you’ll find calming ingredients such as niacinamide, and Vitamin E to help soothe the skin to reduce more redness from occurring.

Reliant on a dual action soothing and correcting system, these primers should be the first port of call for those trying to reduce signs of redness with their makeup.

Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Calming Primer, $45, Adore Beauty