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The Best Makeup Primers, Based on Your Skin Type

Learn how to incorporate this staple into your makeup routine.
March 10, 2023

If you’ve ever made it halfway through the day, only to wonder why your makeup seems to have a mind of its own — slipping and sliding in every direction but the one you intended — you’re not alone. You may be meticulous with your skin care routine, but can you say the same thing about your makeup routine? Sure, you love your face makeup — your foundation, concealer, and highlighter — but what about what comes before those must-haves? 

Yes, we’re talking about face primer. You may think that applying primer is an unnecessary step in your makeup routine, but maybe you just haven’t found the right one for your skin type yet. It turns out that using the best makeup primer for your skin type can help ensure a more even face makeup application, help it last longer, and prevent smudging and fading. Keep reading to learn about the best primers for every skin type.

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What Is Primer?

Primer is a cosmetic product that helps to create a smooth, even base for your makeup, and it’s applied as the first step in your makeup routine. Primers also help keep your makeup in place, and they can even prolong wear. The most popular kind of primer is face primer, but there are also specialized primers for foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow, and even mascara.

What Are the Main Types of Primer?

Face primers can come in different kinds of formulas with ingredients best suited for specific skin types.

Illuminating Primer

If you have dull skin or just like a dewy finish, an illuminating primer is best for you as it will add radiance to your skin. This is also perfect for people who find that traditional highlighters are too shiny and want that lit-from-within look.

Mattifying Primer

Matte primers help to mattify the skin and reduce the appearance of oil and large pores. Perfect for those with oily and combination skin, matte primer is  great for combatting shine before you even apply any makeup. 

Hydrating Primer

While many primers focus on mattifying and controlling oil and shine on the skin, there are some primers that are meant to hydrate dry skin, creating a moisturized base for your makeup.

Silicone-Based Primer

While all primers help create a smooth base, silicone-based primers are particularly great at evening the skin’s texture, as the ingredient also helps to fill in pores and fine lines. These primers are also usually very mattifying. 

Color-Correcting Primer

Color-correcting primers come in different colors to help conceal skin care concerns like redness or dark spots. When you’re using a color-correcting primer, you can skip color corrector and just apply the primer.

How Do I Know If I Need a Primer?

Most people will benefit from a makeup primer to make their makeup last longer, but it's particularly effective for people that have oily skin and find that their makeup fades and moves around a lot. You can apply your makeup without primer and it may wear fine, but it’s a toss up. Applying primer won’t hurt your makeup, it will only help it, so it makes sense to take the extra minute it takes to put it on and fade-proof your face.

How to Choose the Best Makeup Primer

When it comes to picking a face primer, you should look at the formula, your skin type and your personal preference. If you have dry skin, go for a cream primer to hydrate it, while oily skin types should choose a gel consistency to help with shine. 

If you have acne-prone skin, you can also check if your primer contains ingredients like salicylic acid to combat blemishes, but you always want to make sure it’s non-comedogenic. 

How to Find The Best Primer For Your Skin Type

When it comes to acing your makeup base, it all comes down to finding the best primer for your skin type. Choose from the following options, picking the face primer that suits your skin’s needs.

The Best Primer for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you likely have experienced your complexion looking shiny by midday. So, look for a primer that has a matte finish, like the L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter, and layer some of it on after completing your skin care routine. This mattifying primer helps blur the look of imperfections and has a matte finish to help you reduce shine.

The Best Primer for Acne-Prone Skin

The L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter is  a good choice for acne-prone skin, as the formula contains salicylic acid to treat and prevent blemishes. Salicylic acid also has light exfoliation properties, which can make your skin look smoother.

The Best Primer for Dull Skin

Instead of using makeup to mask dullness, reach for a primer that will give your complexion a radiant finish, like the L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Dullness Reducer. The primer offers an instant brightening effect, and the orange color will also help color correct any dark spots or discoloration you may be experiencing.

The Best Primer for Mature Skin

Is smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, or an overall uneven skin texture one of your biggest skin concerns? Apply an even layer of the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Blurring Face Primer infused with Serum, which includes a caring serum to blur the look of pores and lines, which can be a common skin concern for those with mature skin.

The Best Primer for Dry Skin

Dry skin can cause your foundation to look flaky, but the L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer can help to brighten and moisturize the skin. Enriched with glycerin and shea butter, the formula leaves skin looking more luminous, and it can be worn underneath foundation or on its own.

The Best Primer for Redness

Instead of using a color corrector and then reaching for primer, try the L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Redness Eraser, which will reduce the look of redness on the skin while also creating an even base for your makeup, in one easy step.

The Best Primer for Large Pores

No matter how full-coverage your foundation is, large pores can still peak through. To address this, use the L'Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Pore Minimizer, a primer that gives the skin a blurring effect to reduce the look of pores. 

The Best Primer for Combination Skin

People with combination skin deal with multiple skin concerns at once but the L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base is equipped to deal with both. The silky, lightweight formula leaves skin feeling smooth, and you can use it all over your face or on certain areas. Try it on the under-eye area to smooth over fine lines, the nose and cheeks to minimize the look of pores, or just on the T-zone for a matte look.

How to Apply Primer

Now that you know how to choose the best makeup primer for your skin type, it’s time to learn how to put it to use in your makeup routine. Follow the easy steps  below.

1. Complete Your Skin Care Routine

Using primer should be the first step in your makeup routine, but it’s definitely not meant to be the first step in your entire beauty routine. After all, you don’t want to apply your makeup primer on unwashed or unmoisturized skin. So, start by going through your normal skin care routine — cleansing, applying facial moisturizer, and then sunscreen.

2. Apply Your Skin Primer

You can use your hands or a makeup sponge to apply primer. Smooth an even layer of your primer pick onto your face, from your forehead down to your chin. Wait a few minutes for the product to sink in, then continue with your makeup routine.

3. Prime Lids, Lips and Other Areas

If you don’t have any primers for your eyes or lips, you can move on to applying your makeup. But if you do have these products, you should apply them according to the product instructions before applying the makeup for their areas.

4. Finish Your Makeup Routine

Now that your face is primed, you can apply your makeup as usual. When you’re done, you can further prolong the wear of your makeup by sealing your look  with setting spray like the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray

Next: Why a Skin Care-Inspired Makeup Primer is Exactly What Your Routine Needs

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Mirna Jose, Hair Assistant: Keila Rivera, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Omega

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