Over the last few years I have used primers on and off because I knew I was supposed to. It has only been this year that I have really found some primers that I have been reaching for because they actually add something beneficial to my makeup routine.
These are my top 5 primers.
This is mainly designed for two skin concerns - oil control and smoothing the skin. There are many other types of primers on the market (illuminating, hydrating, colour correction etc) but my skin type is combination oily and makeup can easy break down on my skin and as I have been getting older I have noticed that often makeup sits in my pores.
The two mattifying primers that I have been really enjoying are the Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer ($58 for 30ml) and the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector ($55 for 40ml). Both of these primers are quite thick and are great for applying to the areas of your face that get quite oily during the day (for me it's my t-zone). Since these are a thick primer I do recommend warming them up in your fingers before applying, blending them in quite quickly before they set (especially the Becca one) and also only apply it to the areas of your face that need it as this is not the type of primer that you should apply all over your face. These primers set and almost act like an oil absorbing glue which prevents the look of oily makeup, helps hold your makeup in place, and prevents your makeup from breaking down during the day (my biggest makeup pet peeve). These can also be applied in combination with other primers, so if you have dehydrated skin but an oily t-zone then apply a hydrating primer all over your face and then target the mattifying ones in the areas that become oily.
My recommendation of the two is the Becca primer as its better value for money and it makes my makeup last a little longer than the MUFE one, however the MUFE one is a lot easier to apply and to blend so it works better on larger areas.
Then we have the primers that are mainly designed to fill in pores and smooth the skin. I also find that the three that I mention here also work well at slightly prolonging the wear of your makeup which is always an added bonus! The first primer in this category I tried and loved was Benefit Porefessional Primer ($53 for 22ml) which is a silicone primer that glides over the skin, filling in pores and making the skin look flawless. I have heard that some people find this primer too heavy and can cause them to break out (maybe get a sample from Benefit before you buy) but I really enjoy this primer. The second is a newer one on the market and it is the Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer ($48 for 30ml). This primer reminds me a lot of the Benefit Porefessional but it feels lighter on the skin and it contains better skincare ingredients. Both of these primers are oil free and are great for makeup free days when you want your skin to look blurred and slightly less oily. Lastly is the Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer ($70 for 22ml) which is also a pore blurring primer, but it also helps hydrate the skin. I think this is a beautiful primer for people who want a slight burring effect, some oil control, but also wants to maintain hydration and a luminous finish to the skin.
Out of the three blurring primers I would recommend the Elizabeth Arden one over the Benefit as it is more cost effective but also has the added skincare benefits. I would also recommend the Dermalogica one to people who are happy to splurge on their primers and want added hydration in the cooler months.
I also did a video where I went through each of these primers and explained why I loved them. Feel free to check that out here.
Note: some of these products were sent to me as a press sample. My review is 100% my own opinion