Primers are probably the best thing to ever be invented, & they’re a step that was missing from my makeup routine for a long time.. I’m so glad I discovered them a few years ago! My skin has the tendency to make foundations look awful, even when they are very good quality ones that look amazing on everyone. I have normal to dry skin that gets very dry in areas like my cheeks, forehead, and around my eyes.
Without a primer, no matter what foundation, the product clings to my dry patches and makes me look like a cakey mess even when I haven’t applied much foundation. It’s a nightmare! I always use primers that have hydrating and smoothing ingredients as that’s what works best for me. I don’t really get oily, so I don’t have to worry too much about finding ones that control oil or mattify. If anything I try to avoid those, unless I know I’ll be wearing my makeup for a very long time in a hot place.
MAC Prep & Prime BB Cream
I like this one for when I’m self tanned and need to deepen the color of a foundation to match my tan. Mine is in the shade Refined Golden, and is a beautiful bronze color. This provides a light to medium coverage, but as it’s in the Prep & Prime range it also works as a primer and helps your foundation to last longer. I find that with this one I don’t need to use as much foundation, as it already gives me some coverage and evens out my skin tone. It lightly mattyfies without drying out my skin, and has a really smooth texture which I like.
Smashbox PhotoFinish Color Correcting Primer
This is one I used to use ages ago, and have recently re-discovered in my makeup collection. The green color helps to reduce redness (only very slightly) and has an amazing mousse like texture that makes my skin really smooth. I find this one really helps my makeup last, and that I don’t get patchy or cakey looking for a long time. To be honest I dint think the green coloring does much, as it’s meant to be a color corrector but I feel like if you got any color in this range it would do the same thing. I like it for the texture and lasting power rather than the redness reducing factor, as it doesn’t work so well in that area.
Too Faced Hangover RX Primer
I bought this little guy purely because of the hype it got on Youtube, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how well it works for my skin type. It’s really liquidy and almost like a moisturizer, so it provides me with a lot of hydration - exactly what my dry little face needs! I don’t know how well it keeps your makeup on for more oily skin types, as I find it gives my skin a nice glow. For some people with oily skin any kind of a glow is bad news, as it tends to turn into an oily mess within a few hours. I love how it has a pump as well, and the packaging (as always from Too Faced) is adorable and looks so cute on my makeup table.
Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream
This is something I again bought purely from reviews on YouTube, and I don’t know how I lived life without this! It’s a very intense rich cream (as the name suggests) and has a lovely whipped texture which makes my skin feel super soft and smooth. Technically this isn’t a primer, but I feel like it does more than just an average moisturizer and makes my makeup look flawless for hours and hours. It doesn’t feel greasy at all which I love, being a dry skin girl I need all the moisture I can get but I hate the feeling of oil or grease on my face so this is ideal for me.
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer
I bought this on SPC (Staff Discount Website for employees of Estée Lauder/MAC/Smashbox/Etc.) when I was grabbing a few other bits, and decided to give it a try. This one is very different from any primer I own, when you put it on your face it doesn’t feel like you’ve done anything at all. However once it absorbs into your skin, it feels like your face has just had a nice big ice cold glass of water. I really don’t know any other way to describe the feeling other than that, it’s so strange! My face feels really plump and moisturized, but not oily or wet when I touch it. It kept my face smooth and hydrated all day and made my super matte Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo foundation feel creamy and not dry at all. If you have ever worn that foundation you can imagine how much of a difference this primer makes!
Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Primer Potion
This is literally about 4 years old and completely empty, but it’s still sat in my drawer and I thought I would include it in this post as I absolutely loved it when I used it. The texture is quite thick and it’s very creamy, and when you put it on your face it really makes a difference in the appearance and smoothness of your skin. I bought this one because I had tried a sample of the Benefit Porefessional and hated it (way too drying for me) but still wanted something to smooth out my pores. This does exactly that and is much more hydrating, however the one thing I will add is if you have a lot of facial hair this will emphasize it. I have minimal baby fuzz on my cheeks near my hairline and it makes them stand out more than normal.
MAC Oil Control Lotion
I don’t use this on myself, but I do like to keep it in my kit for any of my clients who have more of an oily skin type. I also recommend it to a lot of people in work, and in conjunction with other primers it works wonderfully. Its a moisturizer that hydrates but also controls oil and helps your skin to regulate its pH balance and mattifies the skin. Even if you have the worlds most oily skin, you still want to moisturize as it helps your skin to not be as oily (sounds backwards I know, but its true). Also for anyone who is a freelance MUA these travel size skincare products from MAC are perfect for freelance kits as they are small and lightweight and you save money per ounce.
Revlon PhotoReady SkinLights Illuminator
I love a drugstore bargain! This one is more of an illuminator rather than a primer, and can be used under or over makeup. This color is called “Bare Light” and has more of a gold undertone, I also have the more pink toned one and like that one equally as much. It gives just the right amount of glow without being glittery - the product itself is very liquidy and smooth when it goes on. I also like to mix this in with my foundation for a more glowy look.
MAC Natural Radiance Primer
This is an everyday essential for me, and I probably couldn’t live without it. Its the perfect primer for my skin type, and is really hydrating and helps my makeup to last all day. Its also good for combination skin types as it is oil controlling as well as hydrating. These come in a yellow and a pink tone, and depending on your skin color (deeper skin tones need yellow, lighter skin tones need pink) you should choose on or the other. However I don’t find the color to show up at all and honestly wouldn’t worry about what color you get as its pretty much clear once its on the skin. I love this one!
Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
Holy Jesus this is by far one of my favorite purchases of the entire year. I bought this because both Carli Bybel and Nicole Guerrerio raved about it.. And now I see why! Its such a luxurious product and is definitely pricey (thank god for my staff discount) but well worth the money. The packaging is beautiful and the product inside is like a whipped lemon cream soufflé. Its so lovely and really helps to hydrate and smooth the skin, also prepping it for makeup and enriching the skin with whatever vitamins are inside. For someone who is more oily you could definitely get away with using just this as a moisturizer, its so creamy but sinks in really quickly and doesn’t leave you oily or greasy.
MAC Strobe Cream
This is something I have used and loved for ages. I got it a couple of summers ago and I’m so glad I bought it as its become a holy grail product for me, Its a very thick, rich cream with pearlescent particles in it which give your skin the most amazing glow. I would only ever use this under makeup, unlike the Revlon one which is liquidy enough to use on top of foundation. This does not claim to make your makeup last any longer, but I find it makes my foundation look lovely and dewy throughout the day. So depending on what you want it to do, this can have an effect on the longevity of your makeup and how it looks over time.
MAC Prep & Prime Skin Base
Probably one of MAC’s best selling products of all time.. This works wonders for almost all skin types and even being dry I can get away with using this. Its mattifying and skin smoothing, giving a similar effect to the Benefit Porefessional. It helps makeup to last longer and look flawless all day, and really makes a difference if you have plans that will involve sweating or being hot continuously. I wore this on holiday and it worked amazingly. Definitely a must have if you’re unsure of what primer to get.