9 Incredible Face Primers You Can Always Rely On

Updated 05/10/18

Face primers have had a bit of a hard time over the years, dismissed as yet another useless product cooked up by the beauty industry to get us to part with our cash. And although I like to think of myself as a frugal beauty editor, face primer is just one product I'd never go without. Keep scrolling and I'll explain why.

Best face Primers: Model With Glowing Skin
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First, I turn to my face primer for an extra helping of skincare benefits. Many primers come with ingredients that hold the power to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and some even contain light-reflecting pigments that give the appearance of a smoother complexion and more radiant skin tone. Even more brilliant than that, they act as a barrier between your makeup and your skin, creating an even surface for your makeup products to sit on and stay flawless for longer.

You can also employ the best face primers to banish shine, so if you suffer from oily skin, it might be worth investing in an oil-control primer. These mattifying beauty primers contain a fine powder, which helps to keep skin shine-free for longer by absorbing excess oils and provides a slightly textured surface for your foundation to cling to. Certain makeup primers also target issues like enlarged pores, redness, sallow skin, bumps and blemishes.

But the real reason I won't go without this step in my makeup regimen is because face primers are the answer to keeping my makeup in place all day long. (And I mean all day long.) But if that isn't enough to convince you, click through into the gallery to find the nine top face primers that'll do all of the above and a whole lot more.

Best Primers for Enhancing Glow

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter $30
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Team Byrdie UK is hooked on this primer. It enhances the skin's glowiness like nothing we've tried before. Wear it alone or layer under your foundation and concealer. Then just wait for the complexion compliments to come rolling in.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect $30
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Laura Mercier's cult classic foundation primer contains a skin-protecting SPF 30. Not only does it smoothe the skin to prep it for makeup, but it also protects it from the sun's rays and pollution.

Best Primer for Dull Skin

Illamasqua Beyond Veil Primer
Illamasqua Beyond Veil Primer $34
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We were already massive fans of Illamasqua Matte Veil Primer (£34), but the brand's newest addition to the range might just about trump it. This primer has the consistency of blancmange and is the colour of butterscotch Angel Delight, but when it hits your skin, it feels just like water. Hidden within the formula are light-reflecting highlighter particles that impart a subtle glow, as well as vitamin C to boost the brightness of skin and fruit extracts to aid hydration.

Best Primer for Oily Skin

Sleek Makeup Mattifying Primer
Sleek Makeup Mattifying Primer $8
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If you're being plagued by a shiny T-zone, this primer will tissue up excess oil throughout the day, as well as blur pores into oblivion. But the weirdest part is that it feels just as light as a serum.

Best Primer for City Living

Prevage City Smart SPF 50 Hydrating Shield
Prevage City Smart SPF50 Hydrating Shield $55
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This skincare shield–meets–face primer provides your skin with SPF 50 protection, boosts your skin's moisture levels and delivers a powerful hit of antioxidant ingredient idebenone to ward off the damaging effects of pollution. We'd recommend this as the primer for you if your main skin concerns are dryness, fine lines or wrinkles.

Best Primer for Dehydrated Skin

Too Faced Hangover Face Primer
Too Faced Hangover Face Primer $27
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Whether you're suffering from a hangover or not, applying makeup to dehydrated skin is just asking for trouble—your complexion will suck the moisture from your makeup throughout the day, leaving you with a patchy complexion. This primer contains coconut water that replenishes skin, as well as probiotics to induce a healthy glow. Plus, it doesn't contain any silicone, so it doesn't have that odd powdery feel.

Best Primer for Enlarged Pores

Benefit The Porefessional
Benefit The Porefessional $28
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This is our pick for minimising the appearance of enlarged pores and smoothing uneven skin tones. Benefit's primer is a super-lightweight balm that gives skin a blurred, more-even finish. If you like a super-natural makeup look, just apply a layer of this and finish with a dusting of loose mineral powder.

Best Primer for Fine Lines

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer $26
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This primer is an absolute classic made with vitamins A and E that reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also keeps makeup in place for longer and is a great choice for combination skin types. Oily areas are left mattified, while dull, dry areas are given a radiance boost.

Best Primer for Dry Skin

YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer
YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer $30
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This perfecting primer is the best choice for adding radiance to dry, flat skin tones. The tiny light-reflecting particles add a subtle glow to the skin. Just use it under your foundation for a dewy finish or on its own for model-off-duty vibes.

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