The complete guide to get the best makeup primer for you

Here goes the most famous question about primers, “Do I really need it?” To this, I ask, “Do you want your skin to look more perfect?”, “Want to minimize the pores and fine lines?”, “Do you want your makeup to remain fresh and last long?”  If you have said “Yes” to any of these questions, yes, you need a makeup primer.

The major functions of makeup primers are

  • Primers are formulated to create a smooth, velvety layer on the face so that makeup can be applied with ease.
  • Makeup primer creates a base for makeup by smoothening, brightening and mattifying which ultimately allows the makeup to go on smoother and last longer. Primers help to give a smooth, airbrushed finish to your makeup.
  • Primers work by filling in small lines, wrinkles, and imperfections on the skin’s surface.
  • A makeup primer seals your pores. If you choose a liquid foundation, you already know that no matter how small your pores are, liquid foundation can make them more visible. A suitable primer takes care of all that by sealing pores and creating a smooth layer over them.
  • They also promote a healthy level of moisture so that makeup doesn’t crease or flake during the day.

With so many brands offering so many different types of primer, choosing the right one for your own skin type is no less than an ordeal.

With the help of the following tips, make a well-informed and well-judged choice and you will never regret buying the product.

Please consider the following points:

Different foundation primers are suited to different tasks. Buyers will need to choose the primer that is best suited to their needs.

  • If you have no major skin concerns but just need something to extend the wear time of your makeup, smoothening primers are the best choice.
  • If you need some extra glow or your skin is prone to dullness, an illuminating or brightening primer is the best for your skin type
  • If you have oily skin and your major requirements are oil control and minimizing open pores, the best option for you are Mattifying primers and Pore Minimizing Primers.
  • If you have a specific skin color issues rosacea, sun burn, inflamed acne or any condition which result in excessive red, yellow or blues tones in your skin, a color correcting primer is the best choice for you.
  • If you do not want to apply both a primer and a foundation, tinted primers are ideal for you.

Additional points:

  • If you have sensitive or allergy-prone skin and acne issues, consult a dermatologist to find out what you’re allergic to and check the ingredients of the product before purchasing.

Depending on the need different types are:

  • Smoothening Primers: These are the primers that contain silicones and have a smooth texture. These products create a very smooth and velvety base on the skin on which foundation glides much more easily. They not only give an amazing smooth finish to the makeup but also make the foundation last longer and sometimes have added oil-control properties as well.

Tips: This is not recommended for individuals with skin sensitive to silicones.

Recommended choices: MAC Prep+Prime, Inglot Make Up Base, L’Oreal Paris Base Magique Primer


  • Pore Minimizing Primers: Recent surveys have shown that women hate open pores more than wrinkles. This type of primer is right for the ones with large open pores because these primers help in making the pores appear smaller. I personally have pores big enough to put volcanic craters to shame. This type of primer is my face-saver.

Recommended choices: Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing, Clinique pore minimizer, Benefit Cosmetics – The POREfessional

  • Mattifying Primers: These are best suitable for oily or combination skin and as the name suggests, help in controlling oil and mattifying skin. These prevent the skin becoming greasy due to excess sebum secretion and thus help in extending the wear time of the foundation.

Tips: These can also be applied just on the T-Zone to control shine in that region.

Recommended choices: Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer, MAC Oil Control Lotion, L’Oreal Paris Base Magique Primer, Neutrogena Shine Control Primer


  • BrighteningPrimers : These primers generally contain a dose of skin-friendly nutrients that work on the skin and impart a glow to the skin. Some brightening primers may also contain light reflective particles that are responsible for the shine and glow. They are generally more moisturizing and creamy than the mattifying/pore minimizing primers.


  • The beauties with very oily skin or large acne please stay away from this type of the primer.
  • Please use this primer with caution. For the occasions like under bright sunlight or flash photography use only a judicious amount to avoid looking too bright or shiny.
  • Some illuminatorslike MAC Strobe Cream and Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector also work great as primers under the foundation
  • Primers like NYX HD Studio Photogenic Primerhas a mineral white base that does brighten the skin but leaves a white cast behind hence is not suitable for flash photography.

Recommended choices: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which brightens + tightens the skin

  • Color Correcting Primers: These primers are formulated with trace amounts of color to address the skin tone issues. Depending on the color they counteract the red/yellow/orange tones in the skin.

Tips:  This table will tell you everything about the different colors you might need to correct skin-color issues

Green Green primers are designed to counteract redness of the skin. They are an ideal choice for individuals who suffer from rosacea. They can also be used to temporarily mask a sunburn or angry red acne
Blue Blue primers can be used to combat an orange discoloration of the skin. These can help to cover minor imperfections and can add subtle radiance to very pale skin.
Purple/Mauve These primers are designed to balance out yellow undertones and make the skin appear healthier.
Yellow Yellow primers are used to lighten complexions that are dark due to imperfections or heavy circles under the eyes. Yellow primers can help to cover up blues in the skin like a birthmark or visible blue veins.
Bronze Bronze primers are used to add radiance and glow to dull skin. Most companies make several different bronze primers designed for women with fair, medium, and dark skin.
Pink Pink primers help to combat yellows in the skin and brighten skin tone. They may be used to add radiance to dull skin.

Recommended choices: NYX makes affordable color correcting primers, Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer


  • Tinted Primers: Individuals who do not want to apply both a primer and a foundation may benefit from purchasing tinted foundation primers. These products contain both the primer and the foundation in one formula. Please be aware that these products do not give you full coverage like a foundation on top of primer.

Recommended choice: Sunday RileyEffortless Breathable Tinted Primer

  • Mineral Primers: Individuals who use mineral-based foundations and makeup products may prefer mineral-based foundation primers, which are available in both liquid and loose powder forms. According to manufacturers, these formulas contain minerals and vitamins designed to support skin health. They are generally lighter than gel or cream primers and may be preferred by individuals who wish to wear only a loose powder or compact foundation over a primer.

Tips: When using liquid mineral-based primers, shake the product well before application because these formulas tend to separate in the bottle.

Recommended choice: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

I will use this simple chart to help you to choose the primer for you!


Hope this was informative and useful! Please add comments if you think you have more to share!

15 thoughts on “The complete guide to get the best makeup primer for you

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