Woman applying foundation

Whether it’s on your eyes, lips or entire face, primers create a smooth base for your makeup – and help it to stay put for longer, too. There are primers to suit most skin types, so follow our guide to discover which is the perfect one for you…

The best makeup primer for oily skin

One of the biggest frustrations of having oily skin is that makeup tends to melt off your face as the day goes on. A mattifying, oil-free primer will instantly smooth your face, and work hard to control oil levels on your face throughout the day.

The best makeup primer for combination skin

If you have an oily T-zone and dry cheeks, combine two different primers. Apply a mattifying, oil-free formula to the T-zone to keep excess oil in check, and use a lightweight, hydrating primer on your cheeks to nourish them.

The best makeup primer for enlarged pores

Choose a silicone-based primer, which works to smooth and refine the skin’s texture. Silicone helps to reduce the appearance of large pores and will help with the blurring of imperfections, without clogging the pores in the process.

The best makeup primer for blemish-prone skin

You’ll need a lightweight primer that won’t block pores but will still provide hydration. Look for a multitasking product that treats the skin while providing a smooth makeup base – primers containing spot-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid are a great solution for this skin type.

The best makeup primer for dry skin

Choose creamy, moisturising or gel-based primers that will offer all-day hydration, as well as creating an even, bright base. Look for products containing hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and avoid mattifying primers, as these will only further dry skin out.

Close-up of liquid foundation, loose and compact powders, concealer pencil, correctors with brushes and cosmetic sponges on brown textured surface. Makeup products to even out skin tone and complexion

The best makeup primer for uneven skin tone

Look for a colour-correcting product targeted at your particular problem. If you suffer from redness, for instance, a green-coloured primer will help minimise it. If you have sallow undertones, choose lavender, and peach-coloured primers will brighten skin and disguise any pigmentation.

The best makeup primer for sensitive skin

The key to finding a primer that suits sensitive skin is to make sure that it is free of fragrances, oils and silicone but contains ingredients such as chamomile to help calm inflammation or aloe vera to soothe.

The best makeup primer for ageing skin

If fine lines and crow’s feet are a primary concern, choose an anti-wrinkle formula. The active ingredients will help to improve the natural elasticity of the skin, tightening and smoothing it, while targeting wrinkles.

The best makeup primer for dull, tired skin

Brightening or illuminating primers work in the same way as a highlighter but are subtler, so they’re suitable for use over the entire complexion. Typically containing pearl pigments, these primers will give skin a healthy, dewy glow: the perfect pick-me-up for those days where you’re feeling exhausted.

Eye primer

Dabbing a little eye primer onto the lid will prevent the eyeshadow from sinking into the creases, smudging or fading.

Lip primer

Prepare lips with a little liquid concealer. This will create an even canvas to work with, as well as helping lipstick to last for longer.

Natural foundation smudge