Whether you have oily skin, dry skin or sit somewhere in between, adding a primer to your makeup routine can make a real difference. Using the right primer as a base can help make your makeup look better, last longer and correct colour imbalances hard to do with foundation alone.
It can feel like adding another step between even a very simple skincare routine and applying your makeup, is excessive. A good primer though, is akin to wearing great underwear beneath a silk slip. It’ll smooth and flatter, keeping everything where it should be, and make anything worn on top look even better than it would alone.
Plenty of older primers used to rely heavily on silicone – usually listed as dimethicone. The upside is a blurred effect on skin that’s hard to beat, but it can also cause makeup to ball up or pill and flake off after an hour or two. Other older versions can also deliver a very matte finish that can settle into lines and look obvious, and highlighting the fact you’re wearing makeup rather than just blessed with great skin!
Newly released options however, offer high-tech formulas and innovative delivery systems. What’s particularly different from earlier iterations is that most now include include a cocktail of skincare ingredients. These additions not only help makeup last well, they help keep your complexion looking great underneath with ingredients like salicylic acid to help prevent pimples and hyaluronic acid for long-lasting hydration. Simethicone is still occasionally used, but it’s formulated with newer ingredients to spread further and feel lighter.
Primers are also helpful for mature skin, as a good one will also have a diffusing, blurring effect on wrinkles. Before choosing one, consider your skin type, i.e. oily, dull or acne-prone and choose one that addresses it. New mattifying options in particular now have the ability to leave skin with a fresh, skin-like finish, even while controlling oil for a number of hours.
While not absolutely essential – particularly given the equally updated formulas of foundations – using a primer can often help provide a more professional appearance to your makeup overall and keep it from disappearing throughout the day or night.
Here are the new options to try now:
Gucci Sérum De Beauté Fluide Matifiant
The perfect example of a modern primer, it has a light gel texture that sinks into skin, blurring any texture beautifully without feeling thick or blanket-like. It contains lots of balancing ingredients including a sebum regulator complex of Moambe Jaune Tree extract, salicylic acid, and bamboo powders. The combination works hard to hold back excess shine for hours. Despite being a mattifying formula the finish still leaves skin with a fresh, natural and hydrated glow that complements the foundation applied on top. A look that’s perfectly on trend for makeup right now. Of course the weighty glass bottle and beautiful packaging is pretty convincing too!
Smashbox primers in Hydrating, Illuminate, Anti-redness and Mattifying
As many of us now reach for advanced skincare prior to makeup application, admittedly primer has slightly fallen by the wayside in our routines. However it remains invaluable for some, particularly those with oily or acne-prone skin. Long a hero of the category, Smashbox is introducing four new primers to address the long-held myth that primers aren’t good for skin.
The new skincare-lead formulations each contain a blend of antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, probiotic extract, vitamins, and algae that nourishes skin and helps to create a breathable, silky barrier. Beyond this, targeted ingredients address specific requirements while still delivering a perfect base for makeup. Illuminate for radiance, contains vitamin C, passionfruit and has finely milled pearls for a brightening effect; Primerizer+ delivers plumping hydration with triple hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, Control mattifies and targets oil with witch hazel, salicylic acid and zinc, and Correct has a green-tone to counteract redness and soothes skin with rose and mushroom extracts.
Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Primer
Hourglass has long been lauded for its previous Veil Primer, so a new arrival is intriguing. On first glance at its listed attributes, the intentions of the original Veil and this new Vanish version are similar. However the new version has a more modern hydrating texture of a gel-lotion that feels weightless on. It also offers more oil control and mattifying properties while still making skin look natural and provides an airbrush-like finish to the makeup applied on top. The previous Veil primer has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in it to give a (low) degree of sun protection.
MAC Studio Radiance Moisturising and Illuminating Silky Primer
MAC too has significant expertise in prepping skin for makeup. Its Strobe Cream has reigned as a glowy base for well over a decade, but skincare ingredients have come a long way and not everyone wants a glimmering finish to skin. The brand does have a number of other primer options to suit but this new arrival is more about keeping skin really well hydrated long-term. As we all know it’s tricky to re-hydrate dry skin hours after applying makeup! It provides a lush, dewy radiant glow with moisture instead of shimmer thanks to hyaluronic acid and glycerin and is a great option for those with very dry or aging skin.
Revlon ColorStay Grip Matte Primer
Gripping primers are a fairly new category and simply mean designed to really hold onto makeup for many hours, without wearing off in oilier areas like around the nose and chin. Revlon’s version is designed for a matte finish and works well as a targeted application. This means if you don’t require mattifying all over your face, simply apply through the T-Zone before makeup to prevent any unwanted shine coming through. It also has an added ‘superfood blend’ of citrus, aloe and broccoli to provide beneficial vitamins and protect skin from environmental stress.