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What Do Make-Up Primers Do?

The best primers help to smooth out your skin so your make-up will glide seamlessly onto your face, where (hopefully, with the help of your trusty primer) it will stay put all day.

From 2006 - 2011, the New York Times reported a 73% rise in the sale of make-up like primers. They’re clearly popular, but why exactly?

The appearance of wrinkles, dry skin, creases, pores and even spots can be greatly improved just by using a face primer. Make-up primers create the perfect base to apply your make-up to.

Read on to learn how to combine the best primer for your skin type with a flawless application method to give you the best make-up looks with staying power.


Top best primers

The best make-up primers for one person will often be completely different to the best primers for someone else. It all depends on your skin type and exactly what you want your primer to do for you.

To find the best primer for your skin, you’ll want to begin by working out whether you have oily, dry, sensitive or combination skin. Tatcha’s guide on How to Determine Your Skin Type can be an ideal place to start working this out.

Once you know your skin type, you’ll have an idea of what ‘problem areas’ you’ll want your primer to tackle. You might be looking for a mattifying primer to help stop your oily skin from looking too glowy, a hydrating primer to help with areas of dry skin, or perhaps you’re in need of a primer that has gentle ingredients ideal for sensitive skin.

Our extensive guide can help you learn what to look out for:

Primers for oily skin

The best primers for oily skin will help with shine control, neutralising your skin at the same time as helping your make-up fix in place for longer.

There’s a big difference between oily and glowy skin, and this type of primer is ideal at keeping this in check. These mattifying primers will help minimise the appearance of any oily patches, whilst giving your highlighter that extra bit of staying power.

If you have oily skin, you might also be prone to enlarged pores. Oil free primers are also amongst the best primers for pores, minimising their appearance and providing a super smooth base for you to apply your make-up to. One of our favourites is our Magix Shine & Oil Control Primer.

RELATED: How to keep your skin blemish free.

Primers for dry skin

If your skin tends to be dry, a moisturising primer could be ideal for ensuring your skin is super smooth and perfectly primed before your make-up is applied. If you have dry skin it’s even more important to apply a rich moisturiser beforehand.

Primers for ageing skin

Primers for mature skin aim to hydrate your face and help reduce the appearance of fine lines, creases and wrinkles. Look for products rich in hyaluronic acid, this is the key ingredient to look for when purchasing a primer to target the signs of ageing.

Primers for sensitive skin

Primers for sensitive skin are kind to all skin types and are often used by make-up artists who need to style models who use a lot of products. These primers usually have no harsh ingredients and come silicone-free.

Due to their gentle nature, primers for sensitive skin can also be ideal as eyeshadow primers. At the same time as being gentle on your skin, they also help blur imperfections and keep your make-up in place.

For sensitive skin, use silicone-free primers that suit oily, dry and mature skin. You could also find the best eye primer for you with the help of Cosmopolitan’s list of ‘best eyeshadow primers’.

How to apply your primer

Applying primer should always be the step between moisturising and applying your make-up. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend:

  1. For a flawless finish, it’s essential to exfoliate your face at least twice a week. Start with a light chemical peel or exfoliating wash like our Clearskin Facial Exfoliator for Pore & Shine Control.
  2. Wash your face with your favourite cleanser. We recommend the Nutra Effects Mattifying Fluffy Foam Cleanser for combination to oily skin.
  3. Next, apply a toner. There should be absolutely no make-up left on your face at this point. Our Clearskin Blackhead Clearing Face Toner is great for spot-prone skin.
  4. Moisturise. Even if your skin is oily, a moisturiser is essential. Rather than applying sunscreen separately, you could even consider a moisturiser with SPF. Leave your moisturiser to sink in for a few minutes.
  5. Now it’s time for your primer. Using a brush, make-up application sponge or even your fingers, apply a pea-sized amount of your favourite primer. Your skin should now feel smooth and soft and appear free from pores and fine lines.
  6. Apply your make-up and enjoy how well it glides on and stays put throughout the day.
Primer before and after

RELATED: The ultimate guide to using fake tan.

Following the above steps will ensure you get the smoothest finish on your make-up every time you apply it. We’d also recommend using a setting spray to finish off your style, to give your makeup maximum staying power.

For more advice about caring for your skin, head to the skincare page on our Avon Loves Blog site.