Here are 14 makeup artist-approved picks.
There's nothing more annoying than applying touch-ups all day because your face makeup is disappearing faster than Houdini. Such a waste of time! “A lot of people think primers are just an extra step in a routine, but makeup primers are actually a must-have if you want your foundation to last,” says Sona Gasparian, makeup artist and founder of Pérsona Cosmetics. You're giving your foundation something to latch onto, she explains—and a good primer can even skin tone, camouflage pores, and help your makeup withstand the test of a sweaty commute or late night.
But here's the thing: All face primers are not created equal. Think of priming as the last step in your skincare routine rather than the first step in your makeup application. Meaning, you should pay attention to your skin concerns when picking the right formula for you, just as you would when thinking about skincare. The best makeup primers are packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and oils. They should also offer complexion benefits, like smoothing, hydrating, and brightening—just like your other skincare products.
Before you use a primer, you should start with freshly cleansed skin, says Gasparian. Apply your toners, serums, moisturizers, whatever, like you normally would—then give all of your skincare products a minute to dry before you go in with primer. Gasparian recommends starting with a pea-sized amount of primer and working it in with your fingers. Then you can apply the rest of your makeup. Ready to slay all day? Try these makeup artist-approved face primers: