If you’re scratching your head thinking, “Makeup primer… that sounds familiar… ” take a look at the bottom of your makeup bag and you’re sure to dig up a tube. Widely ignored and skeptically used, primer is a product you’re not afraid to skip. Most people claim they see no difference when they slather it on before makeup — so they throw the whole practice out the window, leaving the tube untouched. But on a high stakes occasion like your wedding day, when makeup has to be on-point throughout the day, the right formula can prove to be essential.
But before we get into which makeup primers to use, let’s get to the pressing question at hand: what is it and what does it do?
Primers come in gel, balm, cream, and liquid form, and are applied before any kind of makeup touches your face. It turns your skin into a canvas by smoothing over fine lines and pores, providing a strong base that will lock down the rest of your makeup. It can also be worn alone to present a better version of your bare skin. In simpler words, it’s a real-life filter for your face. If you choose the right formula, it can drastically change your makeup wear and longevity.
Considering all the hugs and kisses from guests and the inevitable sweat factor, primer is pretty much a necessity on your big day. Get out scot-free with these 6 picks.
Honest Beauty’s Everything Primer ($27)
The Everything Primer provides enough coverage to blur and smooth imperfections, but still manages to make skin look and feel like skin. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and botanical peptides will keep your complexion smooth, while Peony extract works to plump. But the real star of this primer is an infusion of mica, which creates that golden, healthy glow. If you’re going for a natural bridal makeup look, this sheer primer works as a breathable base.
Tatcha’s new Silk Canvas Protective Primer was an instant hit. Although the brand expressed surprise at its popularity, it’s not too shocking given the line-up of hero ingredients. Pink and gold pearl even out your skin tone, while Tatcha’s signature combo of rice, green tea and algae assist with anti-aging. It’s also no surprise that this product is pricey, but it does go a long way — Tatcha recommends using a rice grain-sized portion to lock in an entire face of makeup.
This primer is all about variety — there are 10 different versions for targeted issues like redness, oiliness, dryness and dullness. And to take it a step further, each primer comes in different shades for light, medium, and dark skin tones. But they all work to smooth down skin texture and keep a firm hold on foundation.
A cult-favorite from cosmetics titan Too Faced, the Primed & Poreless Primer is a beauty guru go-to. The formula helps smooth over pores and serves as a canvas for foundation and powders. If you’re looking for that perfect airbrushed effect, this primer will lock down makeup and minimize lines and imperfections.
Your drugstore favs teamed up for this anti-aging primer that looks and works like a moisturizer, but still delivers the smooth poreless-ness you’d expect from a primer. Since the formula has a moisturizer-like consistency, it sits feather-light on your skin and doesn’t feel suffocating like some heavy duty primers.
If by mid-day you find your face resembling an oil spill, this mattifying primer from CAIN + AUSTIN is definitely worth the splurge. This primer is just as much skincare as it is makeup, with protective SPF 50 and anti-aging green tea. But the biggest selling point of this pricey primer is shine control, that keeps your face matte and makeup looking fresh.