Before you paint a wall, you prime it, right? You want a smooth, even surface for your paint to glide over so that it looks it’s best. Taking my art background into consideration for a moment, before you paint a canvas, you apply a product called gesso. It creates a smooth surface and tightens up the canvas. Well, your face is a lovely canvas and it needs primed before foundation too!
Foundation primers come in two main textures: silicone-based and silicone-free. Tip: Silicone is listed in ingredients as dimethicone.
Silicone-based: These feel gel-like in consistency and are extremely silky. They do the best job of really filling in pores, fine lines, smile lines, acne scars and so on. This is because silicone molecules are larger than pores and fine lines. Science!
Silicone-free: These feel entirely different, more like a lightweight lotion. If you find that silicone irritates your skin, causes breakouts, or just feels too heavy for you, there are plenty of great silicone-free primer options!
Here are some of my personal primer favorites for every girl and why.
Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel
Yup, you read that right! While it might be a tad embarrassing to buy this at the drugstore, the ingredients are very similar, if not identical to Smashbox’s cult-favorite Photo Finish Primer Original. If you’ve used Smashbox’s original primer, and shelled out the $36 for it, try the Monistat Powder Gel for $8.99 and tell me it doesn’t feel the same!
LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer
Oily skinned babes will dig this. This primer has my preferred silky-silicone texture yet helps to mattify and is oil-free so it won’t feel heavy at all. LORAC is a line that is especially suited to sensitive skin so if you’re prone to irritation, this would be a great safe bet. Girls with oily skin have told me that this is the stuff!
Best Filler + Overall Pick
Benefit The POREfessional
This is the tried and true primer I always return to. It's silky smooth, soft, and provides an instantly mattified finish. Some might even be able to get by wearing this alone! I have dry skin and I love it but it works great for combination to oily skin as well due to its matte, non-sticky texture.
Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Dark Spot Correcting
If you wear a primer beneath your foundation daily, it only makes sense to pick one with some skincare benefits so it does a little extra work for you. Smashbox’s More Than Primer series fits the bill. They have both a blemish control and dark spot reducing primer. I enjoy the dark spot reducing primer and the consistency is somewhere in between silky silicone-feel and lotion. I would also strongly encourage sneaking your SPF into your primer if you don’t already apply separately or have a foundation with a good amount in it. It’s just another way to get more from your primer!
Best for Aging Skin
Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Face Primer
I’m obsessed with the Greek skincare line Korres and their face primer is no obsession exception. I love the smell, the hydrating texture, the priming power, and the addition of quercetin, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the plant kingdom. Quercetin has been described as a natural alternative to retinol.
Do you have a primer favorite that's not on my list? Tell me about it below in the comments!