Last updated: September 10, 2021

Our method

19Products analysed

26Hours spent

9Evaluated articles

81User reviews

Primers, also known as pre-bases, bases or makeup primers have revolutionised the world of makeup. Thanks to the wonders of a good primer, we can give our skin a porcelain and perfect look in just a few minutes with this easy to apply cosmetic product. What's more, they also drastically improve the results of our makeup.

For these reasons and many others, as we elaborate on further throughout this guide, primers have become a basic pillar in the makeup routine of most women. The problem is that, quite often, women do not know how to properly use a primer or how to choose the one that best suits them. Well, with this complete guide, your indecision and lack of knowledge will no longer be a problem. We hope you enjoy this guide!

Key Facts

  • A primer or pre-base is a product designed to prepare the skin before applying other makeup products. Among many other benefits, a primer reduces the visibility of pores and wrinkles, softens the skin and hides any skin imperfections.
  • The use of a primer is also essential to achieve longer lasting makeup, as it helps the makeup to adhere better. There are primers to suit all tastes, needs and skin types. It is possible to find primers in the form of gel, liquid, mousse or cream.
  • The use of primers is very common among professional makeup artists, in order to apply makeup with a perfect finish. To choose your primer, look at factors such as your skin type and tone, your needs and the composition of the product.

Our selection: The best primers

Primers are becoming a must when it comes to makeup. Almost all makeup brands have joined this revolution and are now creating pre-bases for all skin types and needs. In the primer market, there are so many options to choose from that it can often be overwhelming. That's why we've prepared for you a selection of the top products on the market.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about primers

It is true that women love to wear makeup that is always perfect. However it is not enough just to buy the best products on the market. The key is to know how to use them. So that you know how to properly apply a primer, we answer to the most frequently asked questions about primers or pre-bases in the section below.

Primers are usually differentiated by one main ingredient: water, oil or silicone.
(Source: Andor Bujdoso: 96007617/

What is a primer and what are the advantages of using one?

A primer or pre-base is a makeup product designed to prepare the skin before applying makeup. There are many types of primers and they are adapted to each skin type. These products are very easy to use and provide great benefits, both for the skin and for the makeup results.

These products have become the new revolution in makeup for a reason. The main advantages of the daily use of a primer include; improved preparation of the skin, the elimination of skin imperfections, the increased lasting effect of makeup and the overall improvement of makeup results.

What types of primers are there?

The increasing use of primers as an essential element in the makeup routine has resulted with brands releasing many new and specialised products. You'll find many types of primers on the market and it may be difficult to know which one best suits you. To help you out, we breakdown the main types below:

  • Mattifier: ideal for oily skins. These pre-base products control the sebum production of the skin to keep it fresh and shine-free.
  • Long-lasting: perfect if you need your makeup to last longer and not appear faded after a few hours.
  • Correct the colour: with this type of primer you will be able to say goodbye to small spots that appear on the skin by achieving an even skin tone.
  • Illuminators: the best option if you have dry or dull skin. These primers can be used on their own, without applying a makeup.
  • Minimise pores: primers that fill in the visible pores in your skin so that, when applying makeup, it is applied smooth and uniform.
  • Moisturising: essential care for those with dry skin as they smooth and prepare the skin, as well as improve the hydration of the skin.

There are many primers to choose from. Keep in mind that you don't have to choose just one. You can use several of these products and even mix them together to create the perfect combination for you. Don't panic if this is already a lot of information, it's just a matter of trying until you find the product that is right for you. When you find that magic product, you'll love the results it gives you.

How do I choose a primer that's right for my skin?

As with almost all cosmetic products, to find the perfect primer, the most important aspect to take into account is your skin type. It is necessary to ascertain if you have naturally dry, oily, delicate or mature skin, in order to choose a primer that, in addition to preparing the skin for makeup application, takes care of your skin.

Your skin type is not the only factor to consider when choosing a primer. It is also important to pay attention to any other specific needs that you may have. For example, this could include any pre-existing or permanent skin imperfections that you may be looking to hid such as scars, pores or wrinkles. The fundamental aspect is to know what you are looking to improve or change with the use of a primer. The following table will help you with this:

Skin type Ideal primer
Dry skin Primer with moisturising properties
Mixed or oily skin Mattifying pre-base
Sensitive skin Primer with sun protection
Mature skin Pre-smoothing base with anti-ageing effects
Skin with marked scars or pores Pre-base liquid

What is the best way to apply a primer?

Applying a primer is simple and straightforward. To achieve perfect results, it is essential that you follow the following steps carefully. Skin cleanliness is the first aspect to consider and achieve. For a primer to adhere well to the skin, it is very important that the skin is clean. Start by cleaning your face or performing a facial cleanse. You may also like to apply a moisturising cream as the end point of the cleansing routine.

Once the skin is ready, the primer can be applied. Normally, a small amount of primer is enough to cover the entire face. Using excessive amounts can be counterproductive and the results will be less than ideal. You can make the primer application process easier for yourself by purchasing a makeup sponge, but using your own hands is also completely acceptable.

Remember that one of the most important aspects is that the composition of your primer must match that of your makeup base.
(Source: Luca Bertolli: 42252386/

Apply the primer as if it were a cream, all over the face. It is important that you apply the primer from top to bottom and always in line with your natural skin contours. Spread the primer evenly until you get a uniform look with no bare skin showing. If required, you can add an extra amount of primer in those areas where it is needed, for example, to cover a pimple.

What are the truths and myths of primers?

In spite of the fact that primers are sweeping the world of makeup, you should not blindly trust everything that is said about them. While it is true that they bring many benefits, both to the skin and to the makeup results, there are also some myths that we would like to reveal.

Truths Myths
Increases the duration of makeup. It is essential to use a primer to apply makeup.
Mattifies the skin and removes shine. Turns any makeup into waterproof makeup.
There are different types for each skin tone. All primers have anti-ageing properties.
Acts like a second skin. Using a primer prevents the skin from breathing.

It is important to note the truths and myths of these products in order to know what results to expect and not be disappointed. In addition, you must not forget that the results of a primer are usually different on each skin type. Every individual skin type is unique and you must keep this in mind when choosing and applying a primer.

Is it advisable to a use primer every day?

Many people think it's best not to use a primer every day, to avoid overloading the skin and not allowing it breathe naturally. However, primers are designed to be used every day, without causing any problems for the skin. The most important thing is that you use the right primer.

Besides choosing a primer that suits the needs of your skin, another key factor when using this product every day is cleaning your face correctly after each use. You should give the same level of attention to your facial cleansing routine as your makeup application routine. By performing a thorough facial cleanse every night, your skin will regenerate naturally when you are sleeping to be ready for the next day.

The Ten Commandments of a primer

There are times when you find so much information about a product you don't know what is useful and what is irrelevant. To avoid this confusion, we have prepared for you a list of the ten most important points about primers. Pay attention as you don't want to miss a single one!

  1. Review your skin to find out its type and what its main needs are.
  2. When you know your skin type, choose a suitable primer by following the recommendations in the product description.
  3. Remember that you can choose more than one primer to create an ideal combination.
  4. A primer prepares your skin so that the makeup you apply over it always looks perfect.
  5. Other functions of the primer are to mattify, evenly tone your skin and fill in the most visible pores.
  6. A primer should be applied to the face from top to bottom on the skin.
  7. It is important to always apply a primer in the direction of the natural contours of the skin.
  8. Use a primer to lengthen the duration of your makeup.
  9. Primers can also be used as a skin treatment.
  10. Once you try a primer, you'll fall in love and you won't be able to stop.

Any tricks for using a primer?

We have already mentioned it a number of times throughout this guide but, without a doubt, the best trick for using a primer is mixing different primers together. This is a trick that professional make-up artists use. When mixing primers, or combining them together, you will be creating a uniform mass that will offer you with the benefits of each different type of primer.

Finally, a trick that may seem very trivial, but is very useful, is to always let the skin dry before applying a primer. For best results, it is essential to let the skin absorb a moisturiser before applying a primer. If you do not let the skin properly dry, the primer will not adhere well to the skin.

Shopping Criteria

If you have made it this far then it looks like you've already decided to include a primer in your makeup routine. Now another problem arises: which one do I buy? Below, you will find a description of the 5 main criteria that you should pay attention to when buying your new primer. All of them are important so read carefully.

Skin Type

We won't get tired of repeating this one. Knowing your skin type is fundamental for the correct use of any cosmetic product, even more so for a primer. This product is applied directly on the skin so the delicacy of the skin on the face must be taken into account. This is why you should always choose a product that's right for your skin type.

Taking into account your skin type will not only benefit you as you will be taking better care of your skin. The fact that you choose the right primer for your skin type and its needs will also ensure that you obtain the best results possible.

The higher the quality of the primer, the less likely it will cause allergic reactions.
(Source: belchonock: 34765385/


The issue of necessity is an obvious aspect to consider. If you do not know what your skin needs, it will be very difficult achieve the desired results. Earlier in this guide we mentioned many different types of primers, six to be exact. Take a good look at this section and what each one offers to choose a primer that best suits your needs.

Remember that there is no problem with using more than one primer, actually it is recommended. The most important thing is that you identify your needs and acquire a primer capable of attending each one of them. There are also specific needs that are relevant to the individual, such as the reduction or prevention of the appearance of wrinkles, covering scars or reducing the appearance of pores.


A primer is a product that you apply directly on your skin, so the ingredients that it contains are very important. You must pay attention to the composition of each primer that you plan on using because it is highly recommended that it is the same as that of your foundation. By choosing a primer that is of similar composition as you foundation, you will ensure that both products work well together.

Primers are usually differentiated by a main ingredient: water, oil or silicone. Oil and silicone can be more harsh to the skin and are not recommended for sensitive or oily skin. Water-based primers are ideal and recommended for all skin types.

Remember that the most important aspect is that the composition of your primer must match that of your makeup base or foundation. If the composition of both do not match, the result may be that you see small wrinkles when applying makeup, which is less than desirable.

Skin tone

The main goal of using a primer is to act like a second layer of skin, so the tone you choose is fundamental. Nowadays, with the expansive range of primers that exist, it will not be difficult to find one that perfectly suits the tone of your skin. If you choose the right shade of primer, the overall makeup result will be much more natural.

Most makeup bases or foundations have different shades that are defined by numbers. If this is the first time you're buying a primer, a good trick to choose the right shade of primer is to look at the shade of your base. It is quite possible that there is the same primer tone available as the one you have for your foundation.


Last but not least is the quality of the product. Quality is a fundamental factor when choosing the cosmetic products that you apply to your skin, especially on the face. The better the quality of the primer, the less likely that it will cause allergic reactions or damage your skin.

To guide you on the quality of a product, often the best course of action is to review the opinions of specialists in the field. In addition to this, it is always preferable to choose primers from well-known brands which you have used before.


Primers or pre-bases are a cosmetic product designed to prepare the skin before the application of makeup. Thanks to the innovative product, you can easily mattify your skin, even out the tone, reduce the visibility of pores and create a second skin on which the makeup adheres, to make it last longer.

Primers are revolutionising the world of makeup with their multiple benefits and spectacular results. They are very easy to apply and look amazing when the right product is selected. Follow the advice of a specialist and, once you try them, you will want to continue using them forever. It is more than likely that a primer will become an essential part of your make-up bag.

If you liked our primer guide, please share it on your social networks and leave us a comment.

(Source of featured image: Trebizan: 97863759/