Best primers to smooth skin and make foundation last all day – from e.l.f to Bobbi Brown

Best primers to smooth skin and make foundation last all day – from e.l.f to Bobbi Brown

Having really cemented itself as a staple on the beauty market over the past decade, the best primer can help to solve a myriad of makeup issues.

Got dry skin? There’s a hydrating formula to help soften and smooth your complexion. Struggle with excess oil? There are brilliant formulas out there to help mattify a shiny base and blur the look of pores. Need your makeup to last for as long as possible? By now you’ve probably got the idea – like the best setting sprays, the right formula can lock it in place for hours.

If you’ve no idea when it comes to shopping for the best primer for your skin type, though, we’re here to help. Below, with the help of our Beauty Edit testers and OK! beauty team, we’ve broken down some tried and tested new buys and old favourites to help you pick your winning formula..

Best primers for 2022

Erases pores

e.l.f Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer, £9 here



Voted best for erasing pores by our Beauty Edit testers

Tester Susan says: “Looks great, it’s in a tiny pot that’s super cute, the primer itself has a cushiony feel that’s gorgeous on my skin. It went on well, my skin looked smoother and pores were diminished. I was informed that my skin looked fantastic! It helped make my makeup application flawless as well. Fantastic product at a great price point!” 5/5

Cushions skin

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, £38.80 here



This has skincare benefits and priming powers

Deputy beauty ed Zoe says: “I’ve had a lot of people recommend this to me, and I can see why. I was looking for something that hydrates my skin while also giving it a smooth base for foundation, and it does just both of these things flawlessly. It feels more like a moisturiser but sets to a primer-feeling base. I love that it has skincare ingredients like hyaluronic and vitamin E in it. Definitely worth trying if you’ve wanted to get in on the hype!” 5/5

Tones down redness

Barry M Fresh Face Colour Correcting Primer, £5 here



Our tester said this covered redness effectively

Tester Harpreet says: “This is a really effective product. It has a lovely scent which isn’t overpowering, and it managed to hide the redness on my cheeks. I didn’t need to use a lot – a little goes a long way! I would buy this as I’m always on the hunt for a primer which can colour correct, help with my pores and smooth my skin.” 5/5

Gives a glow

Smashbox Primer Photo Finish Illuminate Glow Primer, £29.50 here



If you’re looking to boost your glow, try this primer

Tester Michelle says: “It’s a light smooth texture that easily rubs into your skin. It gave my skin a healthy radiance and my foundation blended in nicely. If I’m sunkissed I’ll wear this alone. I was told “Ooh you have a lovely glow.” I was impressed with the look, I would just have liked it to be a bit more durable.” 4/5

Controls oil

Catrice Mattifier Oil-Control Primer, £4.99 here



A bargain buy with a glowing review from our tester

Tester Mae says: “I think my skin looks shiny a lot of the time and I usually have a few spots on my nose and chin. I can see a good difference when I use this, my skin looks much better and less greasy and it’s good for making my foundation stay on.” 4/5

Hydrates and boosts radiance

Nude by Nature Perfecting Primer, Hydrate & Illuminate, £16 here



Control an oily T-zone with this primer

Tester Joanna says: “This is a lovely light lotion with a slight shimmer. I used this on my whole face before applying foundation. It took seconds to absorb and gave me a nice finish to my make-up that lasted all day (very important as I was attending a wedding). I felt my skin was glowing too, and I was told I looked gorgeous! A lot of primers are drying but not this one. I’m impressed and will continue to use it.” 5/5

Perfectly plumps

NYX Professional MakeupCosmetics Plump Right Back Serum Primer, £15 here



A hybrid primer with rave reviews online

Beauty director Lynne says: “NYX has launched some brilliant products lately – the serum concealer is my no1 – and this hybrid primer is another goodie. My skin is quite dry but the serum texture has a moisturising, smoothing and plumping effect while keeping my base in place.” 5/5

Primes with added SPF

Naked Sundays Collagen glow SPF50+ sunscreen primer, £34 here



“it felt like a BB cream,” says our tester

Maria says: “Even though it’s very thick and had a beige colour darker than my skin tone, it didn’t feel heavy and it was very easy to apply and blend. It felt like a BB cream, so I didn’t have to use any foundation on top. No white cast at all, and my skin didn’t look shiny at the end of the day. It seems to hydrate and stop excessive oils on my face, so I loved that. Quite pricey so I’m not sure I would use it all year round. But in the summer it’s a very good option.”

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