(Beauty Report Card)

The Right Primer Completely Changes Your Makeup Game — These Are The Best

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Fran Summers backstage at Etro 2020
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Not to be histrionic, but few moments are as frustrating as peering into the mirror in your phone camera or public bathroom only to find that the makeup you so meticulously applied earlier that day has completely deteriorated. Maybe your foundation has gone patchy or your eye products have started to crease, but it’s a far cry from the masterpiece you were working with before heading out the door. Using the right makeup primer for your skin type and situation, though, can make all the difference, resulting in all-day (and even all-night) staying power. However, it’s a pretty broad category — primer ingredients, textures, uses, and even colors are extremely varied.

To pick the most ideal product, take into consideration your skin’s needs, what you’re doing that day, and the key ingredients in your other makeup products. Someone with acne-prone skin spending a day outside with a water-based foundation, for example, will have very different primer needs than someone with a very dry complexion who’s layering on oil-based cosmetics for a night out. Pairing water with water — and vice-versa — is crucial for ensuring the makeup doesn’t separate, but instead works together for a long-lasting finish.

Ahead, get familiar with some of the best picks of the moment for a wide range of needs — really, consider this list your...primer on the subject (sorry).

Best Satin-Finish Primer

Best Long-Lasting Primer

Best Spray-On Primer

Best Smoothing Primer

Best Hydrating Primer

Best Pore-Filling Primer

Best Lightweight Primer

Best Eye Primer

Best Primer For Acne

Best Anti-Aging Primer