Product Testing: Our Picks for the Best Facial Primers

Rebecca Shaw
Product Testing: Our Picks for the Best Facial Primers
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We’re constantly being asked what our favorite products are since we have the opportunity to play with and test a never-ending amount of beauty products as they pass by our desks. This column gives us the chance to not only tell you what we really thought of each product, but also which ones were the clear favorites in the bunch, so you don’t have to purchase something that isn’t quite right for you.

When we’re searching for how to create the perfect complexion, it all starts with one of the newest beauty products to the scene – the facial primer. Primers fill in the fine lines and pores on the skin’s surface so your foundation doesn’t – keeping your skin looking youthful and healthy. It can also reduce shine, especially in the T-zone area of your face. Makeup starts to blend more evenly, lasts longer, and blemishes disappear!

Think of it this way: when painting a new accent wall in your apartment rental, you can probably skip the primer and use an extra coat of paint. But this isn’t about your apartment. This is about your face. And when it comes to perfect foundation, primer is essential, unless you want to constantly coat on extra foundation. I tested six of the most well-known brands and found our top picks in the bunch – let me know if you agree with my picks in the comments section below!

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Find out which primers I absolutely fell in love with by clicking through the slideshow ...

Top Pick: The actual "priming" aspect of this formula wasn't what got my attention. What most impressed me about this primer was the glow that seemed to radiate from underneath my foundation. My skin looked hydrated, youthful and luminous. My foundation didn’t stick around as long as it had with others, though it did apply evenly and smelled lovely. It would be perfect mixed with a tinted moisturizer as a fresh everyday look! (Benefit That Gal Brightening Face Primer, $29, benefitcosmetics.com)

With such a confident, witty name I was sure this primer would banish mid-day shine forever. Its claim was to control sebum production and provide a long lasting matte effect. Sadly, this was not the case. I would apply it in the morning before my foundation, and a few hours later I had a shiny t-zone and was in need of blotting papers. Those of you that are oily-prone may not have success with this primer! (Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer, $33, sephora.com)

Top Pick: If it’s good enough for Madonna, it’s good enough for me. That’s how this brand first hit my beauty radar. What made it stay is the fact that this mineral-based, water-resistant primer gives a new level of flawlessness. My skin looked even and clean. I couldn’t see my pores through my foundation and any fine-lines were magically gone. I also felt the price was completely worth it considering only a small amount of the product was needed to cover your entire face. (Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15, $52, hourglasscosmetics.com)

After first trying her foundation that did, in fact, lock in place like a tattoo – I was sure this primer would have the same staying power. It did! My makeup could now remain perfect through a bikram yoga class, 8 hours of dancing, even a day of trying on turtlenecks. But it also felt a little heavy and was lacking in the shine-control department. If you need your makeup to last through anything, this is the primer for you! (Kat Von D Rehab Priming Elixir, $30, sephora.com)

What was supposed to create a “silky smooth canvas” turned into a layer of goop that was first “pilly” and then turned flaky when it dried on my face. How could it prime my skin and control oil when it was out of control itself? I washed it off and moved on to try something new. In my quest for the perfect primer, this one didn’t live up to any of its claims. (bareMinerals PrimeTime Oil Control Foundation Primer, $23, bareescentuals.com)

Top Pick: Primers are formulated to fill in all the little lines and pores on your face to give you a perfectly smooth base to apply your makeup. They also hydrate and nourish with antioxidants, vitamins A & E and green tea. Well, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer does – and that’s why I recommend it above almost all the others. Created with high-definition photo shoots in mind, you can imagine how flawless it looks for everyday wear. (Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, $36, smashbox.com)

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