We are living in the Golden Age of primer. You still have to wait 35 hours at the DMV to get a driver's license because nobody has invented an online check-in system, and meanwhile, cosmetic primers have gone from spackling your skin to protecting against UV rays, imparting moisture unto your face, fixing your furniture, and rearing your children. The level of innovation is terrifying and sublime, and we are looking very forward to the first sentient primers in 2018.
"But, do I really need a pri—" YEEESSSS you do!! Don't even finish that thought. Behind every great man is a great woman, behind every picture there is a story, and behind every flawless face beat, ladies and gentlemen, there is a primer. Even if you don't wear makeup, the primer of today is still looking to please you. And it will. Because there's one for literally everything:
Will Make Your Skin Better Sans Makeup: Susanne Kaufmann Face Fluid Line F
Fine, it's technically a moisturizer. But the velvety smooth finish is too perfect a canvas for makeup to exclude.
Fun And Also Kind Of Illicit: Dior Airflash CC Primer
It clinks like a real spraypaint can, which is delightful. Dior's formula has a little bit of silicone in it, but the application is so light, you'll hardly notice. It's also slightly tinted to color correct. Please keep it away from open flames.
Every Vlogger's Favorite: Smashbox Primer Water
Silicone-free, easy to use, with millions of Youtube followers and counting.
The Beautiful Oil: Kjaer Weis The Beautiful Oil
Ever used an oil as a primer? Take any old foundation, layer this underneath, and watch product glide right over. Dewy, seamless application, every time.
Trendiest Composition: Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Coconut Face Primer
With five (5!!!) types of coconut oil. Light enough to mix with your foundation for a pinch BB cream.
Very Science: Barbara Sturm x Monika Blunder Anti-Aging Primer
A primer that works two ways: 1) by, you know, priming, and 2) by protecting against free radical damage with an insanely good ingredient line-up built in. It's silicone-free, too, instead relying on hyaluronic acid to smooth everything out.
Best In Stick: MAC Prep and Prime Essential Oil Stick
Every makeup artist's favorite thing. Provides a sturdy base for your evening face and serves as a pinch highlighter, eye gloss, and lip balm.
Most Overprotective: Giorgio Armani Maestro Skin Defense Primer
Essential for summer, because it's SPF 50, and it also counteracts oil. Wow—makes you look good and protects against skin cancer. Is there anything primer can't do?
(No. It can do everything.)
Photographed by Tom Newton.
Next up: Peep our favorite foundations (and the brushes that go with them) over here.