Our Best Face & Eye Primers

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On application foundation and eyeshadow may look flawless but within just a few hours foundation can fade and eyeshadow can crease. If these are beauty problems which you face, then finding the right primers can solve them. Both a makeup and skincare essential, primers keep your makeup looking fresh and in place all day whilst protecting your skin.

A primer should be applied to the skin after moisturising and before applying makeup. Face primers prepare the skin for foundation and even out the texture. Some primers offer additional benefits to the skin such as hydration, SPF protection, oil-control or luminosity. Primers can also cool and soothe the skin.

Knowing which primer is most suited to you can be challenging, especially with so many on the market.  The main reason we use primers is to pro-long our makeup wear, and all primers should do this if suited to your skin-type, so when deciding which primer to use go for one which has additional benefits suited to your needs. To help you out, here are JMA's best primers for different concerns and occassions:

Best for Oil Control: Laura Mercier's Oil-Free Foundation Primer

Laura Mercier's Oil-Free Foundation Primer (pictured above) has been specifically created for oily, acne prone skin. Acting as a barrier between moisturiser and foundation it helps control excess oil production with its matifying ingredients. Vitamins A, C, and E act as antioxidants to protect the skin from environment stresses. It is a lightweight creamy gel which feels great on application and really does keep foundation shine-free and in place.

Laura Mercier's Oil-Free Foundation Primer retails at £28

Best for Brides: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer creates a perfect canvas for foundation application with its silky, lightweight blend of vitamins A and E, grape seed extract and green tea. It is the ideal primer for brides for its longevity and flawless finish in which skin is left even, luminous and velvety-smooth. It also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer retails at £29

Best for Anti-redness: Estee Lauder Face Primer Plus - Colour Correcting Base

If you are after a primer which will counteract the redness in your skin, Estee Lauder's Colour Correcting Base primer is the ideal pre-foundation skin prep. The sheer, liquid corrector uses yellow/gold tints to neutralise redness and make it less noticeable. Whilst chamomile helps soothe and calm the look of skin. On application skin feels soft and looks brighter and more even-toned.

Estee Lauder's Face Primer Plus - Colour Correcting Base retails at £20.

Best for Lines & Wrinkles: L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer

The L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer has a beautifully smooth texture and is effective at disguising wrinkles and pores. It gives a matte look and a silky finish. It leaves skin feeling comfortable and looking smooth and radiant.

L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer retails at £14.29.

Best for Brightening Skin: Benefit “that gal”

Benefit's pink silky primer transforms even the dullest of complexions into healthy, glowing, radiant skin.  It works well on all skin tones and ages to brighten and smooth the skin, providing the perfect foundation base. It's silky texture makes it ideal for normal to dry skin types and it leaves skin feeling soft and comfortable.

Benefit "that gal" primer retails at £21.50.

Best for Protection: M.A.C Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50

Ideal for warm climates and summer holidays,  M.A.C's Prep + Prime Face Protect is a skin-protecting primer with SPF 50. Applied under foundation, the fast-absorbing, invisible, light cream does not affect the appearance of makeup. Specially formulated with oil-absorbing powder, it helps prevent oil breakthrough. If worn daily, the high-level broad spectrum sun protection helps guard the skin against discolouration, premature aging, dryness and other effects of sun exposure. Read our review.

M.A.C Prep + Prime retails at £21.

Best for Eyeshadow: NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is a fantastic eyelid primer and a Beauty Queen's best kept secret. It really does prevent smudging, fading and creasing of all eyeshadow including cream and loose pigment  to ensure long perfect wear. The light-weight primer creates a seamless canvas on the eyelids which dries on contact and aids and even colour application. It also intensifies the product's colour.  Fortified with special deep-sea and antioxidant rice extracts it also conditions the eyelid. It can also be used to extend the wear of eyeliner and eyebrow pencils.

NARS Eyeshadow Base retails at £18

Best for Eyelashes: Clinique Lash Building Primer

Just as you can protect and prepare your skin before makeup application with a face primer, you can do the same for your eyelashes with a lash primer, particularly important if you are a mascara addict. Lash primer should be applied before mascara. We love Clinique's Lash Building Primer because not only does it condition and protect your lashes, but it really thickens and lengthens them, giving your mascara a helping hand. 

Clinique Lash Building Primer retails at £10.

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