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6 best makeup primers for every skin type in 2021

Your makeup will look picture-perfect all day long.
A young woman with braided hair stands by the sink in her bathroom
Rahima Gambo / Getty Images

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Everyone wants that picture-perfect smooth finish when doing their makeup. And with the right primer, that can become a reality.

Makeup artists Julianna Grogan and Priscilla Ashley rely on primer to prep their clients' skin and create a smooth, even surface and a base layer for foundation or concealer to adhere to. As a result, it allows makeup to look fresh and refined for a longer period of time.

Grogan noted that primers are a multipurpose product. "It can even out the texture and tone of the skin by reducing discoloration and pore size, color correct imperfections, add luminosity and a glow to the skin, which will radiate through foundation," she told Shop TODAY.

When looking for a primer, Grogan recommends choosing one based on the makeup look you want to achieve and your skin type. If you have oily skin, she recommends a primer that helps absorb excess oil and has a matte finish. For dry skin, try a primer that adds moisture. If you have red or dull-looking skin, she recommends using a primer with a green or lavender tint to brighten and lift your skin tone.

But how do you know when you've found a quality primer for your skin? "A good primer will apply sheer and won't feel sticky or textured on the skin's surface," Grogan said. "It should sit well under makeup without causing uneven application. In fact, it should make applying foundation easier and smoother."

A quality primer should also feel cool on the skin, according to Ashley. She advises to pay attention to the ingredients in your primer, along with the other makeup products you're using. "Certain ingredients don’t work well together. For example, if you have an oil-based primer and a water-based foundation, your makeup will slip and separate over time," she said.

As you begin your hunt for the perfect primer, here are 6 expert-recommended products that will keep your makeup intact all day long.

Expert-recommended makeup primers

1. Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer

Grogan recommends this primer for anyone with oily skin because it absorbs excess oil, leaving you with a more matte finish. 88% of participants in a study said they felt this primer helped visibly refine their skin texture, made their skin look smooth and instantly mattified their skin for the rest of the day.

2. Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer Color Corrector

Grogan also suggests this color-correcting primer from Make Up For Ever if you are trying to counter redness. The green pigments in this primer correct redness for up to 24 hours and the presence of vitamin B5 allow it to simultaneously hydrate your skin.

3. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Hydrating Makeup Primer

For those with dry skin, Grogan recommends this hydrating primer to add moisture and radiance to your skin. Key ingredients include shea butter to moisturize the skin and rice bran to condition and soften it.

4. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer

Ashley recommends this gel primer from Milk Makeup for all skin types. Some of its key ingredients include blue agave extract, aloe water and hyaluronic acid. "It has a tacky consistency that helps the foundation stick. It smooths out the skin beautifully and...hydrates [it] without making you look oily," she said.

5. PÜR Dark Spot Corrector Primer

This primer is a favorite of Grogan's for those with deeper skin tones. She recommends looking for primers with warm undertones like peach, pink or gold to correct and balance skin tones.

6. MAC Prep + Prime Fix+

This one is a go-to for Grogan when she's trying to achiever her signature dewy, glowy finish. "I use it before and after makeup to freshen the skin and add a subtle radiance to makeup. It’s also perfect for touch-ups if powder starts to cake or the skin is lacking shine and brightness," she said.

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