Whether you’re wearing makeup for a special event or an everyday look, you want it to last throughout the day. You could apply your beauty products and hope for the best — or, you could try one of the best primers for mature skin. This beauty buzz product of the moment can raise questions if you’ve never used one before, however, so we’re breaking down what they do, how long they last, and more below.
What are makeup primers?
As the name suggests, makeup primers are gels, creams, or oils that get your face primed for your beauty products, providing a smooth, even base on which to apply your foundation or loose powder. By creating this barrier between your skin and you makeup, you’ll boost the longevity of your look, making primer a must-have for any makeup devotee.
Why use makeup primer?
As we mature, adding a primer alongside your favorite serums and retinol-infused moisturizers ahead of our makeup is a step you won’t want to skip. In addition to keeping product firmly in place and making it last longer, the right primer can also help you address aging skincare concerns. For some, skin may gets drier with age, while others will see wrinkles and fine lines appearing on the horizon.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that certain primers do specific things. It’s about evaluating what issues you have with your skin and then finding primers that address them,” makeup artist Allan Avendaño told Allure in 2019.
If you suffer from dry skin, for instance, you’ll want to look for primers that are made with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or coconut water. If it’s fine lines and wrinkles you want to tackle, look for ones that feature smoothing properties or a dose of plumping collagen.
No matter what your specific need may be, there’s an accompanying primer out there to help make sure you always look your best.
How to Apply Face Primer
Adding a primer to your routine is as simple as can be. Applied just after moisturizer to prevent pilling, but before makeup, a pea-sized amount of primer should do the trick. (If your skin is dryer than most, use a little more; if you’re using a half-dollar amount, you’ve gone too far.)
Begin applying your gel, cream, or oil of choice, working from the middle of the face outward. After you’ve fully coated your face, allow the product to absorb for at least one minute before continuing on with your normal makeup routine.
Best Primers for Mature Skin
Whether you’re treating wrinkles and fine lines or your skin in need of an intense hydration boost, primers exist to help keep you and your makeup fresh all day long. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the 14 best primers for mature skin.
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Best Hydrating Primer For Mature Skin
Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer
Where to buy: $34, Sephora
If you're looking to add an extra dose of hydration to your skincare routine while keeping your makeup in place, pick up Too Faced's Hangover replenishing primer. Its star ingredient is coconut water — a natural skin reviver that works to hydrate and promote skin elasticity. A few good swipes will promote a healthy, glowing complexion while simultaneously locking in your makeup.
Best Luxury Face Primer for Mature Skin
Lancôme La Base Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer
Where to buy: $42, Sephora
Luxury beauty house Lancôme is known for its outstanding skincare products, and its La Base Pro Perfecting makeup primer is no exception. With a little help from the company's "Elasto-Smooth" technology, this oil-free formula manages to refine skin and diffuse light while simultaneously creating an even, radiant base that will keep makeup looking fresh and vibrant all day long.
Best Smoothing Primer for Mature Skin
DHC Velvet Skin Coat
Where to buy: $22.99, Amazon
Used by makeup artists the world over, DHC's Velvet Skin Coat is an industry favorite, and for good reason. It's formulated with olive fruit oil (a natural hydrator) to instantly transform skin into a velvety smooth canvas as it minimizes the look of fine lines, pores, and wrinkles, for a quick and easy makeup application.
n Coat is an industry favorite, and for good reason. It's formulated with olive fruit oil (a natural hydrator) to instantly transform skin into a velvety smooth canvas as it minimizes the look of fine lines, pores, and wrinkles, prepping for quick and easy makeup application.
Best Moisturizing Primer for Mature Skin
Bobbi Brown Vitamin-Enriched Face Base
Where to buy: $60, Sephora
Are you someone who prefers a simplified routine over a shelf full of potions? Then Bobbi Brown's vitamin-enriched face base just might become your next skincare obsession. A primer and moisturizer all in one, this oil-free formula is enriched with shea butter for hydration and vitamins B, C, and E for antioxidants. It's also laced with notes of grapefruit and geranium for a light, fresh scent.
Best Primer for Oily Skin
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch
Where to buy: $32, Sephora
If there's one new beauty brand you're sure to have heard of in the last year, it's Fenty Beauty. Founded by singer Rihanna, who drew upon knowledge she accrued from working various makeup artists over the years to create a line filled of knock-out products, this Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch primer was born. Oil-, paraben-, and phthalate-free, it blurs the appearance of pores and evens skin tone to provide an optimal base for every type of complexion, include those who are prone to shine.
Wrote one Sephora reviewer, "I have OUTRAGEOUSLY oily skin so finding products that don't dry [it] out ... but still keep it matte is hard. 10/10 would recommend and would probably give up my first born for another bottle."
Best Tinted Primer For Mature Skin
Tarte BB Tinted Treatment
Where to buy: $37, Sephora
For some, less is more. If you want a primer with enough coverage to skip your foundation altogether, try Tarte's BB Tinted Treatment. It's available in a wide range of shades and infuses pigment with anti-aging properties to provide a powerful primer that offers light-to-medium coverage. Better yet, it's got an added boost of 30 broad-spectrum SPF, keeping your skin both primed and protected.
Best Primer for Wrinkles
Bellezza Secreto Premium Makeup Primer
Where to buy: $18.99 (Originally $27.90), Amazon
While many women choose to embrace their wrinkles, others prefer to smooth them out. There are hundreds of products out there formulated to help banish your crow's feet and fine lines, but when it comes to anti-aging primer, Bellezza Secreto's premium foundation primer is tops. Waterproof and enriched with vitamins and antioxidants, this lightweight formula smoothes over wrinkles while combating redness, flakiness, and excess oil to prevent makeup from moving. It's also organic and safe for all skin types — score!
Best Primer for Dull Skin
Origins Original Skin Pore Perfecting Cooling Primer
Where to buy: $32, Sephora
If one of your major skin concerns is a lack of luster, you may want to invest in Origins' Original Skin Pore-Perfecting cooling primer. While skin dullness can have various root causes, carbonylated proteins — a by-product of stress that can create a flat, uneven skin tone — are a major one. This primer is formulated with willowherb, which works to inhibit those proteins for your brightest glow yet.
Best Foundation Primer for Mature Skin
Urban Decay Rebound
Where to buy: $16 (Originally 32), Urban Decay
As we age, skin can easily become dehydrated and lose its elasticity thanks to a decrease in the production of collagen. An easy way to combat this is to add Urban Decay’s Rebound collagen-infused complexion prep priming spray to your daily routine. Thanks to its balance of botanical extracts and structural proteins, it works much as a hydrating toner would, leaving skin feeling totally revived, firm, and ready for any makeup you might choose to put on.
Best Drugstore Primer for Mature Skin
NYX Angel Veil
Where to buy: $7.99 (Originally $16), Amazon
While most of us take pride in investing in our skincare, you don't have to spend a fortune to get great results. One great drugstore option putting many of its luxury counterparts to shame? NYX's Angel Veil. This skin-perfecting primer will make your face feel just like silk while ensuring makeup goes on easily. Add in the fact that it's less than $10, and you've got a guaranteed primer win.
Best SPF Primer for Mature Skin
MURAD Invisiblur Perfecting Shield
Where to buy: $65, Sephora
No matter how old you are, protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun is important (just ask Anne Hathaway!). According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Using a primer that can also double as a sunscreen, such as MURAD Invisiblur's Perfecting Shield with SPF 30, is an easy way to stay protected. This lightweight makeup does all the work of a regular primer while also delivering anti-aging skin benefits and protecting against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Best Illuminating Primer for Mature Skin
Estée Lauder The Illuminator
Where to buy: $38, Sephora
Want to add a little glow to your skincare routine? Pick up a primer with radiant qualities, like Estée Lauder's The Illuminator. Soothing and hydrating, it smooths the skin without mattifying it for the perfect dewy base that comes out looking fresh and healthy — not shiny.
Best Oil Primer for Mature Skin
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil
Where to buy: $42, Sephora
Ask most women over 50 about their number one skin concern, and many will say it's dry skin. On days when your epidermis could use a little more moisture than usual, reach for Smashbox's Photo Finish primer oil. Ideal for those looking to banish excess dryness, dullness, uneven texture, and even fine lines and wrinkles, this magic potion locks in hydration with a blend of 15 lipid-rich plant extracts and essential oils, including jojoba oil and chamomile extract. Best of all, it absorbs quickly, creating the perfect radiant base for subsequent makeup.
Best Primer for Sensitive Skin
Kiehl's Micro-Blur Skin Perfector
Where to buy: $36, Sephora
For those with sensitive skin, Kiehl's is one brand you can count on to be a consistent source for high-quality products. It only makes sense, then, that its Micro-Blur Skin Perfector would make our list as far as sensitive mature skin is concerned. Dermatologist tested and noncomedogenic, this lightweight, non-irritating primer blurs the appearance of pores and imperfections while its combination of bark and lentil extract plus lipo hydroxy acid work to refine texture and improve skin's overall health.