Best Primers for Long Wear Makeup

By: Mandy Davis

Nashville Makeup Artist


Primers are such a “thing” now in the makeup industry. Many will argue that they are essential in any makeup routine, while the other half will argue they are just a trend and a different way for companies to make another dollar. I will take a spot in both camps on this debate….it all depends on the skin as to whether or not a primer will benefit you as part of you makeup application. So let’s go over my favorite primers to help aid in long wear makeup. As a Nashville makeup artist, who mostly specializes in brides, longevity is an essential aspect of my job. Let’s look at my faves….

Let’s start at the top…with my very favorite primer that works on any and all skin types. The Hourglass Mineral Veil primer is a silicone based primer without the silicone feel. It works VERY easily to fill in your pores and fine lines while giving the most gorgeous, smooth and near flawless canvas for your foundation. Like I said, this will work on all skin types, but my oily girls are who benefit the most from its use. It will keep your oils and shine at bay and make any makeup look last 12-16 hours!!


These are my beloved Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primers…and they all serve separate but no less important purposes that spans almost every skin tone/type out there.

From Left to Right:

Redness Correcting Primer: This green tones primer works to both moisturize and counter act redness in the skin, as well as priming the skin for foundation. It works all over the face for intense redness, or as a spot primer for where the redness is the worst. It doesn’t take the redness completely away, but it does a wonderful job of making it way less visible and easier to cover with even a light to medium coverage foundation.


Smoothing Primer: This is your basic pore filling primer, but it is serious business. It is not one you want to use all over your face, but just where your pores and lines are the deepest and worst. Press it in and it will prevent foundation sinking into the pores and lines, as well as control oil in those areas.


Mattifying Primer: This is SERIOUS and a must have for the oiliest of skins! It is cement for the face when it comes to controlling oil, and because of this, you need the tiniest amount….I am talking a pin head worth only in the areas where you are the very oiliest and you will be amazed at the control it provides.

Smashbox Primer Water: This doesn’t look like a primer does it? I honestly didn’t fall for the hype for quite awhile after this launched, but I am so so glad that I finally gave it a try. It’s the easiest to use out of all the ones I am mentioning, because all you do is spray it on your face prior to makeup. It makes a great moisturized, but not wet, finish ready for foundation. I like to combine this with pore fillers for the best effect. It’s also great to use after makeup and all throughout the day for a pick me up.


These are not primers….and this is where half of the primer/no primer votes come in…these are just plain moisturizers that work amazing under makeup and on all skin types. Many think this is all you need, and if I have a client with dry skin, no visible pores or fine lines, and no need for longevity, I will only use one of these. They are all amazing and I recommend any or all of them.

Left to Right:

Embryollise Lait Creme Concentrate

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer 

Sonia Roselli Waterbalm

So there you have it…my all time fave primers and ones that will forever hold a place in my kit. Hope this helped! Now go put on some makeup and have a blessed day!