A wise man, Napoleon Perdis, once said ‘not to prime is a crime’. He wasn’t wrong. Primer is one of, if not the most important steps in the makeup process. Forget foundations that claim to stay on for 24 hours, and say ciao for now to setting powders. If you don’t prime, you can kiss your day’s face goodbye. For this reason, I’ve rounded up and ranked my top 5 primers to give you the lowdown on my favourite characteristics. Quick disclaimer: I am a uge believer in the dewy, radiant base so a common theme amongst these products is they are responsible for creating this look. Nothing against matte!! Anyway, have a read.


1, Too Faced Hangover Primer 

I’d just like to preface this by saying I have no idea what I did before I started wearing this. Honestly. This primer is so amazing. Made with coconut water, it is at the same time super lightweight and intensely hydrating and nourishing, and if you’re a part-time lazy person like me, you could get away with skipping a moisturiser and going straight in with this bad boy in the morning. One of my favourite things about Hangover Primer is its longevity. Despite being a hydrating primer, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling like an oil slick, but instead, kind of tacky. Your foundation will most definitely cling to it (in the best way). Pop this primer on at 9am and expect to still see its effects at midnight. That’s how amazing it is. Think I forgot to mention its ability to leave your skin looking beautiful and dewy! There’s nothing I love more than a hydrated, dewy finish so that’s probably why I am so partial to this primer. 100/10 will be buying again (it’ll be my fifth tube!).

2, Mecca Cosmetica Lit From Within Illuminating Primer

This would arguably have to be the Mecca Signature line’s hero piece, and with good reason. Lit From Within is similar in characteristic to Hangover, largely due to its cult status, staying power, scent (!!!! it smells g-dang amaaaaaazing) and hydrating properties. The one thing it has over Hangover is it is a little more sparkly. Ultrafine shimmer particles give a subtle glow that shines through foundation and leaves you looking angelic wherever the light hits you best. I have to be honest, I didn’t use this primer until one night a friend asked me to do her makeup. I used this gorgeous, light, nourishing primer underneath NARS Sheer Glow, and, let me tell you, she was glowing. I had to go out and pick this bad boy up, I was so envious of her face. I didn’t even highlight. This is an amazing primer that looks fabulous on a day where you just want a subtle, glowy look, or a big night out with a face that is all about amped up G L A M .

3, NARS Radiance Primer

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure: NARS has rebranded all their primers since I used to use this one, so I may be a bit off with my review, however I believe it is the same formula just in a new tube. This primer I would wear on a light coverage day, perhaps underneath a BareMinerals Tinted Hydrating Gel or a light coverage foundation. It isn’t the most amazing primer for longwear, but it does create a nice smooth base with a subtle shimmer. This leaves the skin looking smooth, healthy and with a subtle glow. One thing I will point out is you will need a full skincare regimen before applying this. Unfortunately, it won’t pick up the slack for your moisturiser.

4, BECCA Backlight Priming Filter 

This primer has me in two minds. For one, it is absolutely gorgeous. Like, swatch this on the back of your hand and you’ll be transported into another dimension (the counter at Sephora). It has the prettiest, pearlescent effect and goes so beautifully on the skin. The shimmer shines through foundation like no other primer I’ve tried, and creates just the prettiest halo effect on the face. Unfortunately, for something to be this good there has to be something wrong with it. In my case, this primer just did not do what I needed it to the most, and make my foundation last where it mattered most. By midday my nose is an oil slick and I have to ask myself whether or not I remembered to apply blush. It’s a real shame because I would consider BECCA a high-end brand, especially at this price point. This one was a toughy to rate because I absolutely love its pigment and finish, but it just does not have the staying power needed from a primer. What I’ve resorted to doing is blending this primer with Hangover, to supplement the lack of shimmer in Hangover, and tackle the longevity issue with Backlight. And it works! This is my usual Saturday Night primer, and I almost always come home with a full face of makeup. A win-win situation!

5, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer 

Okay, I’ll have to get candid again. I don’t actually use this primer. I thought I had to write about it because it is such a cult favourite and I received it in a Beauty Loop Box. What I like about it is that it creates a nice smooth base for any foundation, and it is long-wearing, a massive tick. However, I am such a fan of a dewy base, if you couldn’t tell by the primers I’ve been yammering on about for the last 850 words. So using this primer is bittersweet for me because it doesn’t give me that finish I so desire. It also has a gel consistency which I don’t really like for application’s sake. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good primer, just not my favourite. At the end of the day, this primer does what is asked of it: preps the skin and keeps makeup in place, so I can’t fault it there.