It’s not the most pressing question, but it’s one that Glamour‘s beauty team fields time and time again: Does primer actually make a difference? To be honest, for a long time we told friends to instead put their money toward skin care or a foundation they loved, because for all its claims—like making foundation go on smooth and stay for hours—few primers actually gave results. But within the mountains of options, there are a few that follow through, and when you find the ones, they’re life-changing enough that you’ll be glad you persevered. The good news? We already did all the testing for you. Here are 12 tried-and-true options that got our editors’ seal of approval.
Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer,$44
“Before this primer, I assumed that primers required an extra amount of effort that my essentials-only beauty routine really didn’t need. (An extra step just to make my usual foundation look somewhat smoother? I’m too lazy for that.) My mind changed after making this my first beauty step of the day for a week. Marc Jacobs’ formula feels as silky as a moisturizer, and has the most dreamy tropical coconut scent. Most important, it blends into my skin seamlessly within seconds—making ‘effort’ a non-excuse to not use it. I’ve worn it as a base layer under powder and liquid foundations; in both cases, my foundation was streak-free and blended easily with my jawline.” —Halie LeSavage, fashion features assistant
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, $54
“I don’t know what’s in this magic oil-free formula, but if you’re into having the most glowing, even, silky makeup of your life, this is it worth the investment. I’ve been using it for years, and although I sometimes try other brands, nothing beats Hourglass. A little goes a long way, and no matter what type of foundation you put on top, you automatically have a smoother application. It’s never left my skin feeling oily or broken out, and your makeup stays on.” —Azadeh Valanejad, social video producer