If ever there were a workhorse product, it’s primer. It sets the stage for makeup, creating base on which any product you apply lasts longer and stronger. But wait—there’s more! Using the proper primer for your skin type can have skin-boosting benefits, too. We pinged New York City makeup pro Azra Red for the scoop.
If you have dry skin
Blends made with hydrators like glycerin and hyaluronic acid smooth over dry skin without getting cakey, says Red, who likes Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer ($42; smashbox.com). Additives like vitamins or botanical extracts up the moisture factor—just be sure to do a patch test on your hand to make sure your pick jibes with your skin.
If you have oily skin
“Always look for a formula that feels lightweight to the touch,” says Red. “Water-based blends are your best bet, as they’re typically thinner than their silicone-based counterparts.” Red loves Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer ($33; korresusa.com) since it’s both a water-based formulation and noncomedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores). Look to products labeled with words like “pore-minimizing” and “mattifying,” as they’re most likely to keep access oil production at bay.
If you have combination skin
Seek out a mild formula that will hydrate your dry spots without exacerbating oiliness. According to Red, a primer with silicone as the fourth or fifth ingredient is the ideal choice, as you’ll benefit from its smoothing effects without overloading oily areas. Red favors 100% Pure’s Mattifying Primer ($45; 100percentpure.com), which also moisturizes with lightweight aloe.