Primer is often disregarded as an unnecessary step, probably because it adds extra time to your 7am beauty regime when we all know you’d rather be in bed. But what if we told you primer could actually save time in the morning, all while ensuring your makeup looks endlessly better? Now you’re listening.
Primer does for your face what wonderful lingerie does for your figure: it smooths, flattens and conceals so that everything which goes on top looks infinitely more flawless.
When it comes to wedding makeup in particular, creating a look that lasts from your vows to your final dance is priority. With that in mind, using one of the best primers on your big day is a total no-brainer.
Whether you want to minimise the appearance of pesky pores, boost your skin’s glow, conceal wrinkles or fix that oily t-zone, we can guarantee there’s a priming partner in crime out there for you. Here are the best primers in the UK for every single budget.
NB: We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.
1. Glossier Priming Moisturiser – £18
We’d probably buy Glossier products for the insanely beautiful packaging, even if they weren’t fantastic. It’s just an added bonus that they are. Their Priming Moisturiser is a total wonder product which offers hydration in abundance and a lovely, buildable formula.
You can wear as much or as little of this product as you feel you need on your wedding day, and even if you load up on it, you won’t feel like there’s anything on your face. It looks and feels like a moisturiser while creating a smooth base for your makeup. It also reduces the appearance of pores, creating an even skin tone all over. We’ll have a life time’s supply, please.
2. The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer – £5.50
If you’re all about purse-friendly products that feel seriously high end, The Ordinary is the brand for you.
Their High-Spreadability Fluid Primer is only £5.50 (perfect if you want to try out a few options before deciding on your wedding day base) and it can be worn alone or under makeup. Before foundation, it’ll give your makeup all-day-long lasting power. On its own, it’ll give your skin a dewy (but non-greasy) sheen. Race you to the checkout.
3. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water – £22
Prep, set and refresh your wedding day skin with the multi-tasking Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water. Formulated with revitalising electrolytes to energise and hydrate the skin, this product will pave the way to flawless foundation.
Apply before your foundation to create a smooth and moisturised canvas for makeup, then spritz over your finished makeup look to ensure everything stays all day. You can also apply a light mist to your face mid-wedding to soothe, hydrate and enhance radiance. Then it’s straight back to the dance floor!
READ MORE: 37 Makeup Ideas for Every Kind of Bride
4. Too Faced Hangover Primer – £12
You know those days, after a glass (or four) of wine, when your skin just doesn’t play ball? This is the wonder product that’ll make them a whole lot easier.
Free from silicone and packed full of skin replenishing ingredients like coconut water and probiotics, the Hangover Primer boosts skin’s radiance and leaves a dewy, healthy-looking finish. You’ll look like you’ve had eight hours of sleep and your daily dose of H2O, even when you’ve had quite the opposite. We won’t tell if you don’t.
5. Benefit Porefessional Face Primer – £24.99
Benefit’s Porefessional Face Primer is a cult product and for good reason. Loved by beauty bloggers and editors alike, this creamy but super-lightweight formula is created with silicones that blur out pores and fine lines fantastically.
Blend the product out from your t-zone and sit back as your foundation and concealer remain shine-free for most of the day, even when you’re up on the dance floor. You might need to blot things out mid-afternoon, but large pores will remain concealed. The slightly higher price point of this primer is totally worth it.
6. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer – £27
This primer has been loved by beauty insiders ever since it landed on UK soil earlier this year – and we can totally see why. The packaging will jazz-up your bathroom cabinet no end, and the product itself hydrate your skin in a big way.
It’s packed full of aloe-water, cherry blossom, hyaluronic acid and B vitamins, so a dull and thirsty complexion will thank you. This primer is also available in a mini-size, so you can take it wherever you go!
7. Rimmel InstaFlawless Primer – £4.89
Available in two shades: light and medium, this budget primer by Rimmel is perfect for makeup newbies. If you’ve never used a primer before and want something glowy and simple to use, we couldn’t recommend it more.
It has a very small amount of coverage – a bit less than a tinted moisturiser does – and it looks great worn alone on no-makeup days. The only downside is its limited shade range.
8. Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer – £39
Here at Hitched HQ, we’re huge fans of anything by glowy makeup goddess Charlotte Tilbury. Thanks to its florescent, light-reflecting properties, her Wonderglow Face Primer is one of her bestselling products.
It targets everything from dull skin to blemishes and wrinkles and creates a smooth, blurred base for your foundation. In fact, according to the Charlotte Tilbury website, 100% of women agreed their skin was radiant and appeared more youthful after application! They’re odds you can’t argue with.
9. Urban Decay Urban Defense Environmental Protection Complexion Primer SPF30 – £24
We’re utterly obsessed with Urban Decay’s Urban Defence Primer, not least because it has SPF30. See – a clear sun protectant which smoothes your complexion, feels lightweight and creates a flawless makeup base does exist!
It’s as perfect for your honeymoon as it is for daily wear in the city, thanks to its added anti-pollution benefits. It also feels cool on application and creates a soft, matte finish. We’d buy it over and over.
10. MAC Prep & Prime Natural Radiance – £30
Say hello to MAC’s Prep & Prime Natural Radiance Primer, a silicone-free product which comes in two shade options. The pink is great if you have dark circles and uneven pigmentation, particularly on fair skin. The yellow-toned primer will work well on warmer skin, brightening lacklustre complexions.
MAC’s well-loved primer is jam packed-full of vitamins and antioxidants while still being loaded with a calming caffeine punch. It feels great, absorbs immediately and allows your makeup to last long after you leave the dance floor.
11. Illamasqua Matte Veil Primer – £34
If you struggle with shine, Illamasqua’s Matte Veil Primer has got your back. Its mattifying cream-gel formula absorbs excess oil while still retaining the skin’s natural moisture levels, controlling shine well into the evening. Just remember – you don’t need much product for this primer to do the trick.
The Matte Veil Primer works particularly well underneath Illamasqua’s Skin Base Foundation. A match made in skin heaven, if you ask us.
12. Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer SPF 50 – £42
We all know how important protecting your skin from UV rays is if you want to avoid long-lasting damage and premature ageing. With that in mind, any primer with SPF gets a gold star from us.
Giorgio Armani’s Skin Defense Primer has an SPF 50 to protect against UVA and UVB rays (while still feeling weightless on the skin). Result! It’ll ensure your skin looks fab in your wedding snaps.
13. Marks & Spencer Autograph Hydrating Confidence Boost Primer – £12.50
Who knew Marks & Spencer had such a mega beauty department?! We certainly didn’t. Well, not until we tried their fabulous Hydrating Confidence Boost Primer, that is.
Brides with dry complexions will love this product. Aloe and cucumber extracts work to quench and hydrate skin while the smooth finish will help to keep makeup put all day and night. We know where we’ll be headed on our next Marks underwear trip…
14. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer – £24
Presenting Fenty’s Beauty Pro Filt’r Primer: a wonder-product that’ll leave your skin glowing for the perfect #nofilter Instagram snap. Or your wedding pics, of course.
This product from Rihanna’s own beauty line smells beautiful, banishes the appearance of large pores and bids farewell to excess oil. It’s the perfect partner for your wedding day.
15. E.l.f Mineral Face Primer – £7.50
Last but not least is another budget buy, this time from cult favourite e.l.f.
This primer works just as well as those from more expensive brands, but it only costs £7.50! After moisturising, wait a couple of moments before applying a pea-sized amount to the skin. Focus on your t-zone in particular. Fast-forward a few hours and you’ll still be enjoying a flawless finish with blurred pores and absolutely no shine.
READ MORE: 15 of the Best Wedding Makeup Products
Now you’ve found the best primer for you, you need the perfect foundation to sit on top. Check out our round-up of the best flawless foundations for your wedding day.