When it comes to my makeup, I like to just slap it on and go. While once in a blue moon I might enjoy sitting down and getting creative, most days I just want the whole process to be quick, easy and fuss-free. Over the past few years, I have made it my mission to fine-tune my morning makeup routine to such an extent that I can now do my whole face in less than two minutes.
It’s needless to say, therefore, that I am forever on the lookout for any tips, tricks and products that promise to make my daily makeup application a little bit quicker and easier. And, while I can get my mascara on in a matter of seconds and can fluff up my brows with my eyes closed, finding ways to achieve a quick and easy glowing base hasn’t been smooth sailing. While some days, a generous layer of tinted moisturiser is all I need, on days when I feel like my complexion might benefit from a bit of extra coverage, I struggle.
Despite my love for foundation, I find that it does have a tendency to suck the life out of my complexion. While some totally eradicate any hint of glow, others might cling to dry patches, crease or create an unwanted layer of oily sheen. Because of this, over the years, I have found it very difficult to achieve a perfect, seamless base with speed and ease.
That was until one day a few months ago, I started trialling a new skincare product. The minute I put it on, I realised that my skin felt smoother and looked perfected and glowing. And as I continued to use it every morning for the following few weeks, I noticed that my base went on like a dream. I didn’t find myself having to reach for powders or liquid highlight—it just looked glowing and healthy, first time, every time.
Intrigued, I found myself researching other glow-boosting makeup primers too. Unlike a traditional silicone-filled primer, priming moisturisers and serums sit firmly on the skincare side of things but have usually been formulated with makeup application in mind. They deliver skin-loving ingredients that boost moisture and glow but are also rich enough to create a seamless canvas for the makeup base of your choice (for this reason, I wouldn't use them in place of my normal antioxidant or active serum, just as well as).
If you love the idea of fuss-free makeup application as much as I do, keep scrolling for the priming moisturisers that will totally revolutionise your makeup routine.
Loved by celebrities and makeup artists far and wide, Embryolisse's cult moisturiser is one of the best priming moisturisers out there. It's rich in essential fatty acids and moisture-boosters for skin health, but also has a silky, satin finish that makes it a great base precursor.
So many people absolutely love this moisturiser for both morning and evening use. Formulated with the iconic Augustinus Bader TFC8 technology to promote ultimate skin rejuvenation and health, it really does mean business. However, it's thick and seriously rich, so for me, it's just a pre-makeup go to. Not only does it make my makeup look absolutely incredible, but it's also so high-tech that I can skip my usual morning serum/moisturiser and just use this instead.
When I first used this product, I really didn't get it. I was using it as a daily moisturiser and I just found it too thick and suffocating. The wonderful glow and dewiness that it gave, however, couldn't be disputed. More recently, though, I've been reaching for it before makeup and it's a real treat.
Charlotte Tilbury concocted this moisturiser herself to apply to models' faces in a bid to create the most healthy-looking, glowing backstage makeup looks. Now, it's a best-seller. Thick, sumptuous and plumping, it's the ultimate makeup enhancer.
While the aforementioned priming moisturiser from Glossier is a great everyday option, this stuff really ups the ante. Ideal for those with drier skin types, this thick cream delivers the healthiest-looking sheen.
Less of a moisturiser, more of a serum, this primer from Hourglass is definitely more of a hardworking skin product than a makeup primer. Full of rich plant oils and nourishing vitamins, it sets the bar for how brands should be approaching makeup-focused skincare. It leaves skin silky, glowing and refined.
So technically this isn't a moisturiser, however, it is a hydrating makeup primer unlike any other. It has a super-light gel texture that cools and soothes the skin but also delivers a deeply hydrated glow.
Remember earlier when I said I started using a product that made me fall in love with priming moisturisers? Yep, it was this. While it's very much marketed as a full-on skincare product thanks to powerhouse skin ingredients niacinamide, vitamin C and peptides, something about the finish still very much positions it as a pre-makeup product in my mind. And truthfully, my oily skin struggles a little with the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, but this lightweight serum just seems to smooth, soothe and perfect without any unwanted residue.
If you ask me, this is the stuff that put priming moisturisers on the map. It's rich, plumping and nourishing thanks to shea butter, but it also lacks that oily film that creams with shea butter usually have. It's a glow-inducing treasure.
Whereas so many of the priming moisturises on this list are products that I wouldn't necessarily recommend using as your sole moisturiser, this stuff is different. It's a classic face cream that just does what you want a moisturiser to do: nourish, hydrate and soothe. For that reason, it's often a makeup-artist favourite for giving skin a fuss-free boost before makeup application.
Speaking of MUA favourites, Weleda Skin Food is quite possibly one of the most-spotted backstage beauty products. Jam-packed with soothing, enriching oils, it's basically the skincare version of highlight.
Never has the name of a moisturiser been quite so fitting. For days when your skin is looking a little tired and drab, a hearty smattering of this face cream will have you radiant and luminous in a matter of seconds. It's firming, blurring and correcting but also gives a healthy-looking glow that radiates through your foundation.
If you ask me, this is one of the most underrated makeup products out there. Ever since I first swatched Trinny London's BFF Cream, it's been a favourite. It does come in five different shades, although there's no need to be specific as the coverage is virtually non-existent. In fact, I'd prefer it if this product had no pigment at all as the formula itself is enough. It moisturises, blurs, plumps and perfects in a matter of seconds. Plus, it has SPF 30 for extra sun protection. I absolutely love it.
This stuff is quite possibly one of the most well-loved primers within the beauty community, and for good reason. Thanks to its combination of the smoothing and perfecting properties of a primer and the nourishing and glow-boosting traits of a moisturiser, my makeup collection will never be without it.