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The 8 best anti-ageing make-up primers of all time 

Like Spanx for your face, make-up primers smooth skin for a sleeker, more contoured make-up finish. Treat yourself for party season
Like Spanx for your face, make-up primers smooth skin for a sleeker, more contoured make-up finish. Treat yourself for party season Credit: Getty

I just popped into Marks & Spencer to buy some shapewear to smooth my wobbly bits into firm, cinched-in contours underneath my new evening frock. Indeed, as the party invites stack up this invisible layer worn underneath dresses and skirts will do for my body what a good haircut does for one’s face - slim, sculpt and brighten confidence.

The point I’m making here is that the best things often have a hidden layer behind them. Take a glowy complexion; it’s rarely the case (toddlers excluded) that it got that way naturally. Even the cleverest foundation needs a layer beneath its surface to maximise its potential, particularly in winter.

A make-up primer, I’m late to find out, is like Spanx for your skin, shrinking pores, mattifying oiliness, tightening or illuminating. It is different to a serum or moisturiser as those are designed to treat the skin - a primer on the other hand is mostly superficial (although many now include skincare ingredients) and merely there to create a smooth canvas for your base to grip onto so that it doesn’t sit in lines or accentuate open pores.

And if you choose one with a little added sparkle, it can illuminate a drab 3pm complexion taking it from meh to goddess-like instantly.  If you’ve ever painted a piece of wooden furniture you’ll know what I mean. It’s fine without, but apply a primer first and the paint goes on smoothly, resulting in a refined, expensive looking finish. And there isn’t a woman I know who wouldn’t want their skin to look like its just got back from St. Barts.

As the party season commences, I cannot think of a smarter make-up bag addition than this to see you through until Spring, when the warmer climate will do the glow-inducing for you. These are my eight best ageless make-up primers - all of which have been put to the test under disco lights (I did say the invites were stacking up).

The 8 best skin-perfecting make-up primers - find your perfect fit 

1. Perfecting Primer, £22, Nude by Nature

Perfecting Primer, £22, Nude by Nature

A lovely silicone-free formulation with anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including vitamins  A and E and green tea. Great value for money.

2. Perfect Canvas Clean Primer,  £40, Ren 

Perfect Canvas Clean Primer,  £40, Ren 

Clean and silicone- free, this weightless formulation contains agave to reduce shine, leaving skin with a matt finish. 

3. Correcting Cream Veil, £55, Clé de Peau

 Correcting Cream Veil, £55, Clé de Peau

While concealing pores and fine lines, its luminous finish adapts to your complexion throughout the day to maintain radiance.

4. Pro Filt’r Hydrating Primer in Soft Silk, £24, Fenty Beauty 

Pro Filt’r Hydrating Primer in Soft Silk, £24, Fenty Beauty 

Hydrating yet not overly moisturising, this makes foundation last longer and melts into the face instantly. 

 Treatment Serum Primer, £40, Suqqu 

A non-shimmery glow-enhancer, this contains four plant-based oils that  smooth the skin’s surface without  an oily finish. 

Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Primer, £52, Pat McGrath Labs 

A primer that not only smooths, it hydrates skin and promises to prevent moisture loss at the same time. 

7. Hollywood Flawless Filter, £34, Charlotte Tilbury 

 Hollywood Flawless Filter, £34, Charlotte Tilbury 

A highlighter and primer in one,  this gives skin a poreless, radiant finish that’s perfect for evening.

8. Anti-Redness Foundation Primer, £24.50, Daniel Sandler 

Anti-Redness Foundation Primer, £24.50, Daniel Sandler  

Enriched with hyaluronic acid and calendula, this green primer is perfect for neutralising redness. 

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