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A good primer is vital if you want flawless makeup. And with Korean ‘K’ beauty’s reputation for skin care at the moment, a Korean primer is a great place to start.
Korean beauty has made a splash in recent years and we can see why. Aside from intriguing ingredients like snail slime, they often use high quality, natural ingredients and have innovative formulas with impressive results.
Why is a primer so important? Well a primer acts as a barrier between your skin and makeup, essentially prepping your skin ready for the application of foundation and other makeup.
Primers are usually applied on cleansed and moisturised skin and they help to give your complexion a more airbrushed look and reduce the appearance of pores and imperfections.
A primer also ensures your makeup will last all day and stops your makeup smudging. All in all, a primer helps you look instagram-perfect for longer.
So, there are loads of great Korean primers out there, but which one should you choose? Well it all depends on your skin type and the look you are trying to achieve. But to help you decide we have searched out ten of the top Korean primers on the market and reviewed them below.
- 10 Best Korean Primers (2020 Update)
- 1. INNISFREE No-Sebum Blur Primer
- 2. MISSHA M BB Boomer
- 3. TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer and Liquid Foundation Set
- 4. ETUDE HOUSE Face Blur Smoothing Cream
- 5. The SAEM Saemmul Face Lightner Makeup Base #1 Green Light
- 6. Latorice Face Makeup Primer and Makeup Base
- 7. TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Priming Water
- 8. ETUDE HOUSE Glow On Base Hydra
- 9. Dermablend Poresaver Matte Primer Face Makeup for Oily Skin
- 10. AGE 20’s Brightening Tone-up Booster
- How do I choose a primer?
- What is the best hydrating primer?
- How do Koreans get flawless skin?
10 Best Korean Primers (2020 Update)
1. INNISFREE No-Sebum Blur Primer
This sebum-controlling primer is perfect for people with oily and combination skin. The natural mint and minerals in the primer manage the oil on your face as well as balancing the moisture of your skin. It smoothes out the texture of your face and minimizes pores without overdrying.
It also evens out the appearance of bumps and imperfections to leave your skin looking totally airbrushed. The natural mint helps to keep your skin fresh as well as softening it and having antiinflammatory, soothing properties.
This primer contains Jeju natural minerals which come from Jeju island off South Korea. The extracts, such as Green Persimmon Extract are specially chosen for their beneficial and pore tightening qualities.
How to use this primer? Simply squeeze a small amount onto your fingers and apply a thin layer over your face concentrating on areas where the pores are larger.
A small amount will go far with this product, meaning that the 25ml will last a long time. You will really notice the difference between applying makeup straight onto skin.
- Jeju Green Persimmon Extract
- Natural Mint
- Great primer for controlling oil
- Minimizes pores
- Doesn’t overdry the skin
- It doesn’t contain SPF
- If used in too large quantities it can cause flakes or clumps
2. MISSHA M BB Boomer
For foundation that will last all day, try the MISSHA M BB Boomer. This brightening primer not only makes your skin look radiant, but it perfectly preps your skin to make sure your makeup stays looking fresh for longer.
It uses a special formula of their own patented Moringa Oil, as well as Manna and Squalene to retain moisture, create a moisture shield and also give your skin a dewy look. Pink pearl particles also infuse the skin with radiance and work well with your makeup.
Another great benefit of the MISSHA M BB Boomer is that it tackles aging and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It uses Adenosine and Arbutin to penetrate the skin and plump up your skin to reduce wrinkles. It is lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin.
The Moringa oil also helps protect your skin from outside factors and pollutants. Overall an affordable choice to keep your skin feeling soft and hydrated while looking airbrushed from imperfections. Use one to two pumps and spread and pat evenly over the face before applying a foundation or BB cream. If you are looking for Korean BB cream, check out our top picks here.
- Moringa Oil
- Helps makeup last all day
- Targets fine lines and wrinkles
- Retains moisture well
- The product does not have different shade options
- Some people thought the scent was too strong
3. TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer and Liquid Foundation Set
If you are looking for a great primer and liquid foundation that work well together, you might be interested in this set from Korean Beauty brand Touch In Sol. The primer helps to minimize pores and tighten your skin ready for makeup.
Then the foundation slides evenly on top to give you a flawless coverage all day. The primer creates an invisible barrier to outside elements, locking in moisture and keeping your skin protected.
It also regulates sebum and so is good for controlling oil if you have greasy skin. The primer has a soft, silky texture and a translucent, pinky look. It helps control oil production and to balance your skin tone.
The Advanced Real Moisture Liquid Foundation has a water-holding formula that helps keep your skin moisturized and soft. It has anti-wrinkle properties, whitening properties and also helps block your skin from pollutants.
It even has SPF 30 so that you will stay protected from the sun. It has a ‘5-Free’ system, meaning that it does not contain parabens, ethanol, mineral oils, tar based pigments or animal ingredients.
- Green Tea Extract
- Soluble Collagen
- Sodium Hyaluronate
- Sodium PCA
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Seamless coverage of pores and imperfections
- Pricier than buying just a primer
- Some people struggled to find the right shade
4. ETUDE HOUSE Face Blur Smoothing Cream
Etude Beauty is a popular Korean Beauty brand, and with good reason. They provide awesome high-quality products at affordable prices. We love the Face Blur Smoothing cream which is a three-in-one toning, protecting and anti-aging primer.
We love how it really brightens up your skin, transforming it from dull to radiant. This is the ‘Smoothing’ version that helps blur out skin and smooth out imperfections.
However you can also purchase the ‘Moisturizing’ version for an extra hydro-boost or the ‘Mattifying’ version for those with oily complexions. It is formulated with baby pixel powder as well as cover powder.
The product is lightweight and easy to apply. You can easily build it into your skin care routine and it is perfect for daily use as it includes SPF 33. That means without any extra effort you can be protected from damaging UV rays that can advance aging and create lines and wrinkles.
This primer is also designed to cover up and smooth out any lines and wrinkles that you have so it also helps you stay looking youthful.
- PEG-10 Dimethicone
- Zinc Oxide
- Phenyl Trimethicone
- 3-in-1 primer which brightens, protects and anti-ages
- SPF 33
- Shouldn’t be used on damaged skin
- Some people with sensitive skin may experience mild irritation
5. The SAEM Saemmul Face Lightner Makeup Base #1 Green Light
If you suffer from redness or a generally red skin tone this Green Light primer is for you. The green toner is great at cancelling out any irritated red skin as well as brightening a dull skin tone.
It is formulated with sebum control powder which targets especially oily areas of the face and helps stop you getting shiny patches throughout the day.
It uses some great natural ingredients like Betula Platyphylla Extract, Iris Extract and Damask Rose Water.
It also includes Green Tea Extract which has clarifying and antibacterial properties and Apple Mint Extract and Peppermint Extract which are soothing and refreshing. It also contains Wild Marjoram Extract which is known to help target lines and wrinkles as well as acne.
This Face Lightner is a great primer for your makeup and helps it blend more easily for a flawless finish. It doesn’t leave any sticky residue. You can use this daily and it also contains SPF 30 which is great at protecting from UV Rays.
To apply, squeeze a small amount onto your fingers and evenly apply a light layer over your face, focusing on problem and shiny areas. This product is a really affordable choice so great for people on a budget that need a primer.
- Betula Platyphylla Extract
- Iris Extract
- Damask Rose Water
- Green Tea Extract
- Apple Mint Extract
- Peppermint Extract
- Wild Marjoram Extract
- Green tones cancel out redness
- Oil control to stop shine
- Brightens dull skin
- Some people found it hard to wash off
- Better for red skin tones
6. Latorice Face Makeup Primer and Makeup Base
Have huge pores or acne marks? Perhaps you have fine lines and wrinkles that you would like to cover up? This Makeup primer form K-Beauty brand Latorice has got you covered. It does a great job at concealing and covering pores and acne or acne scars.
This means that your makeup will go on smoother and your coverage will be out of this world. Using a primer really helps in reducing shine throughout the day and the Latorice Primer is perfect for this. It controls oil and stops excess sebum gathering, meaning you will stay shine-free.
It is super moisturizing though and helps to create a layer to lock in moisture while avoiding shine. It nourishes skin and stops makeup drying it out. It is made with all natural ingredients including various plant and flower essences to nourish the skin.
This means that it shouldn’t irritate the skin and even people with delicate skin can use it without experiencing irritation. The formula is long-lasting, even through sweat and humidity.
- Orange Blossom Extract
- Tea Tree Extract
- Rose Flower
- Mattifies shine
- Natural ingredients
- People with very dry skin may prefer something more moisturizing
- Small bottle
7. TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Priming Water
Another product from K Beauty Brand Touch In Sol’s No Pore Blem Collection. But this time they bring us an ultra-light priming water. The water and oil-like texture is great for people that want an even more weightless primer than a cream.
But although it is thin, it has maximum adherence for makeup helping it not just slide on better, but STAY on too.
It also creates a protective layer on your skin to protect from outside pollution. It uses Damask Rose Water and Damask Rose Oil which help to reduce redness and brighten skin.
There are a few different ways to use this priming water. It comes out of a small dropper so you can apply one or two drops directly to your cheek, forehead and chin one by one and then lightly press it into your skin before applying make up.
You can also mix this directly with your foundation on the back of your hand at a rate of 1:1 just before you apply to help it stick and blend and apply more smoothly. As it is intensely moisturizing, you can also use it to moisturize cracked skin like the elbows or even as a hair oil.
- Damask Rose Water
- Damask Rose Oil
- Can be applied as a primer or mixed with foundation
- Expensive for a small bottle
- Some people preferred a cream texture
8. ETUDE HOUSE Glow On Base Hydra
This primer gives your skin a soft natural glow! It is a glow oil and pure water formula that totally hydrates your skin and helps your makeup last longer.
It has 5 ingredients from jewels including Diamond, Pearl and Ruby and gives your skin a dewy look, plumps it up and leaves it looking glowy.
Often get cakey makeup? This Glow On Hydra Base will stop that from happening and give you smooth, flawless coverage.
A cool feature of this primer is that it includes three Glow Oil Capsules. A pink to brighten dull skin, a blue to correct redness and a yellow to improve skin texture.
- Pearl Extract
- Ruby Powder
- Titanium Dioxide
- Tin Oxide
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Gives your skin a natural glow
- Uses jewel extracts to make your skin radiant
- Stops cakey makeup
- Some people felt the consistency was oily
- Some people prefer a more mattifying product
9. Dermablend Poresaver Matte Primer Face Makeup for Oily Skin
A high-quality primer with impressive results. This primer is for you if you have large pores and oily skin. In fact 100% of people said that the product mattifies skin and 96% said it instantly reduced pores.
The product is a matte, silicone-free product which smoothes the skin without drying. It controls oil and can last for 24 hours, controlling shine but without clogging pores.
The formulation is a clear gel which absorbs quickly into skin. It truly makes your face into a blank canvas for foundation, concealer and other makeup.
The gel is fragrance free so there are no artificial chemical scents to irritate your skin. Sweep it across your face before applying makeup. We love that the brand is also cruelty free and dermatologist tested.
- Silica Silylate
- Mattifies skin
- Lasts 24 hours
- Fragrance and cruelty free
- Expensive compared to some competitors
- Need to let it dry before applying makeup
10. AGE 20’s Brightening Tone-up Booster
For ultimate hydration, try the Age 20s primer with 71% Hydrating Essence. This is a light pink brightening cream with a three-in-one whitening, wrinkle-free and protecting formula that should be applied before makeup.
Although it is very moisturizing, it is still lightweight with a wax-free formula that absorbs oil and sebum to reduce shine.
It is a great choice to prime your face for makeup as it helps your makeup apply smoothly AND last longer. Say goodbye to cakey makeup and hello to airbrushed skin. It is formulated with an absorbing powder which contains 8 micro-capsules.
These mean the formula spreads easily over the skin without clogging the pores. It can be used as a primer or alone as a quick toning and evening product.
- Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice
- Rosa Hybrid Flower Extract
- Prunus Persica Flower Extract
- 71% hydrating essence
- Lightweight and brightening
- Can be used alone or with makeup
- Some people thought the smell was too strong
- It takes some effort to rub in
How do I choose a primer?
Choosing the best primer for you depends on your skin type. If you have very oily skin make sure to choose a mattifying primer with oil control. If you have dry skin choose a hydrating primer.
If you suffer with redness, you may prefer a primer with green or blue tones to cancel it out. If you prefer a lighter formulation, you may prefer a water or oil primer.
What is the best hydrating primer?
If you have dry skin look for primers that hydrate. A good option may be a primer with natural ingredients that nourish and moisturize.
Check out the moisturizing primers in this list. Remember that if you have very dry skin, a primer can be applied in conjunction with a good moisturizer.
Also Read: 10 Top Korean Moisturizers for Healthy Skin
How do Koreans get flawless skin?
K-beauty has gained popularity in recent years, partly as we have seen many examples of flawless Korean skin. Korean beauty has a more holistic approach to western beauty that uses more high quality and natural ingredients and focuses on what the skin needs.
So there you have it, ten awesome Korean primers that can smooth your skin, minimize pores, reduce shine and give you that flawless complexion. If you have not been using a primer until now, it might be time to start. It can totally change your makeup and beauty game and mean you don’t have to reapply your makeup.
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