To prepare your skin for make-up, and to ensure what you slap on will stay in place all day, what you need is the right primer.




By Terry's Hyaluronic Hydra-Primer (HK$535/40ml) is a colourless mousse that is easy to apply and is absorbed quickly, leaving skin feeling supple. It makes spreading foundation easier and stops skin becoming oily, even after 24 hours; but avoid using gel-based products before or after this primer as they will coagulate (solidify and flake). For the final touch-up, use the Hyaluronic Hydra Powder. Available at all Joyce Beauty stores.





Dermalogica's Age Smart Skin Perfect Primer (HK$628/22ml) is very thick and best applied gradually, in small amounts. Its ability to control oiliness is not as good as that of the others but it provides an effective shield against the sun and environmental pollutants, with SPF 30 and antioxidant ingredients such as white tea. Other helpful ingredients include silicone and soy protein, which work to fill lines and even out skin texture. The cream contains no artificial fragrances or colours. Available at all Dermalogica stores.




Murad Hybrids Skin Perfecting Primer (HK$360/30ml) is an oil-free formula that promises to minimise pores and balance the skin's oil production. With a high concentration of antioxidants, hydrators, botanicals, fruit extracts, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, this product makes the skin elastic and healthy. The cream glides on easily and, although it's tinted, becomes translucent, blending with your skin tone to create a natural look. It comes with a dewy or matte finish. The dewy version, which we tested, has light-enhancing minerals that provide a healthy glow. Available at H & Beaute, Harvey Nichols (Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 3968 2668) and Beauty Bazaar Beyond Beauty (The One, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2925 2610).




YSL's Unifying Perfecting Primer (HK$460/40ml) becomes quick and easy to apply once you get used to its brush-on design. However, as the brush cannot be washed, hygiene may become a concern. This light and oil-free formula brightens rather than evens skin tone. UV filters such as SPF 25 and antioxidant extracts from larch tree buds protect the skin, while nylon powders and silica microspheres absorb excess oil, diffuse light and mask pores for a matte finish. Available at all YSL stores.