At this juncture in history, I think beauty consumers are well aware of the magic of Korean makeup and skin care products. But the Korean beauty products that tend to get the most buzz are those that err on the unusual or uber-innovative side (see: snail serums, avocado-infused essences, and mayonnaise-inspired hair treatments). And while we can all get behind the occasional carbonated bubble mask, we can also look toward Korean brands for delivering high-performance formulations of makeup kit staples. Take the humble primer, for instance, which some of the best Korean primers have really nailed.
Why are the best Korean primers so great? Basically, for the same reason that so many other Korean beauty products are great: Because Korean brands tend to fuse brilliant cosmetic research with herbal, natural, time-tested ingredients to leverage the best of both worlds. Most Korean makeup is also designed with skin health in mind. So even though primers are typically considered more makeup than skin care product, the primers on this list are packed with skin-enhancing ingredients like collagen, herbal extracts, and nourishing lipids.
That’s all in addition to doing what a good primer should: Either prep your skin for smoother and longer-lasting makeup application, or even out your skin tone if you’re going makeup-free. But the primers on the list also target more particular preferences and concerns, like curbing shine, balancing out redness, or providing sun protection — so no matter what your skin wants or needs, I think you’ll find a new go-to primer in one of these five Korean formulas, below.
1. The Best Korean Primer For Oily Skin
A beauty insider favorite, the Aritaum Pore Master Sebum Control Primer is ideal for mattifying oily skin without clogging pores. It has a lightweight, almost-whipped texture that glides smoothly onto skin and blends into a velvety, slightly powdery finish for makeup to cling onto (in a good way). The formula’s green tea extract also helps to reduce inflammation and curb bacterial growth, so this primer is a great choice if you tend to experience breakouts.
2. The Best Korean Primer For Dry Skin
Atopalm's products are designed for hyper-sensitive and chronically dry skin, so their Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream is a godsend if every other primer you’ve tried leaves your skin patchy or irritated. This makeup/skin care hybrid contains Atopalm’s patented MLE technology, which rejuvenates and restores your skin’s natural moisture barrier for better hydration and protection. Use it alone for an extra dose of moisture that'll leave your skin looking smooth and dewy, or under makeup to keep your foundation feeling comfortable throughout the day.
3. The Best Pore-Blurring Korean Primer
Most pore-filling primers tend to sap your skin of its glow, but the Touch In Sol No Poreblem Primer somehow manages to blur pores and boost your skin's radiance at once. Its comfortable gel texture sinks right into your skin to fill out pores and inconsistencies in your skin’s texture for a flawless (but luminous) canvas. Soluble collagen helps firm up skin and increase elasticity (but that also means this primer isn’t a vegan product, just in case that’s a priority for you!).
4. The Best Color-Correcting Korean Primer
At first, it might feel weird to put green stuff on your face. But thanks to the complementary-color scheme, using a green primer like the Superface Light Correcting Skin Base is effective for neutralizing any redness in your skin, whether from pimples or rosacea or a naturally ruddy complexion. In addition to evening out discoloration, this does everything you need from a primer, like smoothing your skin for easier foundation application and increasing your makeup’s longevity. This one gives your skin a dewier finish, rather than the doll-like canvas that a mattifying or pore-filling primer will. Note that this primer also comes in a lilac formula, which helps cancel out yellow undertones or sallowness.
5. The Best Korean Primer With SPF
With an SPF of 50+ and PA+++ (that’s high UVA protection), you can totally use this Banila Co. Prime Primer Sun SPF 50+ as a primer under your makeup or solely as a sunscreen — and this one will probably make your skin look better than your typical face sunscreen will. In addition to sun protection, Banila Co.'s primer helps quell oil production, brighten and even out skin tone, and prep your skin for makeup. It’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and mineral oil, so this should be a safe option for sensitive skin types.
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