Last Updated on August 14, 2020 by Paola Diaz
It’s okay to skip the primer. But you might as well skip the makeup too.
Primers are more than just some fancy products the beauty industry invented to boost sales. If you’re like most women, you also hate having to always touch up and take care of smudged makeup throughout the day.
To save you time and energy worrying about how your makeup looks, here are my favorite Korean primers to keep your face looking flawless longer.
10 Best Korean Primers
When it comes to skincare, Korea is a country to look towards. Their products help create a smooth canvas, and this Touch in Sol primer is no exception.
If you worry about your pores being emphasized too much because of your makeup, this product will help fill them in while making your foundation last all day. You’ll love how silky smooth your skin will feel after using this primer.
Aside from helping minimize your pores, it also hides fine lines to make your beauty routine much easier.
The best thing about this primer is it works incredibly well for all skin types. Even sensitive skin is safe with this primer.
However, I have to note that this primer does not work well with all beauty products. In fact, some users have complained about how it spreads around when applied with certain makeup. So be sure to test it out first with your favorite beauty product to see if it’s a good overall fit.
- Doesn’t work well for some products
This primer will have you in awe of the shimmer it has when you first pump the product out of the bottle. It comes out peachy and pearl-like at first, but it blends out evenly after application.
If you have trouble with flaky skin affecting your foundation, this VDL Lumilayer Primer Fresh is the way to go. The primer gets its name from the presence of various pigments in the primer that absorb and reflect light to create that luminous texture.
This primer is composed of 70 percent of hydrating ingredients. Thus, people with dry skin can benefit from this product.
It claims to be safe for those with oily and acne-prone skin, but with the presence of silicone, I don’t recommend taking your chances with this one. It also contains alcohol, which can be drying, but its properties are overpowered by the hydrating ingredients of the product.
- Best for dry skin
- Helps achieve that glass look
- Contains silicone
- Contains alcohol
Best for Anti-aging
The phrase “to have egg on one’s face” means to suffer from embarrassment. However, this Too Cool for School primer takes it literally by having egg as an ingredient for a primer. But it’s no cause for embarrassment.
One of the most common beauty problems especially for those with aging skin is the loss of collagen, making the skin looser. This Korean primer helps solve that problem by adding albumin that can tighten the skin and minimize the appearance of pores.
- Contains niacinamide to brighten skin
- Has egg yolk and egg white extracts for firmer skin
- Contains artificial colorants
This is quite a unique product because it’s a primer specifically designed for BB creams. However, it also works well for a lot of other foundations.
The presence of adenosine and arbutin in this product makes it good for taking care of fine lines and uneven skin tone. It gives the skin a smooth finish thanks to its moringa and squalene extracts that help moisturize the skin and creates a barrier to avoid dehydration.
However, I’m not sure if it sits well for those with sensitive skin because it contains an added fragrance, which is a potential irritant.
- Contains antioxidants
- Contains added fragrance
When it comes to skin care, Korea does not shy away from being playful with their packaging. This Tonymoly primer comes in an egg-shaped container, so it looks extra cute on your vanity.
But aside from its cute packaging, this primer is packed with ingredients that keep the skin smooth and oil-free all day. This is because it contains a herbal complex made of various herbs including lemon, pepper, and burdock.
The presence of egg extracts, just like the Egg Mellow Cream from Too Cool for School, helps minimize the appearance of pores. In fact, the main skin concern it seeks to solve is pores as evidence suggests in its name.
One of my concerns about this, however, is the fact that the container does not come with a pump. This means you have to stick your finger into the primer to use it, which is less hygienic.
- Comes in a cute packaging
- Great for minimizing pores
- Controls excess oil
- Does not come with a pump
- Does not work well with some beauty products
This primer from Miguhara works like magic in erasing your pores and minimizing the appearance of blackheads. It also has a mattifying effect, making it great for those with oily skin.
The primer makes your makeup last all day while providing you with a smooth and even canvas to work on. You can immediately see the difference in your skin tone shortly after application.
The one thing I don’t like about it is the fact that it comes in a squeezable tube. Though this is still better than needing to stick your finger in the bottle! Still, a pump would be the best way to control dispensing much more easily.
- Effectively blurs out pores
- Free from mineral oil
- The container makes it hard to control the amount dispensed
The Etude House Beauty Shot is one of the most popular Korean primers out there. This is because you can immediately see how it effectively hides your pores.
The primer has a whitening effect, which helps with pore-hiding, but it might look awkward for those with darker skin. This whitening effect could be a reflection of the Korean beauty standard, which prefers a fairer complexion.
It gives you that airbrushed finish with just one pump through its nozzle. As the name suggests, it blurs out almost all skin imperfections, giving you even skin to work on.
- Blurs out skin imperfections
- Immediately brightens complexion
- Helps with oil control
- Has whitening effect that may not sit well with darker skin
If you have oily and acne-prone skin, this product is a godsend. It contains Camellia Sinensis leaf extract, which is good for controlling sebum.
It also contains titanium dioxide which not only helps protect your skin from the sun but is also suitable for sensitive skin. The Jeju green persimmon extracts help tighten pores and make the skin more supple.
Although you get smoother skin with this, it does contain silicone which can clog up pores.
- Good for oily and sensitive skin
- Contains titanium dioxide
- Contains silicone
- The container makes it hard to control the dispensing
This line comes in four varieties: Rose, Mint, Lavender, and Pores.
If your main concern is color-correction, this Etude House primer is one of your best options. Rose is for making the skin smooth and bright, while Mint corrects skin redness. Lavender, on the other hand, corrects yellow tones. Pores, as the name implies, minimizes pore appearance.
However, it is not for those with dry skin because it can be hard to blend. As a result, the primer looks patchy and weird unless you moisturize your skin well.
- Different varieties solve different skin concerns
- SPF 33
- Can appear patchy on dry skin
You can throw away your blotting papers when you start using this primer.
The Aritaum Pore Master Sebum Control contains Centella asiatica that moisturizes the skin, making it unnecessary for it to produce excess oil. It also contains ingredients such as morus alba root and green tea extracts that brighten the skin effectively.
However, while it is relatively safe to use for all skin types, those with acne-prone skin should be wary of this primer. It contains stearic acid that can clog pores, potentially aggravating your acne problems.
- Contains Centella asiatica that promotes skin healing
- Contains stearic acid that can potentially block pores
The Role of a Primer
Primers can come in the form of creams, gels, or lotions. They do one thing: make your makeup last longer.
A good primer can easily make your makeup last for as long as 8 hours. This means that you can concentrate on the most important tasks of the day without having to worry about touch-ups.
However, they are not limited to just one purpose. They can be used to improve the appearance of fine lines and pores. In other words, primers help make the skin look smooth even before the application of makeup.
Your high-end makeup products like your foundation and eyeshadows won’t look as good if you don’t incorporate primers in your makeup routine.
Today, many primers provide more benefits other than just lengthening the time your makeup stays on your skin. They now come with SPF for protection, in hydrating formulas to take care of dry skin, and with color-correcting properties to effectively hide redness and acne spots.
Korean primers, in particular, do a good job of providing the extra benefits your skin needs.
How and When to Apply Primers
Primers are supposed to act as the barrier between your last skin care product and your first layer of makeup. Many Korean primers are designed to be used this way, but there are others that can be used after makeup application too.
Generally, a primer can be used on its own. So after moisturizing and adding your usual skin care products, you can layer on a primer and be done with the routine. This is especially true if you’ve already found the best Korean primer that suits your skin type.
However, if you do wish to put makeup on, expect it to look better and more saturated longer.
Apply the primer on your skin using your fingertips. This method of application is more effective than using brushes because brushes will just move the primer around.
Clean your face first using the Korean double cleansing method. Apply your skin care products and let them sit for a while to allow them to be absorbed properly.
Next, get a pea-sized amount of the primer. Using your fingers, apply it all over the face, starting from your nose outwards. Allow the product about a minute to settle in before you start applying your foundation.
What to Look for in a Primer
Finding the best Korean primer for your skin will require you to examine a few important factors.
First, you should know what kind of skin type you have. Not all primers work well with certain skin types.
For those with oily skin, look for primers that are mattifying. This should keep the extra sebum at bay. If you have dry skin, go for a primer that hydrates your skin. Avoid products that contain ingredients that help remove moisture.
Those with acne-prone skin should use a gentle primer free from silicones. While a silicone-based primer is good for filling in uneven skin, they are comedogenic and can worsen your acne problems.
If you have lots of hyperpigmentation, go for a primer with color-correcting properties.
The best Korean primer should be able to improve the appearance of your pores and even out your skin so it is prepared for makeup application.
How to Find the Best Korean Primer for Your Skin
Before committing to a Korean primer, make sure you actually test it out first. Look for sample sizes and try them out at home. Use your favorite foundation to make sure that they’re a good match.
If you wish to get that chok-chok look that is the standard of Korean beauty, it’s best to stick to Korean products for both makeup and skin care.
Korean Skin Care
Skin care in Korea is geared towards having the perfect skin even without makeup, so you can be sure that Korean primers are designed to nourish your skin besides making your makeup look smooth over it.
Korean skin care is best known for its famous multi-step routine that can baffle even the most skin-conscious people. Korean products are designed to keep the skin healthy and naturally glowing.
Nothing less is to be expected of Korean primers. Expect improvements on your fine lines and pores.
Your foundation will slide smoothly and stay all day with the recommended primers on this list.
If you’re someone who hasn’t added a primer to your beauty routine yet, you can be sure you won’t go back once you find the right one. The right product helps your makeup stay all day, giving you the extra time and confidence to go around without melted foundation all over your face.
The Touch In Sol No Pore Blem is a favorite because you can immediately see its pore-refining effect. And because it’s hypoallergenic, it also works well for those with sensitive skin, which is always a plus.
The VDL Lumilayer Primer Fresh ranks second because of the pigments that create a luminous effect on the skin. This is a good way of using light in creating a smoother canvas for your makeup.