Imaxtree Think of it like a layer of fondant smoothed over a jagged cake or a top coat glazed over your smudged manicure. Makeup primer basically blurs, hides, and evens out your skin texture (not fully—it ain’t sorcery—but still to a noticeable degree). And because your makeup isn’t competing with roughness and oil slicks, it adheres to your face for hours longer than it usually would, even in super-humid, sweaty temps. Do you need makeup primer? On the left is two swipes of concealer (my favorite Revlon PhotoReady Concealer) on my clean, dry skin, and on the right is two swipes of the same concealer on top of a thin layer of primer (my BFF Monistat Chafing Gel). Chloe Metzger Imaxtree What makeup primer should you choose? Face primers are also not created equal—you can get hydrating primers for dry skin, mattifying primers for oily skin, color-correcting primers for redness, and approximately 20 other types, finishes, and consistencies. But, really, all makeup primers boil down to two important, distinct categories: silicone-based or water-based formulas. And that, my friends, is where dreams are made and broken. Silicone-based primer vs. water-based primer: Imaxtree That’s not to say silicone-based primers are the end all be all (although, for my face, they absolutely are). Some people hate the feeling of silicones or swear silicones break them out and just prefer the finish they get with a water-based primer. And to that, I say experiment! Play around! But you’ll also know my answer to the following question: What is the best makeup primer? For me, I swear by Monistat Chafing Gel, a cheap, $5, Reddit-loved primer dupe that I’ve used and loved since high school. Unlike some face primers that are filled with a bunch of 12-letter-long ingredients and, like, glitter, this powder-soft gel (which is technically used to prevent thigh chafing) is formulated with only the good stuff—i.e. silicones and not much else. I have at least a dozen friends hooked on it, but if you want more ~options~, try one of my other favorite cheap drugstore primers that I’ve used in a pinch: My 4 Favorite Drugstore Makeup Primers: Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel amazon.com $5.98 SHOP NOW Nyx Studio Perfect Primer amazon.com $6.30 SHOP NOW Rimmel Stay Matte Primer amazon.com $5.29 SHOP NOW Ulta Matte Face Primer ulta.com $18.00 SHOP NOW 1. Primer works best on clean, freshly moisturized skin (although wait at least five minutes for your moisturizer to sink in before applying it. The world won’t end if you wait one minute instead, but, hey, just givin’ tips). 2. Use only a thin layer of primer (usually a pea-size blob for your entire face)—glob on too much, and your makeup can end up sliding around instead of melting into your skin. 3. Wait a full 60 seconds for your primer to “set” before slathering on your concealer and foundation. Can you wear primer without makeup? Chloe Metzger Senior Beauty Editor Chloe Metzger is the senior beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, covering all things hair, skin, makeup, and health for both print and digital (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics).