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In this Tarte primer line guide, I’ll walk you through Tarte’s massive primer offering and help you decide which one (or ones) is right for you. This is one of the most expansive primer lines from a company I’ve ever seen, so there’s probably something for everyone here.
If you’re ready to smooth the canvas before you apply foundation, blurring imperfections, filling in fine lines, and getting a soft-focus finish to your skin (all while encouraging your makeup to last longer on your skin, and maybe even treating your skin while you’re at it), keep reading.
Tarte Primer Line Guide: An Overview
The Tarte primer line is quite impressive, with something for everyone. Here’s a rundown of what they currently offer. Most of them are around $30.00, but there are a few outliers that will set you back around $40.00.
Base Tape Hydrating Primer
You guessed it–this primer helps keep your skin hydrated. It also plumps up the skin and makes makeup go on more smoothly. It’s also designed to make sure your makeup (and the moisture in your skin) lasts for 12 hours.
Best for: Dry skin and/or dull complexion
- Hydrates skin
- Helps makeup last
- Plumps and smooths skin
- Keeps makeup out of fine lines and pores
- Has a fragrance (coconut)
- May feel greasy and cause your makeup to move around if you don’t have dry skin
Glowtion Skin Perfector
The Glowtion Skin Perfector is for the person who wants something that helps them look lit from within. It can even be worn again, simply to make you look radiant on your makeup-free days.
Best for: Dry skin, dull complexion, any person who wants a product that they can wear on days off from full makeup to brighten up their skin
- Gives a radiant complexion
- Contains ingredients to reduce fine lines and dullness, purify and hydrate skin, prevent aging, and improve complexion
- Some users with fair skin reported that it turned an odd orangey color on their skin
Rainforest of the Sea Quench Hydrating Primer
This is a primer and skincare in one, so it takes one step out of your skincare routine in the morning. It has a cooling effect, so it’s especially nice to use in the summer. It even helps defend your skin against pollution (but not sun, so don’t forget your SPF).
Best for: People on the go who need multi-tasking products, dry skin, people who aren’t bothered by fragrances in their skincare products and makeup
- Hydrating (contains superstar ingredient, hyaluronic acid)
- Makes makeup last longer
- Cooling sensation
- Smooths skin
- Has a fragrance (coconut)
- Some people reported breakouts
- Some people don’t like the watery texture
Clean Slate Blur Balm
So far, the other primers have all come in tubes, but the Clean Slate Blur Balm is a little different. It comes in a jar. It’s designed to absorb oil, fill your pores, and give your skin a soft-focus finish.
Best for: Oily skin, enlarged pores, disguising fine lines and wrinkles
- Uses Amazonian clay to control oil
- Extends life of makeup
- Hides wrinkles and pores
- Contains vitamin E and antioxidants
- May be overdrying for some skin types
- Not as sanitary to use as a tube since you’ll need to dip your fingers, Tarte’s Flawless Filler Applicator, or a brush in to grab the product
Poreless Mattifying Primer
This is a best-selling Tarte primer because of its ability to keep shine to a minimum and blur the appearance of pores. It’s also waterproof.
Best for: Oily or combination skin, large pores
- Can hydrate dry skin (but it’s really ideal for oily skin)
- Soothes skin with avocado
- Helps makeup last up to 12 hours
- Won’t completely hide pores on everyone
- Some reviewers say it feels heavy or greasy
Timeless Smoothing Primer
The Timeless Smoothing Primer comes in a jar like the Clean Slate Blur Balm. In this case, the primer‘s purpose is to give a soft-focus finish, smooth out any imperfections, help makeup last longer, and offers skincare ingredients, too, so skin is improved by wearing it.
Best for: All skin types, mature skin
- Contains vitamins E and C for fighting free radicals
- Anti-aging components
- Soothes skin
- Green bean extract minimizes pores and reduces appearance of wrinkles
- Makes skin smoother, softer, and brighter
- Increases wear-time of makeup
- Some reviewers report that their products pill up when used on top of this primer
- Some users found the texture to be too solid and hard to apply
Shape Tape Pore & Prime Balm
The Shape Tape Pore & Prime Balm is one of the least expensive of the Tarte primer lineup at around $25.00. It comes in a compact with a sponge applicator, but you can apply it with your fingers, too.
Best for: Oily or combination skin
- Contains vitamin E and sunflower seed to protect, hydrate, and regenerate skin
- Makes makeup application easier
- Extends wear of makeup
- Fills pores for a smoother canvas
- Compact isn’t the most sanitary option
- May make foundation look scaley or cakey after a few hours, according to some reviewers
- Some say it feels greasy
Which Primer Is Best for You?
Choosing a primer isn’t quite the challenge that choosing a foundation is since there’s rarely any shade-matching to do (Tarte does have some tinted primers, though, so keep that in mind as you shop). That still doesn’t mean it’s especially easy.
In addition to finding one that works with your skin and addresses your concerns, you’ll have to make sure your primer, foundation, and concealer all play well together. That’s where trial and error comes in, unfortunately.
A Word About Foundation and Concealer
If you already have a favorite foundation and concealer, the only moving part will be the primer, so you’ll be able to try out a few (get samples from the store if you can!). If you don’t have favorite face makeup, trying Tarte foundations with Tarte primers is a good place to start since they’ll be from the same line and designed to work well together.
So how do you narrow it down? First, you should start with your own skin since your primer will need to perform well on that–with no irritation or pilling, and with the blurring and filling you specifically need–no matter what. From there, you can experiment with foundations and concealers.
First, consider what you want your primer to do. Most of them will help your makeup apply more smoothly and last all day, but what else does it need to do? Does it need to:
- Control oil
- Fill pores
- Minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Add a glow
- Mattify skin?
Within the Tarte line, you can narrow it down by looking at some of the ingredients.
- Dry skin? You’ll benefit from hyaluronic acid, avocado, and other hydrating ingredients. If your skin is dull, too, you may want to go for the ones that add radiance to your skin with shimmer (not glitter).
- Aging skin? You’ll want to look at the smoothing primers and balms.
- Oily skin? There are a few within the Tarte line, though most of them do seem to be more hydrating than you might want. Look for Amazonian clay as an ingredient for the best results.
- Want a glow? You’re going to want to go straight for the micronized pearls, in this case (Glowtion Skin Perfector), as long as your skin tone can handle the tint. Hydrating primers may also provide a glow, but not to this level.
You Can Try Travel Sizes Before Committing
If in doubt or you just aren’t ready to commit to a full tube of any primer until you have a good idea of how it works on your skin, Tarte primers do sometimes come in travel sizes.
For example, you can get the travel size Rainforest of the Sea Quench Hydrating Primer, Timeless Smoothing Primer, Pore & Prime Balm, and Base Tape Hydrating Primer.
Tips for Using Primer
Using a primer is pretty straightforward. Generally, you apply it like a foundation, before foundation and after moisturizer, and any other skin care products you use. That said, there are some tips you can keep in mind to make the process, ahem, smoother.
Not all foundations and primers work well together. Not all moisturizers and primers work well together. In most cases, you shouldn’t experience any major issues (like product balling up on your skin), but if you do, if you happen to have other products on hand, experiment with different combinations to see if one works wonders for your skin.
How to Apply Primer
You can use your fingers or a flat foundation brush with synthetic bristles to apply it to your skin after your moisturizer and before your foundation.
Question: Does Tarte Have a Primer?
Answer: Yes, they have several! Some are hydrating, others mattifying, and some are smoothing. They have something for every skin type and need.
Question: What is the Best Primer for Lines?
Answer: Tarte’s Timeless Smoothing Primer is perfect for blurring imperfections, filling lines, reducing the appearance of pores, and creating a flawless appearance. Tarte’s Base Tape Hydrating Primer is ideal for dry skin and their Poreless Mattifying Primer is great for oily skin. Rare Beauty’s Illuminating Primer is good for brightening your complexion and making you look more radiant.
Question: What is Smoothing Primer For?
Answer: Everything! It blurs fine lines, helps hide pores, and creates a smooth canvas for makeup so you can have a flawless-looking complexion.
Question: Is Tarte Timeless Primer Silicone Based?
Answer: Yes, the Timeless Primer is silicone-based. It also has vitamins E and C, green bean extract, and mineral pigments to smooth out lines and wrinkles, blur the appearance of pores, and provide a soft-focus finish.
Question: What is the Best Primer for Minimizing Pores?
Answer: Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer and Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer.
Question: Does Primer Fill in Wrinkles?
Answer: It won’t completely fill them in, but you may notice that they look less prominent. It can keep your foundation and concealer from settling in the lines, too, which can keep your skin looking smoother and more youthful.
Question: What is the Best Primer for Older Skin?
Answer: A smoothing primer, like Tarte’s Timeless Smoothing Primer, is ideal for older skin. Another one to try: L’Oréal’s Blurring Face Primer Infused with Serum (being able to get this one at the drugstore or grocery store is an extra perk!).
Question: How do I Choose a Primer?
Answer: Choosing a primer boils down to what you need and your skin type. Mattifying primers tend to be best for oily skin, while hydrating primers are better for dry skin. Smoothing primers can work across the board, but they’re especially good for mature skin. Illuminizing primers are another type to consider, as they can add a glow to dry, dull complexions.
The Best of the Tarte Primer Line: Guide to the Lineup
The Tarte primer line has something for everyone, though there do seem to be a few more options for those who need extra hydration in their skin.
The most crowd-pleasing option (even though it’s in a jar, which I don’t particularly like), in my opinion, is the Timeless Smoothing Primer. That doesn’t mean it will be the best option for everyone, though.
If you have very oily skin, you’ll probably enjoy using the Clean Slate Blur Balm a little more, since it has Amazonian clay for oil control. Dry skin will probably feel most comfortable with Rainforest of the Sea Quench Hydrating Primer, since it has hyaluronic acid to hold moisture in the skin.
Get samples when you can, especially if you’re having a hard time deciding between two or three that you think may work well with your skin. One primer may work better with the products you already like than others, so it’s good to go in with options in mind (but not too many).