Leigh Campbell: "Primer is over. It’s all about pre-foundation serums now."

Okay, so maybe primer isn't totally over. Maybe it’s just evolving. But that doesn't sound anywhere near as exciting, does it?

You see, for the past few years the trend in foundation was all about coverage and longevity. So we were employing our primer to make our base last longer and make it stay in place. In turn that meant that the type of primer we used was more akin to a literal primer (think the paint variety), helping the foundation look smoother and ‘stick’.

But now the trend in base is all about letting your skin show through, luminosity and lots of glow. Though the problem is that it takes a while - and lots of dedication - to get your skin in a tip-top, super juicy, very-well-hydrated state. 

Watch: Three steps to glowing skin with Leigh Campbell. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

And that’s why the next-gen of primers are going to help us fake it.

Enter, makeup serums. 

Where more traditional primers are a cream or lotion consistency (often formulated with silicone for grip), makeup serums are more likely to be a liquid, gel or oil. 

Their job is to help your skin (and makeup on top) make you look like Miranda Kerr after a Noni Juice cleanse...even if in reality you’re a tired mum running on four hours sleep at night.


You know how we sometimes do a sheet mask before makeup for luminosity? Think of it like that, but in a bottle.

One I’ve just started testing is the new Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum, $42. I mean, if you’re going to buy a product based on its name alone, this one is it.

The marketing speak says: This lightweight, hydrating formula delivers and locks in moisture while addressing oil levels. It's formulated with diamond mineral powder which creates a visibly healthy, reflective glow, while Light Fit Prep Technology comfortably adheres to skin for extended makeup wear. You can use this serum face primer with or without makeup for a visibly hydrated glow.


I say: This is the fastest way to fake glass-skin. It offers a beautiful sheen that doesn't look oily somehow, and isn’t sticky. Layer hydrating liquid foundation on top for ultimate glow, then matte down any areas you might feel are too shiny with translucent powder. 

One spendy I’ve been using for ages is the Beaute Pacifique Serum Paradoxe, $113. This is equal parts an effective skincare oil as it is a makeup primer. 

The marketing speak says: This is a super potent serum that submerges deeply into the skin, providing a strong anti-aging effect and remarkable anti-reddening effect on Rosacea. The surface of the skin immediately appears smoothed and prepped. Apply makeup either directly, or pre-mixed with Serum Paradoxe. The perfect base, it adds a visible glow to your makeup.


I say: Yeah, I agree. It’s a face oil that somehow blurs pores and makes your foundation sit nicer, glow more and basically makes you look like a plump juicy cherub. I add bronzer on top for dimension and a teeny dusting of powder down my T-zone. 

Can you use any old face oil or hydrating serum like this? Yep, pretty much. The two mentioned above are specifically formulated to wear well with makeup on top, but that’s not to say the winning combination isn't already hiding in your skincare collection at home. So have a play!

Other pre-makeup serums you might like to check out:

Farsali Unicorn Essence, $79.


This was one of the first serums that went gangbusters. 

It's jam-packed with antioxidants including açaí berry, goji berry, elderberry and blueberry and a good option for anyone looking for a luminous glow without a greasy finish.

Hourglass No.28 Primer Serum, $35.


This Hourglass option is like a huge gulp of water for the face. It's a big hit of hydration on its own, or perfect to mix in with your moisturiser before makeup application.

Makeup Revolution Glass Liquid Skin, $14.

This Revolution Makeup serum is a great savey. As the name implies, its aim is to make your skin look like glass (well, as close as it can) before you apply foundation. Next stop: glow town.

Feature image: Instagram/@leighcampbell

What's your favourite serum to apply before makeup? Let me know in the comments below!