I have only tried a couple of primers. My favorite has to be Laura Mercier Primer in Radiance keeps my makeup on all day. I feel it is expensive but worth it since no other primer keeps my makeup on all day like it does.
I don't really have a problem with my makeup lasting (apart from in bars/nightclubs & in Summer) but I do have problems with dull skin & some dilated/enlarged pores especially on my nose.
Recently: I'm really into the LM Original Foundation Primer, Clarins Instant Smooth & the cheapy Hard Candy Sheer Envy Original in the White tube if I'm not feeling so flush. Follow up with a bit of the Dr. Brandt pore refiner on the nose & inner cheeks & I'm usually good to go.
I prefer using an antioxidant serum instead of a foundation primer, so I can get additional benefits from it.
My personal favorite antioxidant serums are from Paula's Choice.
Also, aloe vera gel works well as a primer.
But considering I wear toner, sunscreen, foundation, and powder...I can get away with skipping the serum and still have my makeup stay in place. It goes on much smoother with primer though.
Clarins has a great primer and also Laura Mercier's primer is another good one. Clarins is more of a balm, comes in a little red jar. Laura Mercier's is a little more lightweight but both are very good.
I use smashbox photo finish underneath my make up every day and I love it. It definitely gives a nice smooth canvas to apply my make up, I suffer from enlarged pores and it works wonders for reducing their appearance, also helps make up stay in place for longer. Its the only primer I have tried but I have also heard good things about the hourglass veil primer and was wondering if anyone had tried that.....
I always wear the Hourglass Veil primer under my make up - but I have to admit that I have been using it even since before wearing any foundation, lol.
I used to have really nice skin and didn't feel the need for foundation - until (litterally) from one day to the next, I started having an uneven skin tone, due to sun damage in my childhood (so that's that). Anyway, I used to really like just using the Hourglass Veil on its own, with the Meteorites on top, and that was it. So when I started wearing foundation, I just kept using the Hourglass underneath it. Which makes me realize that I should maybe give a try to foundation without primer, as in the end it may be just as good, lol.
Anyway, the reason I started using the Hourglass in the first place, is that I have some redness in my skin (always have). Applying the Hourglass just takes all the redness away, and really smoothes the skin. It has a satiny finish, quite natural, and leaves the skin very soft to the touch (not sticky or anything). I have used other primers I liked (like the Guerlain Meteorites primer) when I felt that I needed a bit more luminosity to my make up (the Hourglass is completely neutral in that regard), but I always end up coming back to the Hourglass.
I use NARS pro-prime primer, I've only tried a few others but it makes the pigmentation of my foundation look richer and prettier and it makes all my face makeup last at least four hours longer. As far as the Hourglass primer, it's all about your skin type and how you want to look- just try it.
I only use primer if I'm going to be wearing makeup all day long because it makes it last a little longer. I usually don't like putting too much of anything on my face because my pores easily get clogged. Other than that, I do not think it is a necessity to apply everyday. However, it does make your skin feel extra silky
I also don't see the point in spending what $30+ for a primer when you can use a cheap alternative from a drugstore. For instance, that $40 Smashbox Photofinish primer everybody raves about (including myself)...$6 ELF mineral primer. Its the exact same.
I typically only use primer if I'm going out because I do feel it makes my makeup go on more smoothly and that my skin looks really smooth and perfect when i use it, though I don't think it's really necessary for every day use. I have tried a few of the Smashbox primers but my skin is pretty sensitive and they made me break out in hives. I actually really liked the Laura Mercier hydrating primer. However, I found that it separates really easily so I took it back to Sephora and someone there directed me to the Korres mattifying primer which I really love. If you are someone with really oily skin, I'm not sure how well it would keep you from getting oily since I do have relatively dry skin, but it does help keep me from getting shiny after I apply sunscreen, which would otherwise be an issue for me. It also hasn't caused any irritation in my skin, which is very exiciting for me! I realize this is kind of long-winded and all over the place, but I hope it was helpful!!
I've only recently occasionally started using a primer, so don't have experience with lots of brands. However, I'm finding Urban Decay's Pore Perfect Potion to be really good. You only need a teeny tiny bit and it really helps to disguise the appearance of the pores on my mature skin.
Like other posters, I shall probably only use it for special occasions and going out, though.
I have oily skin, so using a primer under my makeup every day is a must for me. It gives me a nice base for my foundation to adhere to, and helps my makeup last longer. I'm currently using Smashbox PhotoFinish Light (oil-free).
I tried the Hourglass primer the other day at Sephora along with the foundation. I really like it. As Neo007 wrote about red. I have the same problem. I always have red checks. I'm talking truly red apple cheeks like I've been running a 10K. For me to use any blush, I need to take away the red. I would definitely buy if it wasn't so expensive.