A lot of people are very black and white about how they feel about primers. You like them or you see no need for them. If you can go without, and don't like em..more power to you! But I am on the side of the fence that I enjoy primers and think they do serve a purpose. Perhaps its more psychological than anything, but I like something that smooths out my skin before I put on liquid foundation. I don't like the feeling of slapping on foundation on my bare skin, and since my skin is so oily, it always seems to sink in and disappear immediately on me without primer. My problem has always been finding a primer that works for me, and doesn't break me out horribly. This has not been an easy feat.
However, I have found one recently that does both. First off, I have to tell you that I cannot use primers with silicone in them. They clog my pores and give me horrible cystic acne, so I stay far, far away from primers with silicone (of which I have tried them all until I figured out how sensitive I am to the silicone). This is a problem though, because before I found Lorac's primer, I saw silicone as the ingredient that usually works best to give you the smooth, even "primed" canvas for foundation. Silicone-free primers always performed like the ugly stepsister of primers to me. Well, move aside ugly stepsisters, because I think that with my use of Lorac's Aquaprime Primer I have found a silicone-free product that does what I have been looking for!
It is a silicone, oil, fragrance, and paraben-free primer that has a very watery, clear consistency as compared to other foundation primers. It goes on very smooth and dries down quickly to a nice moisturized but still matte-like finish. Meaning it is a finish that isn't luminous or shiny, but still hydrated. I find it doesn't dry out the skin, and does provide the lightest hydration, light enough to tolerate for even very oily skin, but welcomed in that it doesn't cause flakey's or extra dryness. I do think it helps my foundation apply smoother with less product and last both better and longer.
I really like this foundation primer because it is one that doesn't dry me out, break me out, or make my skin an oil slick, all of which every primer I have tried before has done in one way or another. I think I have been through every primer in Sephora, and this remains one I reach for everyday. A definite must-try for those silicone-sensitive ladies that are looking for a primer. It retails for around $30 and can be found at sephora, sephora.com, beauty.com and Lorac's own website, loraccosmetics.com.
Alternative 1: I would recommend this for all but the absolute driest of skins. If you have super dry skin, and want silicone-free, I think Korres' primer is a great choice. I liked it, except it is very hydrating, and made my oily skin a regular old grease-fest. It might be great for those looking for that hydration though.
Alternative 2: If you really need an oil-control formula (I often do in the summer or on certain days my skin freaks out on me), I would suggest using the Murad Oil Control Lotion SPF 15. It does a lovely job, although is very sticky (almost like glue). I use it either under my Lorac in the summer as an alternative to moisturizer or alone as a primer on days I''m going light on the makeup.