Do you look at a makeup primer as unnecessary? You should think again. If you want your makeup to last all day and look amazing, applying a primer should be a part of your daily routine. Maybe you don’t know what a makeup primer is or perhaps you are unaware of its benefits. That’s OK, we’ve got some basics here to help you understand!
It doesn’t matter if you wear a lot of makeup every day or just a bit to enhance your looks, a primer can do wonders. It can take your makeup from ho-hum average to knock-out amazing, and that’s no exaggeration! A good way to understand what a primer can do is to think of it as a smooth icing over a rough cake. The primer will even out your skin texture and conceal imperfections.
When you apply a primer, your makeup will glide on smoothly and blend in with ease. It won’t rub off or smear because the primer gives it something to adhere to. Makeup primers are gel, lotion, or cream-based formulas that cater to every skin type and issue. Once you start using a primer, it will become your new BFF!
We’ve rounded up seventeen of the best makeup primers. They’re in categories according to skin type. This way, you can easily find one that’s right for you. All the primers on our list are highly rated by real users. They’re also affordable and readily available for sale online so there’s no excuse not to buy one!
Best Makeup Primers for Normal Skin & All Skin Types
1. Rimmel— Stay Matte Primer
This is an ultralight primer that creates a soft, perfectly matte complexion. It helps minimize the appearance of pores and controls shine for hours. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy or heavy.
Stay Matte will give you smooth, flawless skin. Since it lasts for hours, you’ll look fabulous all day long. If you don’t have time to apply your makeup, you can use this alone without foundation to give your skin a warm glow. If you have large pores that clog, this primer can help. It will make those pores look smaller and even out your complexion and tone.
This Rimmel primer works to banish shiny skin which is something nobody wants. It controls shine by preventing the sebum from peeking through your makeup. This is a great all-around primer that provides a natural-looking glow. It also keeps your skin moisturized for up to 24 hours.
2. Thank Me Later— Face Primer by Elizabeth Mott
You don’t have to pay big bucks to get a great makeup primer. Thank Me Later is a popular primer that doesn’t bust the bank. It’s a waterproof, long-lasting primer. It helps maintain your flawless look the whole day.
Fine lines and large pores got you down? Then cheer up because this primer minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines. The mattifying effect keeps your face shine-free, without drying it out. It’s paraben-free and comes from a cruelty-free brand.
There’s little not to like about Thank Me Later. It’s a great primer for normal skin that does what it’s supposed to do. The primer goes on smoothly. It does an incredible job of locking in your makeup and blocking out shine all day.
3. Covergirl— Simply Ageless Makeup Primer
Simply Ageless by Covergirl helps get your face ready for makeup success. This is an age-defying primer that nourishes skin for a radiant, youthful glow. It’s versatile too! You can wear it under your makeup or wear it on its own. When worn without makeup on top, it gives skin a natural, moisturized look.
Simply Ageless provides deep moisturization for a smooth makeup base. Many women buy this primer specifically to conceal fine lines and pores. It’s also popular among women who want to conceal freckles before applying makeup. It does a great job at that too!
It’s a fragrance-free product for normal skin. If you’ve spent loads of money on expensive primers only to be disappointed, try this one by Covergirl. It provides a nice even surface for your makeup and makes your face soft and smooth.
Best Makeup Primers for Dry Skin
4. e.l.f.— Hydrating Face Primer
Elf Cosmetics’ e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer is infused with grape and Vitamins A, C, and E to hydrate dry skin and boost complexion. This primer gives your skin a fresh, dewy look. It’s great for minimizing pores before applying makeup. It’s also effective at providing illumination and smoothness to the skin.
The last thing your skin needs is a layer of harmful chemicals. To ease your mind, e.l.f. Primer doesn’t contain any sulfates, phthalates, or parabens. Instead, it’s formulated with all the goodness your skin needs.
Women who use this primer love how it transforms the face into a smooth, flawless canvas. It helps keep makeup fresh and vibrant. This primer, like all Elf products, is cruelty-free and vegan. It’s a terrific primer for dry skin that gets your skin ready for makeup through deep moisturization.
5. L’Oreal Paris— Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base Primer
This is a silky, lightweight primer that glides on your skin. It penetrates the skin to hydrate and moisturize. This primer can be smoothed over all your facial skin, including under the eyes. It helps conceal fine lines around your nose and cheeks. It is also good for hiding pesky blemishes.
Once you’ve applied Magic Perfecting Base, you’ll love how silky smooth and soft your face is. After putting on your makeup over this primer, you can expect it last the whole day. L’Oreal says “You’re worth it” and that’s true. Do yourself a favor and treat that dry skin with this makeup primer.
Magic Perfecting Base matches up perfectly with L’Oreal’s fine line of makeup including foundations and concealers. If you’re a fan of L’Oreal products, this primer should be in your makeup bag.
6. Garnier— SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream
When you’ve got dry skin, your makeup primer should hydrate and moisturize. SkinActive Moisture Rescue is formulated especially for dry skin. This is an oil-free product that locks moisture in. It delivers deep hydration to leave skin feeling lusciously soft and smooth.
Infused with Vitamin C and antioxidant fruit water complex, this primer comes to your skin’s rescue! It blocks out dryness. It’s a favorite of many women with dry skin. It has a soothing gel-cream texture that hydrates without clogging pores.
Don’t let your dry skin get the best of you. Use a dab of this gel cream and work it into your skin. You’re going to love how soft and smooth your face feels. Once you’ve applied your foundation and makeup, be ready to turn some heads because you’ll look fabulous!
Best Makeup Primers for Oily Skin
7. bareMinerals— Prime Time Original Foundation Primer
If you have oily skin, you may think you shouldn’t apply a primer. However, that’s not correct. Your oily skin needs nourishment like other skin types. You can and should use a quality primer made for oily skin, like Prime Time by bareMinerals.
This primer will ensure that your makeup doesn’t slide off your face due to your oily skin. It does this by providing an oil-free foundation for your makeup. All-day long, this primer battles excess oil, hides shine and conceals pores.
This dry skin primer doesn’t contain any harmful preservatives or irritants. It fights rough, dry patches of skin and those flaky areas. It also ensures that your foundation goes on smoothly and flawlessly. With Vitamins C and E, along with plant extracts, this product soothes and nourishes. It’s a popular primer that many women with dry skin trust.
8. Hourglass— Veil Mineral Primer
This Hourglass product is an all-day, oil-free makeup primer with SPF 15. It’s formulated to elevate your foundation. When you use this on your oily skin, it gives you a smooth, perfect complexion that lasts.
As a quality primer for oily skin, Veil Mineral minimizes the appearance of large pores. It also conceals fine lines and wrinkles. You’re left with smooth skin that’s makeup-ready. And with its SPF 15 sun protection, you’ll never have to worry about sunburn.
This is a top-notch makeup primer that’s ideal for your oily skin. It even repels water so your makeup looks nice, no matter what. If you use this primer daily, you’ll never worry that your makeup will smear or slide off.
Best Makeup Primers for Combination Skin
9. Maybelline— Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer
Combination skin can be a real problem, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for a primer that will work on your skin that’s both dry and oily, Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser is for you. This is a makeup primer that goes on smoothly like a moisturizer. This easy application ensures you’ll be left with a smooth and even foundation for your makeup.
This primer does a great job of erasing the appearance of pores. It also excels at providing your skin with a matte and moisturized glow all day long. Once you start using Instant Pore Eraser, you’ll never have to search for a primer that works on your type of skin.
Women like you with combination skin, often don’t know which way to turn. You may ask yourself if you should use a dry skin primer or one that’s made for oily skin? Maybe you think you have to use two primers – one for your dry areas and another for those oily patches. This primer can be the go-to primer you use every day. It will smooth your skin and provide a good base for your foundation and makeup.
10. NYX— Studio Perfect Primer, Clear
You can prep your combination skin using this clear makeup primer by NYX Professional Makeup. It’s a silky formula that creates a smooth matte surface for whatever kind of makeup you use. It also prolongs your makeup so it lasts all day.
Studio Perfect goes on smoothly before you put your makeup on. It’s a top-rated primer that enures your makeup applies evenly and leaves a great finish. Women who use it swear by it because it’s one of the best primers out there. On top of being a decent affordable primer, it also scores points for its ability to offset skin redness. This is great news if you have rosacea or another skin condition that causes redness.
Best Makeup Primers for Sensitive Skin
11. Touch in Sol— No Pore Blem Primer
Women with sensitive skin can’t use just any makeup primer. If you’ve got sensitive skin, your primer should be gentle and non-irritating. Otherwise, there’s no sense in using a primer at all because redness and itchiness can cause real problems.
No Pore Blem is a hypoallergenic primer that’s perfect for sensitive skin. This primer can diminish the appearance of large pores and uneven texture. It’s a lightweight formula that even works to conceal fine lines and wrinkles. The green tea extract in this primer energizes the skin and gets it ready for all-day makeup that lasts.
Just a dab of No Pore Blend primer goes a long way. Once you’ve thoroughly applied it, it will hold your skin’s moisture levels in and improve elasticity. This primer for sensitive skin comes in a handy pump bottle, to make using it easy.
No Pore Blem gives your skin a very smooth finish that makeup glides over. On top of being hypoallergenic, it’s also vegan and cruelty-free for the win! This stuff is the real deal when it comes to primers for sensitive skin.
12. Colorscience— Bronzing Perfector Face Primer
This Colorscience makeup primer offers full-spectrum sunblock benefits. You’ll never worry about sunburn when you’ve used Bronzing Perfector. It’s perfect for sensitive skin and it gives you an instant, natural sun-kissed tint.
The recommended way to use this primer is to apply it after moisturizing your face. Don’t want to wear any makeup one day? That’s no problem because you can use this primer with makeup or without. It’s a gluten-free, paraben-free, unscented product you’re sure to love. Give your sensitive skin a treat and try it today!
A makeup primer does just what the name suggests: It smooths and primes your face for your foundation and makeup. It’s a must-have if you want to get the most mileage out of your makeup. When you apply a primer under your makeup, you’ll look great all day long.
You’d never consider painting your walls without priming them first. The same applies to primer. It should be used before makeup. A primer is a powerful beauty product that can take your makeup to the next level. Use our handy guide above to find the best makeup primers for your skin.