21 Best Makeup Primers (Reviews) Of 2021 For Every Skin Type

Written by Baishali Bhattacharya , Certified Image Consultant, Certified In Makeup Artistry
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A good primer ensures long-lasting makeup. That is why the best makeup primers are absolute favorites among makeup artists and enthusiasts. They create a perfect canvas to experiment with your makeup skills. Primers blur open pores, hide fine lines, and offer a flawless, hydrated, and smooth finish. Also, they act as a shield on your skin to protect it from the harsh ingredients of makeup products.

Primers are great solutions for oily T-zones as well. They offer great oil control and conceal the visible signs of aging. Although the market is flooded with options, finding the right primer for your skin type can be a daunting task. But worry not because we have made it easier for you. Swipe up to explore the 21 makeup primers that we think are the best!

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Best Overall: Covergirl Simply Ageless Makeup Primer
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Best For Sensitive Skin: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
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Best For Redness: E.l.f Tone Adjusting Face Primer
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Best For Enlarged Pores: Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer
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Best Long-Lasting: NYX Professional Makeup The Marshmallow Primer
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Best Hydrating: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
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Best Brightening: Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer
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Best For Shine Control: TATCHA The Silk Canvas
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Best Anti-Wrinkle: StriVectin Line Blurring Primer
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Best Matte Finish: Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner Primer
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What Is A Makeup Primer?

The primary purpose of a makeup primer is to prepare your skin and create a smooth base before you put on makeup. It creates an extra layer between the skin and makeup, evens out your skin, reduces the look of dark spots, and helps minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also fills in pores, hydrates the skin, and allows the makeup to last longer.

However, there is a wide range of primers that address specific skin types and issues.

Different Types Of Makeup Primers

  •  Mattifying Makeup Primers: A mattifying makeup primer is a water-based primer that gives the skin a mattifying effect. It helps reduce shine on the face and minimizes the appearance of pores.
  •  Strobing/Illuminating Makeup Primers: An illuminating makeup primer gives your face extra shine. It also evens out the skin tone and helps you achieve a smooth skin surface.
  •  Color-Correcting Makeup Primers: A color-correcting makeup primer helps minimize the appearance of dark spots and dark circles.

21 Best Makeup Primers

1. Best Overall: Covergirl Simply Ageless Makeup Primer

The Covergirl Simply Ageless Makeup Primer is a liquid foundation that also works as a primer. It is formulated with hyaluronic complex and vitamin C that firm and hydrates the skin. The anti-aging primer will plump up your skin and instantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It also evens out skin tone and blurs other imperfections.

Suitable for: Mature Skin

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Long-lasting
  •  Pump dispenser
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Easy to use
  •  Available in multiple shades

Cons

None

2. Best For Sensitive Skin: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

Trusted by makeup artists, the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré evens and smoothens the skin texture. It brightens the complexion and increases skin suppleness and firmness. The nourishing formula is enriched with aloe vera, shea butter, beeswax, and soy proteins. It is a versatile primer that works as a face cream, face mask, and makeup remover. The primer leaves the skin calm, soft, and smooth. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Suitable For: Sensitive Skin

Pros

  •  Safe for sensitive skin
  •  Natural ingredients
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Travel-friendly

Cons

  •  Contains parabens
  •  Tube packaging

3. Best For Redness: E.l.f Tone Adjusting Face Primer

If you want to conceal redness and spots that can be seen through the foundation, try out the e.l.f Tone Adjusting Face Primer. This neutralizing and color-correcting face primer with a subtle green tint helps minimize redness, evens out the skin tone, and creates a natural-looking matte base for your makeup.

This primer has a silky and creamy formula suitable for all skin types. It gives you a flawless complexion and perfect coverage. You can either wear this alone or as a makeup base.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Vegan
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Hydroquinone-free
  •  No triclosan and triclocarban

Cons

  •  Takes time to dry

4. Best For Enlarged Pores: Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer

If oily skin and enlarged pores are a concern, the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer will be the best choice for you. This lightweight makeup primer helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores to give you silky, smooth skin before applying makeup. It is infused with a vitamin E derivative that combats free radicals. In addition, it has an oil-free and translucent formulation and complements all skin tones.

Suitable For: Oily skin

Pros

  •  Oil-free formula
  •  Lightweight

Cons

None

5. Best Long-Lasting: NYX Professional Makeup The Marshmallow Primer

The Marshmallow Primer by NYX Professional Makeup is a multitasking primer that keeps your makeup intact for 16 hours. It is enriched with marshmallow root extract to smoothen the skin. This primer softens, hydrates, soothes, evens out the skin, blurs fine lines, adds a soft-focus finish, and keeps makeup fresh. It has a slightly whipped texture that dries up right after application.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Complements all skin tones
  •  Vegan
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Silicone-free

Cons

None

6. Best Hydrating: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

Get a perfect dewy makeup base with the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer. This face primer brightens, smoothens, and hydrates the skin while offering you a healthy-looking finish. It is infused with coconut water, probiotics, and skin revivers to boost skin’s radiance, promote elasticity, and hydrate while locking down makeup for fresher, more extended, and more flawless wear. It creates the perfect makeup base, and you can also wear it alone for a dewy look.

Suitable For– Dry Skin

Pros

  •  Boosts radiance
  •  Promotes skin elasticity
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Cruelty-free
  • Silicone-free

Cons

None

7. Best Brightening: Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer

The Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer preps the skin for makeup to glide on and last longer. It minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines and helps maintain the skin’s youthful appearance. The primer is formulated with grapefruit extract, green tea, and white tea extracts. The grapefruit extract promotes luminosity and skin radiance, while green tea and white tea extracts provide anti-aging effects.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Long-lasting
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Lightweight

Cons

  •  Expensive

8. Best For Shine Control: TATCHA The Silk Canvas

The Silk Canvas face primer by TATCHA instantly diminishes pores, fine lines, and reduces excess shine. It has a velvety texture and gives a soft-focus finish to your skin that allows the makeup to glide smoothly. The formula features silk extracts (rich in amino acids) that retain natural moisture and hadasei-3 (a blend of green tea, algae, and rice) for smooth skin. It creates a protective barrier between makeup and skin to minimize clogged pores that can lead to breakouts. The primer also has anti-aging properties that reveal a youthful complexion.

The anti-pollution natural active ingredients in the formula fight environmental stressors and support the skin’s barrier function to act against future attacks while visibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles and dullness.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Non-irritating
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Artificial fragrance-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Mineral oil-free
  •  Free from urea, DEA, or TEA

Cons

  •  Expensive

9. Best Anti-Wrinkle: StriVectin Line Blurring Primer

The StriVectin Line Blurring Primer is formulated with skin-benefiting ingredients. It contains blurring microspheres that fill and blur out deep-set wrinkles and improve the skin texture. The primer has a lightweight and breathable formula that helps prolong makeup wear. It is developed with the patented NIA-114 technology that helps strengthen the skin barrier.

Suitable For: Mature skin

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Breathable
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Vegan

Cons

  •  Drying

10. Best Matte Finish: Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner Primer

The Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner Primer will help you achieve flawless, photo-ready skin. It creates an excellent base for long-lasting makeup and well-preserved skin. The primer has a velvety formula that absorbs excess oil, minimizes pores, and blurs fine lines. It is also resistant to sweat and humidity. This product is a two-in-one pore refiner and makeup primer that absorbs excess oil and mattifies shine, creating a smooth, flawless finish with or without makeup. It can be used alone or for midday touch-ups.

Suitable For: Oily and Combination skin

Pros

  •  Matte-finish
  •  Sweat-resistant
  •  Humidity-resistant
  •  Lightweight

Cons

  •  Overpowering fragrance

11. Dermablend Professional Insta-Grip Jelly Primer

The Dermablend Professional Insta-Grip Jelly Primer has a 3-in-1 hydrating formula that instantly moisturizes the skin. This lightweight formula gets absorbed quickly, minimizes the appearance of pores, and provides a smooth canvas for a foundation and concealer. Its sticky texture makes it last up to 24 hours and feels comfortable on the skin.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Long-lasting
  •  Lightweight
  •  Easy to use
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Allergy-tested
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Triclosan-free
  •  Silicone-free
  •  100% vegan

Cons

None

12. dermalogica Skinperfect Primer

The dermalogica Skinperfect Primer will help smoothen fine lines and brighten your skin. It has a velvety formula containing soy protein that improves skin texture and creates a smoother surface. The primer also contains SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and has a silky feel to give a “soft focus” effect.

Suitable For: Mature skin

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Sun protection
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Cruelty-free

Cons

  •  Expensive

13. The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer

Getting a natural and dewy look is now easy with The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer. This primer’s lightweight, serum-like formula spreads quickly and moisturizes the dry patches, especially around the eyes and nostrils. It is non-oily and gives a natural dewy look.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Vegan
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Water-free
  •  Alcohol-free
  •  Nut-free
  •  Oil-free
  •  Silicone-free
  •  Gluten-free

Cons

None

14. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

This makeup primer is a cult classic for a reason. It is different from other traditional formulations and efficiently conceals imperfections, evens out the skin, and minimizes the look of fine lines and pores. This primer creates a smooth canvas so that your makeup glides on smoothly and stays put all day long. The lightweight, silky texture of the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer does not leave any greasy residue after application. In addition, the broad spectrum of SPF 15 offers sun protection.

Suitable For: All skin types (especially blemish-prone skin)

Pros

  •  SPF 15
  •  Lightweight
  •  Vegan
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  No nanoparticles

Cons

None

15. BECCA Backlight Priming Filter

The BECCA Backlight Priming Filter instantly boosts skin radiance, smoothens, and blurs imperfections. This illuminating primer improves your skin’s appearance and creates a smooth base before makeup application, and its Backlight Technology adds a lit-from-within glow. It has a lightweight formula enriched with vitamin E that makes your skin appear naturally gorgeous. This primer can be worn alone for a luminous glow.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Tinted

Cons

None

16. Cover FX Gripping Primer

The Cover FX Gripping Primer has a clear gel-like formula that visibly firms the skin, grips makeup for all-day wear, and creates a glass-like finish. The formula is enriched with kelp extract that smoothens the skin and creates a perfect makeup base. It also has a plankton-derived polymer complex that smoothens fine lines, reveals youthful complexion, and micro-algae extract (rich in vitamins and amino acids) that reduces signs of aging.

Suitable For: Normal to dry skin

Pros

  •  Long-lasting
  •  Alcohol-free
  •  Vegan
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Talc-free
  •  Mineral oil-free

Cons

None

17. smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer

The smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer is a unique 2-in-1 product that also works as a moisturizer. It gets absorbed quickly into the skin, delivers 24 hours of hydration, and preps your skin for makeup in just one step. The formula is enriched with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid that plumps and moisturizes the skin. This non-greasy and quick-drying formula make the foundation last for hours, smoothen dry spots and fine lines, and prevent makeup from settling into creases.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Silky texture
  •  Lightweight
  •  Non-greasy
  •  Quick-drying formula
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Vegan

Cons

None

18. Murad Skin Primer

The Murad Skin Primer has a velvety-smooth finish and blurs, primes, and protects the skin for 12 hours of makeup wear. The primer glides over skin and reduces the appearance of pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. It is non-comedogenic and is formulated with mushroom peptides that fight the visible signs of aging and restore skin firmness and elasticity to give a youthful appearance.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  No animal-derived ingredients
  •  Formaldehyde-free
  •  Petrolatum-free

Cons

None

19. FENTY BEAUTY Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer

The FENTY BEAUTY Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer is suitable for all skin types. This pore-diffusing primer smoothes the skin for better foundation application and lasts long with an instant retouch effect. Its oil-free formula minimizes the look of pores, visibly evens skin tone, smoothens texture, and instantly reduces shine without making your skin dry or chalky. The lightweight primer has a cushiony, touch-me-now texture that mattifies skin for a full-on sensory experience. It creates a filter-like blurring effect and melts instantly into all skin tones without a trace.

Suitable For: All skin types (especially oily skin)

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Gets absorbed instantly
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Oil-free

Cons

None

20. smashbox Photo Finish Protect SPF 20 Primer

The smashbox Photo Finish Protect SPF 20 Primer has a gel-like formula, offers protection against UV rays, and creates a smooth and flawless makeup base. The formula contains vitamin E and other antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea and grapeseed extracts to protect the skin from environmental pollutants. It has a lightweight texture that does not leave a white cast, and your skin is left with a silky, smooth feeling.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  No white cast
  •  Broad-spectrum SPF 20
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Vegan

Cons

None

21. Charlotte Tilbury WONDERGlOW

Create an effortlessly dewy look with Charlotte Tilbury WONDERGLOW instant soft-focus beauty flash primer. The primer creates a smoother-looking canvas under your foundation. It can be used alone to turn around the look of tired, dull skin. The fluorescent core light diffuser in the formula re-emits light around the face and creates a soft-focus to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and imperfections. The primer contains bionymph peptide that makes the skin smooth and plump, wild pansy extract (rich in oligosaccharides) to reduce wrinkles; hyaluronic acid to moisturize the skin for up to 24 hours; rosehip oil to revitalize the skin, and camellia oil for a dewy-look.

Suitable For: All skin types

Pros

  •  Vegan
  •  Gluten-free

Cons

None

These are the 21 best primers for women available on the market. Now, let’s learn about the correct way of applying a makeup primer:

How To Apply A Makeup Primer

  •  Wash your face with a mild cleanser.
  •  Apply your regular cream or moisturizer evenly all over the face.
  •  Squeeze a tiny bit of the makeup primer and use your fingertips to apply.
  •  Focus on the T-zone to fill the pores and also along the lash line.
  •  Use gentle, circular motions and blend it outwards.
  •  Once you’re done, let the primer sit on your skin for 2-3 minutes.
  •  When the primer sets on your skin, you can go ahead with your makeup routine.

Before you buy a makeup primer, these are the following factors that you need to consider.

What To Look For In A Face Primer: Buying Guide

  •  Determine Your Skin Type

Pick a primer based on your skin type. Go for a hydrating primer if you have dry skin. Look for primers with words like “soothing,” “hydrating,” or “replenishing” mentioned in the label. Choose a mattifying primer if you have oily skin. A mattifying primer formulated with silicone, which can control oil and fill in pores, could be your best bet. Look for keywords like “pore eraser” or “shine control primer” on the label. If you have sensitive skin, look for primers devoid of parabens, artificial fragrances, and other harmful ingredients. Finally, go for a nourishing and antioxidant-rich primer if you have mature skin to cover wrinkles and blotchiness.

  •  Address Specific Skin Issues

Choose a color-correcting primer if you have dark spots, patches, redness, and pigmentation issues. For example, a green makeup primer will help reduce redness; a purple primer will work if you have yellow undertones; a pink primer will add a slight blush and illuminate your look; a yellow one will help cover up bluish veins, and a peach-colored primer will hide pigmentation and dark circles.
Go for a “non-comedogenic” primer if you have oily and acne-prone skin. For example, hide enlarged pores with a “pore minimizing” primer or get a “sweat-resistant” primer if you are active all day. You can also get a separate eyelid primer if you want your eye makeup to stay in place.

  •  Choose A Primer With SPF

If you want your skin to look beautiful even during the summers and don’t want to go for a separate SPF before applying makeup, you can use a primer that has SPF in it. A makeup primer with SPF is excellent to be used all year round. During the summer, the higher the SPF, the better it will be for your skin.
A face primer is the first step of your makeup routine because it imparts an even look to your skin. However, it is essential to ensure that you’re using a suitable product for your skin type and concerns. In the list mentioned above, you’ll find all kinds of products to suit your different skin needs. So go ahead and pick the one that appeals to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a primer, a foundation, and a concealer?

A primer is a base that creates a layer between your skin and makeup. It allows the makeup to go on smoothly and makes it long-lasting.
A foundation closely resembles your skin color and is applied over a makeup primer. It evens out your complexion while hiding redness and blemishes.
A concealer is a kind of color-corrector that brightens your skin by blurring out imperfections and blemishes. For example, it covers dark circles, age spots, and pores.

Can you use a face primer under your eyes?

Yes, you can use a face primer under your eyes.

Can you use a face primer on your eyelids?

No, it is better if you use an eyeshadow primer separately to keep your eye makeup in place.

Can you use a moisturizer as a primer?

Yes, you can mix moisturizer with a dollop of aloe vera gel and then apply it to your face as a primer. This will be a great combination to soothe redness and maintain a dewy finish without making your skin oily. However, it may not be as effective as a professional formula.

How long should I wait to apply foundation after a primer?

After a face primer, wait for 2-3 minutes before applying a foundation. However, some primers dry instantly, and you can waive off the waiting period.

Can you mix primer with foundation?

Yes, you can mix primer with foundation. It is a great way to save time, especially if you’re in a rush.

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