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The 12 Best Face Primers to Help Your Makeup Stay in Place All Day

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If you’ve ever had trouble with foundations fading or your skin tints streaking or caking, the problem might not be the product you’re using but with the lack of skin prep you’re doing beforehand. Because if you don’t know, now you know: Using a primer can totally transform the way your makeup looks and how long it lasts once it’s on. 

“Primers help to add that extra layer of protection between your skin and the makeup that can cause less irritation to the skin,” says makeup artist Naseeha Khan. “Primers should generally be used to help hydrate, smooth, and blur the skin's surface, as well as help your makeup last longer.”  

When choosing the primer that’ll work best for you, you should also pay attention to your skin type. “If you have oily skin, you want to look for a mattifying primer that will provide a blurring and smoothing effect and will control the skin's sebum production,” says Khan. “You also want to ensure the primer has clarifying ingredients to ensure a smooth base for foundation and other face products to go on top of.” 

For those with dry skin, Khan recommends looking for hydrating primers that have hydro-boosting ingredients, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. “This will help make the skin look more plump and natural under the makeup,” she adds. To give you a head start on finding the best primer for you, we’ve rounded up the 12 best face primers to try according to your skin needs and concerns.


About the Expert:
Naseeha Khan is professional makeup artist and the co-founder of CTZN COSMETICS. 

1. Best Pore-Blurring Face Primer: GLOW RECIPE Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops

GLOW RECIPE Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops

Pores, where?! This all-in-one, silicone-free primer and serum helps visibly refine pores over time while also helping to blur the look of your skin. It also helps absorb any unwanted oil so you can achieve that natural soft-focus finish.

2. Best Face Primer For Dry Skin: TOO FACED COSMETICS Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

TOO FACED COSMETICS Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

Had a long night or simply woke up to particularly parched skin? After chugging a few glasses of water, treat your skin to this colorless, water-like formula. It’s packed with moisturizing coconut water and olive oil to keep your skin feeling fresh and hydrated while your makeup stays matte and flawless. “Makes my makeup stay for >7 hours straight WITHOUT re-touch. Loved this,” one Ipster said.

3. Best Tinted Face Primer: L.O.C.K. COLOR Unicorn Glow Long Wear Primer

 L.O.C.K. COLOR Unicorn Glow Long Wear Primer

This paraben-free, cruelty-free, and no-nonsense formula includes only the best natural ingredients. It smooths and evens out your skin tone so for a flawless, makeup artist-worthy makeup look in seconds. One Ipster wrote: “great consistency...foundation/makeup sticks well when applied over the primer.” Intensely moisturizing jojoba oil and shea butter team up with irritation-calming pennywort and chamomile to make this one of the best makeup primers on this list for Ipsters with sensitive or dry skin.

4. Best Face Primer for Oily Skin: ELIZABETH MOTT Thank Me Later Matte Face Primer

ELIZABETH MOTT Thank Me Later Matte Face Primer

This mattifying primer is the perfect layer to keep excess oil and freshly applied foundation, eyeshadow, and sunscreen all locked in place. One Ipster wrote, “totally matte, makes pores invisible. Love love love this.” And even though this is one of the thicker, creamier primers on our list, it still feels silky-smooth and light as air once it sinks into your skin. Dry skin types and oily skin types alike can make this their go-to beachside and pool party makeup essential.

5. Best Face Primer With Collagen: AVANT SKINCARE Pro Perfecting Collagen Touche Éclat Primer

AVANT SKINCARE Pro Perfecting Collagen Touche Éclat Primer

Boost your skin’s elasticity as you smooth over pores and wrinkles with this double-duty face primer that features skin-plumping collagen in its formula. One Ipster even raved about this primer being so hydrating that she didn’t even need to slather on a moisturizer before using it.

6. Best Brightening Face Primer: SERAPHINE BOTANICALS Camelina + Strobe Luminizing Primer

SERAPHINE BOTANICALS Camelina + Strobe Luminizing Primer

This luminizing primer brightens even the most tired skin tones with ease. It's made with rose hydrosol—a naturally toning, pore-shrinking ingredient—combined with skin-conditioning camelina seed so your face looks radiant without a hint of white cast. Ipsters say it’s great to wear under makeup or alone for a hydrating, natural glow.

7. Best-Smelling Face Primer: CIATÉ LONDON Watermelon Burst Hydrating Primer

CIATÉ LONDON Watermelon Burst Hydrating Primer

Did you know your skin loves watermelon too? The watermelon extract in this primer hydrates your skin and replenishes moisture for a dewy, healthy complexion. Plus, the pink jelly formula is not only fun to use, it helps brighten up dullness and refine your pores—and we haven’t even mentioned the delicious watermelon scent yet! One Ipster said this formula not only smelled great, but it helped her makeup stay in place all day.

8. Best Translucent Face Primer: BASIC BEAUTY Translucent Primer

BASIC BEAUTY Translucent Primer

This clear gel primer is perfect for all skin tones since it goes on absolutely translucent. This formula is cruelty- and paraben-free, and it helps to smooth rough texture, minimize pores, and keep your makeup in place. But you can even wear it on its own, because this formula is one of our faves for those no-makeup makeup days.

9. Best Vitamin-Packed Face Primer: ILLAMASQUA Hydra Veil Primer

ILLAMASQUA Hydra Veil Primer

A gel moisturizer and smoothing primer in one product? We’re definitely on board, and so are Ipsters. One Ipster wrote, “This is honestly the best primer I’ve ever used. My makeup lasts ALL DAY.” Not only does it have an oddly satisfying bouncy gel texture, but it’s packed with vitamin C to brighten dark spots, vitamin B3 to boost moisture and elasticity, and plant extracts to hydrate and make your skin look the healthiest it’s ever been.

10. Best Face Primer For Acne-Prone Skin: STUDIOMAKEUP Silk Hydration Face Primer

STUDIOMAKEUP Silk Hydration Face Primer

This lightweight, silicone-free primer won’t clog pores or trigger stubborn breakouts. With added super ingredient hyaluronic acid, it’ll glide on smoothly and hydrate your skin to prep it for any products you lay on top. To use this product, one Ipster said she swipes it on and adds a little bronzer and eye makeup for an easy, three-step look.

11. Best Blue Light-Blocking Face Primer: MAKE BEAUTY Moonlight Primer

MAKE BEAUTY Moonlight Primer

High-energy visible light (HEV) is the light that reflects onto your skin from your laptop and phone throughout the day—and spoiler alert: It’s not good for you. Thankfully, this first-of-its-kind primer actually blocks those harmful lights that can cause skin damage and premature aging. Just squeeze a bit of this black formula out (don’t worry, it goes on clear as soon as it hits your skin) onto your complexion for added protection. Light-blocking benefits aside, one Ipster also shared that she loves how lightweight and non-greasy this formula is.

12. Best Dark Spot-Correcting Face Primer: BENEFIT COSMETICS The POREfessional: Pearl Primer

BENEFIT COSMETICS The POREfessional: Pearl Primer

What sets this illuminating makeup primer apart? A soft, pearly-pink tint (with just a faint amount of shimmer) that expertly brightens dark spots, blurs fine lines, and minimizes large pores. “LOVE this product! Feels like silk on my skin!” said Ipster @Itstrythsagian0k. Suitable for all skin types, this lightweight and oil-free formula melts right into your skin for a poreless, porcelain finish.

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About the author
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Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated February 22, 2024 12:00 AM