The Best Makeup Primers on the Market, According to Your Skin Type
In the realm of beauty products, makeup primer isn't a glutton for attention. While mascara, lipstick, and blush are off stealing the show, makeup primer sits quietly in the back, holding everything together even in the toughest of circumstances (hello, summer in the South!). If only there was a makeup primer for life...we'd finally be able to blow dry our hair, stop for coffee, and still get to work early.
Makeup primer, at its core, is meant to hold your foundation in place all day—to keep it from slipping off your T-zone, sliding into fine lines, or settling into dry patches. Since we all deal with different skin concerns, from oily skin to dry skin to mature skin, makeup primers need to be designed to do both: keep your makeup in place while paying attention to your unique skin type.
These formulas range from hydrating to mattifying to anti-aging, and there’s even one specifically made for your eyelids. Here are the best makeup primers for every skin concern.
Best Overall: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer+
"Your skin but better" is like music to our makeup-wearing ears. This oil-free makeup primer, though only launched earlier this year, is quickly becoming a cult-classic, thanks to its makeup-gripping formula that locks down your face like nobody's business—all while keeping your skin hydrated and dewy, somehow? We'd like to say it sounds too good to be true, but we tried it. And it fully delivers.
BUY IT: $39; sephora.com
Best for Dry Skin: e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer
You'll recognize this drugstore makeup primer as the hydrating sibling of best-selling e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer. For those battling dry skin, it offers a tantalizing deal: Get a smooth, even canvas before applying makeup and keep your foundation from settling into dry patches or dehydrated skin. The formula is infused with grape—as well as Vitamins A, C, & E—to help boost complexion and hydrate your skin. The budget-friendly price doesn't hurt either.
BUY IT: $6; amazon.com
Best for Oily Skin: Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer
One of the biggest concerns for oily skin is that your makeup will slip off your face before you've even had lunch. (Don't get too down; having naturally oily skin actually benefits in the long run by slowing down the aging process.) Enter: a mattifying, oil-absorbing primer to keep your makeup in place all day. No blotting sheets required!
This formula is a customer-favorite, which can be attributed to its insane ability to keep shine at bay while providing a smooth-as-baby-skin base before you apply your makeup.
BUY IT: $32; sephora.com
Best for Fine Lines: CoverGirl Simply Ageless Anti-Aging Foundation Primer
This makeup primer simultaneously acts as an anti-aging serum. Don't be alarmed: It goes on milky but will dry clear and smooth on skin before applying makeup. The formula is fortified with glycerin for extra hydration, niacinamide to boost your skin barrier and improve appearance of fine lines, and camellia sinensis leaf extract to help protect and improve skin from harmful UV sun damage. Take that, wrinkles!
BUY IT: $14.99; ulta.com
Best for Eyes: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Eye shadow, for all intents and purposes, is a pretty afterthought that makes your makeup look even better—but we find ourselves looking into the mirror around 3 p.m. and seeing a full-on disaster. Our favorite eye shadow palette has gone rogue. It's slipped, shifted, and creased in all the wrong ways.
That's why when we discovered eye shadow primer, specifically this self-dubbed "potion," it was a total game-changer. It comes in a squeezable tube with a needle-nose tip, and it is subtly tinted beige to color-correct before applying your eye shadow. That favorite palette? It should be shaking in its boots.
BUY IT: $13; sephora.com
Best for Dull Skin: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
Long days, late nights, and, yes, even hangovers (as the name touts!)...plenty of things can cause dull-looking skin. This primer is just the cold splash of water your face needs when it's looking less than dewy and glowing. Infused with coconut water, probiotics, and skin revivers, the formula locks down your makeup while simultaneously boosting your skin's radiance, promoting healthy elasticity, and hydrating.
BUY IT: $34; ulta.com
Best for Textured Skin: Touch In Sol No Poreblem Primer
Textured skin includes everything from uneven skin texture (from acne scarring and such!), large pores, and wrinkles. This primer offers the smoothest, silkiest base for any textured skin type. It blurs pores, smooths fine lines, and creates a velvety layer between your makeup and your skin—which is exactly how it keeps it in place all day. Flawless finish, coming right up.
BUY IT: $18; sephora.com