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The 10 Best Drugstore Primers of 2019

Drugstore Primers: The Best of 2019

Primer is an essential step in your makeup routine if you want your makeup to last all day and your complexion to appear balanced and smooth. Primer creates an even and fresh canvas for makeup to be applied, allowing it to go on smoothly, evenly, and stay on all day. It is a shortcut to achieving the closest thing to an airbrushed look. Not all primers are made the same, and good-quality primers can get very expensive. The good news is that not all primers are expensive and it's possible to find the best drugstore primers.

Sure, you want a good-quality product that won’t clog your pores or cause irritation. Great skin and flawless makeup that looks like it was applied by a pro can belong to anyone, no matter the amount that is in your bank account. This round-up targets the best primers from drugstore brands that are high quality and affordable. Everyone deserves to have flawless-looking skin without having to pay an arm and a leg for their product. These various primers you can find at your local drugstore and they are all designed to keep your makeup in place, color-correct your skin tone, and minimize the appearance of pores. From these options, you can decide what sort of finish you prefer, matte or illuminating, and get the perfect primer for your skin needs today! Let your skin reach its full potential and look your best with a great, inexpensive primer.

Editors choice

1. e.l.f. Tone Correcting Face Primer

8.20 / 10

The e.l.f. Tone Correcting Primer is a weightless and silky formula that transforms your face into a smooth and even canvas. This is an ideal preparation for long-lasting makeup application. The product offers a color-correcting formula to help neutralize discolorations like redness and yellow spots. The formula is infused with healing lavender to help with rosacea, dry skin, and other blemishes. Being a versatile primer, it remains an ideal option for creating a smooth base for foundation, having a matte finish and successfully filling in fine lines. The e.l.f. Tone correcting primer is made with completely safe and cruelty-free ingredients, allowing you to wear your product without any worries of harsh chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. This gentle and clean formula is perfect for all types of skin, including those with highly sensitive skin types. The product is even PETA certified, being cruelty-free and vegan. With clean ingredients and a clean price, this product can’t be beat. To use, make sure your skin is clean and prepped. Pump just enough of the product to cover your face and neck onto your fingertips. In circular motions, blend the product gently into your skin and evenly across the face. Once it is smoothed across your face, wait before applying any makeup, allowing the product to dry and fully absorb into the skin. Then enjoy the silky texture and long-lasting matte finish.

Key Features
  • Color-correcting formula helps neutralize redness or yellowness
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates
  • Weightless silky formula
Specifications
  • Coverage: Color correction
  • Consistency: Silky
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 1.6 x 5.5 inches ; 2.4 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
  • Brand: e.l.f.
Pros
  • 4 different options
  • Natural matte finish
  • Safe, cruelty-free ingredients
Cons
  • Small portion, doesn’t last as long
Premium pick

2. L’oreal Magic Lumi Primer

8.20 / 10

The Magic Lumi primer from L’oreal Paris is a unique formula that infuses your skin with natural light to help give you a natural glowing finish. Your skin will instantly be illuminated and your complexion will be enlightened from the moment it is applied. The light liquid formula is so lightweight that you won’t feel any heavy texture and will not clog your pores after wearing it for too long. The smooth cream blends into your skin seamlessly, giving you a natural-looking, even complexion. If you are ever looking tired, this primer will wake your skin right up, adding liveliness and luminosity. Because the texture is so smooth and toned, it stands up to all types of skin types and skin tones. Whether you have blemishes or redness that you are trying to fight, Magic Lumi Primer will provide you with a subtle glow to instantly brighten your face and your day! If you are having a natural day and not wearing makeup, use the primer as a highlighter to give you just the right amount of natural-looking glow with a sculpted effect. As a primer, it is meant to be worn underneath your daily makeup, however, Magic Lumi looks beautiful worn alone for a luminous natural look. When worn under foundation and other makeup products, the Lumi Primer offers a soft illusion of light. L’oreal recommends wearing the Magic Lumi Primer paired with True Match Lumi foundation and the Magic Lumi highlighter to complement each other and add another boost of luminosity.

Key Features
  • Infuses natural light
  • Illuminates the skin instantly
  • Smooth texture for natural-looking complexion
Specifications
  • Coverage: Light
  • Consistency: Smooth Liquid
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.8 x 4.8 inches ; 1.12 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Great for all skin tones and types
  • Boosts skin luminosity
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • May settle into fine lines
Best value

3. Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

8.20 / 10

The Stay Matte Primer by Rimmel London is specially formulated to absorb oil all day long. Its biggest feature is that it fights shine for up to 8 hours while maintaining a velvety matte finish. The product has a silky texture that you will love applying to your skin and it glides on smoothly to create a perfect surface. The ultra-lightweight texture effectively minimizes the appearance of pores, concealing any imperfections on the skin’s surface without feeling heavy and greasy.

If you have more oily skin, you will love that this product is continuously working to stop shine and control your skin’s natural oils from morning to night. By the end of the day, your makeup will still look fresh, poreless and mattified. The Stay Matte Primer is highly versatile and comes available in a clear shade that complements any skin tone. It can also be worn traditionally underneath your daily makeup products, or worn alone for a natural, face perfecting product that is as light as a feather. Pair it with other Rimmel products such as foundation, concealer, contouring kits, highlighter and even lipstick and eyeshadow, to get the most out of the primer and a photo-ready finish. Clean and prep your skin before applying the primer in order to get the best results. Squeeze a pea-sized amount onto the tips of your fingers and apply it to your skin in circular motions. Blend it completely across your face and neck, making sure to distribute it evenly. After smoothing it out completely, wait for the product to dry completely so that it can absorb into your skin fully, then apply makeup.

Key Features
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores
  • Lightweight texture won't feel heavy or greasy
  • Stops shine for up to 8 hours
Specifications
  • Coverage: Lightweight
  • Consistency: Clear cream
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 1.8 x 4.3 inches ; 1.6 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Complements any skin tone
  • Long-lasting formula
  • Can be used alone or with foundation
Cons
  • Contains talc

The NYX Studio Perfect Primer is a silky formula that preps your skin for makeup application and provides you with a long-lasting, smooth matte finish. Easily absorbed into the skin, it successfully covers fine lines in the skin and fills in large pores, giving you a balanced and even surface that prolongs the wear of your everyday makeup. Choose from 3 different shades to benefit your particular skin needs. The Clear Studio Perfect primer focuses on priming the skin and covering large pores and fine lines, while lavender and green formulas provide color correction for any red or yellow areas in the skin. You will have no guilt in the use of the Studio Perfect Primer, as each type is PETA certified, cruelty-free, not tested on animals and completely vegan. When paired with other NYX professional makeup facial products, especially those that aid in color-correction and coverage, you can experience the highest quality results from the Studio Perfect Primer. Foundation, blush, bronzer, and concealers all work together to achieve a perfectly flawless result. Thoroughly clean and prep your skin making sure that your previous moisturizer is completely dry and absorbed. Squeeze a small amount onto the tips of your fingers and apply it to your skin in circular motions. Blend it completely across your face and neck, evenly covering your T-zone and any areas with fine lines. Wait for the product to dry completely so that it can absorb into your skin fully, then apply makeup.

Key Features
  • 3 different formula options for priming and color correcting
  • Prolongs the wear of your makeup
  • Covers fine lines and large pores
Specifications
  • Coverage: Sheer
  • Consistency: Silky
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.8 x 4.6 inches ; 1.44 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Provides color correction
  • Matte finish
  • Vegan formula
Cons
  • Contains parabens

Face Studio Master Prime Primer by Maybelline New York is a water-based formula that blurs skin imperfections and smooths out fine lines. It effectively primes the skin for even makeup application that lasts all day. Because it is a water-based formula, it is virtually weightless and controls oil without leaving a greasy feel. Choose between 6 different formulas customized to fit various skin needs. All variations of the primer have a smooth blurring effect to visually hide any imperfections in the skin. The Blur + Defend formula defends against sun damage or you can choose a color-correct formula to fight redness and blemishes. All of the primers are effective on their specified skin types and non-oily to fight greasy build-up and prevent clogging pores. They are all dermatologist and allergy tested, ensuring that they are suitable for all skin types. It is a versatile primer and an ideal option for creating a smooth base for foundation, absorbing oil throughout the day and successfully filling in fine lines. If you prefer a more natural, luminous look, apply the primer all over your face and wear alone to create a subtle and natural glow. To use the product effectively, make sure your skin is clean and prepped. Squeeze just enough of the product to cover your face and neck onto your fingertips. In circular motions, blend the product gently into your skin and evenly across the face. Once it is smoothed across your face, wait before applying any makeup, allowing the product to dry and fully absorb into the skin.

Key Features
  • Blurs skin imperfections and smooths fine lines
  • Non-oily formula prevents greasy feel
  • Variety of formulas to fit your skin needs
Specifications
  • Coverage: Lightweight
  • Consistency: Water-based formula
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 1.8 x 4.8 inches ; 1.44 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • 6 options for different skin types
  • Has SPF
  • Moisturizing
Cons
  • Pasty, sticky texture

The PhotoReady Perfecting Primer from Revlon is made with high-definition filter technology that reflects and diffuses natural light, mimicking photo filters to help give you a striking airbrushed finish. The product offers two different formulas to fit different skin types and problems. Choose between the pore-minimizing formula and the smoothing formula. The pore-minimizing product blends seamlessly with your skin, resulting in a smooth and even surface for your makeup to be applied and a flawless finish with a matte effect. The perfecting primer has an extra smooth action and application. Both primers are effective on all skin types, evening out the skin's texture allowing makeup to go on smoothly and stay put all day. They are both tinted pink to brighten your skin and soften any imperfections on the surface. The smooth liquid glides onto your skin gently, and deposits a rosy glow. The formula also contains beads of oil and botanical extracts that provide additional moisture to your skin for up to 24 hours. You can feel good about the product your are applying to your face every day knowing that the PhotoReady Primer is free of talc, fragrance, parabens, and oil. With clean ingredients and effective results that are highly affordable, this is a totally guilt-free product! To use, pump enough product to cover your face and neck onto your fingertips. In circular motions, blend the product into your skin gently. Once it is smoothed across your face, wait before applying any makeup, allowing the product to dry and fully absorb into the skin.

Key Features
  • High Definition Filter Technology creates an airbrushed look
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores
  • Compatible with all skin types
Specifications
  • Coverage: Lightweight
  • Consistency: Smooth liquid
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches ; 0.96 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Free of talc and parabens
  • Scent-free
  • Oil-free
Cons
  • Bad pump limits use
  • Can cause breakouts
  • Dries skin

The Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer by L’Oreal Paris has a velvety smooth texture that glides gently and evenly onto the skin to help lay out the perfect canvas for makeup application. The perfecting formula fills in pores, blurring them into your skin to hide imperfections and smooth out lines and maintains a matte finish throughout the day. The incredibly lightweight formula is completely breathable, leaving you with smooth skin without the heavy feel. The primer minimizes the appearance of pores, concealing any imperfections on the skin’s surface with a long-lasting lightweight, matte finish. Those with mature skin will love that this product works its way into fine lines and wrinkles to create a smooth and even surface. The Magic Perfecting Base Primer is dermatologist tested and non-comedogenic, making it highly versatile and complementing any skin type and tone. It can be effectively worn underneath your daily makeup products, like traditional primers or you can wear it alone for a natural finish that is just as flawless. To get the best results, clean and prep your skin before applying the primer making sure that your previous moisturizer is completely dry and absorbed into your skin. Squeeze a small amount onto the tips of your fingers and apply it to your skin in circular motions. Blend it completely across your face and neck, evenly covering your T-zone and any areas with fine lines. Wait for the product to dry completely so that it can absorb into your skin fully, then apply makeup.

Key Features
  • Minimizes the look of pores and fine lines
  • Provides instant smoothing results
  • Suitable for all skin types
Specifications
  • Coverage: Lightweight
  • Consistency: Silky
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 3.6 x 1.9 inches ; 0.48 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Skin feels smooth to the touch
Cons
  • Some find it too thick and that it doesn't blend well with makeup

Maybelline makeup artists teamed up with research labs to create Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, an incredibly lightweight cream that glides onto the skin gently and blends evenly, giving you the perfect canvas to apply foundation. Living up to its name, it effectively blurs the skin by filling in even the largest pores and fine lines, creating skin as soft as a baby's. It is highly breathable and applies just like a smooth moisturizer, but offers a non-greasy matte finish. Those with problem pores will never need to search for another primer again. The clear formula works as an instant skin smoother for ultimate light reflection. Wear this product without any worries of harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. This clean formula is perfect for all types of skin, including those with highly sensitive skin types. The clear application of the cream will also vibe with various skin tones. Wear it alone for a low-maintenance routine that looks smooth and has a flawless matte finish. You will want to apply the clear creamy liquid post-moisturizer and pre-foundation, in order to get the smoothest results. Thoroughly clean and prep your skin making sure that your previous moisturizer is completely dry and absorbed. Squeeze a small amount onto the tips of your fingers and apply it to your skin in circular motions. Blend it completely across your face and neck, evenly covering your T-zone and any areas with fine lines, but never applying more than one layer at a time. Wait for the product to dry completely so that it can absorb into your skin fully, then apply makeup.

Key Features
  • Lets makeup glide on and blend evenly
  • Applies like a moisturizer with smooth results
  • Fills in pores for a blurring effect
Specifications
  • Consistency: Creamy
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 2.8 x 5.6 inches ; 1.28 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Matte finish
  • Clean ingredients
Cons
  • Feels greasy on oily skin

The Milani Make it Last Setting Spray is an alternative option as far as primers go. Rather than a creamy formula that is gently rubbed into the skin, the product is sprayed onto the skin prior to makeup application, which can feel very refreshing to apply first thing in the morning. The unique application still provides the skin with the same benefits as many other cream and liquid formulas, such as creating an even canvas and locking in makeup for long-lasting results. It even provides a matte finish, fighting shine throughout the day. If you find yourself in long days that don’t allow for makeup reapplication, you will love that this product lasts for up to 16 hours, maintaining your set look without any fading or smudging. The Make It Last Setting Spray complements all skin tones and is effective on all skin types in priming the skin, correcting imperfections and setting makeup. It can also be worn underneath or on top of makeup, accomplishing the same goals for up to 16 hours, even worn on its own. For the most effective results, clean and prep your skin before applying the primer making sure that your previous moisturizer is completely dry and absorbed into your skin. Holding the bottle approximately 8 inches away from your face, spray the product onto your skin in a zig-zag formation. Be careful not to spray the product directly in your eyes. Wait for the product to dry completely so that it can absorb into your skin fully, then apply makeup. Follow the same steps when applying after your makeup.

Key Features
  • Sets your look for up to 16 hours
  • Spray under or over makeup, or wear on its own
  • Helps correct any skin imperfections
Specifications
  • Coverage: Light
  • Consistency: Spray Liquid
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 1.2 x 4.9 inches ; 2.88 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Never tested on animals, vegan formula
  • Long-lasting
Cons
  • Contains fragrance

Simply Ageless Serum Primer by CoverGirl is highly effective at smoothing the skin and prepping it for foundation application. The formula is made with anti-aging ingredients that renews the skin’s surface day after day. The lightweight and creamy texture of the primer is completely oil-free, so it won’t clog your pores or feel like you are wearing layer on top of layer. In fact, you will actively feel the serum’s skin benefits, as it is made with the same ingredients used in Olay skincare products. Those with more mature skin will love this product knowing it helps to fight aging by reducing wrinkles and age spots while providing hydration throughout the day, practically erasing time from the skin. For the most effective results, CoverGirl recommends use of the serum primer with the product’s makeup equivalent, Simply Ageless foundation. Wear it under foundation to supply your skin with continuous moisture and hydration throughout the day or if you prefer a more natural look, apply the primer all over your face and wear alone to create a subtle and natural glow. Before applying, make sure your skin is clean and prepped. Squeeze just enough of the product to cover your face and neck onto your fingertips. In circular motions, blend the product gently into your skin and evenly across the face. Once it is smoothed across your face, wait before applying any makeup, allowing the product to dry and fully absorb into the skin.

Key Features
  • Provides continuous hydration and moisture
  • Reduces the look of wrinkles and age spots
  • Preps skin to create a smooth canvas for foundation application
Specifications
  • Coverage: Lightweight
  • Consistency: Creamy
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 4 inches ; 0.16 ounces
  • Waterproof: No
Pros
  • Contains Olay skincare ingredients
  • Oil-free
  • Doesn't clog pores
Cons
  • Contains parabens

These hand-picked products are the top-rated primers that are accessible and affordable from your local drugstore. Now that you have options, you just need to decide which product is the best product for your skin needs. Everyone has different skin with different needs, so it’s important to find products that are made for you in order for them to be effective. Do you want a water-based or silicone-based primer? Do you have redness or splotchy skin? Choose from one of the color correcting primers. Lavender primers help reduce yellowness in the skin, while green product will help combat redness. If you don’t need a color corrector, but you have large pores, wrinkles or scarring, you will want to choose a perfecting primer that minimizes pores and fills in lines. Clear primers do a great job of this and are also the best option for making sure your makeup stays on all day long. No matter which product you end up choosing, you will notice a vast difference in how your makeup responds after using it. Preparing your skin for makeup application will leave the overall appearance flawless and the product will ensure that your complexion reaches its full potential. So, even on a shoestring budget, you can have beautiful and high-quality makeup!

Resources — Allure, Fashionisers

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