www.reviewthis.com

The 10 Best Makeup Primers of 2019

Makeup Primers: The Best of 2019

Makeup is meant to enhance your best features and give you a platform to express yourself. But no one wants to spend time and energy applying makeup just for it to melt away from the heat or get rubbed off by sweat. That’s why no makeup kit is complete without a reliable face primer.

Having the best makeup primer on hand is the best way to ensure your makeup applies better and stays on longer. It’s an added step that may make your makeup routine a tad bit longer, but it’s well worth it. Think of primer as an addition to your skincare regimen. It’s supposed to work with your skin and prepare it for the makeup you will apply afterwards. Because the best makeup primer is meant to mesh with your skin, there is no one-size-fits-all primer. Different primers exist to suit different skin types. If you have oily skin, you may opt for a mattifying primer that helps control sebum productions. Those with drier skin need something more moisturizing and smoothing so that their foundation doesn’t cling onto dry patches. Makeup primers can also be used for different areas of the face, such as the eyes. You can only achieve a great makeup look if you have a solid base to work on, so check out our picks for the best makeup primers to help you get started.

Editors choice

1. DHC Velvet Skin Coat

9.50 / 10

What we all want with foundation is flawless and smooth-looking skin. But foundation on its own can’t give us this look, especially if you have a lot of blemishes and textures on the skin. Instead of covering up to the point that you look like there’s a layer of cake on your face, invest in a good primer that smooths out your skin before applying foundation. The DHC Velvet Skin Coat fills in any imperfections such as large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles so that you have a smooth, velvety face. The best part is that this primer looks good even on its own! So if you’re not into using full-coverage foundation but still want to improve the appearance of your skin, the DHC Velvet Skin Coat might be perfect for you. This primer doesn’t need any drying time before applying makeup, and can even be mixed into your foundation or concealer for a smoother application. While it does guarantee reducing oiliness, this primer doesn’t have the best staying power needed for all-day-to-all-night makeup. Some customers experienced oil and shine just after a couple of hours of applying this primer. It’s definitely better for those with combination to dry skin types as it gives your skin a youthful and flawless look without overdrying. You also won’t need to do touch ups if your skin isn’t oily. It’s great for all ages, but seems to do more wonders for makeup lovers over 50. While you don’t get a lot of product for the price, if skin-smoothing action is what you need, the DHC Velvet Skin Coat is the top choice for you.

Key Features
  • No drying time needed
  • Great on its own
  • Minimizes fine lines, pores, and imperfections
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.52 oz
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Great for skin of all ages
  • No need for touch ups
Cons
  • Doesn’t have super long staying power
  • Can’t control oil for very long

Smashbox is one of the top dogs when it comes to primers. They have some of the best face primers that address different skin problems. No matter what your skin type, Smashbox has the face primer for you. This brings us to their Pore Minimizing face primer which is oil-free, paraben-free, sodium lauryl sulfate-free, talc-free, phthalate-free, and fragrance-free. This primer is free of a lot of ingredients that are known to irritate skin and clog pores. It is still silicone-based so that it can reduce the visibility of pores and fine lines or wrinkles, but it won’t give you any nasty breakouts and zits. While it promises up to 8 hours of oil-free makeup, many noted that shine and oil returned after about 6 hours. It’s not the best for all-day to all-night events, but it can keep you looking matte for a short workday. This primer is water-resistant at best so it’s also not ideal for hot, humid climates or workouts. But it leaves you with a silky soft finish so you can just swipe on your foundation. Make sure to blend out your foundation well and only use a tiny amount of this primer. Too much can leave your face feeling slick and as though there’s a barrier between the skin and the foundation. For a more natural look, keep it concentrated on the oily parts of your face such as your T-zone and on spots that need pore-filling. It’s also great for reducing the appearance of acne scars and it keeps your makeup on all day.

Key Features
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Pore minimizing
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 1 oz
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Non-greasy
  • Smooths out texture on skin
Cons
  • Controls oil for only 6 hours
  • Best for combination skin
  • Makes foundation sit on top of it
Best value

3. Milani Eyeshadow Primer

9.35 / 10

Primers aren’t just for the areas where you put foundation. They’re also used for the eyelids so that eyeshadows can look more pigmented, reduce creasing, and last longer. While some of the best face primers can also be applied on the eyelids, having an eyeshadow primer meant for the lids produces better results. The skin on the eyelid is different from the rest of your face and moves a lot more (when you blink), so it needs different qualities from your regular face primer. The Milani Eyeshadow Primer is a great choice for makeup aficionados who love to experiment with different eyeshadow colors but don’t want to shell out a ton of cash. It’s a lightweight and crease-proof primer that makes sure your eyeshadow and eyeliner stays put all day and all night. It has a beige tint that is supposed to dry invisibly, but it won’t work for deeper skin tones. It leaves a hint of color so that your eyeshadows can look more vivid, but it can make darker lids look ashy and gray. The vegan formula glides on smoothly and feels light, but you do have to let this primer set before applying any eyeshadow. Make sure to only apply a small amount on the lids, otherwise you’ll end up with a cakey mess. While those with dry skin felt that this felt too crepe-y on their lids, it does wonders for those oily eyelids. Your eyeshadow will stay put for over 15 hours and look more pigmented than ever.

Key Features
  • Lightweight
  • Crease-proof
  • Nude tint
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 0.8 x 6.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.3 fl oz
  • Base: Dimethicone
Pros
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Lightweight
  • Great staying power
Cons
  • Shade doesn’t work for deeper skin tones
  • Not for dry skin
  • Have to let it dry

Primers are commonly used to curb too much oil in the skin so that your foundation can last longer. But when a primer or foundation is too mattifying, it can make your skin look dull and dry. Skin that is too matte can also look cakey and unnatural, making it seem as if you’re wearing a mask. To avoid this dilemma, try out a primer like the Radiant Complex Face Primer. This silicone-based primer smooths out the skin so that foundation can glide on better, and as the brand name suggests, keeps your face looking radiant and hydrated. It’s not mattifying so it won’t do much in terms of controlling oil or shine, so if you’ve got very oily skin this isn’t the primer for you. But if your skin is dry or you’re heading towards your golden years, this primer is great for adding that dose of youth and vitality. Despite being advertised as having good value for money, this primer is on the pricey side. There are cheaper primers out there that mattify and let your makeup last all day. While it may be on the expensive side, you’re getting a bit more product with 1.2 fluid ounces per bottle. You only need a dab of this all over the face so one bottle will last you a while. Keep in mind that this face primer is more for making foundation application easier to blend. The silicone and dimethicone ingredients also help fill in pores and fine lines, giving you a smoother base to work with. Being paraben-free and fragrance-free, the Radiant Complex Face Primer is great for those with sensitive skin.

Key Features
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Contains sunflower seed oil
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 2 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 fl oz
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Hydrating
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Makes foundation last longer
Cons
  • Not for oily skin
  • Sits on the skin

Maybelline knows how to make products that work without costing too much. If you need a quick, easy, and economical fix for visible pores and too much oil on your face, then the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer is here for you. This silicone-based primer might have a bit of color when you squeeze it out of the tube, but those with deeper skin tones need not worry. It dries clear after application and leaves no trace of any pores or fine lines. Make sure you only apply a tiny amount and just one layer of this primer so that makeup goes on smoothly and with no mishaps. While Maybelline says you can wear this product on its own for a more natural look, this primer really works best if underneath foundation. By itself, it just doesn’t show up and pores don’t look that filled. It’s great for spot treating areas with very visible pores, such as the nose and cheeks. If you have any dry patches on your skin, try not to get any of this primer on them. It will only exaggerate and emphasize any dryness on the skin. The Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser helps control shine and oil, but only for a couple of hours. You’ll still need to blot or apply powder throughout the day. It does help makeup stay on longer, with wear time reaching up to 8 hours. If you have normal to combination skin, then this face primer is a good drugstore option.

Key Features
  • Pore-blurring
  • Mattifying
  • Inexpensive
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 2.8 x 5.6 inches
  • Weight: 0.67 oz
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Dries clear
  • Not expensive
  • Good for normal skin
Cons
  • Can feel slick and heavy
  • Only noticeable with makeup
  • Not for dry or sensitive skin

Creating a flawless base for the rest of your makeup doesn’t have to be expensive thanks to drugstore brands like e.l.f. Their Mineral Infused Face Primer is just what you need if you’re looking to control oil, smooth out the textures of your skin, and make your foundation stay on longer. If you’re struggling with makeup that settles into your pores, making them look more pronounced or just gross, then reach for the e.l.f face primer in clear. They have different kinds of primers available depending on your skin issues. If you have redness, they can combat it with a green-tinted primer. You can also brighten dull-looking skin with the lavender-tinted primer, or pack on some glow with their illuminating primer. But if you have oily to combination skin with highly visible pores and fine lines, then the clear face primer will work just fine. Be sure to only get a small amount of product onto your fingers and then tap it into your face. Using rubbing or spreading motions can make the primer apply unevenly or pill together. Give this primer time to set and be absorbed by your skin before applying foundation or concealer. There are not many cons to this primer, but no product is perfect. It might be cheap but you get very little product in each bottle. The packaging is also not very high-quality, but the product inside makes up for it. Despite being free of irritating ingredients, this primer is not for those with sensitive skin.

Key Features
  • Paraben-, sulfate-, and phthalate-free
  • For all skin types
  • Non-tinted
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 1.6 x 5.5 inches
  • Weight: .47 ounce
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Controls oil
  • Reduces appearance of pores
  • Non-greasy
Cons
  • Not for sensitive skin
  • Not a lot of product
  • Not hydrating

People are often turned off by the use of primer because it’s an extra step to your makeup routine that “can’t be seen”, or looks like it doesn’t do anything. But when you think of primer as more of an addition to your skincare routine, then it starts to make more sense. Primers are meant to prepare the skin for makeup, not cover any blemishes or even out the skin tone. When you think of it as a skincare product, it’s easier to see why it’s essential. That’s why there are products like the bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer, a silky soft gel primer that contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and skin-friendly plant extracts. It soothes and nourishes your skin so that foundation can glide on and blend out better. The ingredients are gentle enough for sensitive skin but still do their job of reducing shine and controlling oily skin. The soothing qualities of the plant extracts help moisturize dry patches and the dimethicone gives your skin a smooth and silky finish. Don’t be fooled by this primer’s initial texture, which is thick and goopy. Just apply a small amount all over the face and you’ll be feeling prepped and primed for foundation. The main con of this primer is that the pump doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom so you might feel like product is wasted. Thankfully, you only need a pea-sized amount for your whole face. While this isn’t the cheapest of primers, a little goes a long way making it quite economical in the long run.

Key Features
  • Contains plant extracts, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E
  • No preservatives or irritants
  • Gel type
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight: 30 mL/1 oz
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Contains skin-healing ingredients
  • Gives makeup an airbrushed look
Cons
  • Bottle doesn’t dispense all the product at the bottom
  • Can’t be used on eyelids

L’Oreal Paris is an institution in the makeup world so it makes sense that they have a bunch of primers available at more affordable prices. Their Studio Secrets Professional line gives you quality products worthy of makeup artists but at a fraction of the cost. Achieving a seamless base that’s ready for more makeup can be done with the L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer. It’s a silicone-based primer that promises instant smoothing of the skin’s texture. It has a flawless and unified matte finish and drastically reduces the appearance of pores and fine lines. You’ll have soft baby skin thanks to this primer! Unfortunately, while it does have a matte finish, this primer is not the best when it comes to oil control. This is better for those with dry to combination skin. If you have any dry patches, this primer will turn them into smooth areas and allow product to blend easily over them. Because of the primer’s thick consistency, be sure to pat it into the skin and only use tiny amounts. But the thickness of this primer makes it great for those with wrinkly or dry under eye areas as it feels like an eye cream. Make sure to let the primer set or dry into the skin before applying anything over it. While the Magic Perfecting Base primer makes your skin feel just like a dream, you don’t get a lot of product in the glass jar. A little goes a long way, but having to restock on primer often might be a chore.

Key Features
  • Pore-minimizing
  • Can be used for under eye area
  • Matte finish
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 3.6 x 1.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.5 fl oz
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Smooth and easy to blend
Cons
  • Not long-lasting
  • Feels thick and heavy
  • Not a lot of product

One of the main reasons for applying face primer before one’s foundation is to make your makeup last longer. Makeup’s weakness is oil (which is why many makeup removers contain oil or are oil-based), and so having a lot of oil on your face means your makeup can smudge or break down in no time. The only way to combat this dilemma is with a face primer that mattifies and controls shine. With the Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later face primer, you’ll be thanking her much later on in the day because your makeup stayed on that long. This face primer is waterproof and silky smooth, making it perfect for minimizing pores and withstanding hot weather. A silicone-based primer such as this is great for filling in fine lines and large pores, making your foundation go on easier and not look cakey. The Thank Me Later face primer comes in two variations: Mattifying and Illuminating. The mattifying one is great for those with oily skin who are looking for ways to lengthen the wear-time of their makeup. It makes the skin feel smooth and look shine-free without overdrying it. If your skin is on the dry side, opt for the illuminating version but it does come at a cost. It doesn’t make your foundation long-wearing and it can even add oil as the day goes on. On the plus side, this face primer comes off easily with makeup remover despite keeping your makeup locked on for over 12 hours. If you have oily skin and are looking for a face primer that works without hurting your wallet, this one may be for you.

Key Features
  • Pore minimizing
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Waterproof and long-lasting
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 30 g
  • Base: Silicone
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Long-wearing
  • Satisfaction-free (will refund your money if you're not happy)
Cons
  • Contains chemicals
  • Not for sensitive skin
  • Feels like silicone on skin

Decking your eyelids out in multiple, colorful, and vibrant eyeshadows can be tough if you don’t have the best eyeshadow primer to help you out. You’ll end up with a muddy, transferred-everywhere mess that breaks down especially if you have oily lids. Enter the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, which promises you crease-free eyeshadow looks that not only pop, but stay on for 24 hours. The best part is that it actually delivers! Some customers have even witnessed their eyeshadow staying on for a whopping 80 hours thanks to this primer. This eyeshadow primer has such incredible staying power, it’s like you super-glued your eyeshadow onto your lids. But it feels lightweight and eyeshadows can blend easily over top. The formula can be a bit drying, so it’s best for oily, combination, and normal skin types. The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion creates the perfect canvas for eyeshadow, and comes in a variety of shades for all skin tones. Forget about having ashy or gray-ish eyelids or having to powder your lids before applying primer. This primer does it all in just a couple of swipes with its new doe foot applicator. The applicator can be a bit tricky especially if you’re used to a squeeze-type bottle. But it helps keep the product off your fingertips and makes it easier to apply an even layer on your eyelids. If you want your eyeshadow artwork to stay on and look freshly applied until you have to remove them at the end of the night, this is the best primer for you.

Key Features
  • 24 hour wear time
  • Doe foot applicator
  • Various shades
Specifications
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 0.9 x 4.3 inches
  • Weight: 10 mL
  • Base: Advanced polymer
Pros
  • Many shades for different skin tones
  • Incredible staying power
  • Works even for hooded eyes
Cons
  • Can be a bit drying
  • Better for those who use multiple eyeshadows
  • Doe foot applicator can be hard to use

Makeup primers can be worn by themselves or as a base for foundation and eyeshadow. These versatile products are essential for anyone who’s looking to improve the wear-time and application of their makeup. They can also help with some skin issues such as large pores and too much oil. Others are great for moisturizing the skin and smoothening out fine lines. Many see makeup primers as an unnecessary step that only makes you spend more money. But having the best makeup primer for your skin type in your makeup routine is a great way to make your other products look and feel better on your face. And, with many drugstore options out there, investing in a good makeup primer that works for you doesn’t have to break the bank.

Take note that an amazing makeup look starts with a good base that stays on. With so many products out there on the market, it can be tough deciding on what’s right for your makeup routine. To find the best makeup primer, keep in mind your skin type; any issues, sensitivities, and skin problems; and the type of makeup you normally use. If you often use long-wearing and matte liquid foundations but have dry skin, you might need a makeup primer that is more moisturizing. If you have a sensitivity towards silicone and find that it makes you break out, then stick to silicone-free primers or sprays and mists. For those who live in hot and humid environments, keeping your face oil- and shine-free with a mattifying primer is key.

What’s the difference between primer and regular moisturizer? Some makeup artists skip either step or apply both on their clients. Some people even go straight to foundation! But both are vital for makeup that lasts long and applies perfectly onto the skin. Moisturizer is meant to do what its name suggests: moisturize the skin. While some primers can have a moisturizing quality to them, their main purpose is to be what your foundation will adhere to so that it lasts longer. That’s why it’s important to put on moisturizer first (even if you have oily skin!), allow it to be absorbed by the skin, and then put on primer.

Sometimes, you can also just put a certain kind of primer on your “problem areas”. This is perfect if you have combination skin. Apply a mattifying or pore-minimizing primer onto the oily areas of your face such as the forehead, sides of the nose, and chin. On your cheeks and underneath your eyes, you can apply a moisturizing or color-correcting primer. Once you start noticing the benefits of using a face primer, you’ll never go back to your primer-less ways again!

Resources — HuffPost, AdoreBeauty

Share this Buyers Guide