The Best Primer for Every Skin Type

In the last few years, it’s safe to say we’ve gotten addicted to primers. Whether it be face primer, eye primer, lash primer, we’re hooked—and for a good reason. Primers prep skin for flawless makeup application and helps it last throughout the day. But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which primer is right for you? We’ve rounded up the top primers by skin type to stop the guessing game in its tracks. 

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If Your Skin is: Dry

Look for: Hydrating formulas

Dry, flaky skin and makeup just don’t seem to match up very well. If you have dry skin, opt for moisturizing formulas (but not super thick creams that will clog pores) that will keep your skin flake-free all day.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil ($42)

A fusion of 15 essential oils (including jojoba, Arabica and argan), this primer is the ultimate way to impart a dewy, hydrated complexion to dry, flaky skin while also prepping it for a face full of makeup. 


2/9

If Your Skin is: Oily

Look for: Mattifying Primers

If you constantly find yourself powdering or blotting your T-zone to keep the grease away, opt for a lightweight mattifying gel or primer to act as an oil-fighting canvas beneath your makeup.

Benefit Matte Rescue ($28)

The newest addition to benefit’s POREfessional line, this lightweight water-based gel instantly mattes any trace of oil from the skin. And while it’s not technically branded as a primer, we’ve found it works wonders for oily skin when used under makeup. *Available January 2016


3/9

If Your Skin is: Dull

Look for: Illuminating Primers

If your skin has been looking a little (or a lot) lackluster as of late, look for radiance-boosting primers to create the illusion of glowing and dewy skin from the inside out.

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter ($38)

Spiked with a blend of filtering luminescent pearls and the brand’s proprietary mixture of crushed pearls, you’ll see a difference in your complexion seconds after applying it. Plus, the vitamin E-enriched formula blurs fine lines and wrinkles leaving no need for foundation here.

YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer ($52)

Infused with a cocktail of nourishing oils (corn, apricot, passflora and rice bran), this primer not only imparts a glow to your complexion, but also leaves it feeling ultra-smooth and blurs unwanted imperfections all at once.


4/9

If Your Skin is: Sensitive

Look for: Gentle Formulas

If you have sensitive skin, primers without an harsh ingredients are the way to go. Look for formulas that are free of fragrances, oils, silicones and parabens for a primer that you wont have to worry about.  

Cover FX Calming Primer ($38)

Specifically formulated for ultra-sensitive skin, this primer includes ingredients that will calm skin and reduce any redness or inflammation and is free of any harmful elements that would cause any additional irritation.


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If Your Skin is: Hyperpigmented or Red

Look for: Color-Correcting Primers

Those with uneven skintones should seek out color-correcting primers to reduce redness and discoloration. Use green undertones to adjust redness, peach to balance hyperpigmentation, and lavender to correct yellow skin.

Stila One Step Correct ($36)

This three-in-one serum does the work of multiple tone correctors in one—containing peach, green and lavender hues, this primer covers all of your pigmentation woes in one pump and leaves skin looking even and flawless.


6/9

If you Have: Large Pores

Look for:  Blurring Primers

If it seems like your pores get larger by the day, look for a pore-minimizing formula with a matte finish (adding shine will only highlight what you’re trying to conceal) to hide large pores.

Colorescience Skin Mattifying Face Primer ($49)

This oil-absorbing formula not only reduces shine that showcases blemishes but completely camouflages any traces of large pores. Plus, its universal nude shade adds extra disguising power, leaving you questioning where all your pores ran off to.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Perfecting Primer ($34)

This oil-free primer instantly smoothes any uneven texture and blurs the appearance of pores on contact. While creating a flawless backdrop for makeup, this primer also features a time-release skin balancing technology to help control shine and maintain the right amount of moisture throughout the day. 


7/9

If Your Skin is: Acne Prone

Look for: Acne or Blemish Formulated Primers

Those with acne-prone skin know to think twice before putting anything on your skin that has the potential to clog pores and instigate another breakout. That’s why you should look for lightweight gel formulas that treat skin (without clogging) while simultaneously prepping it.

bareMinerals Blemish Remedy Mattifying Prep ($24)

This dermatologist-tested, noncomedogenic formula is Infused with aspen bark, tea tree oil and a peptide complex to fight acne while prepping skin for a flawless makeup application. Plus, it  also absorbs any oil to prevent future breakouts letting you breath easy. 


8/9

If Your Skin is: Showing Your Age

Look for: Age Control Primers

If you’re looking to dial down the look of your fine lines and wrinkles, look for formulas that fill these lines and plump them under your makeup for a youthful look.

By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Primer ($61)

Fortified with hyaluronic acid, the ultimate anti-aging ingredient, this primer fills skin’s imperfections while also boosting its radiance and leaving behind a matte finish.

EmerginC Red Carpet Primer ($44)

This naturally-tinted formula turns back the clock on your skin with its plant-based hydrating and plumping micro-spheres that instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also fighting against free-radicals. 


9/9

If Your Skin is: Normal

Look for: Sun Protection

Even if your skin doesn’t need any of the TLC above, you still need to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays to keep your skin looking younger for longer.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect ($34)

Containing an ultra-lightweight broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen and vitamins A, C and E this foundation does more than just creating a canvas for makeup application.