Best Primer Ideas

19 Smart Face Primers to Create a Silky-smooth Canvas for a More Flawless Foundation Application

Victoria Rogers Makeups

You’ve likely heard the hype over makeup primers, which have become part of the everyday woman’s makeup routine in the last handful of years. Do you know, however, exactly what they do, why you might want to use one, and what the best primers are these days?!

Primer first became popular with the release of Smashbox makeup primers, which consumers still rave over. Luckily, there are now dozens and dozens of the best primers to choose from, from drugstore to high-end!!

19 of the Most Raved Over Top Face Primer Products for Airbrushed, Glowing Skin

Best Primers

Some may argue that primers are simply an “extra step”, a gimmick, or a waste of money and that all you need before putting on makeup is a bit of moisturizer and SPF. Some ladies look flawless and feel confident without using primer, but on the other hand, other women love the airbrushed, smooth look that primer helps them to rock. The bottom line is: primer helps your skin to look amazing, whether you wear makeup on top of it or not. Some women swear by it, and other women could do without it.!

Luckily for you, hundreds of people have already tried all of the best primers on the shelves of Sephoras, Ultas, and drugstores everywhere, and they’ve kindly left reviews to help you decide which is a good face primer for your unique skin.!

What is the top face primer product out there? That is up for you to decide, but luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the 19 best primers on the market right now. Your choice depends on a few factors, such as your skin type, but we’ll discuss that more shortly.!

We’ll list nineteen of the best primers, with detailed explanations of who each primer is for and what reviewers had to say about it. Later in the article, we’ll answer a few frequently asked questions about face primers. Then, If you’re ready to rock airbrushed skin all day, every day, read on!



E.l.f.’s poreless primer, as opposed to their luminous or mattifying primers, work perfectly for all types of skin. If you want a smooth, airbrushed finish, in a creamy product that won’t feel too greasy, this may be a great primer for you to try. If you regularly have to wear a face mask, reviewers love the way that this primer prevents your makeup from rubbing off on your mask.

2. NYX Angel Veil Lightweight Skin Perfecting Vegan Primer

NYX Angel Veil Lightweight Skin Perfecting Vegan Primer

Those with an uneven skin tone may love this NYX primer; those who tried it claimed that it smoothed their uneven tone out flawlessly while keeping makeup lasting over twelve hours. You may notice how it creates almost a filter-esque look before and after makeup application.

3. Wet n Wild Photo Focus Dewy Face Primer, Till Prime Dew Us Part

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Dewy Face Primer, Till Prime Dew Us Part

This primer may be perfect for ladies struggling with oily skin. Wearers adored this primer for its oil-absorbing properties; they noticed that, rather than seeing their skin get shiny after an hour, their skin stayed fresh and shine-free all day! You’ll notice, in addition, how it keeps your makeup looking like you just applied it all day long.

4. NYX Professional Makeup The Marshmellow Primer

NYX Professional Makeup The Marshmellow Primer

Marshmallows? That’s right– this primer comes infused with marshmallow root extract, which is said to help even complexion and smooth the skin. Reviewers with dry under-eye areas especially loved this primer; they say it smoothed over creases and reduced the appearance of dullness. In addition, it’ll likely feel like you’re wearing absolutely nothing, as this primer is said to feel super lightweight.

5. Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating primer

Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating primer

Those who love the shimmer look will adore this primer’s “illuminating” effects! Reviewers claimed that it’ll leave your skin looking radiant and sparkling all day– many called this primer “liquid gold” for that reason. If, however, you’re not a fan of shimmer, some wearers mentioned that you can use it as a super-lightweight highlighter instead! Just dab a bit on your cheekbones in place of a liquid highlighter.

6. NYX Professional Makeup High Glass primer

NYX Professional Makeup High Glass primer

This primer claims it is “for glass skin”, which means that it illuminates the skin for an ultra-radiant and dewy glow. Those who wore it noticed that it was “glassy” (i.e., dewy), but NOT greasy– and that’s a fine line to walk when it comes to primers. If you have super oily skin, or you prefer a matte finish, this primer might not work for you– but you can still use it as a highlighter if you choose!

7. Revlon PhotoReady Prime Plus Perfecting & Smoothing Primer

Revlon PhotoReady Prime Plus Perfecting and Smoothing Primer

Reviewers claimed that this Revlon primer worked even better than high-end primers found at Sephora or Ulta. It smooths uneven skin tone, many said, for a flawless, even base, whether or not you apply foundation afterward. More so, those with oily skin said that this smoothing primer worked perfectly even for them, without adding shine! Also, this may seem unimportant to some, but a deal-breaker to others: this product smells amazing!

8. NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler Blurring Face Primer

NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler Blurring Face Primer

Enlarged pores? No problem– this NYX primer does just what the name suggests. It reduces the appearance of pores, while “blurring” your skin tone, meaning that it evens it out and leaves behind an airbrushed-like finish. Reviewers enjoyed the way that it softened the skin, making for a fresh, youthful appearance. In addition, wearers noticed that this primer works well with oily skin.

9. Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer

This is an oil-free primer, meaning that wearers with oily or acne-prone skin will love it! Those who wore it found that their skin felt velvety-soft, allowing all makeup to glide on effortlessly. If you live in a humid climate, you’ll probably find that this primer keeps makeup from sliding off when you get sweaty, for hours and hours on end!

10. Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer

Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer

Looking for a primer that’ll leave you to feel like you’re not even wearing primer, while still keeping the skin-smoothing and makeup-gripping effects? This may be the primer for you. Wearers with oily skin found that it soaks up excess oil all day long, without drying the skin out. Additionally, a little goes a long way. This high-end bottle will last you a while, as all you’ll need to blur your pores is one pump per day.

11. Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Prime

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Prime

The Banana Bright primer is one of those universal makeup products that work perfectly with any skin type: oily, dry, combination, or normal. With or without makeup, reviewers raved over the way that this primer made them look like they were wearing highlighter, with minimal effort. In fact, those with problem skin even said they stopped having to wear concealer when they put on this primer!

12. Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

This primer works best for ladies who love a light-coverage, shimmery look. If you don’t like the shimmer effect, but you still like this primer, reviewers noticed that you can easily cover up the shimmer with a full-coverage foundation; however, use a sheer foundation, and you’ll enjoy a sparkling, glowy finish. You may notice that this primer works better for those with normal to oily skin, rather than those with dry skin.

13. Smashbox photo finish primer

Smashbox photo finish primer

Oily skin girls, this oil-free primer is for you. Smashbox primer is, of course, a cult favorite among primer wearers, and for a good reason: it’s ultra-versatile and works like a charm! Your makeup will likely last all day long wearing this Smashbox product, so you can leave your touch-up bag at home. Your skin will look smooth under foundation or bare, as well.

14. Smashbox primer oil

Smashbox primer oil

A primer oil? Won’t that make my skin look shiny? Actually, if you have dry skin or fine lines, this primer oil will likely make you look radiantly youthful! Users with dry skin swore by the “dewy but not greasy” effects of this product. You’ll likely notice that your skin looks firm, elastic, soft, and hydrated like a baby’s, all while smoothing and evening your skin tone.

15. Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer Moisturizing Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer Moisturizing Primer

Known as one of the best primers out there, this final Smashbox product is a combo, 2-in-1 moisturizer, and primer. This is one of those rare products that you can use instead of moisturizer, and women with different skin types all across the board seemed to love it. Their favorite aspect of this primer seemed to be the way that it left their skin feeling ultra-soft, as if they’d just moisturized it, all day long!

16. Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Hydrating Primer

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Hydrating Primer

Reviewers in need of a little extra hydration raved over this primer; if you have dry skin or fine lines, or you live in a dry climate and find your skin peeling or getting chapped often, you know exactly what they mean! If, on the other hand, you have oily skin, you’ll find that this primer still likely works great for you. Wearers claimed that it hydrated their skin without leaving a greasy, shiny film behind.

17. Bobbi Brown Mini Vitamin Enriched Face Base

Bobbi Brown Mini Vitamin Enriched Face Base

What reviewers loved best about this Bobbi Brown primer is its consistency. It melts right into the skin, smooth as butter, they said, leaving the skin feeling firm and hydrated. Additionally, if you struggle with feeling like your foundation ends up looking dry or cakey after a few hours, this primer may be able to keep it feeling smooth all day long.

18. Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer – Hydrating

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer - Hydrating

This hydrating primer is known for the way it excellently creates a “moisture barrier” between skin and makeup or environmental toxins. Wearers noticed how sleek and thin it felt, keeping their skin soft without feeling heavy. If you have deep pores or fine lines, in addition, you’ll probably notice how this primer glides over and “blurs” those features, giving you a flawless airbrushed look like an effect.

19. Urban Decay All Nighter

Urban Decay All Nighter

If you have dry to normal skin, this may be the primer for you! You’ll likely notice that it allows your skin to look supple and hydrated, while at the same time, keeping dry patches under control. Those who tried it loved the way it kept their makeup in place all day, without feeling heavy, or as if they had too much product on.

FAQ About Primers

What are makeup primers and how do they work?

Primers help to prep the skin for makeup application; in doing so, they ensure that makeup lasts longer. They work to absorb excess oil in oily skin, moisturize dry skin, and even the skin tone. Additionally, any good face primer will provide a barrier between skin and makeup. Primers are applied after moisturizer and before any makeup.

Why you should use a makeup primer?

Use a makeup primer if you have less-than-perfect skin: i.e., dry, oily, or combination skin, as well as skin prone to redness or acne. Primers can lessen the appearance of these problems, with or without foundation. They also help your makeup to stay looking fresh all day.

How do I choose a primer?

For those who struggle with redness or sallow skin, search for a color-correcting primer that targets those issues. Those with dry skin should look for a primer oil or a hydrating primer balm. Finally, those with oily or acne-prone skin should stay away from primer oils and instead choose a mattifying primer.

Can you replace your moisturizer with a primer?

Even if you have oily skin, most experts do not suggest that you skip your moisturizer– even if you replace it with a primer. Your face always needs moisture! You can, however, use a lightweight moisturizer and then top it with a primer afterward.

How do you use a face primer?

Use primer after you’ve finished your entire skincare routine: cleanse, exfoliate, tone, dry, and moisturize before applying primer. Makeup artists suggest applying primer with your fingers to ensure that the primer rubs in. If you’re worried about germs, use a slightly damp makeup sponge instead.

19 of the Most Dazzling Top Face Primer Products for Busy Women

All in all, if you ever struggle with large pores, fine lines, dry skin, redness, or an uneven skin tone, there’s sure to be a good face primer out there for you! Finding a top face primer product can help you to enjoy a smooth skin tone with or without makeup, almost as if you’re walking around wearing a Snapchat filter. Be sure to consider your unique skin type before you buy a top face primer product, and you’ll certainly rock a runway-ready glow daily, wherever you go!

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About the Author
Victoria Rogers

Victoria is an ex-makeup artist and full-time assistant editor at TheCuddl. Even though she stopped working in the industry, makeup remains Victoria’s main passion alongside blogging. Now she combines these passions in order to help people discover a wide variety of classy and fresh makeup styles. Her family and dogs are Victoria’s biggest sources of joy, but the fresh smell of pastry comes in a close second. Whenever she’s not typing at the keyboard, Victoria spends most of her free time testing new makeup products, watching movies, and drawing. See all articles from Victoria.