Top 10 Makeup Primers

Keep Your Makeup Intact And Looking Flawless From Day to Night With One Of These Primers

Keep Your Makeup Intact And Looking Flawless From Day to Night With One Of These Primers

Our Top 10 Lists help shoppers quickly and easily find what they need. Using an intense review and approval process (which you can learn more about here), we break down the best products according to what consumers most commonly search for and want.


If you've ever spent quality time on a makeup look only to have it sloughed off by sweat from the summer heat, you know just how devastating that pain can be. While we can't control the weather—or turn down the metaphorical thermostat—what we can do is help you find a killer makeup primer to ensure your glam look stays fresh all day long, even when you step out of the cooling AC.

Like a canvas for paint, primers lay the groundwork for buildable layers that will ultimately result in a strong, put-together makeup look—no smears, smudging, sliding, or caking included. The best formulas bridge the gap between your skincare and makeup routine by locking in moisture and allowing your foundation to adhere to the primer rather than to your skin, resulting in extra staying power. Aside from their ability to make your makeup last way longer, primers can also withstand sweat, oil, and late nights all while delivering a smooth, polished, pore-minimizing finish.

Why You Should Add A Primer To Your Makeup Routine

Primer is an important step in your makeup routine, especially come summer. The intense heat can cause us to sweat, and excessive amounts of sweating can lead to smeared makeup, acne-causing bacteria, and clogged pores—not good. A makeup primer ensures that your foundation has as much staying power as possible, and it provides a smooth, texture-free canvas for flawless makeup application.

What To Look For In A Makeup Primer

Finding the right primer is all about understanding your skin type. If your skin is on the sensitive side, it's best to avoid formulas that contain silicones. These ingredients can irritate sensitive skin types and lead to a less-than-flawless makeup look. If your skin tends to be oily, seek out formulas that include the words "mattifying" or "velvet," as these primers will ensure oils don't seep through your makeup and create excess shine. Last but not least, those with dry skin should be on the lookout for makeup primers that deliver luminous or radiant finishes.

How To Apply Makeup Primer

When you're ready to apply your primer, make sure you're working with freshly washed and moisturized skin. Apply the primer after you moisturize but before your foundation, concentrating at the center of the face and blending outward. If the formula is not labeled as safe for use on the eyes, make sure to avoid that area and apply an eye-focused primer instead.

Our Method For Finding The Best Makeup Primers

Whether you have yet to discover the power of a good primer or you’re simply looking to switch things up, the list of primers below is the cream of the crop. From moisturizing to color-correcting to mattifying and more, we rounded up each of these products using our handy algorithm that factors in customer reviews, editorial mentions, and best-selling buzz. In other words, the primers ahead truly are the best of the best. Keep scrolling to shop the Top 10 and find your new summer makeup staple.

Put your new primer to the test with one of the 10 Best Lightweight FoundationsOpening image: @bobbibrown

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May 4, 2021

Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.

The Rankings

Becca First Light Filter Face Primersephora.com

Becca First Light Filter Face Primer

Our Score


WHAT IT DOES: As it turns out, beauty filters exist outside of Instagram too. This color-correcting primer minimizes and blurs the appearance of breakouts, uneven skin tone, and texture. Thanks to its perfecting effects, it'll save you some concealer and foundation too.

THINGS TO KNOW: Upon first pump, the hue of this lavender primer may give you pause. Fret not—the formula goes on sheer and instantly brightens the complexion.

Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Face Primer

Our Score


WHY YOU NEED IT: With anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C and stabilizing vitamin E, this illuminating primer brightens your skin while you wear it and creates a luminous complexion that can be worn solo, under makeup, or mixed with foundation.

THINGS TO KNOW: This brightening primer was inspired by banana powder, a must-have product for makeup artists that creates a brightening effect wherever applied.

Laura Mercier Hydrating Pure Canvas Primer

Our Score


WHAT IT DOES: Olive extract is the star of this primer's ingredient list. It visibly smooths the complexion and locks in hydration to create a fresh and dewy canvas, promoting long-term moisture and extending the wear of your daily foundation.

THINGS TO KNOW: This primer is practically an extension of your skincare routine. Thanks to nourishing ingredients like marine hydra botanicals, the formula both protects and preps the skin.

Tarte Cosmetics BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer

Our Score


WHO IT'S FOR: For the girl who's all about efficiency, this tinted primer all but ensures you can skip a few steps in your makeup routine. SPF 30 shields your skin from damaging UV rays, and the matte, long-wearing finish smooths the skin's texture and hides enlarged pores.

WHY YOU NEED IT: This vegan formula contains a triple-B complex to help brighten, smooth, and soften the skin. The best part? It can be used under or instead of foundation for brighter radiance.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Blur Primer

Our Score


WHAT IT DOES: Formulated with skin-healthy ingredients (thank you, rice bran oil and passiflora), this non-greasy makeup primer brightens and evens the skin tone while nourishing oils blur imperfections.

THINGS TO KNOW: Go ahead and skip the highlighter—this illuminating primer delivers a radiant gold shimmer that suits all skin tones.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer

Our Score


WHY YOU NEED IT: She may be known for her makeup, but Bobbi Brown also offers some of the best moisturizers on the market. This genius skincare-makeup hybrid is a product you won't want to pass up.

WHAT IT DOES: Shea butter and vitamins B, C, and E ensure that this never-greasy formula delivers smooth, crease-free makeup application every time. 

Tula Face Filter Blurring & Moisturizing Primer

Our Score


WHY YOU NEED IT: While it's impossible to change the size of your pores, you can minimize their appearance with this squeaky-clean primer. It contains probiotics that lock in moisture and soothe inflammation to create a luminous, naturally hydrated finish.

THINGS TO KNOW: It also contains noteworthy ingredients like chia seeds, licorice, and turmeric to decrease the appearance of redness, increase luminosity, and even the skin tone.

MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer And Setting Spray

Our Score


WHO IT'S FOR: Primer is a must for oily skin, and this 2-in-1 spray boasts plenty of benefits. It minimizes shine, soothes and refreshes the skin, and it's safe for both the eyes and the face.

WHY YOU NEED IT: Even the most sensitive of skin can find success with this setting spray. It's packed with soothing ingredients like green tea, chamomile, and cucumber that can cut down on redness and provide an instant boost of hydration.

Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Our Score


WHAT IT DOES: Bye-bye, texture. This clear primer gel morphs into a skin-smoothing formula that minimizes the appearance of pores and reduces flashback to deliver a radiant and balanced complexion.

THINGS TO KNOW: This formula was one of Smashbox's first and has continued to be their best-seller.

Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Featherweight Protective Primer

Our Score


WHY YOU NEED IT: Thanks to anti-pollution active ingredients, this multi-tasking primer protects against future breakouts and aging by fighting the effects of environmental stressors.

THINGS TO KNOW: Safe for use on the face and eyes, this weightless and oil-free primer minimizes the look of clogged pores, brightens and evens the skin tone, and ensures that your makeup look boasts serious staying power.

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