The 9 Best Foundation Primers on the Market

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From BB Creams to Traditional Products

woman applying product to face
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Primers are an incredibly popular pre-step to foundation application. Foundation primer creates a smooth surface for foundation or tinted moisturizer, filling in pores and fine lines so your foundation doesn't. You'll find your foundation will seem to melt onto your skin, rather than sit atop it when you apply a primer first.

While some experts admit moisturizer works almost as well as a primer, we are addicted to ours. Here's a rundown of the best foundation primers on the market.

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Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector


More than 300 people reviewed Clinique's Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector on and of those, 75% would buy the product again.

One of the favorite primers on Makeupalley, Clinique's product is beloved by users for its silky texture and matte finish. Many testers even claim it magically made their pores disappear. While products can fill in pores, nothing will make your pores disappear. But with claims like these, who wouldn't want to try it?

Buy it from Amazon

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Clearprep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment


This primer is a lightweight gel that helps prevent and heal acne blemishes. It's free of parabens, oils, and fragrances and is perfect for all skin types, especially those who tend to be oily and prone to breaktouts.

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Bare Escentuals "Prime Time" Foundation Primer

Bare Escentuals

A favorite among makeup junkies, this mineral primer is preservative-free and great for all skin types. Formulated to combat flaky, dry skin and rough patches, this primer also fills in fine lines and wrinkles providing a satin-like base for foundation.

As a bonus, it's infused with soothing plant extracts, antioxidants and Vitamins C and E plus it's made without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, or dyes.

Buy it online from Amazon

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MAC Prep+Prime Skin


A good primer will not only help foundation glide on smoothly, but it will help keep it in place for a full day until you wash it off at night.

MAC's foundation is another great primer that's actually pretty affordable as far as department store brands go.

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Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen, $35


This is a beloved BB cream that's an all-in-one cream protects skin against the sun while also acting as moisturizer, primer, and tinted moisturizer all in one. It comes in many shades as well.

Buy it online from Amazon

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Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer


A hands-down favorite of beauty blogger Ann Gugliotti at Blogdorf Goodman, Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer provides a flawless base for foundations and tinted moisturizers. In a write-up in Allure Magazine, Gugliotti says she loves that the primer contains silicone so it feels light and velvety. It was the ultimate favorite in primer tests she conducted for her blog.

Buy it online from Amazon

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Laura Mercier Foundation Primer


This is my hand-down favorite foundation primer. I've been using Laura Mercier's Foundation Primer for a couple years now. I love the way it glides on smoothly (again, having silicone in these primers is fabulous) and fills in fine lines, wrinkles, and obvious pores.

I suggest exfoliating at least once a week to get rid of any scaly skin. Even the best primers will sit atop dead, scaly skin. And that's not pretty.

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Chanel Base Lumiere


The Grande Dame of primers, Chanel's Base Lumiere, is one of those rare beauty products that seems almost magical. Worn under foundation, it not only fills in pores and lines, it also helps conceal ruddy skin tones. At this price, it wouldn't last long if it wasn't worth the money. It's one of Chanel's top products.

Buy it direct from Chanel

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Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer


This is Sephora's most beloved and popular primer, garnering 3,000 reviews (and scoring between 4 and 5 stars) and a whopping 40,000 "loves."

It's mineral-based and water-resistant, which means the ingredients are natural and it won't wear off if you sweat, swim, or get stuck in a rainstorm. I love that it's fragrance-free, which is good for sensitive skin and I really love that it contains SPF. "Cosmetics Cop" Paula Beguoin gives it her highest rating on her Beautypedia review Website.

The only downside is that it's expensive.

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