The 9 Best Foundation Primers on the Market Today

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I Handpick the Best Primers for Your Face From BB Creams to Traditional Products

MAC, Laura Mercier, Smashbox

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 primer, we are addicted to ours. Here's a rundown of the best foundation primers on the market.

More on primers and foundation:

  • Best foundations
  • What is foundation primer and do I need it?
  • How to avoid "cake face"
  • How to even out skin tone

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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 it's 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 helps prevent and heal acne blemishes. It's free of parabens, oils, and fragrances and is perfect for all skin types, especially those with oily tendency and are prone to breakouts.

Buy it from Amazon

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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. Does not have 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.

Buy it online from

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


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 silicone in these primers is fabulous) and fills in all fine lines, wrinkles and obvious pores. I suggest exfoliating at least once a week to get rid of any scalies. Even the best primers will sit atop dead, scaly skin. And that's not pretty.

Buy it online from Amazon

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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, but 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 3000 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.

Only downside is that it's expensive.

Buy it online from