10 Best Foundation Primers on the Market

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Don't Be Apprehensive

There are loads of benefits to applying a primer before your foundation or tinted moisturizer. It's a step that plenty of people of all ages find essential, and other people absolutely hate it. Usually, though, it's because they haven't found the right primer yet.

A primer is supposed to do things like fill in pores and fine lines, but can also be essential in helping your skin stay hydrated during the day. Your foundation stays smooth, lasts longer, and doesn't sit on top of skin. This, in turn, prevents caking, and can even ultimately reduce the amount of foundation you need to use.

There are tons of foundation primers to choose from and they range greatly in price and effectiveness. Rather than hunt for a good one on your own, get a head start by exploring some of the best on the market.

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For Dry Skin: Too Faced, Hangover Replenishing Face Primer, $34

Too Faced Hangover Primer
 Courtesy of Too Faced

 This primer is one of those "this product saved my life" type holy-grail beauty products for a lot of people. Although people will always say that you don't need a primer if your face is properly hydrated, 1) that's not true, and 2) some people have an impossible time keeping their skin hydrated for the length of time they need to be wearing makeup. This primer is perfect for people with particularly dry skin, or people who had a late night out the night before.

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For Combination Skin: Hourglass, Veil Mineral Primer, $54

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
 Courtesy of Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is Sephora's most popular primer. 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. It's also fragrance-free, which is makes it ideal for sensitive skin, and it contains SPF for sun protection. Whether you have dry or oily skin, or are acne-prone, it's a great product that blends flawlessly with foundation and concealer.

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For Oily Skin: Milk Makeup, Hydro Grip Primer, $30

Milk Makeup, Hydro Grip Primer
 Courtesy of Milk Makeup

Read through the Sephora reviews of Milk Makeup's Hydro Grip primer, and you'll see dozens upon dozens of people saying the same thing: oily skin has kept them from using primer, but this one works. It starts out sticky, but let it set for a second and then put your foundation over it. It won't budge.

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For Sensitive Skin: Marc Jacobs, Under(cover) Perfecting Face Primer, $45

Coconut Under(cover) Perfecting Face Primer
 Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

 It's hard not to fall in love with Marc Jacobs' coconut water-inspired line, and their Under(cover) Perfecting Face Primer is perfect for those whose skin needs a little more TLC than the rest. It's incredibly gentle, won't clog your pores, and hydrates skin for smooth application. It's meant to put a layer between the makeup and your skin, which helps protect your skin from any possible irritants as well.

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For All Skin: Charlotte Tilbury, Wonderglow, $55

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer
 Courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury, makeup artist to the stars, gifted the world with this primer and we are ever-so-grateful. It's perfect for that kind-of-dewy, blurred-out, minimal makeup look that's the standard on red carpets. Which also means it's perfect for anyone who wants to look good without looking cakey or like they're trying too hard. Very few primers live up to their own hype, but Wonderglow does, in fact, leave you glowing.

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Oil Free: Benefit Cosmetics, The POREfessional Face Primer, $32

The Porefessional Face Primer
 Courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics

​ Benefit Cosmetics have been a top name in the cosmetics world for many many years now, but manage to keep releasing and reinventing products to keep up with high-paced consumer demand. Their POREfessional primer keeps the same art style that Benefit has had all through their years, but houses inside of it a truly beloved product. For anyone who gets oily or doesn't want excess oil on their face, this is a no-brainer.

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Silicone-Based: The Ordinary, High Adherence Silicone Primer, $5

The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
Courtesy of Deciem 

 The Ordinary has been lauded for being one of the most accessibly priced and effective skincare brands, but they have precious few makeup products. Their primer is a notable outlier, likely because it acts as sort of a skincare item itself—not only placing a barrier between makeup and the skin but actually blurring imperfections and giving you a little bit of a glow. Not a sheen, just a glow. 

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Drugstore: Revlon, PhotoReady Perfecting Primer, $7

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer
Courtesy of Amazon

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer is the recommended drugstore option for foundation primers. It's an excellent choice if you're on a budget and many women say it's the best they've used in this price range.

This product is free of oil, talc, fragrance, and paraben, so it stands up to the features of many of the more expensive options. It's lightweight and has a slight pink tint that helps mask pores and fine lines. Best of all, it's smooth and does not produce a cakey makeup finish.

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The Most Beloved: Smashbox, Photo Finish Radiance Primer, $39

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
 Courtesy of Smashbox

Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer is a hands-down favorite among beauty pros. It provides a flawless base for foundations and tinted moisturizers. This one was designed for professional photo shoots, and leaves skin with a beautiful sun-kissed glow found near sunset.

Whether you wear it alone or as a foundation primer, this product offers great hydrating properties. However, it doesn't moisturize too much or leave excess oils, so it's as good for oily skin as it is dry or combination skin.