10 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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There are many benefits to applying a primer before your foundation or tinted moisturizer. It's a step that many women of all ages find essential to creating flawless makeup that lasts all day.

A primer will fill in pores and fine lines, creating a smooth surface so your foundation doesn't have to do that work. When you use a primer, it's almost as if your foundation melts into your skin, rather than sit on top of it. This can also prevent caking and reduce the amount of foundation you need to use, creating a more natural look to your skin.

There are many 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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Clinique Pore Refining Instant Perfector


Clinique's Pore Refining Instant Perfector gets high ratings and is recommended by its many devoted fans. Its primary function is to reduce the appearance of large pores and it's very effective at that.

Users also love it for its silky texture and matte finish. For your more casual days, it may even be work on its own. It is good for all skin types and formulated for up to eight hours, even when your skin is exposed to sweat or humidity.

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BareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer

Bare Escentuals

BareMinerals Prime Time is a favorite among makeup junkies. It 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, which makes it an ideal choice for sensitive skin.

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Mac Prep+Prime Skin Base


Mac Prep+Prime Skin Base is a favorite among department store brands and, in that realm, it's reasonably priced. It is designed to even out skin tone, downplay redness, and generally soothe your skin without any excess oils.

Not only does this primer feel great because it's a light base, it also helps your makeup stay in place for a full day until you wash it off at night. Many users are also surprised at the longevity of their eyeshadow when using this one, so its benefits extend beyond foundation.

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Tarte BB Tinted Treatment


Tarte BB Tinted Treatment is a beloved BB cream. It's an all-in-one cream that offers a broad spectrum SPF 30 to protect skin against the sun. It also acts as moisturizer and primer, while the tint gives skin a delightful glow, even under foundation. Better yet, it is designed to last for a full 12 hours and it's available in many shades to perfectly match your skin tone.

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Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer


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 that beautiful sun-kissed glow found near sunset.

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

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Laura Mercier Foundation Primer


Laura Mercier Foundation Primer is a favorite product for many women. It glides on smoothly and fills in fine lines, wrinkles, and obvious pores. At the same time, it's oil-free and lightweight and it leaves skin with a natural glow, almost as if you used a light bronzer. If you want a bit of a shimmer, it's a great choice.

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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, the oil-free primer 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 and many women have found the beauty of using a primer because of it.

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Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer


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 is also fragrance-free, which is good for sensitive skin and it contains SPF for sun protection.

Whether you have dry or oily skin or are prone to clogged pores and acne, this is a lovely product. It blends flawlessly with foundation and concealer and is definitely worth the cost.

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Becca Backlight Priming Filter

Becca Backlight Priming Filter has a gold-tone that offers brilliant luminance to the skin. It's a great choice if you prefer foundation-free days because your skin will have a light, healthy shimmer. It is light, moisturizes perfectly, and lasts all day and night. This is a good choice for all skin types as well.

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Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer

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.