15 Best Makeup Primers – the perfect makeup base with face and eye shadow primers

A makeup primer is designed to perform an essential task in your makeup routine, acting as a first step wonder that not only prepares your face for cosmetics, but also prevents foundation streaks, redness, noticeable pores or breakouts.

Face primers are, to say mildly, the best way to ensure a long lasting makeup, so I figured it would be more than useful for you guys to learn which are the best makeup primers for oily skin and acne prone skin, as well as popular choices of face primers for dry skin, that needs the extra moisture. I’ll tell you all about silicone primers and the best eye shadow primers to ensure a long lasting eye makeup for +8h. That way, your foundation, concealer and eye shadows will stay in place all day and you’ll never have to worry that your skin will look anything but perfect.

Although once consider superfluous, primers now enjoy the supremacy of makeup it items crucial for keeping oil at bay, while providing a smooth light film on the skin. Embraced by makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts, face primers have become key players in cosmetic routines, as they make your foundation, BB Cream or CC Cream look perfect throughout the day.

Foundation primers even out the texture of the skin, keep the makeup smooth and flawless, add longevity to the makeup, and protect the skin underneath. Because they contain waxes, polymers and above all, silicone, primers also prevent moisture loss.

Silicone-based primers are great for sensitive or allergic skin. These primers actually protect the skin from the makeup foundation by putting a barrier between the foundation and skin. This will lessen the breakouts for sensitive or allergic skin and they are a popular choice of primers for acne prone skin.

Silicone primers also fill in enlarged pores, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles. By smoothing fine lines around the mouth and eye area, foundation glides on evenly, as do eye shadows, blush and other cosmetics.

By applying a face and an eye makeup primer, you will prevent the eyeshadow from creasing and benefit from the light-reflecting properties that create that gorgeous, dewy glow.

Primers also provide a protecting layer between the skin and the makeup cosmetics, and prevent the makeup from absorbing into the skin or clogging pores. Primers keep the makeup’s ingredients, such as talc and color pigments from penetrating your skin.

MAC Future Face

MAC Future Face

The best makeup primers also help with facial scars, by temporarily filling them in and leveling the skin. It is actually said that the best candidates for primers are women with oily skin or a lot of scarring from acne, and that some moisturizers can actually work just as well.

Best makeup primers for oily skin

Most primers are oil and fragrance-free and have a gel formula that allows an even and precise application. They work especially well for women with oily and combination skin as they control excess shine and absorb the oil.

  • LORAC AquaPrime Oil-Free Primer is what you need if you have combination/oily skin and also in need of covering acne scars.
  • Skindinavia T Zone Makeup Primer is also an industry standard if you have oily skin and need a product that can effectively control shine and disguise your pores.
  • Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Oil-Free absorbs in seconds and keeps makeup into place all day long. It fills fine lines and large pores, while still nourishing the skin.
MUFE Spring 2012

MUFE Spring 2012

Best eye makeup primers

The best eyeshadow primer does not only ensure a long lasting hold and crease-free eye makeup, but is also free of irritating ingredients such as fragrances and harsh pigments, thus making them safe to use on your eyes and face.

However, the more you research into the matter, the more you’ll find that eye primers are no better than regular face primers, also safe to use on the lids. Moreover, you’ll discover that professional makeup brands seldom launch eye primers, a fact that should speak louder than words.

Here are some of the industry standards in makeup primers, that are worth buying:

  • Mehron Velvet Finish Primer Serum is a fully stabilized Vitamin C complex that resists normal breakdown from air, heat and moisture. This excellent primer also has Aloe Vera Extract and Vitamin E added so that in can heal, soothe and hydrate the skin. The powerful antioxidant formula of the Velvet makes it a world wide favorite.
  • M.A.C Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 is one the most popular primers out there formulated for oily skin that leaves it feeling featherweight. This primer is fast-absorbing, oil-free and will not affect the texture or long-wear integrity of your makeup. Specially formulated with oil-absorbing powder, it helps prevent oil breakthrough and guards the skin against discoloration and dryness.
  • Bare Escentuals Prime Time Brightening Foundation Primer is a smooth, quick-drying primer, perfect for sensitive skin. Formulated to combat dry skin, this primer provides a satin-like base for foundation, that will help your makeup last all day.
  • YSL Matt Touch is a triple-action primer that “does it all”. It brightens the complexion and delivers a flawless, matte finish for lasting makeup wear. The light formula is created with unique Spherical Micro-powders that help control oil, while radiance pigments hide imperfections and fine lines.
Minka Kelly makeup

Minka Kelly makeup

  • Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer is perfect for dry skin, due to its unique blend of vitamins, natural ingredients and silicones. And oldie, but goldie, this primer delivers in providing the skin with a more natural, dewy look.
  • Paula Dorf Perfect Primer for normal/dry skin moisturizes and keeps foundation and makeup fresh all day long, while in minimizes lines and nourishes the skin. The normal/oily skin primer absorbs oil, minimizes imperfections and helps colors stay true.


Best tinted primers

Primers come in different hues to address specific skin concerns – violet, green, pink and yellow tint. These are great to help even out undertones on skin that does not need heavy concealing and can also help cover subtle age spots or discolorations on the face. They work hand in hand with color-correcting powders, the perfect way to set you makeup if you have skin pigmentation concerns or blemishes.

Karlie Kloss for Dior

Karlie Kloss for Dior

Green-colored primers will combat redness on the skin caused be acne, while yellow-toned ones counteract rosacea. Choose violet-colored primers to counteract sallow undertones or pink to brighten your complexion.

If you plan on using foundation over the primer, you can use clear primer. However, you can forgo the full coverage and only apply tinted makeup primer.

  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is a perfect base for your makeup, as it fills in fine lines and wrinkles. The clear gel is a miracle worker, but you can also choose this product in the tinted versions.
  • Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primers have a light weight formula which moisturizes and softens skin. It doesn’t glide on as easily as other products, but it leaves the skin surface glowing. Moreover, there are seven tints to choose from!
  • ColorScience Pro Face Primers are the first step to improve the color and texture of the skin. They smooth your skin’s complexion, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, addressing individual skin concerns. ColorScience is available in a variety of shades and formulas like – skin brightening, skin bronzing, skin mattifying, skin calming, sun protection, problem skin etc.

Feel encouraged to test all of the above brands to see which face primer suits you best. Whatever you choose, I strongly believe a makeup primer will be a great addition to your makeup routine, that will ensure the perfect makeup base.


As a professional make-up artist and beauty enthusiast, Luiza's expertise has become highly prized over the years. As owner of this site, she set her mind to create a publication for those who are focused not just on beauty trends and popular brands, but also on the industry's most well-kept secrets.

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