22 Best Face Primers For Sensitive Skin

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best face primer

Would you ever paint your walls or your car before priming them first? Of course not! Yet way too many of us are not using face primer and it makes a huge difference when we apply our makeup.

Primers are a powerful beauty product that can give your skin an airbrushed finish but also instantly wake up your complexion. The best part is that they won’t irritate you or take more than a few seconds to add.

The best face primer will help fill in enlarged pores for a smoother finish, stave off shine, and give your foundation some added staying power. We’re obsessed! However, a lot are pretty expensive, so you may want to do your research first. (Actually, nevermind — we did the research for you!)

RELATED: 20 Best Toners For Acne That Clear Up Your Skin Fast

Under $30

1. BareMinerals Prime Time™ BB Primer-Cream Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This is a fantastic multitasking, complexion-perfecting primer that primes, evens, moisturizes, and protects skin, and features SPF 30 sun protection that perfects protection and prime at the same time. It's all via a primer cream to correct uneven skin tone and diminish the appearance of discoloration.

(Sephora, $27)

2. Origins Maskimizer Skin-Optimizing Mask Primer

This primer preps, primes, and optimizes skin for everything else you are about to layer on top of it. It improves spreadability and rinseability of masks while hydrating, soothing, and boosting the skin's radiance immediately.


3. ModelCo Miracle Veil Skin Perfecting Fluid

This multi-tasking skin corrector helps reduce redness, evens out skin tone, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving you with smooth, even, and radiant skin. The innovative 5-in-1 skin primer has active ingredients like Rosehip Oil, Pomegranate Oil, and Chamomile Extract. 

(ModelCo Cosmetics, $26)

4. Charlotte by Charlotte Russe Prep In Your Step Priming Spray 

Hydrate, prime and sooth skin with this sparkling spritzer. Witch hazel helps calm and smooth skin while Niacinamide visibly reduces the appearance of pores for a perfectly primed canvas. Additional skin-loving benefits include coconut water to protect against pollution and environmental damage, and caffeine to soothe and tighten skin.

(Charlotte Russe, $9)

5. NYX Pore Filler Primer

Shrinking pores might be impossible, but the Nyx Pore Filler Primer makes that seem like a reality as soon as it's rubbed onto skin. The cashmere-soft cream acts like a veil over the skin, making it look crystal clear (even if you aren't genetically blessed with "glass skin").


6. Neutrogena Shine Control Primer

Spread this white lotion over your T-zone and you'll notice the difference immediately. What was once oily and blotchy looks velvety, matte, and perfectly even in tone — so much so that you may want to skip foundation.


7. Sephora Collection Beauty Amplifier Ultra Smoothing Primer

Supremely lightweight in texture, this face primer works on all skin types, whether dry, combo, or acne-prone. It leaves skin silky smooth and helps keep your makeup from fading.

(Sephora, $15)


Over $30

8. CRUNCHI Smart Primer

Rich in Jojoba, Avocado and Rosehip oils, and packed with antioxidants, this ultra light primer promotes radiant, healthy skin and is balanced enough for use on both dry and oily skin. This primer hydrates, smooths and prepares your skin for perfect makeup application.

(Crunchi, $48)

9. Bliss Un-Buffing Believable Smoothing Finishing Balm

The illuminating formula gives skin a gorgeous glow, blurs appearance of pores, fine lines and any imperfections. It's also a non-cakey, non-powdery formula, which is more than anyone can ask for.


10. Colorescience Sunforgettable Face Primer SPF 30

This facial makeup primer offers full-spectrum sunblock benefits, designed with the active lifestyle in mind. It perfectly combines a high-level SPF to protect the skin and potent antioxidants to fight against environmental damage. It resolves dark spots, smooths pores and evens skin tone, restoring your natural glow.


11. Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer

A makeup primer that assists with balancing the skin's texture and tone for smoother, more even, and longer-lasting makeup wear. Perfect for balancing skin and achieving an ideal makeup result, it’s lightweight and creamy, leaving a more evenly-toned appearance. This primer for all skin tones leaves makeup looking fresh for hours while it hydrates.

(Sephora, $37)

12. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is a transparent face primer gel that smooths skin and blurs flaws. It was developed to help makeup look better and last longer on set, and protects skin from environmental pollutants, damage and stress with antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, and peptides.

(Ulta, $36)

RELATED: The 23 Best Pore Masks For Flawless, Smooth Skin

13. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

An oil-free primer with a silky, airy texture that leaves a smooth canvas for makeup, while reducing the look of redness, pores, and wrinkles. This unique primer has a silky cloud-like texture and layers onto skin without added weight or a greasy after feel.

(Sephora, $54)

14. Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

Wonderglow is formulated with breakthrough light-reflecting microspheres, collagen-supporting peptides, and patented anti-wrinkle ingredients to turn the look of dull, dehydrated skin around in a flash. Its translucent formula blends seamlessly into any skin tone, while light diffusers blur away lines and add luminosity for a flawless, poreless, complexion.

(Sephora, $55)

15. Becca Backlight Priming Filter

Infused with three unique Filtering Luminescent Pearls, each one adds a different drop of diffused light. Blended together, they impart a one-of-a-kind, lightweight, whipped fluid that creates a smooth canvas and acts as an instant filter, while the vitamin E-enriched formula minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

(Sephora, $38)

16. Vegamour Pure Marula Oil

While it may seem backwards to encourage those with problem skin to apply any sort of oil, Marula Oil helps to soothe and improve the skin. When skin is irritated, it may over-produce oil. But in applying marula with a high oleic acid content, and plenty of fatty omegas, it is able to penetrate the skin and deeply moisturize, while drying matte with a healthy glow.


17. Osmosis + Colour Color Correcting Foundation

Working as a primer, applying the Osmosis Colour CC Cream underneath your makeup will make it last all day and help to maintain the same coverage. It disguises pigmentation, redness and acne. Created by a professional skincare brand, it also aids in calming the skin and treating acneic conditions.


18. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Primer: Oil-Free Poreless Skin-Perfecting Serum Primer

This revolutionary, pore-erasing, antiaging skin perfector blurs the look of pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven texture while hydrating and supporting skin health. Infused with powerful skin-loving ingredients including Moroccan lava clay, purifying charcoal, papaya fruit extract and hydrolyzed collagen, the velvety, lightweight formula glides on effortlessly to neutralize, correct, minimize shine, and create a smooth barrier for airbrushed makeup application. 

(Sephora, $38)

19. Clarins SOS Primer

This face primer visibly neutralizes, illuminates and blurs imperfections. It's important in order to prep skin for makeup application that is impeccable and long-lasting. You want all day coverage, right?

(Macys, $39)

20. Sisley Instant Eclat Glow Primer

This illuminating primer is made of a complex of key skin care ingredients such as kiwi extract, butcher's broom extract, and padina pavonica extract, which acts on four key factors that influence the complexion's radiance day after day, moisturizing, energizing, toning and giving skin a plumped look. Its fresh, evanescent texture feels like a light second skin.

(Nordstrom, $90)

21. Diorskin Airflash Primer

A three-in-one setting spray by Dior that preps, sets, and refreshes makeup by using micro-diffusion technique to set makeup. The light-enhancing pigments also help to revive a natural glow, while hyaluronic acid supports skin’s natural hydration with each use.

(Sephora, $50)

22. Benefit The POREfessional Pearl Primer

This luxe brightening face primer instantly minimizes the look of pores, locks on makeup, and helps skin look bright, boosted and more awake. It's anything you could ever want.

(Ulta, $32)

RELATED: The 12 Best Peel-Off Masks (For Every Single Skin Type)

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at

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