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Fact: makeup primers are the secret to long-lasting foundation. There are options out there for practically every skin type and concern, and what’s even better is you don’t have to break the bank to find a top-notch formula.
If you aren't familiar, makeup primers basically act like glue between your skin and your favorite foundation. The silky, velvety formulas keep your base makeup in place while you work, play, and even sweat. The best part? There are so many options on the market—hydrating primers for dry skin, mattifying primers for oily skin, and even blurring primers for those with texture and tone concerns—and you don’t have to hit up your nearest Sephora to find a top performer.
Drugstore makeup primers are just as popular as their luxury counterparts, and we're here to prove it. Ahead, we've rounded up a list of the Top 10 affordable primers on the shelves—all under $20.
How We Found The Best Drugstore Makeup Primers of 2021
To help save you time and money, we've rounded up a list of the best makeup primers you can find at your local drugstore. Our data-driven algorithm factors in best-selling buzz, editor recommendations, and real user reviews to create vetted lists of the best products out there, which is why you can feel confident these primers are the crème de la crème. Keep scrolling to see and shop the Top 10 products that made the cut.
Next up, shop the 10 Best Makeup Setting Sprays. Opening image: @elfcosmetics
August 12, 2021
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Revlon ColorStay Prep & Protect Primer
BEST WITH SPF
WHAT IT DOES: This four-in-one primer not only helps keep makeup in place, but it also keeps the skin moisturized, removes excess oil, and even protects against UV damage thanks to built-in SPF 34.
USER REVIEW: “I’m so impressed with this product. I have tried every sunscreen or primer out there, and they either felt heavy or caused blemishes. This feels so light, my foundation applies easily, and I love the SPF.”
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Glow Booster Primer & Serum
BEST FOR DULL SKIN
WHO IT'S FOR: If you're looking for a little glow boost, consider your search officially over. Packed with skin-loving, radiance-boosting ingredients, this drugstore formula leaves the skin with a bright and moisturized base for makeup.
INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: Thanks to the hyaluronic acid in this primer, skin looks and feels hydrated, soft, supple, and dewy all day long. Bonus points for the plumping effects.
Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer
WHO IT'S FOR: If you have oily skin, you know what it's like to have makeup slipping and sliding all over your face. This non-greasy primer helps keep excess oils at bay for up to eight hours, and it keeps the appearance of pores at a minimum.
USER REVIEW: “My face gets very oily very quickly, and I was shocked to see that this actually worked. I did my makeup at 10 am, and at 11 pm that night, my face was still matte. It also makes my makeup last much longer."
Maybelline New York Master Prime Primer Makeup
BEST FOR COMBO SKIN
USER REVIEW: “This is my favorite brand of primer. I’ve tried a lot of different brands, and this is the best. It makes my face smooth and helps my makeup last forever. I have combination skin, and it helps control my oily areas and makeup doesn’t cling to my dry sections."
HELPFUL TIP: Apply a small dab of this primer to your eyelids as a smooth base for eyeshadow.
Pacifica Vegan Collagen Skin Solve Hydrating & Blurring Primer
WHY YOU NEED IT: Introducing a vegan, toxin-free primer with an incredible price tag and even more incredible results. Need we say more?
WHAT IT DOES: This primer contains a blend of vegan collagen, hyaluronic acid, floral extracts, and caffeine to help keep the skin hydrated, smooth, plump, and revitalized.
The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
BEST FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN
WHY YOU NEED IT: Great for all skin tones, this non-greasy option helps keep pores invisible for a smooth, bump-free finish.
USER REVIEW: “Honestly, this is my favorite primer. It does such a good job at blurring and has worked well with every brand and type of foundation I've used so far. I love it!”
Covergirl TruBlend Base Business Face Primer
BEST FOR LARGE PORES
WHO IT'S FOR: If oiliness comes between you and your best makeup yet, try this mattifying primer. It’s free of oils and creates a natural, skin-like finish without excess shine. Plus, it helps reduce the appearance of pores for a more flawless finish.
HELPFUL TIP: If you have excess shine at your t-zone, try applying a concentrated amount to that area before applying to the rest of the face.
E.l.f. Cosmetics Jelly Pop Dew Primer
BEST FOR DRY SKIN
LOVED FOR: While this primer works wonders underneath makeup, it's also an excellent option for no-makeup days—it leaves the skin with a bright, even, and dewy complexion.
WHO IT'S FOR: Chock-full of skin-loving ingredients like watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamins A, C, and E, this drugstore primer is a godsend for those that like a dewy finish that lasts.
E.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer
BEST TATCHA ALTERNATIVE
WHAT IT DOES: Thanks to squalene, this putty helps makeup stay in place all day long while keeping the skin moisturized, too.
THINGS TO KNOW: This primer is best for dry, normal, and combination skin types.
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer
WHY YOU NEED IT: According to reviewers, this pore eraser and primer mashup is known to blur pores better than an Instagram filter. No, we're not kidding.
THINGS TO KNOW: This stuff has over 38,000 positive reviews on Amazon. That's how you know it's good.
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