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The Best Face Primers for a Flawless Finish

Kate Turasky
Written by Kate Turasky

If you’re looking for a perfect foundation and flawless finish, then you’re going to need more than just foundation—you’ll need a quality primer as well. The result is longer-lasting and radiant makeup that makes your skin look smooth, your pores blurred, and your blemishes gone. We’ve reviewed and compiled the best face primers of 2024 for you to choose from, with the Rimmel Face Primer leading the list. Whether you’re looking for something to minimize the appearance of pores or to add a barely there matte finish, we’ve got you covered.

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How to Find the Best Face Primer: A Buying Guide

Achieving a flawless finish requires more than just foundation and concealer. The first step you should always take before applying makeup is setting your primer. As its name suggests, primer is designed to prime or prepare your face for makeup application. It creates a layer or barrier between your makeup and your skin, protecting your pores from getting clogged by the ingredients in your foundation, concealer, etc. It also fills those pores, smoothening your skin texture to create a blurred look. By smoothening your skin, primers transform your face into a blank canvas that makes it easier for makeup to stay on for longer.

Everyone can benefit from primer, because the truth of the matter is, no one has perfect skin. Primers have been known to help improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and if you're like me and you deal with acne, primers can prevent makeup from caking around those areas. Choosing the best face primer for a flawless makeup look can seem intimidating, but there are certain features to consider that can make the decision easier. In this guide, we’ll discuss the main product features you should consider when looking for the ideal product.

Skin type

Knowing your skin type is essential when it comes to choosing the right primer. For oily skin, look for long-lasting, oil-free primers that won’t contribute to shine throughout the day. For dry skin, choose a primer that offers hydrating benefits and won’t dry out your complexion. If you have combination or sensitive skin, opt for a light, non-irritating formula that won’t overwhelm the skin.


Primers come in a variety of finishes that can drastically change the way your makeup looks. Matte primers are great at smoothing out pores and keeping shine away, while velvet makes your skin look soft, and luminous primers give you a subtle glow. Consider what kind of finish works better with your preferred makeup style.


The coverage of a primer can vary depending on its formulation. Some primers are lightweight and won’t alter your makeup much, while others are more opaque and can even out your complexion or add an extra layer of coverage to your foundation.


High-quality ingredients are an important part of getting long-lasting results from your face primer. Make sure the product is made from natural ingredients and doesn’t contain any potentially harmful additives or preservatives. Check that it's labeled as cruelty-free so you know it wasn’t tested on animals during production.


Everyone has different budget constraints when it comes to buying beauty products, so take this into consideration when finding the right primer for you. Consider how often you’ll use it—some primers may be more expensive upfront but will last longer than cheaper alternatives—so choose one that fits within your budget but still delivers the desired results.


Primers come in many different forms, such as tubes, jars, tubes with pumps, and spray bottles. Decide how you want to apply it—whether it be with your fingers or a brush—and choose one that best suits your needs and preferences.


Read customer reviews before making your purchase so you can get an objective opinion about its performance from people who have tried it before you. This will help you make an informed choice about which primer is most suitable for you and will save you time in the long run if it can't live up to expectations.

Shade range

Pick a face primer that matches your skin tone, so it blends seamlessly into the skin and doesn’t leave white patches or streaks on application. Some brands offer a variety of shades so it’s easy to find one that matches your individual complexion.

SPF protection

Sun protection is important all year round, even on days when you don’t wear any other makeup products aside from primer. Look out for face primers with SPF included in their formulation so you can keep your skin safe from damaging UV rays without having to layer on multiple sunscreens each day.

The Best Face Primers of 2024


Rimmel Face Primer


  • Controls greasy and oily skin
  • Works with moisturizer or powder to reduce shine
  • Helps makeup stay in place all day
  • Good quality and quantity for an affordable price


  • Not a clear product, has tinted coloration

The Rimmel Stay Matte mattifying primer is the perfect product to help keep your complexion looking smooth and shine-free all day. The ultra lightweight formula keeps your skin looking smooth, while controlling shine for up to eight hours. It never feels slick or heavy on the skin, so you don’t have to worry about feeling greasy or weighed down. The 30 ml (1 fl oz) size is also convenient for travel or for carrying in a bag or purse, making it easy to bring the primer with you wherever you go.

This mattifying primer helps to blur out imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores, so it is great to use before putting on foundation for a flawless makeup look. Upon application, I found that it works quickly to help blur out imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores, and within seconds, it left me with a polished look. The hydrating yet oil-free formulation has made it our top pick overall.


Elizabeth Mott Face Primer


  • Keeps makeup looking fresh all day
  • Application requires minimal effort
  • A little goes a long way
  • Doesn't irritate sensitive skin


  • Can be a bit drying on some skin types

The Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later face primer is a great product for anyone looking to contribute an extra layer of protection and shine control to their daily facial routine. This mattifying primer provides an immediate smooth effect on the skin, making it easier to apply makeup as well as protect it from creasing throughout the day. It also works to minimize the appearance of pores, creating a more balanced complexion in no time.

This matte base enlivens the appearance of your skin and enhances its natural glow. Formulated for every skin type, the weightless and non-greasy formula provides long-wearing coverage without needing constant touch-ups. It creates an even skin tone and balances complexions, making it ideal for layering under makeup. This primer is also crafted with high-quality pearl powder ingredients and is paraben-free and cruelty-free.


Benefit Face Primer


  • Visibly reduces size of pores
  • Preps skin for a smooth makeup look
  • Non-greasy and easy to wash off
  • Cream to powder feel with no creasing


  • Costly compared to other primers

The Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm face primer is the perfect addition to any makeup routine. The velvety smooth balm is designed to quickly minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines, giving you a smoother-than-smooth finish. It's easy to blend into your skin and you can use it alone, under, or over makeup. The translucent formula contains a vitamin E derivative that protects the skin and compliments all skin tones.

This primer gives your skin an even texture and helps makeup stay in place longer. The vitamin E derivative helps nourish the skin, so it looks and feels healthier, providing gentle hydration for dry skin and a matte finish that won’t look greasy. And, because it is so lightweight, it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. With its silky texture and lightweight feel, this primer offers an easy way to blur out large pores and fine lines for an airbrushed finish. The creamy formula is great for all skin types and compliments a variety of skin tones.


e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer


  • Smooths and lightens the skin
  • Works well with a variety of foundations
  • Keeps makeup in place for hours
  • Provides long-term hydration


  • May not completely fill uneven skin texture

The e.l.f. hydrating face primer is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a makeup primer that provides a smooth and flawless canvas for their cosmetics. Its blend of grape, vitamins A, C, and E helps enhance the complexion while deeply hydrating the skin. This face primer has a lightweight consistency and applies evenly on the face. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave any oily or greasy residue behind, making it perfect for all skin types. It also helps makeup stay in place throughout the day, no matter how active you are.

In addition to its performance benefits, this e.l.f. face primer is 100% free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol, ethoxylates, Triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone. This makes it a safe and eco-friendly choice for those who prefer vegan and cruelty-free products. It's ideal for those who enjoy a natural look while keeping their skin free from environmental toxins.


Jane Iredale Face Primer


  • Illuminates and moisturizes the skin
  • Makes foundation go on smoothly
  • Reduces redness and helps prevent breakouts
  • Makes skin look glowing and flawless


  • Expensive for some budgets

The Jane Iredale Smooth Affair facial primer is a fantastic product for those looking for a quick and easy way to brighten and refine their complexion. The innovative formula of this product gives you beautiful results while providing a long-lasting foundation application. It can instantly improve the look of your skin and give it a luminous glow.

This primer features light-diffusing particles that help to deliver an even, natural-looking tone to your skin, while the vitamin E and pomegranate extract help to soothe and protect it. The brightening primer not only helps to even out skin tone but also provides a perfect foundation base that allows you to layer on other products with ease. It ensures a smooth surface for your makeup, leaving you with perfectly groomed skin.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What ingredients should I look for in a good face primer?

    A:When looking for a good face primer, look for ingredients such as dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane, which help blur the appearance of pores and reduce shine. Other beneficial ingredients include vitamins, antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid, which help hydrate and nourish the skin.

  • Q: Are there any age-specific primers that I should consider?

    A:Yes, there are age-specific primers available that are specifically designed to address the needs of mature skin. These primers typically contain peptides, retinol or other anti-aging ingredients that help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Q: Is it necessary to use a primer before applying foundation?

    A:Yes, it is necessary to use a primer before applying foundation, as it creates a smooth canvas for your makeup to adhere to, creating a more even and long-lasting look. Primers also provide a barrier between your skin and makeup, helping it stay put for longer periods of time.

  • Q: Does a face primer prevent makeup from transferring onto clothing and skin?

    A:Yes, using a face primer can help reduce the amount of makeup transfer onto clothes and skin by providing an additional layer of protection between your makeup and the surface that it is applied to. Not all primers are transfer-proof, so be sure to choose one that is specifically formulated to prevent against smudging or transferring.

  • Q: Is there a difference between primers for oily and dry skin types?

    A:Yes, there are different types of primers available for different skin types. Primers for oily skin typically have oil-absorbing properties such as silica or clay to keep excess oil at bay throughout the day while those formulated for dry skin typically have hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid to keep the skin feeling soft and supple all day long.

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At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Kate Turasky

By Kate Turasky

Kate is a freelance writer specializing in art, beauty, health, and wellness topics. She enjoys sharing the latest tips and trends, whether it’s about selecting musical instruments, enhancing your complexion, or revamping home decor. Kate also has a strong interest in exploring supplements that can improve daily living, particularly for those who experience chronic pain or nutritional deficiencies. By sharing her insights, she aims to empower readers to lead healthier, happier lives.

Currently, Kate is a freelancer for Us Weekly, Brit+Co, and Buyer’s Report and she previously was a copyeditor and proofreader for

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