Best Drugstore Primer for Large Pores

Top 10 Best Drugstore Primers for Large Pores

Sometimes, the perfect base doesn't have to come with a lofty price tag. Find the best primer for large pores & oily skin to blur your wrinkles & fine lines without breaking the bank.
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The Best Drugstore Primers for Large Pores & Oily Skin – Primers are essential to your makeup routine if you have skin texture issues like large pores, fine lines, acne scarring, and wrinkles. The pricing of makeup primers really covers a wide range–from your $8 Maybelline’s to the luxurious $140 By Terry primers.

The higher-end ones tend to be a blend of skincare and makeup. If you take the skincare bit out, you’ll find that there are dupes out there that can replicate the feel and texture of higher priced ones.

The best drugstore primer for large pores should be able to do the job of blurring skin imperfections without breaking the bank.

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  1. Pricing – drugstore prices can range anywhere between $8-16, the mid-range ones average at about $40, and the luxury brands can go as high as $140 (which is just ridiculous for a primer tbh).
  2. Benefits – the advantage of mid- to high-end makeup primers are their formulation. This includes having skincare ingredients like protective SPF or antioxidants, the texture and feel on the skin, their capacity to hold and extend make-up wear, and their ability to fully conceal pores. Drugstore primers mostly focuses on blurring imperfections, with some having a bit of skincare in there as well.
  3. Value for Money – this depends on what your priority is. If you’re on a budget and primarily looking to blur a few pores and fine lines; the drugstore variants would suit you well. If you would like your primer to do some really heavy lifting in terms of skin texture issues or oil-control, or if you would like to have maximum benefit from your makeup routine, then mid-range ones might suit you better. We have a great selection of the best primers for large pores you can refer to if this sounds more like what you need.

The Best Drugstore Primers for Large Pores

These are our choices for the best drugstore primer for large pores based on our experience, formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews.

For best results, make sure to choose based on your skin type.

Best for: Oily skin with large pores
NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler
Video: TESTING NYX MAKEUP / FULL FACE FIRST IMPRESSIONS I COCOCHIC

OUR REVIEW:

This pore filling primer gives your skin a smooth and mattified finish. It reduces the appearance of uneven skin and enlarged pores, as well as help prep the skin for effortless makeup application.

You can use this over your T-zone, and over or under makeup for touch-ups.

It’s also infused with vitamin E, and is vegan formulated without any talc or oil.

This has been hailed as a good dupe for the higher-end Benefit Porefessional Primer, with its similarity in consistency and texture. From experience in comparing the two, it will be pretty much the same upon application. It’s at the end of the day that makes a difference it terms of shine but Nyx isn’t really making any claims on oil-control so I’d give them that, especially at this price point.

Speaking of claims, it also does not label itself as non-comedogenic. (Non-comedogenic means it won’t clog pores.) If you have sensitive and acneic skin, that can be a problem. (No one wants an errant pimple!) You can refer to our extensive list of non-comedogenic primers if you fall under this skin type and condition.

Vegan. Certified cruelty-free.

Key Benefits:

  • Helps conceal the appearance of large pores
  • Gives your skin an even and mattified finish
  • Good dupe for Benefit’s Porefessional Primer
 

Cons:

  • Does not stake any claim for controlling shine. If you’re looking for something heavy duty on the oil-control front, I’d recommend the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector instead. (That’s not drugstore by the way, but it is the best primer for pores and oil-control).
  • Does not claim to be non-comedogenic, which can be an issue for sensitive, acneic skin.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color:
Goes on sheer
Consistency & Finish:
Creamy matte, Silky

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Use only a pea-sized amount and pat gently to the face and problem areas. Make sure to wait for it to settle to the skin (a few minutes should do) before applying your foundation.
  • This can be used under or over makeup.
Best for: All Skin Types
L'Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer
Video: L’OREAL MAGIC PERFECTING BASE FACE PRIMER FIRST IMPRESSIONS + REVIEW

OUR REVIEW:

Another great dupe, this time for the wildly popular Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas Protective Primer.

Its claim to fame is its silky-smooth formula that glides unto your skin, and perfects your skin texture in an instant. Now I’m sure that’s relative, but it does feel smooth to touch and leaves you with a matte finish. At the end of the day, this is what’s key to minimizing the look of your pores.

It’s quite thick so I won’t use it all over the face. The best place would be your T-zone, under your eyes, and forehead to smooth fine lines.

It comes in a little pot, which means you’ll either use your fingers or find a spatula to scoop it out every time you use it. Most people don’t mind this but it doesn’t come with one so if you do, you have to get it separately.

Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic, does not clog pores.

Key Benefits:

  • Very smooth formula that glides unto skin
  • Instant improvement in skin texture
  • Great for use in your T-zone, fine lines, and under your eyes
  • Good dupe for Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas Protective Primer
 

Cons:

  • It comes in a little pot, which can be unhygienic for some. You can use a spatula instead of your fingers, just don’t always lose it like I do!
  • From experience, can be a little bit too drying to dry skin.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Sheer
Consistency & Finish: Silky and lightweight, with a velvety-touch feeling

Make-up Artist Tips: Make sure to hydrate and moisturize well before using to avoid any tendencies of overdrying.

Best for: All Skin Types
Video: Poreless Putty Primer tips & tricks

OUR REVIEW:

Hailed as another Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer dupe, this infamous makeup primer is also one that kept selling out since its launch.

This is a skin perfecting primer with a velvety texture that glides on smoothly to the skin.

It helps conceal any texture issues and gives you a poreless finish.

This primer is infused with squalane, which helps hydrate the skin and grip unto makeup for longevity.

It’s slightly thicker and drier than Tatcha I would say, but it blends beautifully to the skin. The fundamental difference in performance is still there, but The Silk Canvas literally has silk and anti-aging ingredients in it so it’s not an exact dupe. If you’re looking for a great and affordable primer however, this is close enough.

Vegan. Cruelty-free.

All e.l.f products are free from: parabens, phthalates, triclosan, nonylphenol, triclocarban, hydroquinone, and ethoxylates.

Key Benefits:

 

Cons: It’s held in a plastic jar with no accessories. You can use clean fingers to get product or find a spatula for hygienic reasons.

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Nude
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, velvety

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Make sure to wait at least 30 seconds before applying foundation.
  • You can also use as an eyeshadow primer to lock colors in place.
Best for: All Skin Types
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer
Video: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer 12hr Wear Test & Review | CORRIE SIDE

OUR REVIEW:

A gen-z favorite, the Maybelline Instant Pore Eraser can give you a smooth and matte finish. It instantly blurs the look of pores without clogging them.

This makeup primer also helps blur pores and moisturize your skin.

It doesn’t have any claims for oil-control or makeup longevity, so I wouldn’t recommend this for those with oily skin.

It is non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.

Key Benefits:

  • Very smooth formula that glides unto skin
  • Instant improvement in skin texture
  • Great for use in your T-zone, fine lines, and under your eyes
  • Good dupe for Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas Protective Primer
 

Cons:

  • It comes in a little pot, which can be unhygienic for some. You can use a spatula instead of your fingers, just don’t always lose it like I do!
  • From experience, can be a little bit too drying to dry skin.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Sheer
Consistency & Finish: Silky and lightweight, with a velvety-touch feeling

Make-up Artist Tips: Make sure to hydrate and moisturize well before using to avoid any tendencies of overdrying.

Best for: All Skin Types
TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer
Video: TOUCH IN SOL NO POREBLEM PRIMER Review | Is it Worth the Hype? | Korean Beauty

OUR REVIEW:

This Korean primer works three ways to give you flawless skin:

  1. Gives you perfect coverage for pores and helps evens out skin tone
  2. Leaves an invisible mattifying powder that aids in enhancing make up wear
  3. Contains green tea extracts and infused collagen to protect the skin and help you maintain your skin’s elasticity

That’s quite a list and more often than not only found in high-end primers. Skincare is usually expensive to incorporate at this price point, but Korean products have proven time and time again to be innovative and economical.

A great dupe for the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer.

Free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

Hypoallergenic, Vegan, and Cruelty-free.

Key Benefits:

  • Evens out complexion and provides coverage for fine line and pores
  • Green tea extracts help protect and energize the skin
  • Infused collagen helps with the skin’s elasticity and moisture
  • Leaves a light powder that gives your skin a very smooth finish
 

Cons:

  • Has a slight fragrance, for those who are sensitivities
  • On the upper side of drugstore pricing

Color: Transparent with a blush of pink
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, Silky and soft gel

Make-up Artist Tips: This isn’t actually hydrating per se, it just helps keep the moisture in. You’ll have to use a moisturizer prior to applying the primer to get that particular benefit.

Best for: Oily and Combination Skin
W.Lab Airfit Pore Primer
Video: VIRAL KOREAN PORE PRIMER CREAM TESTED | Jay Heart

OUR REVIEW:

Another very popular Korean primer that went viral and has had rave reviews.

This multi-purpose primer minimizes the appearance of pores while also color-corrects dull skin and prolongs the wear of makeup. Great for instantly brightening your complexion.

It has flower essences (lily, magnolia, orange, rose) that helps with environmental skin protection, and oat & tea tree extracts to soothe skin.

This makeup primer has oil-control as well, preventing excess shine for longer lasting makeup.

It’s very lightweight (a tad too much) that you may need to layer it as necessary.

Key Benefits:

  • Pore minimizing, smoothens skin texture
  • Instantly brightens dull skin tone
  • Has moisturizing and oil-control properties
  • Has flower essences from lilies, roses, oranges, and magnolias
  • Has tea tree and oat extracts to help soothe skin
 

Cons: May require layering, unlike other primers where usually a pea size amount is enough

Color: Slight pink hue
Consistency & Finish: Smooth cream

Make-up Artist Tips: You want to be careful in layering primers. You want just enough to cover but not excessive that it clumps up on you.

Best for: All Skin Types especially for redness, uneven skin tone, dull skin
Maybelline New York FaceStudio Master Prime Primer Makeup

OUR REVIEW:

We have another dupe, this time for the ever popular Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. (Even the packaging is very similar.)

Maybelline’s version is its Master Prime line that consists of a transparent version and a range of color-correcting ones. They all blur skin imperfections from large pores to fine lines. They also have a lightweight, non-greasy formula that you can wear under makeup or by itself.

This is one of the few water-based drugstore primers that does not clog pores.

There are five variations:

  1. Blur + Pore Minimize – transparent white for basic priming, oil control, and reducing the appearance of pores
  2. Blur + Redness – has green pigments for color correcting redness and evening out skin tone
  3. Blur + Smooth – to blur and smoothen out imperfections
  4. Blur + Defend – has SPF 30 sun protection to protect against photodamage
  5. Hydrate + Smooth – works to hydrate and give a luminous effect to the skin

They’re all very affordable so you can adjust which one to use depending on your skin condition that day.

Key Benefits:

  • Visually blurs and minimizes pores, as well as other skin concerns
  • Preps the skin for makeup
  • Affordable color-correcting variants with different skin benefits
  • Saves the need for a separate color-correcting concealer
 

Cons: The color-correcting ones are not as heavy duty as actual concealers. If you only have a little redness it should be fine but for full blown rosacea, nothing beats a great concealer still.

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Various; green, white to translucent, transparent
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight and smooth

Make-up Artist Tips: Make sure to wait for the primers to dry, especially the color-correcting ones, before applying concealer or foundation to get its full effect.

Best for: Oily and Combination Skin
Revlon PhotoReady Primer, Pore Reducing

OUR REVIEW:

This comes in three variants: the Pore-Reducing Primer, the Perfecting Primer, and the Brightening Primer.

All variants even out skin texture for a seamless makeup application. They also use HD Filter Technology that transforms light to mimic photo filters.

The main difference is that Pore-Reducing Primer leaves a matte finish so pores can look smaller, while the Perfecting Primer gives an extra smoothness for texture issues.

The Pore-Reducing Primer also has silica mattifiers to help with oil control.

Key Benefits:

  • HD filter technology that mimics photo filters
  • Evens out skin texture for excellent makeup application
  • The Pore-Reducing Primer variant has silica mattifiers to help minimize pores and control oil
 

Cons: This packaging is honestly problematic. Once you get through about 85%, the pump has a hard time getting any product. It’s a bit of a waste since you can’t go through an entire bottle.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Nude
Consistency & Finish: Smooth, like lotion

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Make sure all your skincare is absorbed well before putting the primer on to avoid any blotchiness. After applying, let it sink for a few minutes as well before applying your foundation.
  • Use 2-3 pumps if you’re looking to cover the entire face.
Best for: Oily and Combination Skin
Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
Video: Rimmel Stay Matte Primer: How Long Will It Last?

OUR REVIEW:

This ultra-lightweight drugstore makeup primer not just minimizes pores but also controls shine for up to 8 hours. It stops sebum from collecting while helping the skin be moisturized.

This primer also creates a soft, matte complexion that doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. Perfect for daily use as it doesn’t weigh down your makeup.

It also helps prolong the wear of cosmetics so you don’t have to retouch as much the day wears on.

Key Benefits:

  • Up to 8 hours shine- control
  • Ultra-lightweight formula
  • Minimizes the appearance of large pores
  • Can we worn alone or under foundation

Cons: Can be difficult to blend with some foundations.

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: White to transparent
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, matte finish

Make-up Artist Tips: Warm the product on your fingers before applying to avoid any issues with blending.

Best for: All Skin Types
Milani Prime Correct Face Primer (Shield Mattifying + Pore-Minimizing)

OUR REVIEW:

Milani’s primers get you photo-ready in a heartbeat by mattifying and minimizing your pores. It also extends makeup wear time and primes your skin for any liquid, cream, or powder foundations.

There are 3 variations which you can choose according to what your skin needs:

  1. Prime Shield – an invisible, translucent primer that is mattifying and pore minimizing
  2. Primer Correct for Medium to Dark Skin Tones (Orange) – Diffuses discoloration while minimizing pores
  3. Primer Correct for Redness (Green) – visibly diminishes the look of redness and discoloration from blemishes

Oil-free.

Vegan, does not contain animal products.

100% Cruelty-free. Made in the USA.

Key Benefits:

  • Available in 3 variants, including color-correcting ones for skin discolorations
  • All three are pore minimizing and mattifying
  • Extends the longevity of makeup wear
 

Cons: 

  • No claims for oil-control, which might affect performance if you have oily skin

  • Can be cakey on some types of sunblock

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Translucent
Consistency & Finish: Powdery smooth feel

Make-up Artist Tips: After hydrating, squeeze just 1-2 drops to cover problem areas.

  • “Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer – Face Makeup – Maybelline”. Maybelline.Com, 2020.
  • “Face Studio Master Prime Makeup Primer – Maybelline”. Maybelline.Com, 2020.
  • Fulton, Jr JE, S. Bradley, A. Aqundez, and T. Black. “Non-comedogenic cosmetics.” Cutis 17, no. 2 (1976): 344-5.
  • Huang, Zih-Rou, Yin-Ku Lin, and Jia-You Fang. “Biological and pharmacological activities of squalene and related compounds: potential uses in cosmetic dermatology.” Molecules 14, no. 1 (2009): 540-554. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules14010540
  • “No Poreblem Primer”. Touch In Sol, 2020.
  • “Pore Filler | NYX Professional Makeup”. NYX, 2020.
  • “Stay Matte Primer | Rimmel London US”. Rimmellondon.Com
  • “Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer – L’oréal Paris”. Lorealparisusa.Com, 2020.
 

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Samantha Welch
Samantha Welch
Samantha Welch is an esthetician and professional makeup artist. As a teen embattled with acne, her mission to have perfect skin has turned into a lifelong passion for skincare and beauty. In 2006, she co-founded HealthyBeautiful to create a space where she can share her experiences and channel her love for all things beauty. She believes that through education and resources, everyone can make informed choices that can change their lives.