Top 10 Best Non-Comedogenic Drugstore Primers

Budget-friendly primers that won’t break you out & won’t break the bank!

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Budget-friendly primers that won't break you out

Choosing makeup for acne-prone skin can be frustrating, from products that clog pores to premium ingredients that command luxury prices.

But high-quality primers with non-comedogenic formulations aren't restricted to luxury cosmetics.

There are gems to be found in the drugstore and prestige sections too.

Big brands like Maybelline and L'Oreal have fan-favorite primers that have received universal acclaim.

Makeup artist staples like Embryolisse and French pharmacy brands like La-Roche Posay, a dermatologist favorite, can also easily be found OTC.

More than anything, the formulation must be designed for your skin type and complexion concerns.

We've compiled the best non-comedogenic drugstore primers so you can pick up wallet-friendly staples that last through the seasons.

Check the “Best for” line to see which suits you best.

Esthetician's Choice:
The Best Non Comedogenic Drugstore Primers

We've curated the best non comedogenic drugstore primers for acne-prone skin based on our experience, formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews.

All products listed are explicitly labeled non comedogenic.

Make sure to choose the primer that’s best suited for your skin type and skin issues.

La Roche-Posay – Anthelios Anti-Aging Primer with SPF 50 Sunscreen

Best for: All skin types; Photo-protection from Sun damage; Sensitive skin; Wrinkles, fine lines

Our Review

Dermatologist-favorite La Roche-Posay delivers a multi-purpose primer that doubles as a sunscreen and anti-aging product.

This French drugstore brand is known for its medical-grade formulas, created specifically for skin concerns like sensitivity, acne, dryness, and rosacea.

They've reformulated their signature Anthelios sunscreen into a face primer that instantly blurs visible signs of aging and provides long-term skin protection.

  • Cell-Ox Shield® Technology – A core antioxidant technology in the Anthelios sun care line. It combines photostable UVA/UVB filters to provide broad-spectrum protection and potent antioxidant defense.
  • Senna Alata – An extract from a tropical herb that protects skin cells in the epidermis from the sun's harmful free radicals.[1]
  • La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water – A unique natural antioxidant rich in selenium[2]
  • Ceramide-3 – A skin-identical lipid that helps retain moisture and maintain a healthy skin barrier[3]
  • Niacinamide – A soothing water-soluble vitamin known for its restorative properties[4]
  • Glycerin – An excellent humectant derived from vegetable sources. It hydrates the skin by absorbing water from its surroundings.[5]
  • Dimethicone – A silicone-based polymer applied to the skin as a moisturizer to prevent water loss.[6]
  • Silica – A powder containing spherical beads that gives a smooth feel and a soft-focus effect. It is lightweight and absorbs a considerable amount of oil from the skin.[7]

This primer is cosmetically elegant, especially for a sunscreen with five active ingredients.

It has the weight of a night cream but is easily absorbed and doesn’t leave a white cast.

Dermatologist-Tested. Allergy-Tested. Suitable for sensitive skin.

Fragrance-Free. Oil-Free. Non Comedogenic primer for acne-prone skin.

Best for: Sensitive skin, Visible signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles, and pores; Uneven skin tone; Mature skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • SPF 50 broad spectrum anti-aging face primer
  • Mattifying, oil-absorbing texture
  • A potent antioxidant complex that helps protect skin from free radicals caused by UV rays.
  • Fine lines, wrinkles, and pores are visibly smoothed and blurred for an even complexion and younger-looking skin.
  • Created and rigorously tested for skin tolerance, especially on sensitive skin

Cons:

  • This can feel heavy if you have very oily skin
  • The product starts to pill if applied too quickly before makeup. Make sure to wait until the primer is set before applying your foundation.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Translucent white
Consistency & Finish: Thick and smooth with a mousse texture, Matte finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Use as you would sunscreen–apply liberally 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every 2 hours.
  • Instead of a sponge, use the warmth of your fingers to help it meld into your skin.
  • When swimming or sweating, use water-resistant sunscreen.
  • If used with other skincare products, use it as the final step in the regimen. Use as is or with makeup.

Video Review

Video: PRIMER with SPF 50 – Anthelios 50 Suncreen Primer Hides Wrinkles – Review Tutorial


Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, Face Cream, & Makeup Primer

Embryolisse – Lait-Crème Concentré, Face Cream, & Makeup Primer

Best for: All skin types, especially dehydrated and combination skin

Our Review

French pharmacy brand Embyolisse and their award-winning Lait-Crème Concentré have been a global best-seller for over 70 years.

And nothing vouches more for a formula than one that has stood the test of time.

This multi-function product has nourishing and moisturizing properties that come from natural origin ingredients. (This means it was extracted using Green Chemistry, NOT through petrol like most products.)

  • Shea butter is an excellent emollient that delivers essential fatty acids to repair the lipid barrier and increase elasticity.[8]
  • Soy proteins tone and firm your skin to help diminish fine lines[9]
  • Aloe vera & beeswax work together to soothe irritation or any redness.[10]

It leaves your skin plump and revitalized, alleviating any discomfort from dryness.

It's a cult product sold by millions to dermatologists and makeup artists. It is also a backstage staple at fashion week.

Celebrities use this as their swiss army knife of skincare.

It improves skin quality for makeup application and functions as a remover if you need to change looks quickly.

They use it to rehydrate the skin to fight off jetlag, as an overnight cream mask, and as a primer to improve overall complexion.

It can even be used as an after-shave.

The Lait-Crème Concentré also mixes incredibly well with other makeup. You can turn any cream foundation into liquid, and liquid foundation into a tinted moisturizer.

Mixing it with powder makes it creamier and helps apply highlighter or eyeshadows more consistently.

(See makeup artist tips below for other pro ways to use the Lait-Crème Concentré.)

Best for: All skin types, especially dehydrated and combination skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Multi-function: A primer, moisturizer, skincare mask, makeup remover, and an after-shave in one
  • Award-winning formula tested by time, a global best-seller for over 70 years
  • Natural origin ingredients, extracted using Green Chemistry
  • Rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins
  • A staple of celebrities and makeup artists on TV shoots, fashion shows, magazines, and movies
  • It can be used on all skin types

Cons:

  • Not fragrance-free
  • I can't use this for someone with very oily skin

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Milky-white
Consistency & Finish: Light and milky texture with a soft satin finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • If you have acne with flaky skin around the breakout, use a q-tip as an exfoliator to eliminate any dead skin cells. It's gentle and provides hydration, so the skin won't be tight and rough when you put on your foundation.
  • Absorbs quickly, but give it a minute to settle before putting on makeup. Otherwise, your foundation isn't going to apply smoothly.
  • Great to use as a quick exfoliation on dry, dehydrated skin. Take a pea-sized amount on a cotton pad and slough off the superficial layer of dry skin. This will relieve your skin of that tightness and avoid making you look wrinkly underneath the makeup.
  • Use to break down makeup as needed to a thinner consistency. If you use a cream foundation, you can transform it into a liquid foundation whenever you need a smoother application. A liquid foundation can turn into a tinted moisturizer for a healthier glow.
  • Create a luminous cream highlighter by combining the Embyrolisse with a powder highlighter. You can apply this on top of your foundation. This works amazingly well, especially under the brow.
  • It makes a great after-shave, especially for those who get skin irritations after shaving. Leave a thick coat on for about 5-10 minutes and wipe it off. This will hydrate your skin, so you don't get that tight, red, irritated feeling.
  • It also makes for a fantastic cream for your hands, elbows, and anywhere you need instant moisturizing.

TULA SKIN CARE – Brighten Up Smoothing Primer Gel

Best for: All skin types, especially Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

Our Review

Probiotic extracts are a breakthrough innovation in skincare. It helps nourish, soothe, and hydrate skin to improve its balance and calm irritation.

At the forefront of clinical testing and scientific research is prestige brand TULA, with their line of skincare products powered by superfoods, prebiotics & probiotic extracts.

Their proprietary S6Pro Complex™ is developed to provide six clinically proven benefits, including restoring, nourishing, soothing, strengthening, improving, and protecting all skin types.

To ensure high-quality, high-performance cruelty-free products, they only partner with ingredient suppliers who adhere to the industry's strictest standards.

All TULA products undergo comprehensive testing beyond dermatologist testing. This includes stability, microbiology, irritation (safety for all skin types), toxicology, and clinical claims.

They also have collections tailored to specific concerns like acne, sensitivity, and anti-aging.

We've chosen the Brighten Up Smoothing Primer Gel as the best for acne-prone skin as it has ingredients that help calm and soothe blemish-prone skin.

  • Probiotic Extracts – Improve smoothness of skin and calm irritation[11]
  • YuzuBrightens the skin for a more radiant appearance.[12]
  • Willowherb – Provides soothing relief for blemish-prone skin[13]

This silicone-free face priming gel packed with yuzu delivers brighter-looking skin.

The non-comedogenic formula grips makeup without clogging pores and bursts onto the skin to make it instantly cool and refreshing.

Cruelty-free.

Formulated Without: Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Mineral Oil & Petrolatum, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives, Triclosan, Retinol, Gluten, Silicone, Dimethicone, Synthetic Fragrance

Best for: All skin types, especially Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

Cons:

  • I find tub packaging more inconvenient than a tube with a pump. It exposes so much more product to contamination, especially if you don't use a scoop.
  • It has a subtle hint of citrus, which can bother those who prefer fragrance-free products.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Light yellow that disappears on application
Consistency & Finish: Silicone-free gel; Cooling, clear finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a dime-sized amount to cleansed, moisturized skin. This smoothing primer can be used with or without makeup and give you a smooth canvas. Use it as the final step in your skincare routine after your other products.
  • Once you've let it set, it will feel a bit tacky, which will grip your makeup and make it stay throughout the day.

Video Review

Video: REVIEW: Tula. BRIGHTEN UP SMOOTHING PRIMER GEL + Wear Test


bareMinerals Good Hydrations Silky Face Primer

bareMinerals – Good Hydrations Silky Face Primer

Best for: Dry skin, Winter use

Our Review

This hydrating non comedogenic face primer is formulated specifically for dry skin. It has powerful skin-plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and coconut alkanes that give instant and lasting hydration. Perfect for winter use.

It also improves the application and wear time of your foundation. It smooths over flaky skin, fine lines, and pores and prevents any makeup from settling into creases.

Its rich, silky texture dries to a smooth, glowing finish with a soft-focus effect. A blend of minerals also gives a hint of opalescent luminosity.

Non-comedogenic: will not clog pores or contribute to breakouts.
Oil-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free.
Contains antioxidant ingredients.

Best for: Dry skin, Winter use

*In a consumer test: 100% of women agreed this primer improved their makeup application. 97% of women felt their makeup lasted longer throughout the day. 93% of women felt their skin was more comfortable throughout the day.

Bonus: An alternative for combination skin is the COMBO CONTROL™ MILKY FACE PRIMER. This lightweight version keeps the skin’s moisture balanced while absorbing any excess oil. It has a milky feel that dries to a powdery texture for a soft, natural finish.

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Instant and lasting hydration for dry skin
  • Minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Improves application and longevity of makeup
  • Non-comedogenic: will not clog pores or contribute to acne
  • Oil-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free and fragrance-free
  • Contains antioxidant ingredients
  • Contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and coconut alkanes

Cons: It’s rich and thick. You might need to work it in some instances.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Skintone to transparent
Consistency & Finish: Rich, Silky

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a pea-sized amount after your moisturizer and before foundation.
  • Don’t rub it in—use the heat of your fingers and pat it on your skin. Wait for it to absorb before applying makeup to avoid any pilling.

Aveeno – Positively Radiant MaxGlow Hydrating Face Serum + Primer

Best for: Dry skin, Sensitive skin

Our Review

Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Maxglow is a 2-in1 brightening serum-primer that hydrates and smoothens as it preps the skin for makeup.

Its liquid formula is lightweight and fast-absorbing as well, so it doesn’t take long before you’re ready for foundation.

Soy and kiwi complex helps enhance the skin’s natural radiance.

Non-comedogenic. Hypoallergenic.
Paraben-free. Phthalate-free.

Best for: Dry skin, Sensitive skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Serum and primer in one, designed to enhance your skin’s natural radiance
  • Kiwi is nutrient-rich and full of vitamins E and C. It also helps improve the skin’s moisture retention.
  • An affordable solution for those looking for a serum as well as a primer

Cons: More serum than a primer, in our opinion, as it doesn’t do much in blurring pores or fine lines

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Milky green
Consistency & Finish: Thin with a hydrated finish

Makeup Artist Tips:

  • Very lightweight, which allows for layering.
    Best for dry but unblemished skin.
  • Will not do much in terms of covering up imperfections.

Mary Kay® Foundation Primer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Mary Kay® – Foundation Primer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Best for: All skin types, including Sensitive skin

Our Review

A primer and sunscreen in one, Mary Kay®’s foundation primer also offers broad-spectrum sun protection of up to SPF 15.

It’s an oil-free, lightweight gel that applies to your skin effortlessly to fill out any creases and imperfections in the skin. It dries quickly and leaves an even, matte finish that improves foundation wear and longevity.

This makeup primer is mineral-enriched to help absorb excess oil and diffuse light to diminish the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Results of an independent study:
98% said it applies smoothly and evenly.
90% said it helped skin look smoother.
87% said it helped perfect the appearance of skin.
85% said it helped reduce the appearance of pores.
85% said it extended the wear of makeup.
81% said skin looks healthier and helps skin look firmer.
*Over-the-counter drug product
**Results reported during a two-week independent consumer study

Dermatologist-tested. Fragrance-free. Non-comedogenic, non-pore clogging primer

Best for: All skin types, including Sensitive skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Multi-tasker primer with sunscreen for additional day protection
  • Contains a mineral optical diffuser called silica that helps reduce noticeable signs of skin flaws
  • Also contains a sin-conditioning agent to help smoothen out the application of foundation and extend its wear throughout the day

Cons: 

  • In our opinion, not hydrating enough for dry skin
  • Has a bit of a smell, but not overwhelmingly so

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: White to transparent
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight gel

Make-up Artist Tips: 

  • Apply using fingertips to improve blending with the skin.

Video Review


L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer

L'Oreal Paris – Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer

Best for: All skin types

Our Reviews

One of the best drugstore non comedogenic primers for large pores with legions of makeup fans.

The Magic Perfecting Base has a silky, lightweight texture. Some might it a bit thicker than other primers, that it’s what sticks to the pores and fine lines. Once it warms on your hands, it glides on the skin and applies easily.

This face primer leaves the skin with a matte finish that’s smooth to the touch.

Dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic.

Great Dupe for Benefit’s Porefessional & Tatcha The Silk Canvas

Best for: All skin types

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Smoothens the skin and helps erase the appearance of pores and fine lines
  • Leaves a smooth and matte finish
  • Great dupe for higher-end primers

Cons: Comes in a pot, which may seem a bit unsanitary. Use a scooper instead of your fingers

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Pinkish-transparent
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, silky texture

Makeup Artist Tips:

  • Warm the product in your fingers before applying. This helps make the primer pliable and adhere well to the skin
  • Apply in a patting motion to avoid pilling
  • Make sure you’re well exfoliated to avoid any dry patches. You can use AHA toners or serums to remove any build-up.
  • Also makes for a great eyelid primer

Video Review


Bodyography Veil Foundation Primer

Bodyography – Veil Foundation Primer

Best for: All skin types, Skin tone issues like rosacea, redness, dull skin, sallow undertones

Our Review

Bodyography is a brand found in most professional makeup artists’ repertoire. One of their best-selling products is their multi-tasking, wide range of primers. It has a clear version, a hydrating formulation, a bronzer, and color-correcting colors: green, purple, and neutral.

  • Clear primer – for all skin types.
  • Neutralizing skin tone, and smoothing lines and pores
  • Green primer – Soothes redness instantly. Perfect for correcting acne scarring and rosacea
  • Purple primer – Instantly brightens tired or dull-looking skin, also keeps makeup from appearing ashy in dark skin tones
  • Neutral primer – Brightens uneven skin tone, Conceals undereye circles and age spots
  • Bronzer primer (Tahitian Glow, Monaco Matte) – Adds warmth to your skin and helps you achieve that sun-kissed glow

This primer is anti-aging as well, formulated with antioxidants, jojoba, vitamins E & A, and grapeseed oil. This softens fine lines and prevents collagen breakdown. It is made of a weightless, professional-grade silicone based formula that gives the skin a smooth and flawless base. This foundation primer helps control oil and extends makeup wear.

Vegan. 100% Cruelty-free. PETA-certified.

Will not clog pores. Free from gluten and parabens.

Best for: All skin types, Skin tone issues like rosacea, redness, dull skin, sallow undertones

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Used by professional make-up artists
  • Have color-correcting variations to neutralize redness, dullness, and sallowness in the skin
  • Has anti-aging properties with vitamins and antioxidants that help prevent collagen breakdown
  • Smoothens fine lines and imperfections.
  • Extends wear of makeup.
  • Vegan formulation. Cruelty-free and PETA-certified.
  • Gluten-free and paraben-free.

Cons: 

  • Can be difficult to use with all the variations
  • Will have to purchase variants separately

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Variants: Clear, bronzed, color-correcting: purple, green, and neutral
Consistency & Finish: Smooth and weightless

Make-up Artist Tips: 

  • One of the few primers that we recommend using a brush on, for an even application
  • Don’t be afraid of the colors. This will blend out once you have your foundation in place.

Rimmel Lasting Matte Primer

Rimmel – Lasting Matte Primer

Best for: Oily skin

Our Review

One of the best drugstore makeup primers in terms of performance and price point.

It’s breathable, very lightweight, and doesn’t feel heavy or greasy on the skin. It also helps with a shine for up to 9-hours, with or without makeup, comparable to other high-end brands.

Rimmel’s Lasting Primer also has a matte finish but won’t dry your skin. It leaves the skin feeling silky-smooth and hydrated.

From experience, the foundation blends seamlessly upon application.

Non-comedogenic, doesn’t clog pores.

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Controls excess oil for up to 9 hours
    Extends the wear of makeup
  • One of the best drugstore makeup primers, especially considering its price
  • Non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores
  • Breathable and lightweight
  • Leaves a velvety-smooth, matte finish

Cons: No blurring action on pores, wrinkles, and fine lines, unlike higher-end primers.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: White, but goes on clear
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight with a velvet, matte finish

Makeup Artist Tips: After applying makeup, you can follow up with a setting spray to extend makeup wear.


Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Maybelline – Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Best for: All Skin Types

Our Review

A gen-z favorite, the Maybelline Instant Pore Eraser can give you a smooth and matte finish.

This blurring primer instantly blurs the look of pores without clogging them.

This makeup primer also helps soften the look of 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 a fragrance-free and non-comedogenic primer.

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

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 + Makeup Artist Tips

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 tendency of overdrying.

Video Review

Video: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer 12hr Wear Test & Review | CORRIE SIDE

References:

  1. Hennebelle, Thierry, et al. “Senna alata.” Fitoterapia 80.7 (2009): 385-393.
  2. Zeichner, Joshua, and Sophie Seite. “From Probiotic to Prebiotic Using Thermal Spring Water.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 17.6 (2018): 657-662.
  3. Wollenweber, Ute, and Mike Farwick. “Application of Skin-Identical Ceramide 3 for Enhance Skin Moisturization and Smoothness: Latest Results.” Euro. Cosmetics (2006): 1-5.
  4. Oblong, John E., and Joseph H. Jansen. “Topical Vitamins.” Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures (2022): 420-429.
  5. Greive, Kerryn. “Glycerine: the naturally effective humectant.” Dermatological Nursing 11.1 (2012): 30-34.
  6. Gawade, Rohini P., Shamal L. Chinke, and Prashant S. Alegaonkar. “Polymers in cosmetics.” Polymer Science and Innovative Applications. Elsevier, 2020. 545-565.
  7. Lam, Hubert. “Factors Enhancing Adhesion of Color Cosmetic Products to Skin: The Role of Pigments and Fillers.” Surface Science and Adhesion in Cosmetics (2021): 487-541.
  8. Mital, H. C., and F. R. Dove. “The study of shea butter.” Planta medica 20.05 (1971): 283-288.
  9. Liu, Jue-Chen, Jeff Wu, and Miri Seiberg. “Applications of Non-Denatured Soy in Skin Care.” Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology (2017): 105-124.
  10. Loden, M. “The clinical benefit of moisturizers.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 19.6 (2005): 672-688.
  11. Habeebuddin, Mohammed, et al. “Topical Probiotics: More Than a Skin Deep.” Pharmaceutics 14.3 (2022): 557.
  12. Galloway, Lindsey. “Essence of the east: brighten your complexion and soothe your skin with products containing ingredients from Asia.” Natural Health 41.1 (2010): 30-34.
  13. Mohammadi Bazargani, Mitra, Mohsen Falahati-Anbaran, and Jens Rohloff. “Comparative analyses of phytochemical variation within and between congeneric species of willow herb, Epilobium hirsutum and E. parviflorum: Contribution of environmental factors.” Frontiers in Plant Science 11 (2021): 595190.
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Jade Serieys

A beauty journalist and copywriter with over eight years’ experience in the industry. Jade has contributed to print titles in magazines like Le Figaro and various publications before shifting to freelance writing.