Top 26 Best Non-Comedogenic Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

Don’t let anything keep you from having flawless makeup. Find your holy grail with this award-winning selection of the best non-comedogenic primers for acne-prone skin. The highest-rated and best-selling in the industry, formulated for different skin types. With pro make-up tips to create the perfect canvas!

The Best Non-Comedogenic Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

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Create a Smooth, Flawless Canvas while Preventing Clogged Pores

As someone with oily and acne-prone skin, finding holy grail makeup that doesn’t irritate your skin or clog up your pores is nothing short of a miracle.

Finding the right makeup is hard enough, the last thing you need is to put on something that would aggravate your skin.

The frustration of looking into the mirror and discovering a new pimple is horrible, but the feeling of frantically trying to cover it up is even worse.[1] (Yes, we’ve all been there.)

When that happens, it perpetuates a horrid cycle of getting acne and trying to cover it up. We want to break this cycle and get it right, from skincare to makeup.

Prevention is always better than cure.

Using high-quality, non comedogenic products is one of the keys to preventing acne.

In makeup, that starts with a non comedogenic primer.

The best makeup primers for acne-prone skin should not clog your pores or cause breakouts.

A primer’s job is to create a flawless canvas, and it does so by filling in any gaps like pores and wrinkles on our face. This also means that it’s the closest and deepest makeup we apply to our skin.

If you’re prone to acne or have oily skin, it’s very important for you to use a primer that doesn’t clog pores.

Non comedogenic or non acnegenic means the product is specially formulated not to cause acne. It’s void of ingredients that are known to be irritating or can exacerbate breakouts.

Sometimes primers can even be a hybrid of skincare and makeup, with special formulations that can benefit our skin and address other issues.

There’s a laundry list of primers out there but we’ve curated only the best non-comedogenic primers based on our experience, efficacy, and other consumer reviews.

Make sure to check the Best For: line to see which one is most compatible with your skin.

Ask the Expert: Tips & Tricks for Buying and Using Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

by Samantha Welch, Esthetician & Make-up Artist


Non-comedogenic makeup primers are essential for people with acne-prone skin who regularly wears makeup.

It helps prevent breakouts and provides a protective barrier between your makeup and your skin. It also helps give you a flawless base by filling up pores, uneven texture, wrinkles, and fine lines. It adds longevity to your makeup, as well as brightness and radiance to your color cosmetics.

It’s one thing to have the perfect face primer, but it won’t be as effective if it’s not used properly.

Primers, whose main job is to create a flawless canvas, are the closest makeup to sit on our skin. You apply it right after your moisturizer or sunscreen, and before your foundation.

And when you have large pores, the only way to recreate refined skin is to mash it down until it disappears. (Makeup artist tip—push it down with a rolling motion to avoid pilling.) It sits on the skin for the rest of the day and if you get the right primer, it’s going to glide on makeup to perfection.

Here are a few tips and tricks for buying and using primers:

  • Clear out any build-up of (sometimes invisible) dead skin. This will prevent uneven application and that sketchy-looking surface you get when you apply foundation on dry skin. You can use physical exfoliation during cleansing or chemical exfoliation through AHA toners or AHA serums.
  • Moisturize well beneath your primer and wait for 5 minutes or so to let it absorb fully. If you apply your primer on skin that has traces of moisturizer, your foundation will break up into patches pretty easily. If you have acne-prone skin, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer underneath. Something with a matte finish like La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer is a great choice for oily skin.
  • It’s very important for people with large pores to always keep the oils at bay because they reflect light and tend to exaggerate the skin’s uneven texture. A face that is mattified, however, can give your skin an airbrushed finish.
  • If you have oily skin, use the right face wash to avoid the early production of sebum.
  • Primers not only make your skin look smoother, but they also help make your foundation stick to your skin for hours on end. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but you should always try to combine products that have the same base. 

    If you apply a water-based foundation to a silicone primer, the silicone primer will tend to repel the foundation and prevent it from thoroughly blending into your skin. This can cause unevenness and will not make your makeup last as long as it could.

    You should always try to combine makeup based on the same ingredients–silicone-based primers works best with silicone foundations and water-based primers with water-based foundations.
  • Do not rub your primer. Rubbing will ball up the product instead of setting it into your pores. Just press and pat gently with your fingers until you’ve filled all your pores. The heat from your fingers will lead to better application.
  • Try not to over-apply your primer. Overdoing it will cause your concealer or foundation to slide sooner than later. Just use a small drop and apply a thin layer on your skin.
  • Remember, not every product will work for every person. You may need to try and observe which combination of products will work best for your skin.
Table Of Contents
  1. Create a Smooth, Flawless Canvas while Preventing Clogged Pores
  2. Ask the Expert: Tips & Tricks for Buying and Using Primers for Acne-Prone Skin
  3. Esthetician's Choice: The Best Non Comedogenic Primers for Acne-Prone Skin
  4. Buying Cheat Sheet:
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. References:
  7. Top 24 Best Non-Comedogenic Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

Esthetician's Choice:
The Best Non Comedogenic Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

We've curated the best non comedogenic makeup 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.

Colorescience Mattifying Face Primer SPF 20

Colorescience Mattifying Face Primer SPF 20

Best for: Oily skin, Sensitive & Acne-prone skin

Our Review

This new and improved formula from Colorscience jumps to the top of our best-of list as they deliver an extraordinary primer that goes above and beyond for oily, blemish-prone skin.

It is skin-perfecting upon application, instantly reducing the appearance of large pores, blemishes, and other imperfections.

It glides on like a dream with its whipped texture in a universal nude shade that melts into your skin for a smoother finish.

It controls shine with its mattifying base and works gently to correct blemishes as plant extracts provide antioxidants to soothe and calm your skin.

This primer also has a laundry list of skincare benefits that improve your skin the longer you use it.

  • (New!) Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 help improve texture and skin firmness
  • (New!) Hydrolized Rice Protein improves moisture and smooth skin
  • Salicyclic Acid help remove excess oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract calms your skin and protects it against harmful pollutants
  • Jojoba Seed Oil & Esters conditions and hydrates the skin, locks in moisture
  • Oat Kernel Protein softens and smoothens your skin’s texture
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract is an antioxidant that soothes the skin and protects it from environmental aggressors

It also protects your skin from the harmful, photoaging rays of the sun.

The new formula ups its Non-nano Titanium Dioxide from 2.8% to 5% and adjusts its white-casting Non-nano Zinc Oxide from 5.3% to 4.5%.

Its improved UVA/UVB defense rating of PA+++ broad-spectrum 20 SPF has made it a sunscreen recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Lastly, this primer is exceptional because it is water-resistant and sweat-resistant for 40 minutes.

You can stay out without worrying about your oil, pores, sun damaging your skin, and sweat aggravating your blemishes as you go about your day.

This primer is corrective, perfecting, and protective all in one.

Dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic. Non-comedogenic.

All-mineral (free of chemical-active ingredients).

Talc-free (unlike other mattifying primers).

Reef-safe. Cruelty-free. Vegan.

Fragrance-free. Paraben-free.

Best for: Suitable for all skin types, including oily, sensitive, and acne-prone skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Reduces the appearance of large pores, minimizes blemishes, improves skin texture
  • Controls oil, corrects blemishes, soothes skin with antioxidants
  • Has a unique whipped texture that glides on like silk and melts to an even finish
  • Hydrates and nourishes the skin with its hydrolyzed rice protein, oat kernel protein, jojoba seel oil, and esters
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • UVA/UVB PA+++ broad-spectrum 20 SPF
  • 100% mineral protection free from chemical-active ingredients.
  • Hypoallergenic. Non-comedogenic. Fragrance-free. Paraben-free.
  • Reef-safe. Vegan. Cruelty-free.
  • Sweat- and Water-resistant (40 minutes)

Cons: 

  • Does not offer color coverage; you still need concealer for spots
  • Does not match skin tones despite its universal nude shade

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base:  Silicone-based
Color: 
Universal nude shade to even out skin tone
Consistency & Finish: 
Lightweight, whipped texture that melts and leaves the skin with a smooth and even finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Use just half a pump (instead of a while pump) into your fingertips. Dot around the face and blend for even coverage.
  • You can wear this alone or under makeup.
  • As this has a lot of moisturizing properties, you can replace your moisturizer with this primer except in cases where you have dry or fragile skin.
  • As with all SPF products, wait 15 minutes before sun exposure to get complete protection.

elizabeth arden flawless start instant perfecting primer

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer

Best for: All skin types; Issues with skin texture

Winner: IMAGE Beauty Awards

Our Review

A product that you’ll find in most professional make-up artists’ arsenal–and with very good reason.

This pore-minimizing primer features a triple-blurring complex with light-diffusing technology that immediately blurs pores and fine lines to create an immaculate canvas for the rest of your makeup.

From experience, this one makes you Insta-ready in a flash.

One of the best primers for acne-prone skin, especially for those with texture issues.

The formulation also contains longwear polymers which are a balance of emollients to keep your skin moisturized and give you a radiant glow.

Its unique time-released skin-balancing technology helps control shine while locking in moisture throughout the day.

This primer is silky, lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic; all essential in keeping any potential breakouts at bay as it doesn’t clog pores.

All the above combined can give you an even-toned, retouched appearance in an instant.

Best for: All skin types especially Mature skin, Enlarged pores, Fine lines; Issues with skin texture

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Triple-Blurring Complex – light-diffusing, soft focus ingredients to instantly perfect your skin’s texture and minimize the appearance of pores, wrinkles, and fine lines.
  • Time-Release Skin Balancing Technology – a unique formulation of hyaluronic acid and botanical extracts to hydrate and plump lines, while hollow silica beads help absorb oil throughout the day
  • Longwear Polymers – a balance of emollients that adhere to the skin and extend the wear of your foundation
  • Instant retouched look, very useful for those with skin texture issues
  • Winner: IMAGE Beauty Awards 2016

Cons: For those with oily skin, you’ll need to blot after around two hours. From experience, it’s not as oil-controlling as the other primers on this list.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicon-based primer
Color: 
Nude
Consistency & Finish: 
Silky, lightweight, universal-tint primer

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a thin layer throughout your face and under the jaw. The blurring effect should be instantaneous.
  • Allow the primer to set for at least 10 seconds before applying your foundation.
  • It’s quite thick before its set, so a little goes a long way

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++

Best for: All skin types including Sensitive Skin

Our Review

3-in-1 powerhouse makeup primer that’s backed by science: it protects, blurs, and primes for 12 hours.

This face primer gives an instant 30% reduction in the appearance of pores*. It goes on the skin to seal fine lines for a smooth finish, while its Soft-focus Complex gives your skin an even tone.

This primer has a gel-like texture and applies like velvet. One drop goes a long way. Perfect for those no-makeup days.

That’s not to say it doesn’t compliment your color cosmetics. Blush and eyeshadows wear longer and stay true for 12 hours.

It also has an innovative blend of skin benefits. An invisible SPF technology provides you with sun protection without giving you that infamous white cast.

Extracts from sunflower, barley, and cucumber improve your skin’s ability to preserve hydration.

Mushroom peptides help repair your skin’s resilience and combat visible signs of skin aging.

Formulated without: Formaldehyde, Petrolatum/Petroleum, Sulfates, Mineral Oil, Parabens, Animal-Derived Ingredients, Oxybenzone, Gluten

Non-comedogenic primer that doesn’t clog pores. Cruelty-free.

*In-vitro results in a 3-day clinical trial. Results came after 1 minute of application to the skin.

Best for: All skin types (Normal, Oily, Combination, Dry, Sensitive); looking for a multi-purpose primer

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • 3-in-1 multi-purpose face primer that has skincare qualities
  • Invisible SPF sun protection that doesn’t leave a white cast
  • Soft-focus Complex blurs skin pores and fine lines, as well as evens out skin tone
  • Cucumber, Barley, and Sunflower extract improve the skin’s ability to preserve moisture
  • Mushroom peptides help rebuild skin firmness and elasticity
  • Great for all skin types, even sensitive skin
  • Murad is a cruelty-free brand.

Cons:

  • On the higher end of the makeup primer scale
  • Tendency to pill on flaky skin

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicon-based primer
Color: Transparent gel
Consistency & Finish: Velvety smooth, lightweight feel

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Make sure you have exfoliated well as it tends to pill when put on skin with a lot of leftover dead skin cells. Use exfoliants regularly and before application to sweep off excess skin.
  • Don’t rub it in—just pat normally. As mentioned, a little goes a long way.

Video Review


Dermablend Insta-Grip Jelly Face Primer

Dermablend Insta-Grip Jelly Face Primer

Best for: All skin types, Longwear & full coverage makeup, Acne-prone skin

Our Review

This is a powerful 3-in-1 multi-tasking primer that gives 24-hour extended makeup wear, is an instant facial moisturizer and delivers a subtle skin-tightening effect. All this makes for a better makeup application and longer wear.

Its unique jelly texture, formulated with panthenol (Vitamin B5) and cork extract, help grip onto makeup for up to a 24-hour staying power. (You can sweat through a concert and it will stick!)

This makes it one of the best primers for acne-prone skin in our opinion because having a solid grip on foundation and concealer means fewer touch-ups on spots and blemishes throughout the day. This is crucial for those battling acne.[2]

It’s also quick-absorbing, formulated with plant extracts and glycerin to moisturize, smoothen, and tighten skin for enhanced makeup application.

The silicone-free, non comedogenic, jelly texture dries to a natural finish and creates a fresh canvas.

Formulated without: parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate.

Developed for safety: dermatologist-tested, fragrance-free, allergy-tested, sensitive skin-tested, non comedogenic makeup primer, non-acnegenic.

Vegan formula: no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts.

Best for: All skin types including sensitive skin and acne-prone skin, Longwear & full coverage makeup

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Unique sticky jelly texture grips onto makeup for up to 24-hours
  • Preps skin for a smooth makeup application
  • 3-in-1 product: makeup gripper, instant moisturizer, and tightening mask
  • Formulated without: parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Developed for safety: dermatologist-tested, fragrance-free, allergy-tested, sensitive skin tested, non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic.
  • Vegan formula: no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts.

Cons:

  • Super sticky, which may be hard to smooth on the face
  • Can be hard to use, you really have to practice as it can be really tacky
  • Don’t do your hair first! It’s that sticky (yes, we’re back to sticky)

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Clear
Consistency & Finish: Jelly-like texture, natural finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply 1 to 2 pumps on your fingers and apply to your face in outward and upward strokes. Let it absorb for at least 30 seconds before applying your foundation.
  • Use a damp beauty blender to apply foundation for a smoothing effect.

Video Review

Video: How To Apply The Insta-Grip™ Jelly Primer | Dermablend Professional


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 beauty 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
  • Soy proteins tone and firm your skin to help diminish fine lines
  • Aloe vera & beeswax work together to soothe irritation or any redness

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

It's a cult product sold by the 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 quickly change looks.

They use it to re-hydrate 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
  • Can be used on all skin types

Cons:

  • Has a bit of fragrance, for those with has issues with it
  • 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 get rid of 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 pretty 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.
  • 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.
  • Also makes for a fantastic cream for your hands, elbows, and anywhere you need instant moisturizing.

Tatcha The Silk Canvas

Tatcha THE SILK CANVAS Filter Finish Protective Primer

Best for: All skin types, Uneven texture, Pores, Fine lines and wrinkles

Our Review

Another incredible multi-tasker that has a myriad of benefits to your skin and makeup application.

True to its namesake, the Tatcha Silk Canvas has silk extracts that instantly reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines to create an impeccable makeup base.

Gold and pink pearls give you a healthy and even-toned complexion.

Silk powder goes on evenly, lessens shine, and gives the skin a soft-focus finish. This also helps with the longevity of your makeup.

An array of botanicals helps protect your skin by acting as a shield from pollution and environmental stress. This mechanism also assists in preventing clogged pores and breakouts.

It also has natural active ingredients and supports the skin’s barrier to support it against future aggressors. This helps prevent wrinkles and damaged skin.

Tatcha is known for its proprietary anti-aging blend of Japanese superfoods called Hadasei-3™. As sure enough, it’s also included in their primer. It’s a mix of green tea, algae, and rice that helps visibly repair skin.

Suitable for the face, lips, and eyes.

Non-comedogenic primer that doesn’t clog pores. Non-sensitizing. Non-irritating.
Dermatologist tested. Cruelty-free.

Formulated without: Synthetic fragrances, Parabens, Urea, Mineral oil, Sulfate detergents, Phthalates, DEA or TEA.

Instant results:
• 100% of subjects agreed that their skin felt smoother immediately after application.

After 2 weeks:
• 100% of subjects agreed after using the primer that their skin felt soft, fresh, and natural, more even-toned, younger, and healthier, and their makeup applied more smoothly
• 95% of subjects agreed after using the primer that their skin had a healthy glow, a soft “filter finish” look even without makeup, their skin had a satin finish, and their foundation had better coverage
• 90% of subjects agreed after using the primer that their makeup did not crease and that they would wear the primer alone without makeup
*Based on a consumer study of 20 women. Individual results may vary.

Best for: All skin types, Uneven texture, Pores, Fine lines and wrinkles

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Silk extracts blur the skin and reduce the appearance of pores, wrinkles, and other imperfections
  • Silk powder helps makeup adhere longer, lessen excess oil, and smoothen out makeup application. It also provides a soft-focus finish.
  • An anti-pollution barrier made from botanicals protects against environmental aggressors that can damage the skin. This also helps with preventing acne and clogged pores.
  • Gold and pink pearls give a healthy glow and even out skin tone.
    The anti-aging trinity of Tatcha, Hadasei-3™, is integrated into the formulation. Rice, green tea, and algae are superfoods that help rebuild young skin.
  • Suitable not just for the face, but for eyes and lips as well.

Cons:

  • One the high-end scale
  • Comes in a compact which necessitates the use of a spatula (I always lose these things!)

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Nude balm
Consistency & Finish: Velvety balm with a silky-smooth feel

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Don’t be tempted to use your fingers to get the product from the compact. This can foster bacteria and ruin the entire batch. Always use the spatula it comes with. (I know it’s annoying, but hygiene.)
  • Only use a rice-sized amount for the whole face. (Yes, it takes small to a new level. But it’s also very expensive so this is great for extending usage.)
  • If you use moisturizer and sunscreen prior, make sure to wait until your skincare is settled before applying your primer.

YVES SAINT LAURENT Touche Éclat Blur Primer

YVES SAINT LAURENT Touche Éclat Blur Primer

Best for: All skin types including Sensitive skin, Uneven skin tone

Our Review

YSL’s first (and best-selling) illuminating primer. They combined their famous TOUCHE ÉCLAT highlighter effect with advanced blur technology. This formula allows light to be diffused optimally and obscures any skin imperfections to create a flawless complexion.

This sets it apart from other makeup primers that most contain opaque fillers, which can dull your skin. It boosts your foundation so you can have a radiant, strobing effect.

The YSL blur primer comes in a light, transparent, and non-greasy gel with gold particles to give you a delicate glow. It’s also enriched with passiflora oil and kernel oil to help nourish and moisturize your skin.

All this gives you refined pores, instant radiance, and luminosity. It can be used over or under your foundation.

Non-comedogenic foundation primer.

Best for: All skin types including sensitive skin, Uneven skin tone.

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Advanced blur technology that optimally diffuses light to refine any lines, pores, and even out skin tone
  • Has nourishing oils to keep skin moisturized
  • Golden particles for a glowing shimmer
  • Light, non-greasy, doesn’t leave any residue
  • A radiance-boosting foundation primer

Cons:

  • A high-end product that would come as an investment
  • Has a few oils which can be a little off-putting for oily skin (It’s labeled non-comedogenic though, so less worry about it clogging your pores.)

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Transparent
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight gel, Illuminated finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • This is one of those brightening primers that can be worn over or under your foundation. (Insider tip: Jennifer Lopez, prefers her luminizers under her foundation!)
  • Apply one pump of the product to your hands and apply using your fingers in a gentle, sweeping motion.
  • Wait for about 10-15 seconds for it to melt into your skin before applying foundation.

Video Review


Milk Makeup Blur Stick, Matte Blurring Primer

Milk Makeup Blur Stick, Matte Blurring Primer

Best for: Normal to Oily skin

Our Review

A very unique primer that comes in a stick rather than a liquid or cream. This would come in very handy for travel or on the go.

It features a Universal Face Filter that diminishes the appearance of pores by a whopping 68* using their distinctive blurring microsphere technology.

These are tiny spheres that are filled with powder. They mattify the skin, absorb excess oil, and eradicate unwanted shine. Most importantly, it diffuses light and soft-focuses it to blur out imperfections. (This is available on their range of products as well as their foundation.)

This face primer glides on clear and leaves the skin smooth and matte, ready for makeup.

Because it’s so handy (fits in your pocket!), touch-ups on your T-zone are easy throughout the day.

It’s formulated free from: alcohol, talc, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, silicone, soy, oil, and gluten.

Vegan. Cruelty-free.

*According to a user study with an average result of 52%.

Best for: Normal to Oily skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Blurs pores and minimizes its appearance for up to 68* with their unique blurring microsphere technology
  • Let the skin breathe with its silicone-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic formulation.
  • Clear shade, making it compatible with every skin tone.
  • Leaves the skin with a smooth, matte finish

Cons:

  • Warm the product first with your hands before applying so it goes on easier. Start from the center of the face and sweep outwards.
  • For dry or dehydrated skin, make sure to moisturize and hydrate before applying.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Color: Clear
Consistency & Finish: Stick that melts on your skin, matte finish

Makeup Artist Tips:

  • Warm the product first with your hands before applying so it goes on easier. Start from the center of the face and sweep outwards.
  • For dry or dehydrated skin, make sure to moisturize and hydrate before applying.

First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Best for: Dryness, Dehydrated skin, Pores, Dull skin, Uneven skin tone & texture

Winner: Allure Best of Beauty Award

Our Review

If you are acne-prone but also have dehydrated or dry skin (caused by medication, unbalanced skin, or even the weather!), finding a non comedogenic primer that isn’t matte or oil-absorbing can be tricky.

This 2-in-1 primer-moisturizer meets this unique skincare need with rave reviews. It’s formulated with hydrating coconut water and superfood ingredients rich in electrolytes, vital proteins, and minerals.

This priming moisturizer hydrates and smoothens in one step while blurring pores and other imperfections. It grips makeup to make it long-lasting throughout the day.

Micro-pearls gives a subtle, dewy luminosity that combined with hydrated skin, gives off a beautiful healthy-looking glow.

Key ingredients include: Coconut Water, Quinoa ProteinMineral Blend, and Micro-pearls.

Oil-Free, Allergy-Tested, Gluten-Free, Non-Comedogenic, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Suitable for Sensitive Skin, Vegan.

Best for: Dry & dehydrated skin, Pores, Dull skin, Uneven skin tone, and texture

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Coconut Water – nutrient-rich water that helps hydrate and revitalize skin with electrolytes, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients
  • Quinoa Protein – a superfood with high levels of complete proteins to help repair, protect, and strengthen the skin
  • Mineral Blend – a blend of copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, and silica to support skin health
  • Micro-pearls – finely-milled minerals that reflect light and give a luminous effect
  • Does NOT contain any: Alcohol, Artificial Colorants, Artificial Fragrance, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Parabens, Petrolatum, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Sulfates, Talc, Formaldehydes, Oxybenzone, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclocarbon, Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol, Denatured Alcohol, Methanol, N-Butyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, SD Alcohol
  • Primer for acne-prone skin that is also dry or dehydrated

Cons: It leaves a dewy finish, which we don’t recommend on oily skin or those with acne scarring and large pores as they can accentuate these issues. (You should use a matte primer or primers for large pores.)

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Light beige, disappears once blended
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight

Make-up Artist Tips: Wear alone or with a thin layer of foundation for a natural look.


Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer

Best for: All skin types; Fine lines & wrinkles, Pores

Our Review

This award-winning primer has a wrinkle-smoothing formula that leaves a soft veil over the skin’s surface—concealing fine lines, pores, wrinkles, and other imperfections.

It has an ultra-light texture that melts into your skin but neither weighs down nor clogs your pores. Your skin becomes even and flawless, ready for your foundation.

Key ingredients include: Vitamin EAcacia Micro-pearls, and Pink Pearl Pigments.

Non-comedogenic; allergy and ophthalmologist tested.

Best for: All skin types, Mature skin, Fine lines and wrinkles, Pores

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Leaves a soft veil over the skin’s surface—concealing fine lines, pores, wrinkles, and other imperfections
  • Vitamin E – protects the skin
  • Acacia Micro-pearls – temporarily refines skin and fills in fine lines and wrinkles
  • Pink Pearl Pigments – Optically minimizes fine lines and wrinkles by blurring or softening the skin’s appearance
  • Non-comedogenic; allergy and ophthalmologist tested.

Cons:

  • Quite pricey for the amount of product, though a dime size is all you need for the entire face.
  • If you put it on too thickly, it can clump up with a powder foundation.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Skintone
Consistency & Finish: Ultra-lightweight, Creamy

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Always use the scooper it comes with when getting the product from the container. It’s more hygienic and the primer won’t get under your nails (yikes).
  • Wait a few minutes before applying your foundation. The heat from your skin will help the primer melt into fine lines and pores.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

Best for: Combination skin with large pores & fine lines

Our Review

This pore filling primer can work for both dry and oily zones, so it’s perfect for combination skin.

The texture is thick and comes in a neutral shade, which disappears on the skin once applied.

It also helps your foundation stay throughout the day as it’s specifically formulated to be worn under makeup.

It also has several vitamins (A & C), mulberry extract, and a dose of retinol. This gradually helps banish pores while leaving the skin firmer, hydrated, and detoxified. Make sure to pair with a good non-comedogenic sunscreen though, as retinol can be photosensitizing.

As mentioned, only apply a thin layer to avoid a patchy foundation and make your makeup last throughout the day.

Best for: Combination skin with large pores & fine lines

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Virtually erases pores and imperfections
  • Creates a smooth, airbrushed surface for flawless makeup application
  • Brightens the skin, improves skin texture and minimizes fine lines over time
  • Improves makeup wearability
  • Vitamins A & C, Mulberry extract – brightens the skin and leaves it hydrated, firmer, and detoxified
  • Ivy extract – helps smoothen skin texture with regular use
  • Retinyl Palmitate – helps retain skin elasticity and suppleness
  • Gluten-free, Paraben-free.
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free.

Cons:

  • There’s only one shade (light beige). Whilst it disappears into the skin once blended, it can look ashen on deeper skin tones.
  • It has a small dose of ivy extract, which can be irritating to sensitive skin.
  • Also has a dose of retinol which can be photosensitizing. Make sure to use a good non-comedogenic sunscreen to avoid any redness or sensitivities.
  • There’s really no mechanism for oil control, so if that’s something you’re looking for in particular for a primer, some of the earlier ones mentioned might be more suited to your needs.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Light beige, disappears once blended
Consistency & Finish: Silicone-rich, Thick with a dry-finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a nickel-sized amount alone or prior to bronzers, powders, or foundation for an airbrushed finish
  • Careful to overdo the application as it has a tendency to pill.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

Best for: All skin types; Tired & dull skin

Featured in The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible

Winner: Best in Beauty Icon, Readers Choice. Woman & Home Best in Beauty.

Winner: Best Instant Skin Perfector. Woman’s Own Ageless Beauty Awards.

Our Review

A classic and one of Clarin’s most popular radiance boosters, this product is sold once every 20 minutes worldwide.

This brightening balm eliminates signs of fatigue and is the ultimate refresher for tired, stressed skin. It instantly moisturizes, brightens, and tightens the skin so your face looks rested and relaxed.

Key Ingredients:

  • Witch Hazel – diffuses the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps to visibly smooth the skin’s surface
  • Olive – Lends radiance and tightening effect
  • Bisabolol – soothes and helps restore the skin’s youthful glow
  • Rice – mattifies the skin

This non-oily formula makes for a great primer for hours of luminous makeup wear.

Quick tip: When applied in a thick layer, you can use this as a 10-minute “energy mask.”

Allergy-tested and non-comedogenic.

Best for: All skin types; Tired, Dull skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Diminishes signs of fatigue
  • Restores the skin’s youthful glow
  • Smooths and soothes the skin

Cons: We find that the glow effect diminishes after a few hours.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Skin-toned, invisible finish
Consistency & Finish: Creamy, lightweight

Make-up Artist Tips: After cleansing, apply a thin layer and do not rub. Glide in an upwards motion for a tightening effect.

Video Review


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; as well as prevents any makeup from setting into the 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 is a lightweight version that 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 breakouts
  • 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.

Dr brandt pores no more® PORE REFINER PRIMER

dr brandt pores no more PORE REFINER PRIMER

Best for: All skin types especially Oily skin; Large pores, fine lines, and imperfections

Winner: Bride’s Magazine Beauty Award Winner – Best Shine Stopper

Our Review

“Dr. Brandt’s pores no more pore refiner primer is my secret to having close-up-ready skin. It shrinks the size of pores and refines the skin. It is brilliant!”

– Gwyneth Paltrow

A cult favorite that helped put dr. brandt on the map. Their pore refiner primer gives an instant fix* to enlarged pores so you can be selfie-ready in a heartbeat.

It can be used before foundation or over during touch-ups. The silky formula has been proven to keep the shine off and instantly absorb excess oil.

It can also shrink the appearance of pores in time due to its red clover flower extract and salicylic acid derivative.

This derivative of salicylic acid helps to gently exfoliate the skin and reduce oil build-up. It also smoothens skin texture as well as calms any irritation.

Red Clover flower extract helps rebalance the skin and curtail the skin conditions that affect pore enlargement.

Hypoallergenic. Dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic, will not clog pores.
Fragrance-free.

Individual results may vary. AFTER ONE APPLICATION: – Skin oiliness is significantly decreased by 40%
– 100% showed a decrease in the appearance of pore size*
– 90% reported that the skin complexion looks more even**
– 87% reported that the skin is perfectly shine-free**

AFTER 2 WEEKS OF USE:**
– 100% reported that the product visibly reduces the appearance of pores
– 100% reported that the product absorbs excess oil
– 93% reported that the product blurs the look of imperfections and lines

*Instrumental evaluation conducted on 30 volunteers
** Self-assessment conducted on 30 volunteers

Best for: Normal to combination skin with large pores

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Oil-absorbing spheres that diffuse light and mattify to diminish the appearance of expression lines, pores, and wrinkles
  • A derivative of Salicylic Acid lightly exfoliates and removes dead skin cells to smoothen skin texture and avoid any oil congestion in your pores
  • Red Clover Flower Extract rebalances the skin and helps shrink the appearance of pores

Cons:

  • The tea tree oil comes through a little bit, but not exceedingly so.
  • Has a tendency to pill on dry, flaky skin
  • Has tea tree and lavender oil in minute amounts, but can still irritate sensitive skin

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Nude
Consistency & Finish: Mattifying, thick

Make-up Artist Tips: Make sure to exfoliate and moisturize well prior to application or it can accentuate the area

Video Review


Dermablend Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer

Dermablend Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer

Best for: All skin types, Normal to Oily skin with large pores, Acne-prone skin

Our Review

This brand-new release from Dermablend is one of the best mattifying, non comedogenic primers for oily skin. It instantly reduces the appearance of large pores and gives the skin a matte finish.

This lightweight gel has been formulated with only 6 ingredients to avoid any major irritants. It absorbs excess oil as well without drying the skin.

The Poresaver Primer also extends makeup for up to 24 hours and leaves the skin smooth to the touch.

You can apply this the ways: under makeup as usual, alone, or mixed with your favorite foundation.

Formulated without: Tricosans, Phthalates, Fragrance, Parabens, Sodium Laurel Sulfate.

Vegan formula: no animal byproducts or derived ingredients from it were used.

Dermatologist-tested. Noncomedogenic primer that doesn’t clog pores.

Best for: All skin types, Normal to Oily skin with large pores, Acne-prone skin

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Pore minimizing primer
  • Absorbs oil and mattifies the skin without drying it out
  • Extends makeup wear for up to 24 hours
  • Can be applied three ways: mixed with foundation, alone, or under makeup
    Formulated with only 6 ingredients

Cons: Can be drying to dehydrated or flaky skin

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: White/transparent gel
Consistency & Finish: Smooth and light, Creamy

Make-up Artist Tips: 

  • After applying, allow the primer for at least 30 seconds to settle into the skin.
  • Make sure to exfoliate before applying to avoid the primer clinging to dry flakes on the skin. You can use a gentle AHA toner regularly to avoid build-up.

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.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore Minimizing

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Pore Minimizing Primer

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

Winner: Allure Best of Beauty Award

Our Review

A very popular primer from Smashbox that’s known for noticeably reducing the appearance of pores.

It keeps oil at bay for up to 8-hours and leaves the skin with a mattified finish.

It’s oil-free and water-resistant, with a smooth-glide effect that gives skin a soft and even texture.

This is a non comedogenic primer that doesn’t clog pores.

Formulated without: Fragrance, Oil, phthalates, sulfate, parabens, SLS, and talc.
Vegan & Cruelty-free.

In a consumer study on 99 women after 1 use:
• 97% saw the look of pores minimized
• 97% said skin felt smoother
• 96% felt makeup went on smoother

In a consumer study on 99 women after 1 week of use:
• 93% said it worked well with their skin tone
• 90% said it helped makeup last all day
• 90% said makeup required fewer touch-ups

Best for: Oily skin with large pores

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Reduces the look of pores
  • Controls excess oil and leaves a matte finish
  • Oil-free and water-resistant, which helps with its longevity on the skin
  • Smooth-glide effect for easier application
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free.
  • Non comedogenic primer for acne-prone skin

Cons: From experience, this doesn’t work well with dry, flaky skin. Make sure you exfoliate or use an AHA or BHA toner before application

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Skin tone
Consistency & Finish: Smooth, matte finish

Make-up Artist Tips: 

  • Make sure to warm your fingers before applying for a smooth application.
  • You can pat this over makeup whenever you need touch-ups.

Video Review

Video: PHOTO FINISH PORE MINIMIZING PRIMER


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, will not clog pores.

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


NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler

NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler Primer

Best for: Normal to combination skin with large pores

Our Review

Nyx Cosmetic’s Pore filler is a holy grail to many. One of the best non comedogenic drugstore primers that stands above its peers.

This pore filling primer is quite similar to Benefit’s the Porefessional above and L’Oreal’s Magic Base in that it’s mattifying and dries to an almost powdery finish.

The consistency is thick (I’d say it’s similar to royal icing) so you can use this to zero in on your problem areas. After applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer (don’t forget to wait until it’s fully absorbed!) squeeze a pea-sized amount on your fingers and gently pat it in.

It’s weightless on the skin and the initial peachy tint fades out so you can wear it underneath your concealer or foundation without it clashing with any shade.

The tube is pretty small but it’s very affordable and you’ll only use it in small amounts so it should last for a long time. Keep away if you have dry skin because it has a tendency to cause makeup to look cakey.

If you’re looking for more budget-friendly choices, you can refer to our list of the best drugstore primer for large pores.

Great Dupe for Benefit’s Porefessional

Best for: Normal to combination skin with large pores

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Helps minimize the appearance of pores
  • Preps your complexion for smoother makeup application
  • Infused with Vitamin E
  • Oil-free, Talc-free.

Cons: For comparison’s sake, this version is a bit tackier than the Porefessional. This can also leave you patchy if you’ve peeling or dry areas.

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Translucent peachy tint that sheers out when applied
Consistency & Finish: Mattifying, thick & dries to a powdery finish

Make-up Artist Tips: Set for a few minutes so it won’t pill. Make sure to exfoliate and moisturize well because it can give you dry patches if you have any peeling or dry spots.


Shiseido Refining Makeup Primer

Shiseido Refining Makeup Primer

Best for: All skin types

Our Review

A 2-in-1 primer-sunscreen that works to refine and protect the skin. It fills lines and erases skin imperfections for a smooth and natural finish.

This foundation primer also has a universal shade that helps balance any redness, dullness, and unevenness to brighten the complexion. Works for every skin tone.

It also contains SPF 21 helps defends the skin against sun damage.

Dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic.

Best for: All skin types

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • 2-in-1 sunscreen primer with SPF 20
  • Evens out skin tone, leaving the skin radiant and bright
  • Fills in imperfections like fine lines

Cons: 

  • Has no blurring mechanism for pores unlike most primers
  • Might be too drying for dehydrated or dry skin

Formulation

Color: Pink-white/Nude color (We find that how it comes off depends on your skin tone)
Consistency & Finish: Similar to a moisturizer, Natural finish

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 out there, 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


Aveeno Positively Radiant MaxGlow Hydrating Face Serum + Primer

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. Also help 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.

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 has a matte finish as well 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.


Laura Mercier Foundation Primer: Blemish-Less
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Blemish-Less

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer: Blemish-Less

Best for: Acne-prone, Oily Skin

Our Review

This is another specialist primer that doubles as a primer and blemish minimizer.

It’s an oil-free formula that smooths the skin to an even surface for the perfect makeup application. It also helps the product glide on easily and last longer. This means you’re color-true for hours and look fresh throughout the day.

If you’re on the oily side, this also helps control shine and minimize the appearance of pores.

The consistency is a lightweight, soothing, and water-based gel. Unlike traditional primers, this isn’t overloaded with silicones so it won’t feel like there’s another layer on. On the downside, this also means there won’t be much assistance if you have visible acne scarring or very large pores (you’ll need a silicone-heavy primer for that).

The formulation also includes salicylic acid and other ingredients that have been clinically proven to significantly improve blemishes after 4 weeks of use.*

All in all, a well-rounded primer for acne-prone skin that knocks it out of the park.

Oil-free. Non-comedogenic. Dermatologist-tested.

*Based on a 4-week clinical efficacy study conducted on 30 subjects.

Best for: Acne-prone, Oily Skin

Bonus: If you’re not too keen on salicylic acid, there’s a version of the same primer that replaces it with antioxidants and a vitamin complex—the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer: Oil-Free.

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Doubles as a primer and blemish minimizer
  • Oil-free formula that smooths to an even surface for the perfect makeup application
  • Lightweight, soothing, water-based gel that adds an almost invisible layer
  • Salicylic acid to help control blemishes and significantly improve it after 4 weeks of use*
  • Oil-free formula. Non-comedogenic. Dermatologist-tested.

Cons:

  • Will not be very beneficial for those with visible acne scarring or large pores
  • Salicylic acid may cause irritation for very sensitive skin, though it’s not high enough in strength to cause any flaking in normal skin[3]
  • Has a tendency to be streaky if not blended well with foundation

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: White from the pump, blends out invisibly into the skin
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight gel, demi-matte finish

Make-up Artist Tips: Apply after moisturizer or sunscreen, and gently massage primer into the skin with your fingertips.


Laura Mercier Foundation Primer: Hydrating

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer: Hydrating

Best for: Normal to Dry skin, Mature skin

Our Review

This is the brand’s most nourishing primer, which aims to prep dry or dehydrated skin with moisture and vitamin-rich formula. It helps deliver a natural, dewy base for your makeup application.

The lightweight and creamy consistency give a soft-focus effect to help minimize the look of pores, fine lines, and other imperfections.

Based on the same non-comedogenic formula, this hydrating primer soothes and conditions the skin. It also creates a moisture buffer enhanced with a cocktail of antioxidants to protect the skin against the harmful, aging effects of the environment.

Non comedogenic makeup primer. Dermatologist-tested.

Best for: Normal to Dry skin, Mature skin

Bonus: Alternative for extra luminous skin, try Foundation Primer: Radiance or Radiance Bronze.

Beauty FYI: Laura Mercier created the industry’s first primer in 1995. She originally studied art in France and wanted to create a product that would blend makeup perfectly to the skin, like paint on canvas.

Key Benefits

Key Benefits:

  • Prep dry or dehydrated skin with moisture & vitamin-rich formula
  • Gives a soft-focus effect to help minimize the look of pores, fine lines, and other imperfections.
  • Creates a moisture buffer enhanced with a cocktail of antioxidants to protect the skin against the harmful, aging effects of the environment

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Invisible coverage
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, Natural, Dewy finish

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply after moisturizer or sunscreen, and gently massage primer into the skin with your fingertips. If you have severely dry skin, add a hydrating serum in between.
  • This is also the perfect primer for winter.

BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer for Acne-Prone Skin

BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer for Acne-Prone Skin

Best for: Oily & Acne-prone skin, Redness, Large pores, Flakes

Our Review

Makeup and skincare in one, this mattifying primer is specially formulated for calming, covering, and preventing adult acne.

It’s part of a skin-clearing clean makeup regimen that is the first of its kind–where a makeup routine resolves to contain current breakouts, prevent future ones, and maintain the skin’s essential moisture (something that we lose as we grow older.)

This lightweight gel-lotion is clinically proven to improve skin hydration both instantly and after 12 hours.*

Green mineral pigments help neutralize any redness**, while chamomile & arnica help calm and nourish the skin.

An anti-blemish mineral blend of zinc, sulfur, and kaolin clay work in synergy to purify the pores. It’s also clinically proven to mattify the skin both instantly and over time.*

Phytosphingosine fortifies the skin’s defenses against bacteria.[4]

All this while providing an effective canvas for even makeup application.

bareMineral’s skin-clearing makeup routine includes:

Dermatologist tested. Non-drying, Non-comedogenic, Non-acnegenic.
Formulated for all skin types, including oily and acne prone skin.
Free of parabens, sulfates, fragrance, talc, and gluten.
Vegan. Not tested on animals.

In an independent clinical consumer test:
– 100% of participants showed an instant improvement in skin’s hydration*
– 100% saw improvement in oil control both immediately and over time*
– 76% agreed the primer instantly color corrected their redness**

*Based on a 4-week clinical study of 33 women
**Based on a 6-week consumer perception study of 34 women

Best for: All skin types including Oily skin, Acne-prone skin, Redness, Large pores, Bumps, Flakes

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Formulated specifically for adult acne, as coverage and prevention
  • Clinically proven to improve skin hydration both instantly and after 12 hours*
  • Clinically proven to mattify the skin both instantly and over time.*
  • Green mineral pigments to neutralize any redness
  • Contains chamomile and arnica to nourish and calm the skin
  • Contains phytosphingosine, which fortifies the skin’s defenses against bacteria

Additional Benefits:

  • May be helpful for textured acne scars if paired with a non-comedogenic powder
  • Dermatologist tested. Non-drying, Non-comedogenic, Non-acnegenic.
  • Formulated for all skin types, including oily and acne prone skin.
  • Free of parabens, sulfates, fragrance, talc, and gluten
  • Vegan. Not tested on animals.

Cons:

  • Has a light scent to it, for those who might mind it
  • Commands a higher price tag than most primers, with all the benefits it comes along
  • Doesn’t really help with the longevity of makeup from what we’ve seen
  • From experience, not enough to cover intense redness from rosacea

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Green mineral pigments
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, Matte-finish, Gel-lotion

Make-up Artist Tips: Apply a pearl-sized amount on your index and middle finger. Press and roll the primer in areas where there are bumps, flakes, large pores, and redness. Repeat until the texture looks even.

Buying Cheat Sheet:

Frequently Asked Questions


References:

  1. Gallitano, S. M., & Berson, D. S. (2017). How Acne Bumps Cause the Blues: The Influence of Acne Vulgaris on Self-Esteem. International journal of women's dermatology4(1), 12–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2017.10.004
  2. Seité, S., Deshayes, P., Dréno, B., Misery, L., Reygagne, P., Saiag, P., Stengel, F., Roguedas-Contios, A., & Rougier, A. (2012). Interest of corrective makeup in the management of patients in dermatology. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 5, 123–128. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S33172
  3. Drugs and Supplements: Salicylic Acid (Topical Route). https://kcms-prod-mcorg.mayo.edu/
  4. Choi HK, Cho YH, Lee EO, Kim JW, Park CS. Phytosphingosine enhances moisture level in human skin barrier through stimulation of the filaggrin biosynthesis and degradation leading to NMF formation. Arch Dermatol Res. 2017 Dec;309(10):795-803. doi: 10.1007/s00403-017-1782-8. Epub 2017 Sep 21. PMID: 28936777.
  5. BareMinerals Mineral Makeup and Skincare for Face, Eyes and Lips.
  6. Choi, H., Cho, Y., Lee, E., Kim, J., & Park, C. (2017). Phytosphingosine enhances moisture level in human skin barrier through stimulation of the filaggrin biosynthesis and degradation leading to NMF formation. Archives Of Dermatological Research, 309(10), 795-803. doi: 10.1007/s00403-017-1782-8 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00403-017-1782-8
  7. Clarins: Beauty Products, Cosmetics, Makeup, Body Care – CLARINS.
  8. Dermablend Foundations, Concealers, Setting Powders, brushes, Makeup Remover, Skincare.
  9. Elizabeth Arden Makeup, Skincare, Perfume & Gifts | Official Site.
  10. Laura Mercier Cosmetics.
  11. NYX Professional Makeup Official Site – Professional Makeup & Beauty Products.
  12. Salicylic Acid (Topical Route) Precautions – Mayo Clinic.
  13. Too Faced: Makeup, Cosmetics & Beauty Products Online – Too Faced.

Top 24 Best Non-Comedogenic Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

The highest-rated and best-selling in the industry, formulated for different skin types.

Michelle Evans

Summary

These are our choices for the best non-comedogenic makeup 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.

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Michelle Evans

Michelle Evans is an esthetician specializing in skincare and hair removal. Her battle with acne throughout her 20's has fueled a lifelong passion for health & beauty. “Knowledge is a gift and you have the opportunity to educate and empower with it.” Michelle believes that everyone should be able to look and feel their best.