We Found the 18 Best Blurring Primers for Every Complexion

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Primer may or may not be part of your daily getting-ready routine. But if you want to optimize the effects of your makeup and ensure it lasts all day (or night), this step shouldn't be skipped. While there are many types of primers—from color-correcting to mattifying to illuminating—the blurring variety offers something most makeup-wearers are looking for.

"Blurring primer creates a soft-focus layer on the skin—literally blurring pores and imperfections and creating a smooth base for makeup," says celebrity makeup artist Kirin Bhatty, adding that it also often extends the wear of your liquids, creams, and powders. That sounds like a win-win, if you ask us.

Meet the Expert

Kirin Bhatty is a bi-coastal makeup artist. She works with celebrities through A-Frame Agency and is an ambassador for Catrice Cosmetics.

Here are some of the best blurring primers out there today.

Best Overall: DHC Velvet Skin Coat

4.5
DHC Velvet Skin Coat

Ulta

What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Absorbs excess oil

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don’t Like
  • Small amount

Who else recommends it? Woman's World also picked the DHC Velvet Skin Coat.

What do buyers say? 85% of 2,800+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

If we had to pick just one blurring primer to use until the end of time, we'd have to go with DHC's Velvet Skin Coat. The tube might be tiny, but it offers seriously impressive results. We're talking diffused skin, a reduced appearance of pores, filled-in fine lines, and a more even-toned complexion.

Containing silica and organic olive oil, the brilliant formula moisturizes and absorbs excess grease. The result? An ultra-smooth, semi-matte finish that allows all makeup products to glide on with ease while ensuring they stay put for hours.

Key Ingredients: Silica, organic olive oil | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Even layer before makeup | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget: Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Non-greasy

  • Dermatologist-tested

What We Don’t Like
  • Strong scent

For babes on a budget, we recommend Maybelline Master Prime. The non-greasy, lightweight formula goes on super-smooth, blurs blemishes, camouflages pores, and preps your skin for a full face of glam.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Even layer before makeup | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore: L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother

L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Contains SPF

  • Can be worn alone

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains oxybenzone

L'Oreal Miracle Blur is on the pricier side for a drugstore primer, but it holds its own against the top-shelf stuff. The smooth, lightweight cream instantly diffuses the look of fine lines and pores, leaving you with a matte finish ready for makeup—extra points for the SPF 30.

Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, silica | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Even layer on face and neck | Size: 1.2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Airbrush Primer

Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Airbrush Primer

Hourglass Cosmetics

What We Like
  • Absorbs excess oil

  • Air-tight pump

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains PEGs

If the premium price tag is within your budget, you won't regret treating yourself to a bottle of Vanish primer. This translucent skin-blurring primer creates a smooth canvas, keeps shine in check, and delivers that airbrushed, soft-focus effect we all crave. Not only that, but it also lives up to its promises to extend your makeup wear.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica | Skin Type: All | Dosage: 1 pump onto moisturized skin | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Pore-Minimizing: Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer

Ulta

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Long-lasting

  • Absorbs excess oil

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

It's only been five years since Benefit launched The POREfessional, but this best-selling blurring primer has quickly become one of the most beloved beauty products on the market. Byrdie Associate General Editor Lindsey Metrus is a devotee, thanks to its "inimitable pore-blurring capabilities."

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica | Skin Type: Oily, combination, acne-prone, mature | Dosage: Thin layer before makeup | Size: 0.25, 0.75, or 1.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Solid: Catrice Cosmetics Grip & Last Putty Primer

Catrice Cosmetics Grip & Last Putty Primer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Lightweight

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don’t Like
  • Can be hard to spread

Bhatty is a fan of this putty-style primer. "It goes from solid to cream and melts transparently into the skin, creating a blurring and smoothing effect while also feeling light," she tells Byrdie. "Makeup applied on top appears more even and flawless, and this primer extends the wear."

Key Ingredients: Microcrystalline wax, silica, kaolin | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Thin layer after moisturizer | Size: 0.6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for T-Zone: BLK/OPL Invisible Oil Blocking Gel Primer

BLK/OPL Invisible Oil Blocking Gel Primer

Walmart

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Oil-free formula

  • Absorbs excess oil

What We Don’t Like
  • Small amount

You don't necessarily need to apply primer on your entire face. If you're only looking to smooth or mattify your T-zone, Black Opal's oil-absorbing, shine-controlling gel formula is your best bet.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, witch hazel | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Sparingly on shiny areas | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Oily Skin: Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

4.8
dr. brandt skincare pores no more pore refiner primer

Ulta

What We Like
  • Applies smooth

  • Absorbs excess oil

  • Doesn't pill for flake on skin

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Dr. Brandt's blurring primer earned an impressive 4.8 out of 5 overall score from our home tester, who said it goes on smoothly, controls shine and minimizes the look of pores on her oily skin. She also liked that it helped her makeup last longer.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica, tea tree oil | Skin Type: Oily, combination | Dosage: Small amount before makeup | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin: Becca Cosmetics First Light Priming Filter Instant Complexion Refresh

Becca First Light Priming Filter Face Primer

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Dewy finish

  • Neutralizes discoloration

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Becca First Light was a hit with our home tester and remains a favorite among Byrdie editors. The skin-quenching formula hydrates to prevent cracking and pilling, then neutralizes discoloration and leaves you with an exquisitely dewy complexion. Its enhancing effects are great even without makeup.

Key Ingredients: Silica, hyaluronic acid, prickly pear | Skin Type: All | Dosage: 1 or 2 pumps | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Combination Skin: Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer

Sephora

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Absorbs excess oil

  • Long-lasting

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Formulated to hydrate and plump while controlling shine and mattifying, Laura Mercier's Pure Canvas is a blessing for combination skin. And get this: The blurring, soft-focus effects last for a whopping 16 hours.

Key Ingredients: Silica, squalane, plankton extract | Skin Type: Combination, oily | Dosage: Dime-size amount before makeup | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Pixi Beauty Flawless & Poreless Primer

Pixi By Petra Flawless & Poreless Primer

Pixi Beauty 

What We Like
  • Helps prevent breakouts

  • Soothes inflammation

  • Oil-free formula

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

For those prone to breakouts, Pixi is where it's at. In addition to minimizing the look of pores and diffusing blemishes, this multi-tasking primer calls on salicylic acid to keep pimples at bay and soybean extract to soothe inflammation.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, soybean extract, silica | Skin Type: Acne-prone, oily, combination | Dosage: Coin-size amount before makeup | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Mature Skin: StriVectin Line BlurFector Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer

StriVectin Line BlurFector Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer

Sephora

What We Like
  • Fills in fine lines

  • Lightweight

  • Applies smooth

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

StriVectin's take on blurring primer fills in fine lines, diffuses the look of wrinkles, softens blemishes, preps skin for foundation, and promises to extend your makeup wear. In the brand's clinical trial, 100 percent of users noticed smoother skin, and about 95 percent said it prevented their makeup from settling into creases.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, glycerine | Skin Type: Mature | Dosage: Even layer after moisturizing | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for All Skin Types: Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For No-Filter Mattifying Primer & Complexion Perfector

Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For No-Filter Mattifying Primer & Complexion Perfector

Sephora

What We Like
  • Absorbs excess oil

  • Ongoing skin benefits

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like
  • Reviewers note the product can separate

Formulated for all skin types and tones, this advanced primer leans on a powerful complex to instantly blur blemishes, diminish the look of pores, diffuse fine lines, and absorb shine. It creates a mattified makeup canvas, and thanks to the brand's Disa-Pore 20 and Evermat technologies, you can count on increasingly less visible pores with regular use.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Small amount to areas of concern | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Mattifying: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Oil-free formula

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Dries sheer

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Unlike many other mattifying primers, Fenty Pro Filt'r contains hyaluronic acid to provide lightweight hydration and a comfortable feel. We also like that the Invisipink finish goes on sheer, absorbs quickly, and enhances all skin tones. The soft-focus blurring effect is pretty impressive too.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: All | Dosage: One pump before makeup | Size: 1.1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Dewy Finish: Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Quench Hydrating Primer

Tarte Sea Quench Hydrating Primer

Sephora

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Vegan

  • Provides antioxidant protection

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Prefer a dewy skin finish? Tarte Sea Quench is your guy. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid and marine extracts to plump and hydrate your skin, then smooths fine lines, evens out your complexion, and diffuses blemishes.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, hyaluronic acid, marine extracts | Skin Type: Dry, acne-prone, sensitive | Dosage: Pea size before makeup | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Radiant Finish: Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow

Sephora

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Can be worn alone

  • Paraben-free

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Wonderglow takes a skincare-first approach to makeup primer. It plumps, hydrates, and smooths fine lines with hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, and peptides, then calls on light-diffusing pigments to blur blemishes and create a radiant, soft-focus effect.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica, light-diffusing pigments, hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, peptides | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Even layer before makeup | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Oil-Free: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer

Sephora

What We Like
  • Trailblazer product

  • Lightweight

  • Provides antioxidant protection

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Smashbox was among the first brands to offer a makeup primer. Launching in the year 2000, Photo Finish was not only the tipping point for this beauty category but remains one of the best formulas for diffusing blemishes and creating a smooth canvas.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica, antioxidants | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Even layer after moisturizer | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Stick: Mented Cosmetics Perfect Prime Primer Stick

Mented Cosmetics Perfect Prime Primer Stick

Mented Cosmetics

What We Like
  • Travel-friendly

  • Blends easily

  • Absorbs excess oil

What We Don’t Like
  • Small amount

This pocket-sized primer stick from Mented is ideal for travel and on-the-go use. The solid formula goes on smooth, blends easily, controls shine and does a stellar job of blurring blemishes with a soft-focus effect.

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, silica, jojoba oil | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Even layer before makeup | Size: 0.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

The best blurring primer overall is the DHC Velvet Skin Coat on account of its pore-minimizing, blemish-diffusing, skin-enhancing effects that simultaneously mattify and moisturize. If you're on a budget, consider the Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime, and if you can swing the steeper price, the Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Primer is truly amazing.

What to Look For in a Blurring Primer

Consider Your Individual Needs

Like any skincare product, choose your blurring primer based on your unique skin concerns. For example, if you’re oily and acne-prone, opt for a lightweight, water-based primer with non-comedogenic and blemish-fighting ingredients. Conversely, if you’re dry or combination, adding a blurring primer with hydrating and moisturizing benefits to your routine can help up those essential moisture levels while imparting its pore-minimizing magic. 

Color Correction

If you’re looking to address more than just pores (think under-eye discoloration or a general sallowness to your skin), opt for a blurring primer that contains color-correcting pigments to offset any unwelcome hues and even-out skin tone. Mix and match where required. 

Skincare Benefits

While a great many of today’s top blurring primers are one-trick ponies in that they perform the simple function of blurring blemishes, a growing number of options now include myriad skincare ingredients, from vitamin C to probiotics, for an added boost to your skincare routine.

Mixability

With blurring primers, it’s all about versatility. You’ll find a lot of the products we mention below can be applied either as a separate step after your skincare and before your makeup or blended with your foundation to add a specific benefit, from extra pore-smoothing to a matte finish. 

FAQ
  • What is a blurring primer?

    Blurring primers are applied after skincare and before foundation. They contain specific ingredients to create the appearance of a more even texture and an overall beautiful complexion.

  • How do you apply a blur primer?

    Using your fingers or a foundation brush, massage the primer onto your skin, being sure to cover your entire face, including your eyelids. You can follow up with a second layer on those particularly problematic areas, such as the T-zone, gently tapping a little extra product to help blur the look of pores. 

  • Does primer fill in wrinkles?

    Although each formulation of blurring primer will differ, the basic gist of the product is to help “fill in” any kind of unevenness—this includes both pores and fine lines—thus helping to create a smoother look. 

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a freelance beauty writer with substantial experience in the eCommerce space. For this article, she interviewed a makeup artist who offered product recommendations and insight into the uses and benefits of blurring primer. Before landing on the final selections, she looked at nearly 100 products, combed through formulations, and referenced scholarly journals when checking ingredient lists. From the above list, Theresa has personally tried DHC, Hourglass, Smashbox, Charlotte Tilbury, Tarte, Laura Mercier, Benefit, and Maybelline.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  3. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.2147/CCID.S144180

  4. Woodruff, A, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of a 2% salicylic acid cleanser for improvement of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Published 2013 April 1.

  5. Milani M, Sparavigna A. The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, and Centella asiatica stem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol.

  6. Schagen S. Topical peptide treatments with effective anti-aging results. Cosmetics. 2017;4(2):16. doi: 10.3390/cosmetics4020016

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