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It is widely known that the secret to flawless foundation is a good canvas (i.e. your face). Besides a good skincare regimen, a face primer really gets the job done. It blurs, brightens, and perfects your face, plus it helps your makeup last longer and not cake up. Finding a good primer is just as important as finding a good foundation, but there is no need to break the bank on one.
It was only a few years ago that nary a makeup primer could be found at the drugstore. These days, drugstores are our first stop for finding affordable options that work just as well as their luxury-brand counterparts. These aren’t your basic, run-of-the-mill primers either—from brightening to blurring, there’s a bargain buy for every skin type and concern.
So save your precious pennies and scroll through to see the best of the best drugstore primers.
Best Overall: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser
YouTube vloggers call this oil-free gel "Photoshop in a bottle." You can mix the clear primer with your foundation or apply it directly on to the skin. Either way, it blurs imperfections, gives skin a porcelain base, and keeps makeup in place. Great for all skin types, oily skin will feel matte, flawless, and brightened, while dry skin remains hydrated and cake-free. All you need is a dab of this silky fragrance-free formula to achieve dewy, plump, poreless perfection.
Best for Combination Skin: NYX Professional Makeup Studio Perfect Primer
Spreads like butter and lays like silk, the NYX Studio Perfect face primer is everything you want and more. It gives your skin a matte finish while making sure your foundation is spread evenly. If that's not enough, it also helps reduce the look of fine lines and large pores.
Best for Oily Skin: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Instant-Perfecting Power Primer
This one’s a game-changer if you get oily throughout the day. Soap & Glory's primer boasts all-day shine control while reducing the appearance of redness. It also contains vitamin E to make sure you stay nourished in the process.
Best with SPF: e.l.f. SPF 50 Skin Shielding Primer
There's nothing more convenient than a multipurpose product. This primer helps reduce the look of fine lines and pores, all while fighting against everyday environmental aggressors. Containing SPF 50, the formula allows you to skip the extra step of slathering your sunscreen on before your makeup.
Best for Dull Skin: L'Oréal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer
A primer and instant glow in one? Yes, please. This formula’s super-light texture will smooth your face while providing a ton of light-reflecting glow.
Best for Aging Skin: Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Anti-Aging Primer
Covergirl's offering contains Olay skincare ingredients—so it hydrates and plumps the skin (promoting a more youthful visage) while it gets your skin foundation-ready.
Best Texture: L.A. Girl Pro Prep HD High Definition Smoothing Face Primer
This smoothing face primer creates a flawless canvas for your foundation. It gives a smooth appearance by filling in fine lines and pores, giving you that filter-in-real-life look. On top of that, it's formulated with light-diffusing particles and nourishing vitamin E.
Best for Lips: NYX Professional Makeup Lip Primer
Drink coffee, munch on some snacks, or go on a gossip spree. No matter what you do, this top-rated lip primer will keep your pout in place. The smoothing stick preps lips and helps boost color for a more sophisticated look. Not only does it intensify pigment, but it also significantly extends the wear of your lipstick. Without drying out your lips, just a swipe of this will prevent lippy from feathering into fine lines and smudging throughout the day.
Best for Lashes: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Primer Mascara
Amp up the volume and wear of your mascara with a swipe of this lash primer. If you like big fringe sans flakiness, then you will never want to wear mascara again without this primer. The nourishing formula makes lashes appear thicker and longer while acting as a mascara magnet.
Like most mascara primers, it's easy for lashes to look goopy—to avoid this, carefully comb through each lash when applying it. Then, let the primer dry for 30 seconds (ish) before coating with mascara. The product goes on white, which might make you feel ridiculous at first, but you’ll quickly realize that it’s worth it when it's all said and done.