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Anyone who has parched skin will be familiar with this tale: You dedicate the time to getting your foundation just right. It’s blended, your skin is glowing and you’re good to go. But not so fast—tiny flakes start popping up and as the day goes on your makeup cracks. Luckily, there’s a twofer of a beauty product that will hydrate your dry skin and help your makeup stay fresh: primer.
Even if you apply moisturizer before your makeup—which those with dry skin should always do—sometimes that’s just not enough. Primer should be applied after moisturizer but before foundation. The miracle worker smooths out skin, blurs imperfection, creates the perfect canvas for you to apply makeup, and gives your foundation major staying power. Since primer became a makeup mainstay, tons of formulas have hit the shelves, including ones especially for dry skin. These are the seven best primers for dry skin that will keep you face hydrated and your makeup looking good.
Best Overall: Laura Geller Spackle Treatment Hydrating Make-up Primer
Long before primer was the buzziest makeup product around, Laura Geller had been touting its power. Essentially the OG of primer, she put the now mainstay in the mainstream, and her line of Spackle primers are still some of the best in the biz. Spackle primers are available in a range of skincare concerns, but reach for the Hydrating formula to pamper parched skin. It contains mega moisturizers aloe vera gel and cupuacu seed butter, as well as a slew of vitamins to sooth and nourish skin. The Spackles create the perfect base for applying makeup, helping it go on smoothly and last much longer.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer
Smooth your face for less than six bucks! To bring on the hydration, the formula is packed with grape and vitamins A, C, and E. It leaves a natural matte finish that will give your makeup staying power.
Best Drugstore Option: Honest Beauty Everything Primer
People just can’t get enough of Jessica Alba’s clean beauty line, and this award-winning primer is no exception. It’s filled with hyaluronic acid and naturally derived peony root extract, proving it takes hydration seriously. The formula is also infused with mica to give off a subtle golden glow. The primer can be worn solo as a filter for your skin, or under foundation. Bonus: There’s no need to fret about that mask-like white face some primers can leave behind, as this once is sheer.
Best for Sensitive Skin: LORAC 'I'm So Sensitive' Soothing Face Primer
The name really sums it up: This primer is especially designed for sensitive skin, including those with acne and oily skin. It’s water-based to make it extra gentle and oil-free, plus also free of silicones, parabens and fragrance. Made to soothe, nourish and moisturize, the formula is infused with aloe, calendula, and chamomile and vitamins A and E. It feels light on the skin and helps makeup last all day.
Best for Wrinkles: Laura Mercier Hydrating Foundation Primer
Having dry skin can make fine lines and wrinkles look even more pronounced. Applying a primer can help by filling in those lines, essentially working like a spackle for your face. This popular pick from Laura Mercier has anti-aging ingredients, like antioxidants vitamins A, C, and E, as well as hyaluronic acid and glycerin to plump up skin. The creamy gel texture feels light as air and creates the perfect base for makeup.
Best Glow: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Primer
Aside from her groundbreaking and impressive shade range, Rihanna’s beauty brand is second best known for imparting a beautiful glow. This oil-free primer delivers just that, leaving skin looking and feeling soft and silky. The lightweight coverage diffuses pores, evens skin tone and texture, and stops shine, making skin look retouched, and bringing longer wear for your foundation.
Best Natural: Josie Maran Argan Moonstone Drops
When you’re feeling au naturel, it doesn’t get more natural for a primer than argan oil. Made with 100% pure argan oil, Josie Maran Argan Moonstone Drops Makeup Priming and Highlighting Oil delivers so many perks to your skin, from hydration to elasticity to radiance to evening out texture. Dullness and dryness will be a thing of the past!
The primer smooths pores and adds light to your face with its holographic highlight. It’s also infused with PhytoVie Defense, a plant-based antioxidant that wards off aging free radical damage and extends makeup wear. The formula also contains lemongrass lavender essential oils to boost your mood and calm inflammation and redness.
Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular primers for dry skin on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different primers overall, screened options from 22 different brands and manufacturers, read over 35 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 10 of the primers themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.