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Fact: The secret to your glow-up lies in a good primer. If you’re not all that sold on primers just yet, wait until you see how perfectly airbrushed and comfortable your foundation will look and feel when you're wearing one. The most gorgeous glam starts with a good canvas, and primers are part of the secret sauce to a flawless foundation. If you have dry and flaky skin, applying a moisturizing primer before you work in your foundation will not only give you a lit-from-within glow but also hydrate your skin for hours on end.
Since we can't solely rely on our makeup to blur imperfections and brighten our skin, a good base is necessary, and the most hydrating primers are packed with nourishing ingredients to help achieve that. It's true: They can double as makeup-boosters and skincare staples.
Scroll on to see the best primers for dry skin.
Best Overall: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer
It's not ideal when primers feel super-heavy and chalky on your skin. This oil-free primer does the opposite, offering a smooth, lightweight coverage that'll give you that Rihanna, selfie-worthy glow. And we can't forget the groundbreaking and impressive shade range.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Face Primer
Smooth your face for less than the cost of lunch. 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.
What Our Testers Say
"The primer did earn a few brownie points because my makeup looked incredibly smooth in-person and on camera. By the end of the day, I also noticed that my foundation and concealer were still intact, so I can confirm that it also helps boost the wear time of your makeup." — Olivia Hancock, Product Tester
Best Drugstore: Honest Beauty Everything Primer
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) making them plump.
Who doesn't want an "everything primer"? Take this hyaluronic acid–filled pick as the answer to lit skin. With this, you won't have to worry about that ghostly white film some primers leave behind. Expect a sheer, golden glow.
Best Splurge: Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Primer
This age-fighting blend of hyaluronic acid, pearl pigments, and antioxidants is everything your skin needs to stay flawless forever. We love a primer that makes your makeup look like perfection and saves your skin at the same time.
Best Glow: Glossier Priming Moisturizer Balance
If you're in search of a natural skin-plumper without the annoying side of redness, this priming moisturizer is the one. The hyaluronic acid is what makes it so hydrating, and we can personally attest to the pillow-soft finish and dewy sheen it gives dry skin.
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 Pure Canvas Primer Hydrating
Glycerin is a naturally occurring compound in the body; in topical skincare, it is derived from plants. It functions to draw water to the skin and continue hydrating it, making it a great ingredient for extreme dryness.
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 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 the skin. The creamy gel texture feels light as air and creates the perfect base for makeup.
Best for Smooth Skin: Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer
Consider this coconut-infused concoction a winning primer for dry skin. Why? Well, it's packed with not one but five different coconut extracts. In other words, it'll feel gloriously hydrating on dry skin and create the smoothest surface before you apply your foundation.
Best for Tired Skin: Too Faced Hangover Primer
Its name is a big clue that this primer will turn around your skin even on its worst days. When you're in need of a serious skin reboot or when your face is feeling a little thirsty, the coconut water packed into this primer will bring you back to life.
Best Color-Correcting: Becca Cosmetics First Light Priming Filter Instant Complexion Refresh
Sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt that's derived from hyaluronic acid, which can be found naturally in the body. Like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate binds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, but this form can penetrate deeper into the skin due to its lower molecular weight and is more stable.
This hydrating, color-neutralizing primer offers a lavender pearl complex to minimize dullness and pump up the volume on your glow. It's a blend of prickly pear, sodium hyaluronate, and ginger to quench dry skin and hydrate for the entire length of time it's below the surface of your makeup.
Best Natural: Josie Maran Argan Moonstone Drops
On the same all-natural wavelength, this pore-smoothing primer by Josie Maran will give your skin a holographic highlight. Um, yes, please. This baby is made of 100% argan oil, which offers tons of skin benefits—one being that it'll make your skin extremely soft to the touch. Depending on where you place them, these drops will add light to the high points of your face.
Best Cooling Effect: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Here's the deal: This primer is formulated with an extract called hydraplex that's made to help your dry skin retain moisture. The spa-like feel of its cooling effect is a plus too.