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Home » 10 Best Drugstore Primers in 2020

10 Best Drugstore Primers in 2022

Few makeup products ignite quite as much controversy as the misunderstood and oft-maligned face primer. Despised by some and revered by others, what is it about them that is so divisive? It treads the fine line between skincare and cosmetics, creating an invisible mask between your face and makeup, so it can be confusing to see where it sits exactly in your routine.

This confusion then leads to mistakes when trying it out. Maybe then you’ll let that tube linger in the back of the drawer for the remainder of its days. Perhaps you have assumed in the past that one primer fits all and ended up with ashy smears and balls of foundation as you wipe it off in a fit of rage! Or perhaps you’ve heard horrors of pore-clogging, breakouts causing yet more misery on oily skin.

The fact is, like anything you put on your face, one type is unlikely to suit everyone but, when you have the right info at your disposal, primer can be the best and most beneficial addition to your skincare regime. Trialing the right primer for you needn’t cost the Earth either. With these drugstore heroes, you can safely dip a toe into the world of face primers without making an expensive mistake.

View The Best Drugstore Primer Below

1. Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Makeup Primer

Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Makeup Primer


Did you know that pores are not the only thing that can be seamlessly disguised by primers? Fine lines are an unfortunate concern from as early as 25 years old when the skin’s natural collagen begins to deplete gradually, but are erased instantly by good old primer.

The best of the bunch for drugstore primers is Simply Ageless Makeup Primer by Covergirl & Olay. Dispense a pea-sized amount onto fingers and smooth over skin to achieve a flawless finish with wrinkle-fighting technology that keeps makeup crease-free. Use alone for sheer perfection or with a foundation to get the best coverage possible.

+ Even looking skin
+ Fights fine lines all-day
+ Maximizes effect of foundation

Why We Like It – Two brands you know and love have joined forces make Simply Ageless one of the best drugstore primers out there. It’s cruelty-free and dispenses just the right amount of primer per use, while the wrinkle busting formula also gets to work penetrating the top layer of your skin to work while you play!

2. theBalm Put A Lid On It Eyelid Primer

theBalm Put A Lid On It Eyelid Primer


When it comes to primer, all skin is not created equal, and your delicate eyelids need to be treated with care. Often, the primer you would use on your face is too heavy on the eye. Just like a moisturizer, you need one designed especially for them.

Our premium choice drugstore primer, for this reason, is theBalm, delivering the best lightweight impact with their Put a Lid On It eyeshadow primer. Dot a small amount onto your lids with your ring finger to make sure you don’t pull or drag the skin and allow it to dry for the perfect crease-free base that has a super hold on your eyeshadow pigment.

+ Cruelty-free makeup
+ Talc and paraben-free
+ Clean and easy-dispense tube

Why We Like It – Packed ingredients that are kind to skin, this smoothing formula cares for eyes while mattifying and increasing the staying power of your makeup.

3. wet ‘n wild Photo Focus Primer Water

wet 'n wild Photo Focus Primer Water


Spritz your way to a dewy complexion with Photo Focus Primer Water from wet ‘n wild. Weightless and refreshing with hints of cucumber, the 3-in-1 primer is infused with vitamins and minerals designed to hydrate and brighten your skin.

Being water-based, this is the best drugstore option for you if you want prep without panic and a light alternative on dry skin. It’s also available in rose and coconut scents. Spray and allow to dry before applying makeup for a healthy glow that stays put all day.

+ Light and easy to use
+ 3-in-1 set, prep, and refresh
+ Hydrates skin for hours

Why We Like It – As one of the best primers for dry skin, this innovative primer water is so easy to use and disperses even and light coverage of primer with one spray. This brand is also great value. You can achieve the perfect canvas with just a splash of it. You can even have the full range of gorgeous scents for everyday use less than the price of a designer competitor.

4. NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer


Weatherproof and waterproof makeup is a must these days. Whether humidity, rain, or even tears (hopefully not) are the cause of your smudged eye makeup, we have found the best primer to seal in your shadow. Smooth on a thin layer with the wand applicator, and once dry, you can rest assured that you have extra protection for over 12 hours. So if you are a tearful bride or sweating on the dancefloor, this is a must-have.

+ Best waterproof primer
+ Won’t change the color of your eye makeup
+ 12 hours plus protection

Why We Like It – Unlike most of the primers on this list, this one comes with a wand applicator, which is perfect for spreading a thin veil across your lids with no mess or sticky fingers.

5. e.l.f. Brightening Lavender Face Primer

e.l.f. Brightening Lavender Face Primer


We love a clever primer! Gone are the days of flat, monotone makeup being used to hide different issues with the same product. Now color correcting is taking skin prep to another level. This Brightening Lavender Face Primer is another of the best drugstore primers for both quality and value.

Neutralizing an uneven skin tone, it’s a perfect base for professional makeup application as it brightens dull or yellow undertones and will stay matte. Infused with lavender to help balance redness, this is the best primer for rosacea and blemishes.

+ Color corrects skin for makeup
+ Matte primer for oily skin
+ Long-lasting only a small amount needed

Why We Like It – Targeting common skin complaints, e.l.f provides a perfect makeup prepper which you can easily stock up on. Make this your go-to drugstore primer for radiant, even makeup.

6. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer


As anyone with oily skin can attest, large pores can be a real pain. Sure our slippery skin may be best to prevent fine lines. But pores- well, those little pests are here to stay. Before I go on, I know that you may believe that the best primer for oily skin is none at all, due to the potential for the aforementioned pore to get clogged up, however, the best primers for oily skin also know this is a challenge.

Enter Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer! Invented to be non-comedogenic, not only does the moisturizer-like formula glide on, but this drugstore marvel also keeps your skin shine-free without fear of breakouts.

+ Invisible pores
+ No need to use a moisturizer
+ Won’t clog your skin

Why We Like It – In our opinion, this is one of the best drugstore primers to minimize imperfections. It’s a pore-blurring face primer you can use for a low-key look or stay matte under your makeup. You may also want to check out L’oreal’s Infallible range for oily skins too for super results.

7. NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Studio Perfect Primer



If you are someone who likes to experiment with your primer and you’re also looking for a range of options to suit every eventuality, you might be wondering what the best drugstore primer is for you. Fortunately, NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP, a staple of drugstore primer brands, has an affordable answer with their Studio Perfect Primer collection. Durable yet silky, fine lines and pores on your face disappear, and makeup appears luminous.

+ Cruelty-free
+ Long-lasting formula
+ Matte finish on the skin

Why We Like It – Available in clear to smooth, lavender to brighten and green to correct red tones, you can mix and match on areas of your face or use individually to get the best results you desire.

8. Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Primer

Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Primer


Here we have another brand that offers the best drugstore primers with multi-functional benefits galore. Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Primer may be a mouthful, but it’s worth remembering for makeup solutions! Uniquely, they are water-soluble for fast, natural skin cleansing and have a lightweight feel on the face while also working behind the scenes to target key concerns.

+ Added SPF primer available
+ Easy to wash off
+ The best variety of primers to try

Why We Like It – Choose to hydrate and plump skin, reduce redness and fine lines, illuminate or defend with added SPF. If there’s another face primer with more options, we haven’t found it yet!

9. Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer


No one wants to feel like they are caked in makeup that might crumble as soon as you crack a smile! A heavy face of makeup can be uncomfortable, and you may want light coverage for general off duty beauty days. Best on our list for a natural feel to the face is Rimmel Stay Matte Primer. This is an ultra-lightweight product that still reassures you that your skin will be pore-free, refined, and perfect for up to 8 hours.

+ Ultra Lightweight formula
+ Oil control for up to 8 hours
+ No greasy or heavy feel on the skin

Why We Like It – As one of the familiar drugstore brands, Rimmel can be relied on to deliver a high-performance primer, which is also great value. We love the shine control element without any ashy, heavy results.

10. Milani Prime Correct Face Primer

Milani Prime Correct Face Primer


As touched on previously, primer, as we know it now, is not something to be feared or smeared on the skin, but something to be worked with and into the skin to get the best benefits from it. Milani’s Prime Correct Face Primer comes in two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark.

It advises that you massage 1-2 drops of primer into freshly cleansed skin to maximize the effects of the primer. As it’s designed to extend the wear of your makeup, this drugstore primer doesn’t disappoint as it diffuses imperfections and corrects skin tone.

+ Vegan primer
+ Two shades to suit every skin tone
+ Pore minimizing/ color correcting.

Why We Like It – As well as being a brilliant, light primer, which makes sure all your makeup is fixed fast, it’s also vegan and animal-friendly, and that is always a big plus!

Drugstore Primer Buyer’s Guide

Buying a primer is a lot simpler than you think! It’s always a good idea when researching new cosmetics to start with your main concerns. Is it oily skin, or hydration you need? Do you want sunscreen protection or color correction?

Young woman choosing cosmetic cream in beauty shop.

Most drugstore primers have similar basic goals – the best finish and long-lasting makeup, so take that as a given and concentrate on what’s behind the scenes that will give your skin an additional boost. If you are acne-prone, look for a non-silicone base and words such as non-comedogenic to ensure you aren’t suffocating your skin.

If you are concerned about redness, sallow skin, or perennially tired looking under eyes, color correctors are available in a wide range of products to tackle it head-on. Lacking a bit of oomph to your skin? You will want to try a brightening primer to exude that inner glow.

Although we haven’t mentioned it in our list, a great lineup to also look into is the Infallible Primer range from L’Oreal, which offers a fabulous luminizing option to try. As this is all about the base, we need to remember that perfecting the skin deserves proper time put in to get the most out of it.

Beautiful Woman with Clean Fresh Skin

First of all, ensure your skin is cleansed thoroughly and moisturized (if necessary) before application and work the product into skin gently and sparingly. Then, and this is probably the biggest cause of most known primer problems, wait! Make a cup of tea, do your eye makeup, meditate – whatever you feel like.

Give your skin time to soak everything up and settle. Remember that primer acts as a protective barrier between skin and makeup, and if it is not dry when you put foundation on, it mixes and can clump, streak or stick in odd places.

Your main takeaway should be that your skin feels at it’s very best for using a primer – that’s how you know you have found the right one!

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