Who doesn’t want their makeup to look flawless and last longer? For flawless makeup, you need to have the perfect base and that requires applying a primer.

A primer blurs pores, evens out your skin tone, and makes your makeup last longer. This gives your skin an airbrushed look and provides the perfect base for applying foundation, concealer, and other makeup products.

Some primers are also hydrating to prevent your foundation from looking cakey. Such primers are good for dry skin.

You don’t have to spend a lot to get the best primers nowadays. This is because there is a huge range of primers in the market to suit all kinds of requirements and budgets.

Many drugstore brands like L’oreal, Maybelline, E.L.F, Nyx, Milani, and others have primers for different skin types and requirements. These drugstore primers are comparable to high-end ones according to experts.

How to Use Primers?

Before you use a primer, be sure to cleanse and moisturize your skin. Take a pea-sized amount on your palm.

Apply it on your face using the tips of your fingers and wait for a minute. Then continue with the rest of your makeup. 

If you are using a spray, then shake the bottle well and then apply 2-4 pumps in “T” or “X” formation.

Is It Absolutely Necessary to Apply Primer?

No, it is not necessary to apply primer every time you apply your makeup. You can skip primer if you don’t have an issue in applying foundation and making it stay throughout the day. However, if you have issues with large pores, fine lines, redness, or makeup sliding off then you should apply a primer.

Is It Necessary to Apply Primer Every Day?

It depends on you. If you are worried about the smooth application or longevity of your makeup then you can apply it whenever you apply makeup.

We hope our picks help you with a better application of your makeup.

List of Popular Primers available at Drugstores

We have put together a list of the best drugstore primers that won’t require you to break the bank but will provide a smooth canvas for makeup application nonetheless.

Our list of best drugstore primers contains primers for different requirements and skin types so that you can select the perfect one for yourself.

1. Best Drugstore Primer Overall: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, Clear, 2 CountCHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

This is a very affordable primer but does a great job of filling up pores. It has gel-like consistency due to which it glides on the skin. After applying this primer, your skin will become smooth and your foundation application will be seamless. 

2. Best Drugstore Primer for Oily Skin: Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer

Rimmel Stay Matte Mattifying Primer, 1 oz, Pack of 1


For women with oily skin, the best drugstore primers are those which can control oil and keep makeup from sliding off while also making the pores less apparent.

Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer, with its mousse texture, does all this and so is best for oily skin. As the name suggests, it gives a matte finish and makes your skin oil-free before applying makeup.

Also, the formula is very lightweight. This enables the primer to keep oil and shine at bay for hours without clogging up your pores.

3. Best Drugstore Primer for Dry Skin: Milani Prime Perfecting Primer

Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer - Natural (1 Fl. Oz.) Cruelty-Free Liquid Foundation - Cover Under-Eye Circles, Blemishes & Skin Discoloration for a Flawless Complexion


For dry skin, you need a primer that blurs pores but does not make your skin appear flaky and dry. Milani Prime Perfecting primer has hyaluronic acid, which is very hydrating.

This gives your skin a healthy and youthful glow while also blurring out your pores. It is also suitable for those who are into vegan and cruelty-free makeup products.

4. Best Drugstore Primer for Combination Skin: E.l.f Poreless Putty Primer

e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer, Silky, Skin-Perfecting, Lightweight, Long Lasting, Smooths, Hydrates, Minimizes Pores, Flawless Base, All-Day Wear, Flawless Finish, Ideal for All Skin Types, 0.74 Fl Oz


This primer has squalene which hydrates skin by mimicking the natural oils produced by your body. It also makes your skin smoother and fills in pores. It can even help you deal with very large pores.

The only drawback is that it comes in a jar with no tools or applicators. So, if you are used to primers that come in tubes or bottles with pumps, the application of this one might be tricky.

5. Best Drugstore Primer for Sensitive Skin: Revlon Photoready Primer

REVLON Photoready Color Correcting Primer, 0.91 Fluid Ounce


With sensitive skin, you need to be very careful and apply only skincare and makeup products that don’t irritate your skin. The absence of irritating ingredients like fragrance, dyes, preservatives, oils, and parabens makes Revlon Photoready primer perfect for sensitive skin.

It reduces pores and provides a smooth canvas for applying makeup. There are three formulations in this primer namely perfecting, pore-reducing and brightening. So no matter what you need, this primer has got you covered.

6. Best Drugstore Primer for Acne-Prone Skin: E.L.F. Blemish Control Primer

e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer, Acne Fighting Formula, Preps & Soothes Skin, Small, 0.47 Fl Oz (14mL)


This E.L.F. primer is the perfect pick for those with acne-prone skin because it has anti-acne ingredients.

It contains tea tree, salicylic acid, and Vitamin E that help your skin fight acne while you have makeup on. The primer also does its basic job of smoothing skin texture very nicely. 

7. Best Drugstore Primer for Long Lasting Makeup: L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Lock Matte Primer

L'Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro Glow-Lock Longwear Illuminating Face Primer, 1 OunceCHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

This primer from L’Oreal Infallible range is formulated to lock in your makeup so that it lasts throughout the day. It effectively primes your skin and blurs out pores for the smooth application of foundation and concealers. There is also a glow primer for dry skin in this range.

8. Best Drugstore Primer with SPF: Milani Prime Perfection Hydrating Face Primer

Milani Prime Perfection Hydrating + Pore Minimizing Face Primer - Vegan, Cruelty-Free Face Makeup Primer to Color Correct Skin & Reduce Appearance of PoresCHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

If you are looking for a multi-purpose primer that primes your skin and provides sun protection, then this is a good choice among drugstore primes.

This drugstore primer has all-natural ingredients which means you can skip sunscreen when applying it. It also smooths out pores, wrinkles, and fine lines for perfectly prepped skin.

9. Best Drugstore Primer for Large Pores: Nyx Pore Filler

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Pore Filler Blurring Primer, Vegan Face Primer


It is similar to expensive pore-filling primers but can be bought for a fraction of the cost. It has a thick consistency because of which you can apply it where you have large pores. It is good for oily skin as it gives a matte finish look.

10. Best Drugstore Primer for Redness: Nyx Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Honey Dew Me Up Primer Face Makeup


This is another multi-purpose primer. It not only reduces redness but also hydrates skin with hyaluronic acid.

This primer also has light reflective gold flecks for glowing and bright skin. Apart from this, it is good at doing the usual job of a primer which is smoothing skin and making it ready for the application of makeup. It will be best for dry skin as it is a hydrating primer.

Is Primer Bad for Your Skin?

Primers are good for the skin but should not be too much because of the silicon’s presence in primers. It is important to use primers that are free of silicone, as they can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Silicone-based primers are also known to block natural moisture from escaping your skin, which may cause irritation.

The best thing about primers is that they work great with your base makeup products. They help you get a smoother finish and keep your makeup on for longer hours.

Can You Use Primer Without Makeup?

Yes, you can use primer without makeup! You can skip the foundation and apply primer directly to clean your skin for a natural look.

When used alone, primer creates an even canvas for your skin so it looks smooth and radiant.

It also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by filling them in with colorless silicone particles that sit on top of the skin’s surface rather than sinking into it.

If you want a more dramatic look, try applying foundation over your primer-covered face instead of skipping it altogether.

The primer will help keep the foundation from settling into any lines or wrinkles on your face while providing an even canvas for blending colors together flawlessly.

Should You Use a Primer Before the Foundation?

You can use a primer before the foundation.

If you want to keep your foundation looking fresh all day, a primer can help with that. The main purpose of a primer is to create a smooth canvas for your foundation by filling in pores and fine lines.

Primers also have different formulas depending on the type of skin you have. For example, if you have oily skin, then using a mattifying primer will be best for you.

If you have dry skin, then using an oil-absorbing primer would work better for you.


Primers are a dime a dozen these days, but only a few of them are worth your money. We looked for the best primers at the drugstore that will create the perfect canvas for any look and make makeup last longer.

It’s hard to believe, but there really is such a thing as a cheap must-have primer.

Disclaimer: This article, other beauty and fashion tips on SheBegan are contributed by experienced fashion professionals, beauty & cosmetics experts. Read our full research and editorial process here. Also, our posts may contain affiliate links, read our full affiliate disclosure

Suhira heads the editorial department of SheBegan Magazine. She joined SheBegan Magazine as an author in 2017, and her writings also appeared on cosmopolitan, lifefalcon and other mags. Suhira loves to write on wellness-related topics, skin/hair/beauty tips, relationship advice topics, and bridal grooming niche. Later, in 2019, she became the head of our editorial board and also holds the position of Growth analyst. Having had sufficient experience with fitness and nutritional balance. Suhira has worked as a fitness trainer at local Gyms, we utilize her experience in our fitness and nutritional recommendations.

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