Best Drugstore Primers 2020 For Every Skin Type, According To Moms

The Best Drugstore Primers That Are *Actually* Worth The Hype

November 21, 2019 Updated May 22, 2020

Drugstore Beauty Primer

Let’s talk primers, baby! Nobody—we mean, nobody (especially not all you working mommas)—should have to settle for anything less than a flawless complexion. Everyone’s skin is different: It’s just a matter of finding a formula that works best for you. Whether you’re looking for 24/7 coverage or have a specific skin concern in mind (dry patches, oily skin, enlarged pores), a good primer will work its magic around the clock to minimize the look of pores and mattify your skin. Wear it as a base for your foundation or test-drive the no-makeup makeup look that’s all the rage these days. Ladies with mature skin, you can officially kick blemishes and fine lines to the curb by scooping up a primer with age-defying benefits.

To busy moms (and boss babes) everywhere, we have you and your skincare needs covered the next time you find yourself in a pickle. Keep reading for the best drugstore primers that will make you glow. 

Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating Primer

Turn back signs of aging STAT (no joke—get ready to look 10 years younger overnight) with this bomb spotlight illuminating primer from Physicians Formula that’s enriched with age-defying antioxidants. You can officially say sayonara to redness and dull skin and hello to a healthy, radiant complexion. The formula is infused with five filtering luminscent pearls to blur imperfections and combat redness. Beyond makeup longevity, this primer is all about the glow factor. If you’ve always wanted to master the art of dewy skin (don’t we all?!), then this product will come in clutch. It’s deemed safe to use on sensitive skin so, really, no excuses, mama!

$12 AT AMAZON



e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer

Oh, yes, a damn good drugstore beauty dupe. We love to see it. This poreless putty primer from e.l.f. Is not only a hella budget-friendly alternative to Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas, but it actually works. The incredibly hydrating formula containing squalane works best as an everyday base. Not only does it lock in moisture but it smoothes your skin to ensure a flawless all-day finish. Once the silky base is applied, watch your pores and imperfections disappear before your eyes—it’s like magic. Pro tip: Moisturize your skin prior to applying, and then evenly cover your face with this putty primer. Allow it to set for 30 seconds, and voilà. According to this Amazon customer, it helps with fine line foundation settlement, too: “The main reason I tried the “putty” version was in hopes that it would help prevent my foundation from camping out in my fine lines. Although this does not make my fine lines “disappear” [am still looking for that product] it does minimize the amount of foundation that settles into them.”

$8 AT AMAZON

Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt’r Mini Instant Retouch Primer

If it’s good enough for RiRi, then it’s more than good enough for us. Who needs the latest filter on IG Stories (Milk*One by ya.molli, all the way) to disguise the fact that you haven’t slept in two days when you’ve got this dope oil-free primer from Fenty Beauty to keep your sanity in check? Perfect for travel (we’re partial to the fancy pump bottle) or testing out before splurging on the full-size, Fenty’s Pro Filt’r Mini Instant Retouch Primer is a godsend. Here’s why: It stops shine, provides phenomenal pore coverage, and preps your skin for smoother foundation application. If you hate primers that make your skin feel tight or irritated, then you’ll love the lightweight, cushiony texture of this formula… even after hours of wear. This Sephora customer raves, “WOW, this stuff is amazing, my foundation looks like a second skin, no more creasing, or oxidizing and it helps control shine.”

$16 AT SEPHORA

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Got pores? Same girl. Same. Smooth out your complexion and blur the appearance of pores with Maybelline’s Baby Skin primer. Apply it first thing in the morning as you would a moisturizer. Wear it under your favorite foundation or alone for a smooth, matte finish.

$6 AT AMAZON



Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

You had us at eight-hour shine control. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, then say no more. Rimmel comes through with a lightweight, non-greasy formula (again, wear it alone or with a foundation for an airbrushed look) that will keep you covered from nine-to-five. Any takers? 

$6 AT AMAZON

Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Primer

You can thank us later (no, seriously) for this miracle-working paraben-free and cruelty-free face primer from Elizabeth Mott that basically disguises itself as an IRL Instagram filter. The long-lasting waterproof formula will minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines without drying out your skin.

$15 AT AMAZON

Milani Prep + Set + Go Transparent Face Powder

This face powder from Milani doesn’t mess around when it comes to camouflaging the appearance of pores and fine lines. Oily T-zone? No problem. Set your makeup and control shine around-the-clock with this silky skin perfector that’s conveniently sold in one universal shade.

$7 AT AMAZON



Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Makeup Primer

Replenish your winter skin and turn back signs of aging with this hydrating primer from Covergirl that will leave you with a youthful glow. The pump dispenser makes application a cinch. Pro tip: Pair with Covergirl’s Simply Ageless Foundation (find your true shade) for a radiant complexion.

$12 AT AMAZON

Sozge UCANBE Face Primer for Oily Skin

Get ready to fall in la-la-love with this dreamy multi-purpose, lightweight face primer from Sozge targeting oily skin. Key ingredients, including green tea extract, will protect and nourish your skin while keeping it shine-free (praise). It also promises to moisturize, brighten, and disguise blemishes for one helluva smooth canvas.

$13 AT AMAZON

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer

Keep your selfie game strong with Revlon’s PhotoReady brightening primer. If you’ve ever desired an airbrushed “I just woke up like this” look, then say no more. The pink-tinted formula—utilizing High Definition Filter Technology—smoothes and perfects while softening imperfections for an ultra-luxurious finish.

$9 AT AMAZON



Honest Beauty Everything Primer

You glow girl. Introducing Honest Beauty’s award-winning primer that’s infused with mica (a mineral referred to as “nature’s glitter” in the beauty world) to enhance your natural glow. Prep ‘n’ go for your “no makeup days” or wear it under foundation for a gorgeous complexion.

$20 AT AMAZON

e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer

Hydrate, prime, and transform your skin in one step with this budget-conscious primer from e.l.f. Not only is it a match for sensitive skin, but it’s loaded with vitamins to boost your natural complexion. Is dewy skin what you’re after? A small dollop of product will do. 

$6 AT AMAZON

L'Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer

Found it. Use this creamy whipped face primer from L’Oreal Paris to conceal problem areas in a jiffy (from your under-eye area to a shiny T-zone). Discover its skin-smoothing effects by applying a dot at a time, and massaging in circular motions until fully absorbed.

$11 AT AMAZON



Touch In Sol No Pore Blem Primer

Excuse us as we giddily add this primer to our morning beauty routine. Tackle fine lines and an uneven complexion with the gel-like formula (apply after moisturizer but before makeup) for seamless, smoothing coverage.

$15 AT AMAZON

Facial Sunscreen and Antioxidants by Olay Sun

When your skin looks great, trust us, it feels great. Part makeup primer, part sunscreen (SPF 35), Olay Sun’s quick-absorbing serum consisting of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin E preps your skin for the long day ahead. The barely-there formula can be applied as the final step of your skincare routine right before your makeup goes on.

$10 AT AMAZON

The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

The Ordinary’s high-adherence blurring primer makes us want to airbrush away all our skin woes… literally. A solution for dryness, dullness, and uneven skin tone, this mattifying holy grail formula works to reduce the look of pores. TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): When you desire a flawless AF complexion, reach for this.

$5 AT SEPHORA



NYX Studio Perfect Primer

Red carpet-ready? Almost. Don’t underestimate the power of a damn good primer (even better when it’s a drugstore dupe) that works overtime to mattify your skin. This photo-ready base coat (also available in two color-correcting shades) from NYX is easy to apply and goes on clear.

$10 AT AMAZON

Milk Makeup Blur Stick

For quick on-the-go touch-ups, we recommend Milk Makeup’s Blur Stick. The universal neutral shade gets our vote, as does the clutch-friendly size—practically made for the ever-spontaneous GNO. It’s best to keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Simply roll it on wherever you have imperfections, and voilà.

$18 AT SEPHORA

Which of these drugstore primers will you be scooping up? For all your winter style essentials, be sure to check out Scary Mommy’s Beauty Must-Haves.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.
SHOP THE STORY
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Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser...
$6
Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
$6
Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Primer
$15
Milani Prep + Set + Go Transparent Face ...
$7
Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless Makeup P...
$12
Sozge UCANBE Face Primer for Oily Skin
$13
Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer
$9
Honest Beauty Everything Primer
$20
e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer
$6
L'Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face...
$11
Touch In Sol No Pore Blem Primer
$15
Facial Sunscreen and Antioxidants by Ola...
$10
The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Pri...
$5
NYX Studio Perfect Primer
$10
Milk Makeup Blur Stick
$18
Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminatin...
$12
e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer
$8
Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt’r Min...
$16