people's choice

The Best Drugstore Primers on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best mascaras, under-eye concealers, and SPF moisturizers, here we’ve rounded up the best-reviewed primers on Amazon, at drugstore prices. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best mattifying primers

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

“I am not one to leave reviews, but this stuff deserves recognition! In my 32 years of life I have never had something that is supposed to control oil actually do its job. From the moment this stuff touched my face, I felt a difference! This is the first time ever that I had a primer leave my face matte with makeup on. I’ve literally tried everything on the market and this product surpasses them all!”

L’Oréal Paris Makeup Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base

“I love, love this primer! It leaves your face feeling silky smooth, and smells good, too. Remember, a little goes a long way! My makeup goes on looking perfect after using this as a base first. You do not need to use a moisturizer, as this product will leave your face feeling so soft! The color is pink in the jar, but once on your face, there is no tint of pink, it’s just like a moisturizer with no color on your face. It’s a small bottle of wonder that will last a long time.”

Best pore-minimizing primers

Revlon PhotoReady Primer

“This is my new go-to primer for work, where I use little makeup and prefer a more natural look. It helps my appearance and can be worn alone. I love that it reduces the appearance of pores and has a smooth, matte finish. Since it can be worn alone, it’s very quick and easy to apply. I would definitely recommend this for people who struggle with the appearance of pores. It really did help me.”

E.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer

“E.l.f. offers quite a few good products and this is one of them. Countless makeup reviewers, makeup artists, and regular people who make makeup tutorials on YouTube swear by this primer, even when most of their other cosmetics are high-end. I really enjoyed this primer. It goes on very smooth and slides across your fingers and face like the most slippery lubricant you can imagine. At the same time, the texture of it is SOOO soft and silky. It actually feels great just rubbing it between thumb and forefinger. It’s a pleasant experience!”

Best anti-aging primers

CoverGirl + Olay Simply Ageless Makeup Oil-Free Serum Primer

“This foundation is so amazing. After wondering whether or not I would ever find a foundation that really made my aging skin look radiant again like it used to in my younger years — without spending a small fortune — I have finally found it. I’m not just talking about a subtle difference, I’m talking about a huge difference. This is the real deal! It goes on and stays on flawlessly. I don’t have that horrible, dried-out, ‘settling into every line on my face, making me look tired and sallow by midafternoon’ angst that I’ve been battling with. This is a game changer, ladies. I really, really mean it. I am thrilled to have found a product that is reasonably priced and truly delivers.”

DHC Velvet Skin Coat

“I use this product under my makeup as a base. I am 61 years old, and I needed something that would work on my skin. I tried many different products, only to be disappointed. This product really works. My makeup goes on better, and it looks smoother and softer than just on my moisturized skin. The lines and wrinkles are much less noticeable. I have been using it for a couple of years now, and I will keep using it indefinitely.”

Best K-beauty primers

Touch in Sol No Poreblem Primer

“This primer is pretty dang good for the price. I can’t tell you how much money I have spent on buying expensive primer at Ulta only to hate it two days after buying it. I bought this a few weeks ago and I love it. I have oily, acne-prone skin with big pores on my face, I break out pretty easily and I haven’t had any problems with breakouts using this product. I can see a huge difference in my pores since I started using this, they are much smaller now and this helps my liquid foundation last longer throughout the day as well.”

Innisfree No-Sebum Blur Primer

“I absolutely love this product! I don’t like to put on a lot of concealer or foundation, but I do have recent acne scars. This primer is tinted so there is a little color upon application. The color covers and really ‘blurs’ my acne scars so that they aren’t as noticeable and it doesn’t look or feel like I’m wearing makeup at all! I highly recommend if you’re looking for very subtle coverage. This also makes your face super soft!”

Best primer for glitter makeup

NYX Professional Makeup Glitter Primer

Loooooove this. I’ve used a lot of glitter primers and usually they work for a little while — an hour, maybe two — and never up against sweat. I used this on Halloween and am now using it to swatch my glitters for nails or makeup. And this holds up AMAZINGLY. I did dishes and made lunch while swatching glitter colors and they did not budge. I had to use micellar water and a makeup wipe just to get it off. I definitely recommend!”

Best natural primer

bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer

“I have very sensitive skin (I’m allergic to essential oils, fragrances of any kind, 99 percent of lotions and soaps, etc.) and am prone to breakouts, so this primer is a godsend. It is light, has no smell, and really improves the way my foundation goes onto my skin. I tend to have oily zones and dry zones, and this primer really balances them out. The few times I haven’t worn it, my foundation looks notably different, uneven on my forehead where my skin is more oily, and it has a hard time ‘attaching’ to my cheeks.”

Best eye-shadow primer

NYX Professional Makeup Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer

“This stuff is great! It works really well. I needed this product because my eye shadow always creases because of my eye shape, and it doesn’t show up as vibrant. This stuff solved both of those problems! This also doesn’t joke when it comes to being waterproof. You can get it off with makeup remover easily; however, I’d say it just takes a bit longer than normal makeup. I would definitely buy again!”

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The Best Drugstore Primers on Amazon, According to Reviewers