11 Best Primers for Dry Skin 2019: Which Is Right for You?

best primer for dry skin

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By now you’re probably wondering just how many different products you really need in your beauty arsenal, aren’t you? You’ve got all the moisturizers for day and night, eyes and lips. You’ve got serums for brightening and wrinkle fighting retinol creams for sloughing off dead skin cells. You’ve got favorite face washes and hydrating spritzers, and makeup setting sprays. And now, here we are, suggesting yet another step in your daily beauty routine – primer. Really? Yes. Really.

If you’ve been buying, and trying, all the stuff, it’s time to know exactly what that stuff does, why it’s beneficial, and how you can use it for maximum effect. Especially if you have dry, sensitive skin. Sometimes more can seem better, but honestly, it’s not. If you’re struggling with dry patches, flaking and peeling, using a combination of just a few of the right beauty products can really make a huge difference in the texture and appearance of your skin. Primer for dry skin is one of those products that is definitely worth learning to use.

You can get primers with just a touch of tint. They can act as a grab and go solution for your bare face days. And you can also find illuminating primers that brighten and add a touch of glimmer, to give you a more shimmery, dewy look. Women with older skin especially like their brightening effect.

If you’re game to get gorgeous, and stay that way from morning to late night, without compromising on moisture for your sensitive or dry skin, these Best Primers for Dry Skin deliver the goods. And be sure to check out our expanded information on primers at the end of this article.

laura geller spackle, best primer for dry skin, primer for dry skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Hydrating formula
  • Green tint to minimize redness
  • Non-pilling
Price: $30.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
jouer primer, best primer for dry skin, primer for dry skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Absorbs well
  • Non-irritating
  • Hypoallergenic
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
lorac primer, best primer for dry skin, dry skin primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Skin smoothing
  • Silicone free
  • Non-irritating
Price: $33.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pony effect primer, best primer for dry skin, dry skin primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Hyaluronic acid formula
  • Not sticky feeling
  • Blurs pores
Price: $18.70 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
too faced hangover primer, best primer for dry skin, dry skin primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cool pump bottle
  • Vegan friendly
  • Hydrating coconut water formula
Price: $25.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
laura mercier primer, best primer for dry skin, dry skin primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very hydrating
  • Dries quickly
  • Vitamin infused
Price: $38.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
bareminerals primer, best primer for dry skin, dry skin primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great plant botanicals
  • Skin calming
  • Tackles dry spots
Price: $21.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
hydrating makeup primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Adds a golden glow
  • Lightly illuminating
  • Hydrates well
Price: $21.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
elf hydrating primer, hydrating primer, dry skin primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Vitamin infused
  • Fills fine lines and wrinkles
  • Very affordable
Price: $4.80 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dark spot correcting face primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Paraben free
  • Made with hydrating ceramides
  • Anti-aging formula
Price: $31.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
dual action face primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Hydration boosting
  • Skin brightening
  • Silky texture
Price: $34.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Laura Geller New York Spackle Hydrating Primer

    Pros:
    • Leaves skin looking healthy and hydrated
    • Doesn’t pill up under makeup
    • Good amount for the price
    • Very lightweight formula
    Cons:
    • Feels greasy to some users
    • Can seem too watery
    • Expensive compared to some

    Formulated with natural, soothing, and moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera gel and cupuaçu seed butter, this hydrating primer leaves skin feeling smooth and nourished, making it a great primer for dry skin. A perfect base under makeup, it helps to leave skin looking more refined, helping conceal fine lines and evening out skin tone.

    It makes a great canvas to apply foundation for a more flawless look. It’s recommended that you apply this dry skin primer over the top of your moisturizer. You might want to use a lighter touch with moisturizer, and then add this, letting each soak into your skin prior to foundation application.

    Do you have super sensitive skin that’s easily irritated and red? Laura Geller New York Soothing Under Makeup Primer uses natural botanical extracts to tackle touchy skin. It’s ultra-hydrating, and is tinted with green, to minimize the appearance of redness.

    If you’re a lover of makeup setting sprays, Laura Geller Spackle Mist is a multi-tasking spray that acts as a lightweight moisturizing primer, that can set your makeup for longer wear, and refresh your face midday.

    Check out our guide to the best makeup setting sprays to make sure your look lasts for hours.

  2. 2. Jouer Anti-Aging Moisture Primer

    Pros:
    • Silicone free
    • Hypoallergenic, paraben and fragrance free
    • Leaves skin with a glowing finish
    • Nice natural moisturizers and antioxidants as well
    Cons:
    • Not moisturizing enough for some
    • Small bottle for the price
    • Doesn’t seem to increase makeup wear time
    • Not as wrinkle blurring as some

    If you’re not yet convinced of the skin nurturing powers of argan oil and shea butter, this moisturizing, hydrating primer might make the case for you. Jouer has created a line smoothing formula that also helps to restore some of your skin’s lost elasticity.

    Packed with peptides, vitamins and natural extracts, we like this primer for dry skin because it’s silicone free, and absorbs nicely. Non-irritating and hypoallergenic, it makes a nice base for makeup without feeling heavy or greasy on your skin.

    It tackles free radical damage with antioxidant ingredients like vitamin E, ginseng and ginko biloba, delivering a little anti-aging power along with primer magic.

    If breakouts are an issue, consider a lightweight mineral tint moisturizer on top of your primer. Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint gets rave reviews for its sheer, but buildable coverage, and shimmery finish.

  3. 3. LORAC “I’m So Sensitive” Soothing Face Primer

    Pros:
    • Larger bottle than many
    • Leaves skin with a naturally smooth look
    • Terrific for sensitive skin
    • Paraben, silicone, oil and fragrance free
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t provide the makeup staying power of some
    • May irritate extremely sensitive skin
    • Pretty darned spendy
    • Some packaging issues reported

    We love companies that pitch their products, first, by what they don’t contain. That’s the case with this primer for dry skin from LORAC. This formula is free from many of the ingredients that anyone who’s picky about their face wants to avoid. No silicone. No parabens. No oil. No fragrance.

    What this primer for dry skin does contain is a powerful blend of antioxidants, vitamins and plant extracts that soothe your skin, while they moisturize it. This lightweight hydrating primer goes on a bit tacky, but leave it to dry for a minute or two, and your makeup will go on silky smooth.

    The skin soothing formula gets rave reviews for not causing breakouts, but still leaving skin hydrated and feeling fresh. If you’re an eyeshadow lover, but you’re frustrated with how your carefully applied look seems to fade through the day, LORAC Behind The Scenes Eye Shadow Primer gets rave reviews, and gets the nod as Amazon’s Choice as well.

  4. 4. PONY EFFECT Ultimate Prep Primer – Hydrate

    Pros:
    • Made with moisturizing hyaluronic acid
    • Helps extend makeup wear
    • Affordable compared to many
    • Helps to calm irritated skin
    Cons:
    • Not silicone free
    • Not as lasting as some
    • Thicker formula than some
    • Needs to be massaged in hands to warm and make more spreadable

    For those of you who suffer from super sensitive, flaky dry skin, this dry skin primer had us hooked at the mention of hyaluronic acid, that miracle working moisturizer that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. It also features soothing aloe vera gel to calm and comfort irritated skin.

    This primer helps hold on to your makeup for a daylong flawless finish, without being heavy and goopy. If you’re a lover of Korean beauty products, this one’s a keeper. Although it doesn’t have the usual kitschy cute packaging of many K beauty items, the more glam approach is a plus in our opinion.

    This primer does a great job of blurring pores, along with its skin nurturing features. PONY EFFECT also has a formula for combination skin that’s popular as well. Just a spritz of PONY EFFECT Radiance Glow Hydrating Starter can be used on top of your primer for added skin pampering and creating a more glowing look.

  5. 5. Too Faced HangoverRX Face Primer

    Pros:
    • Smells deliciously of coconut
    • Lightweight formula isn’t greasy or sticky
    • Silicone free
    • Leaves skin feeling refreshed and hydrated
    Cons:
    • Pretty darned spendy
    • Doesn’t increase makeup wear as well as some
    • Seems more watery than many
    • Some packaging problems reported

    This hydrating primer from Too Faced absolutely wins the cuteness award for really appealing packaging, and an adorable pump bottle we love. But since it’s what’s inside that counts, we love its list of ingredients that include deliciously hydrating, and equally wonderful smelling, coconut water. Just putting it on feels like rubbing dessert into your skin.

    Contrary (or perhaps not) to the name, it’s not really an RX for those nights when you stayed out late, and played a little too hard. This formula is for everyday use to keep your skin moisturized, and nourished, but also to keep your makeup application smooth and long lasting.

    Vegan friendly and paraben free, it’s filled with skin revivers, probiotics and that lovely coconut water, to leave your skin feeling like it’s had a big, refreshing drink. It doesn’t leave your face feeling greasy or sticky, because this lightweight formula feels more water based to the touch.

    If you just don’t have time for a multi-step makeup routine, snag a bottle of the spray that does double duty – Too Faced HangoverRX 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer and Setting Spray

  6. 6. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

    Pros:
    • Gel like formula absorbs and dries quickly
    • Provides makeup staying power
    • Infused with antioxidant vitamins
    • Leaves skin feeling hydrated
    Cons:
    • Quite expensive
    • Contains oil and dimethicone
    • Formula can separate over time
    • Not as hydrating as some

    Say buh-bye to tired, dehydrated skin with this primer for dry skin. Laura Mercier’s hydrating formula is packed with power antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, along with wrinkle plumping sodium hyaluronate, aka. hyaluronic acid. This hydrating gel glides on and dries smooth, leaving skin feeling firmer, and more hydrated, while creating a really great canvas for your foundation.

    It also goes the distance when it comes to staying power, meaning your morning makeup will still look awesome at the end of a hectic day. The non-greasy formula helps to fill in laugh lines, crows feet and other skin imperfections to leave you looking younger. Sweet. It also soaks in quickly, and the moisturizing barrier it provides on your skin helps to make the day’s makeup, oil and dirt so much easier to remove. 

    For those days when your skin just looks tired and needs a lift, start with Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer before your primer for some added glow, and camouflage those eye bags and dark circles with Laura Mercier Eye Basics. 

  7. 7. bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer

    Pros:
    • Leaves skin with a smooth finish
    • Adds great makeup staying power
    • No irritating preservatives
    • Hydrates dry and flaking skin
    Cons:
    • Need to give it time to set and dry before applying makeup
    • Not the best choice for combination or more oily skin
    • Pump dispenser isn’t always reliable
    • Small amount for the price

    There’s a reason this dry skin primer gets rave reviews, and its natural ingredient list is a big part of it. Chock full of plant botanicals like aloe, licorice root extract, and skin calming chamomile extract, along with antioxidant vitamins C an E, and, of course, minerals, this bareMinerals primer goes on smooth, with a clear, non-greasy gel formula.

    It really helps to tackle those tough dry skin patches and flaking skin, all the while creating a super smooth palette for your makeup, whether you use mineral powder or traditional liquid foundation.

    It also extends your makeup wear. We really love that it’s free of skin-irritating preservatives, and it comes in a super easy to use little pump bottle that minimizes product waste. It gets our vote as a best primer for dry skin, and it’s also Amazon’s Choice.

    Wondering if mineral makeup is for you? Check out the ten benefits of mineral makeup per this interesting article.

  8. 8. Honest Beauty Everything Primer, Glow

    Pros:
    • Not too slippery
    • Nice tint and luminosity
    • Hydrating and firming
    • Lightweight formula absorbs well
    Cons:
    • Squeeze bottle is hard to squeeze
    • Can seem a bit too sparkly
    • Scent is off putting to some
    • On the spendy side for the quantity

    You already know we’re nuts about beauty products that contain hyaluronic acid, and this hydrating primer packs their formula with that moisturizing miracle worker, along with botanical peptides to smooth and plump your skin. With peony root extract, it helps to firm your skin and prep it for the perfect application of makeup.

    This luminous formula adds just enough shine, along with a bit of golden tint, to give you a pretty, dewy look. If you want to go bare faced for the day, you can prime and skip the rest of your makeup, (well, perhaps except for concealer,) and have just enough sheer moisture and luminosity to feel totally confident. Do you dare?

    This formula is free from lots of the bad stuff you don’t want to put on your face, so be sure to check the impressive ingredient list for yourself. If you can’t bear to go without base makeup, check out the antioxidant infused Honest Beauty Everything Cream Foundation. Mix a bit of your primer with a touch of this for a bit more coverage, but with a more natural look, or check out our list of best tinted moisturizers with lots of easy options for a no makeup day.

  9. 9. e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer

    Pros:
    • Super cheap
    • Hydrates without feeling greasy
    • Makes makeup easier to remove
    • Antioxidant ingredients fight aging
    Cons:
    • Silicone formula isn’t everyone’s favorite
    • Bottle looks deceptively big compared to the actual amount of product inside
    • Scent is off putting to some
    • Not as mattifying as claimed

    As you know by now, you can spend a small fortune on dry skin primers. The question is, do you need to? At under six bucks, the e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer is far and away the cheapest of those we’ve reviewed. Why is it so wildly popular? Clearly, pricing plays a role, but it also has pretty luxe packaging and delivers good results too.

    It’s infused with antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, along with hydrating grapeseed oil. And if you’re not opposed to a silicone formula, this one doesn’t feel too slippery, which so many others do. While it does take a little time to dry on your skin, it also helps fill in some of those fine lines and wrinkles, and adds to the staying power of your makeup.

    At this price point, it’s a great hydrating primer to try, especially if you’re just beginning your primer journey. This formulation helps create a barrier between your skin and your makeup, which means when you cleanse at the end of the day, you’re less likely to have clogged pores and breakouts due to makeup residue. With a nice lightweight formula, it leaves your face feeling hydrated, but not greasy.

  10. 10. PÜR Correcting Primer

    Pros:
    • Retinol formula with anti-aging benefits
    • Rich in cermaides it leaves your skin ultra hydrated
    • Cruelty and paraben free
    • Gently illuminates tired looking skin
    Cons:
    • Too illuminating for some
    • Creates a dewey versus matte finish
    • Can be a bit cakey compared to others

    If you’re looking for dark spot correction, along with smoothing fine lines and wrinkles this hydrating primer from PÜR should be on your must-try list. It plumps those fine lines and wrinkles with an age-defying retinol formula that is rich with ultra-hydrating ceramides. 

    This paraben free formula is also 100 percent cruelty-free so you can feel great using it to create the perfect palette for foundation and blush. This gently illuminating primer will bring your tired and stressed skin to life, making it and you ready to face the day beautifully.

  11. 11. Monica Ann Dual-Action Face Primer

    Pros:
    • Hyaluronic acid boosts and holds hydration
    • Skin brightening vitamin C fights free radical damage and premature aging
    • Silky texture glides on smoothly
    • Helps prevent makeup meltdown
    Cons:
    • A bit pricey
    • Scent is too heavy for some
    • Looks a bit sparkly

    As a base under your makeup, this primer will give your skin an all day glow. Worn alone, it gives you a boost of hydration to make it an even better choice. Your fine lines and wrinkles with be plumped and pumped to receive whichever cosmetics you choose for the day, and they won’t melt down over time, meaning you’ll look terrific all day long.

    This hyaluronic acid formula boosts and helps your skin retain much needed moisture, while antioxidant and skin brightening vitamin C helps to fight free radical damage, a major cause of premature aging. Another cool attribute is the corporate philosophy of Monica Ann, which gives a portion of each sale to cancer research. That’s a major bonus in our world. 

By now, you're probably asking yourself "should I use primer or serum?" The answer is, unequivocally - both. Serums, which generally go on prior to your moisturizer, are amazing at helping your favorite face creams penetrate your skin deeply, hence they work more effectively. In essence, serums make your skin more receptive to receiving that big drink of hydration.

If you've got dry or even dry/combination skin, primers go one important step further. Applied on top of your moisturizer, to literally hold in (and sometimes add) hydration, they also create a barrier between your freshly softened skin and your makeup.

That means your cosmetics are a lot less likely to seep into your pores, and let's face it, if you have dry skin, scrubbing to get your makeup off at the end of the day isn't the best protocol for your skin type. For the most part, we've shied away from silicone or dimethicone based primers here, because they can sometimes irritate sensitive skin types, and tend to pill up under your makeup, which is never a great look.

The hydrating primers we've looked at are great for creating a smooth palette for your foundation and concealer. Many we've reviewed help to fill in fine lines and wrinkles. They'll also increase your makeup's staying power. So if you're one of those people who needs a complete makeup redo by afternoon, these can keep you looking great well into the evening.

With powerful peptides, plant botanicals, antioxidant vitamins and our new beauty fave, hyaluronic acid (more on that moisturizing miracle worker here) primers are actually good for your skin.

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