Pretty young woman wrapped in a white towel standing smiling in front of the mirror applying a cream or moisturizer to her face in a skincare and beauty concept
Image: JL-Pfeifer / Shutterstock

The world of foundation primers can be a bit daunting, but they are definitely necessary for foundation that goes all day. Primers help your foundation stay in place and prevent your blush, bronzer, contour, and highlight from fading.

There are many options when it comes to primers. What type of primer do you need based on your skin type—mattifying or moisturizing? Something in between? And do you want something fun, like bronzing or radiance? We tried several foundation drugstore foundation primers, paired them with liquid foundation, and found the best one in every category.

Read more: How To Know What Primer Is Right For Your Foundation


This Hard Candy Mattifying Primer is a favorite for keeping foundation matte and for all day oil-control. It goes on and dries sheer, unlike some mattifying primers, and even those with sensitive skin can use it. This product can also be used without foundation. Our skin stayed and oil-free for hours on end.


If you need moisture, the e.l.f Studio Hydrating Face Primer brings it. Vitamins A, C, and E moisturize skin, as do grape extracts. This smoothed our skin so that foundation didn’t cling to any dry spots and we ended up with a satin finish. And if you’re not feeling foundation, you can wear this alone for some additional moisturizing, and as the final step in your skincare routine

Read more: The Best Primer for Oily Skin To Keep Your Skin Shine-Free

Color Correcting

Your skin may have too much red or be a bit too sallow looking. If this is the case and you find that foundation and concealer are enough to help, check out the Color Correcting Primer line from NYX. Green neutralizes redness, blue minimizes sallowness, pink brings radiance, yellow evens out medium-tone complexions, and peach helps darker complexions retain their glow. You can blend the colors where you need them, or just use one spot correct, and use another primer for the rest of your skin. The green primer was key for covering up broken capillaries on cheeks.


The Honest Beauty Everything Primer in Glow is a light golden color, to give you a touch of bronze either with or without makeup. This primer also provides a glow and is formulated with hyaluronic acid for added moisture. This is a go-to when you want to skip the bronzer and highlighter but still have some color and some glow. We felt like sun-kissed goddesses when using this primer.


Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating Primer uses blurring technology and filtering pearls to add radiance and dimension to skin while keeping makeup in place. It’s perfect to use in place of highlighter if you just want a bit of illumination. Plus, it contains antioxidants and vitamins to do double-duty for your skin. Our skin looked dewy all day.

Best of the Best

The NYX Angel Veil is our choice for the number one, all-around best drugstore primer. This lightweight product preps skin for foundation and helps with shine. Angel Veil can be used on all skin types. Our foundation went on smoothly, looked perfect all day, and the rest of our face makeup didn’t fade at all.