The Best Primers For Textured Skin

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Despite what the overly filtered faces of Instagram might lead you to believe, there's no such thing as skin that's completely even. "Textured skin is totally normal," celebrity makeup artist Omayma Ramzy emphasizes to Elite Daily. "Wider pores, texture or puckering from acne scarring, coarseness, and irregular areas are all normal,” she says. But if you're hoping to create a smoother surface for your makeup, the best primers for textured skin will set you up for success. Rather than reaching for the first smoothing primer you see, Ramzy says to consider any other skin concerns you may have, such as redness or oil control, for the best results. "For minimizing [the appearance of] skin texture, veer away from shimmers," says Ramzy of her number-one piece of advice. "Any finishes that are too radiant or oily can draw extra attention to textured skin."

Wanting to reduce the appearance of textured skin doesn't mean you have to forgo the shimmer altogether, however. "Personally, I love a radiant look, so if you have textured skin, I'd say go in with your pore-refining primer and a matte foundation," Ramzy says. "Then, add in a little strobing cream underneath or highlight, but [only along the] high points that have less texture." Those with breakout-prone skin will also want to make sure their primer is noncomedogenic. "Sodium chloride, wheat germ oil, stearic acid, and lauric acid are all ingredients you want to avoid as they are pore-clogging and can cause more breakouts," says Ramzy.

Choosing the right foundation is also part of the process when it comes to minimizing the look of textured skin, Ramzy notes, sharing that Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation is one of her go-to formulas. "It still feels really lightweight and is truly buildable, which can be rare for a matte-coverage foundation," she explains.

Ahead, you'll find six of the best primers for textured skin that create a smoother canvas for your makeup while targeting things like dryness, dullness, oiliness, and other common skin concerns.

1. The Pro's Pick

Whether it's acne scars or enlarged pores that she's trying to smooth out, Ramzy shares that Tatcha's The Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer is one of her go-to bases. Though it's the biggest splurge on this list, all you need is a small dab of product, as the velvety balm really spreads out to effectively cover your skin (it can even be used on your eyes and lips to give your makeup more staying power). Noncomedogenic and cruelty-free, the primer uses silk proteins, fibers, and powder to blur your skin and create a smoother base that helps your makeup last longer. Additionally, botanical ingredients serve as a protective barrier to keep out the damage caused by pollution and environmental stressors, while green tea, rice, and algae extracts work to improve the look and feel of your skin when used over time.

2. Best Drugstore Primer For Textured Skin (That's Also Pro-Approved)

For a less expensive option, Ramzy also likes e.l.f.’s Poreless Putty Primer when working with heavily textured skin — and with more than 15,000 five-star ratings, Amazon users agree, too. Similar to the Tatcha primer above, it also has a balm-like consistency, and is infused with moisturizing squalane to help keep your skin feeling soft underneath the smooth canvas it creates. "I love that the e.l.f. primer range has different ingredients for other needs, too," Ramzy says of more skin-smoothing options from the brand. "They have a matte primer with kaolin clay to control oil, their luminous primer has hyaluronic acid and collagen, and their acne-prone skin primer has salicylic acid."

3. Best Primer With SPF

If you want an added boost of sun protection, try this mattifying primer with SPF 20 from Colorescience. The two-in-one product is great for oily and acne-prone skin as it contains salicylic acid, but on the same page, you'll also find brightening and bronzing options. Even though it's a matte-finish primer, the formula still contains multiple smoothing and hydrating ingredients like hydrolyzed rice protein, oat kernel protein, and jojoba seed oil. The brand also incorporated antioxidants-rich ingredients, like green tea leaf and aloe leaf extracts, into the formula, as well as peptides for their skin-firming benefits.

4. Best Primer For Textured Skin That's Oily

Oily skin types will find this Paula's Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish primer helpful as both a pre-foundation prep and touch-up product that can be dabbed over your makeup throughout the day to eliminate shine. The brand's Microsponge technology is behind its shine-stopping abilities, which works by creating tiny sponge-like spheres that absorb excess oil while smoothing out the appearance of enlarged, congested pores. The secret to applying the primer, whether you use it before your foundation or as the last step of your makeup routine, is to gently press it into your skin to create a smoother canvas and a more even-looking complexion.

5. Best Primer For Textured Skin That's Dry

When your skin is dehydrated or dry, it can make any texture that you have appear more prominent. So if your skin naturally leans on the dry side, you'll need a smoothing primer with multiple hydrating ingredients (and you'll probably want to apply a moisturizer before your primer, too). Laura Geller’s Spackle Skin Perfecting Primer: Hydrate infuses the brand's original primer formula with moisturizing and antioxidant-rich ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, grape extract, and safflower seed oil. Hundreds of Amazon shoppers confirm that as the primer works to hydrate your skin, it also helps prevent makeup from settling into flaky spots and other areas that are unevenly textured.

6. Honorable Mention

For a primer that does it all, Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer minimizes the look of uneven texture, moisturizes with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, and absorbs oil throughout the day with hollow silica beads. "A little goes a long way, and it covers nose pores so well," Ramzy says of the tried-and-true primer. "It works really well with mature skin, too, and its formula has light-diffusing technology that keeps your complexion looking bright," she adds of Elizabeth Arden's blurring complex. This is a great product to use both with and without makeup, and it’s oil-free and noncomedogenic, to boot.


Omayma Ramzy, a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist and founder of Omayma skin