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Silicones — you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Judging by the fact that you’re reading this article, you likely fall into the former camp, so let’s dive right into today’s topic: silicone-based primers. Though these types of primers are most traditionally associated with oily skin types, there are plenty of options that are suitable for use on dry skin, too. So when trying to narrow down the best silicone-based primer for you, consider your skin type, and then scan the label for ingredients and keywords that correspond with your skin and makeup goals.
For example, dry skin types should look for a primer with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, while people with oily or shine-prone skin will probably prefer a mattifying primer. Another thing to consider is any other products (or lack thereof) that you’ll be layering underneath or on top, since some primers do multiple jobs at once. You can even find silicone-based primers that contain acne-fighting ingredients, or that offer sun protection as well.
No matter which primer you choose, it’s important to remove it, along with your makeup, at night to avoid clogged pores. (And if you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of cleansers out there, here are some of the best face washes for removing makeup.)
Ready to find the best primer for you? Below, you’ll find seven excellent options that all use some form of silicone as their base ingredient, and there’s a pick at every price point, too.
1. The Overall Best Silicone-Based Primer
Amazon’s number-one best-selling primer is Maybelline’s cult-classic Baby Skin primer, which is beloved for making skin look super smooth and practically poreless. Obviously, nothing can actually shrink your pores, but this creates a blurred effect so they’re a lot less noticeable. Makeup will literally glide over skin that’s been prepped with this primer — that’s thanks to the silicones in the formula — and though it leaves behind a matte finish, it’ll work for any skin type. (That said, if you prefer a dewy finish, keep scrolling.) The best part about this primer, though? It costs just over $6 on Amazon.
2. Runner Up
Here’s another budget-friendly, best-selling primer with silicones to consider, which was suggested by Elite Daily’s associate commerce editor (and former beauty writer) Caroline Goldstein. She says, “Back in my heavier makeup-wearing days I always had a tube of Rimmel Stay Matte Mattifying Primer on hand. I was obsessed with the velvety, soft-focus finish it gave my skin. Sometimes I wore it on its own, without foundation, to make my bare skin look more ‘perfected’ — but it made any foundation layered over the top look completely flawless. Like, porcelain doll flawless. And [it] stayed that way for hours.” If that sounds enticing to you, give it a shot for just $4.
3. Best Primer For Acne-Prone Skin
This silicone-based primer from e.l.f contains 2% salicylic acid, aka one of the most effective ingredients out there for treating acne and clogged pores. There’s also moisturizing vitamin E in here to balance out the salicylic acid, but this leaves your skin looking smooth and matte, not shiny or dewy. This is another affordable pick, ringing up at just about $6 on Amazon.
4. Best Moisturizing Primer
If you prefer a more moisturizing feel, or simply love a good multitasking product, give TULA’s Face Filter Primer a shot. It’s full of good-for-skin nutrients like turmeric and licorice, as well as pre- and probiotics (the star ingredients in all TULA products) to support strong, balanced skin. Of course, there are also silicones in here to give it that coveted, smooth glide. It offers just the lightest touch of luminosity, so it works just as wonderfully worn on its own as it does with makeup, and it comes in both tinted and non-tinted versions. You could skip the moisturizer and just wear this instead (but don’t forget to put sunscreen on top).
5. Best Primer With SPF
Beauty writer Jessica Ourisman says she loves this primer/sunscreen from TIZO3, which boasts quite a few silicones in its formula. “It incorporates mineral UV protection and leaves the skin ready for foundation. It has a highly stable form of vitamin C (THD Ascorbate) worked into the formula, but to be honest, it’s such a small amount [that] you really don’t need to worry about it being very ‘active’ — basically, you can wear this over your vitamin C serum without having to worry about tingling or irritation. It’s also ‘reef-safe’ — as far as that unregulated claim can be taken (i.e. not containing the main chemical filters under fire), and cruelty-free.” Though this is technically tinted, Jessica says the tint simply ensures that it doesn't leave behind any sort of chalky cast, and notes that, “Because it really doesn't provide coverage, I do think it could be used universally on all skin tones.” So basically, it’s a great primer and sunscreen in one, but you shouldn’t expect any makeup-like coverage from this.
6. Best Splurge
Luxe beauty lovers, this one’s for you. Hourglass’s cult-classic Veil primer is an award-winning, oil-free primer that will give you the smoothest, most even canvas for applying makeup, though it’s equally great for no-makeup days as well. It has the most lightweight, airy texture (so your skin won’t feel suffocated when you wear it, despite the silicones in the formula), and it won’t make you look (or feel) oily or greasy, either. Basically, this skin care/makeup hybrid feels just right — and it’s an amazing choice for any skin type, thanks to its minimalist formula (which includes zinc oxide for SPF 15 protection — a nice bonus, but not enough for days when you’ll be exposed to the sun).