The 7 Best Primers To Wear Alone

No foundation necessary.

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If you worship at the altar of multitasking, the best primers to wear alone deserve a spot in your pantheon. Primers are best known for creating a smooth, grippable canvas for your makeup to glide over, but these makeup/skin care hybrids can offer your bare skin a little something extra, too, whether that’s reducing redness, protecting your skin from the sun, keeping you shine-free all day long, or imparting a subtle glow.

It’s always a good idea to cater your choice of primer to your skin type. But if you’re looking for a primer to wear alone in particular — i.e., you won’t be covering it up with foundation — pay special attention to the finish you want, whether that's powdery, dewy, glowy, or matte. That’s how your skin is going to look all day, so choose wisely!

Shop The Best Primers To Wear Alone

In a hurry? Here are the best primers to wear alone.

1. Editor’s Pick: The Best Primer To Wear Alone For A Dewy Glow: TULA Skin Care Filter Primer

2. The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Dry Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hyaluronic Hydrating Primer

3. The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Oily Skin: TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer

4. The Best Primer To Wear Alone That Blurs Pores: DHC Velvet Skin Coat

5. The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Color Correcting: PÜR 4-in-1 Correcting Primer Redness Reducer

6. The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Brightening: e.l.f. Brightening Lavender Face Primer

7. The Best Primer To Wear Alone That Doubles As A Sunscreen: Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF 30

However you want your bare (or almost-bare) skin to look and feel, there’s a primer for you featured here — so scroll on to shop seven of the best primers to wear alone.

Editor’s Pick: The Best Primer To Wear Alone For A Dewy Glow

I was never a primer person until I discovered TULA’s Filter Primer, and now it’s become an essential part of my skin-care routine. This breathable, moisturizing primer is packed with plant-based ingredients like turmeric, chia seeds, and licorice to temper redness and boost your natural glow, while probiotics work to strengthen your skin's protective barrier over the long term. It’s also made with skin-blurring pigments that impart a soft, diffuse glow, like the subtlest Instagram filter in the line-up (Paris, if you will). In addition to making my skin look dewy and radiant, it doesn't trigger any redness or irritation in my sensitive skin — one of the only primers I've tried that ticks that very important box.

Relevant review: “My new favorite every day primer. I even wear it on its own on days that I need just a little something for Zoom meetings, but don’t want to do a full face. Gives an even look, a tad bit of tint, and a smooth complexion!”

Key Ingredients: Probiotic Complex, Licorice, Chia Seeds, Turmeric | Size: 1 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Available Shades: 5

The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Dry Skin

The words “hydrating,” “hyaluronic,” and “repair” should tip you off to the things this creamy First Aid Beauty primer can do for your skin. In addition to its moisturizing and soothing abilities, it’ll also make your bare skin look a little glowy, thanks to light-diffusing Micro-Pearls in the formula. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and hypoallergenic, so it’s a safe choice for people with sensitive skin.

Relevant review: “I absolutely love this product. It moisturizes so well—especially during the winter months—but it doesn’t feel greasy, and it doesn’t make me itch! Worth the price tag.”

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Leaf Juice, Green Tea Extract, Licorice Root Extract | Size: 1.7 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Oily Skin

Touch In Sol's cult-favorite No Pore Blem Primer is the rare mattifying primer that zaps unwanted shine without rendering your skin sallow and lifeless — rather, it replaces excess grease with a soft-focus, “lit-from-within” glow, right alongside some smoothing and plumping action (courtesy of plant-based collagen in the formula). It’ll also make your skin feel silky-smooth to the touch, providing a smooth canvas for your sunscreen to glide over.

Relevant review: “I have combination skin, the dry areas get creased easily within hours of make up wear. This primer is light weight with a silky feel to it, fragrance is very light. I have not broken out at all with this product, I have worn it alone without foundation and my skin looks airbrushed, helps minimize my pores [...] It isnt very moisturizing,but not drying either, my dry areas have not creased with makeup nor looked dryer while wearing the product.”

Key Ingredients: Green Tea Extract, Soluble Collagen | Size: 1.01 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Best Primer To Wear Alone That Blurs Pores

Most oil-absorbing primers can also minimize the appearance of pores, but perhaps none do that so well as DHC Velvet Skin Coat. A favorite among beauty editors and makeup professionals, this Japanese primer gives your skin a powdery finish that subdues the look of enlarged pores and other inconsistencies in your skin's texture. It’s pretty hardcore on the mattifying front, so this is another good choice for people with oily skin. Alternatively, you can use it as a spot-treatment wherever you’re hoping to blur out pores, and/or on extra-oily areas (which, conveniently, tend to be the same place).

Relevant review: “I had this years ago before thousands of other primers hit the market and this one is still the best! Not overly greasy like so many these days and just alone without makeup this one seems to improve the appearance of your complexion! Love it!”

Key Ingredients: Olive Oil, Silica, Dimethicone | Size: 0.52 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Color Correcting

Green is on the opposite side of the color wheel to red, as you may recall from art class; so reach for a green-toned primer, like this one from PÜR, if you’re hoping to cancel out ruddiness in your skin. This’ll provide some skin care benefits beyond the aesthetic as well, like gentle resurfacing and moisturizing, courtesy of powerhouse ingredients like lactic acid, retinol, and ceramides in the formula. There are lots of green primers available on Amazon, however — Maybelline and Touch In Sol both make great ones — so you can pick and choose according to your skin type and budget.

Relevant review: “I have struggled with redness on my cheeks and nose for the past 10 years. I finally decided to color correct. I am so pleased with the effectiveness of this product. Also, it is lightweight and feels wonderful on the skin. Highly recommended!!”

Key Ingredients: Ceramide AP, Retinol, Lactic Acid, Shea Butter | Size: 1 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Best Primer To Wear Alone For Brightening

Purple and yellow are also complementary colors, according to color theory, so this lavender primer can cancel out dullness or sallowness in your skin. (Never let anyone tell you makeup isn’t art.) This is dimethicone-based, so it’ll help keep oil at bay for a few hours in addition to giving your skin a brightening boost. There’s also a green version of this fan-favorite primer for those who lean more flushed than sallow, or a colorless formula if you’re solely after the mattifying effects.

Relevant review: “This takes the shine off of my face and makes it so smooth for my foundation. I apply it over my moisturizer and then do my hair while it dries, before putting on my makeup. The purple color DOES even out my skin tone. Sometimes I wear it without makeup. It minimizes my pores. I just love it.”

Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, Silica | Size: 1.01 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Best Primer To Wear Alone That Doubles As A Sunscreen

When we say “the best primers to wear alone,” we actually mean “the best primers to wear under your sunscreen.” If you’re really trying to cheat the system, though, try this Dermalogica primer. It packs an SPF of 30, the minimum amount that dermatologists recommend for daily wear. It’ll do some primer-y things, too, like smoothing and brightening your skin; and since it contains light-diffusing pigments, many shoppers treat this as a tinted moisturizer. But for this (or any other face product containing SPF) to effectively replace your sunscreen, you’ll need to apply the recommended one-third to half teaspoon amount to both your face and neck.

Relevant review: “Love that you can use as a primer or foundation replacement. It’s very light and great coverage with just a pea size amount. My new go-to!”

Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid | Size: 0.75 Oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

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