The best primer for mature skin not only helps makeup last throughout the day, it keeps foundation from settling into fine lines and wrinkles. Even better, many primers are formulated especially for aging skin, so they don’t just help your makeup look better — they help your skin look more youthful as well! If you’ve never used a makeup primer before, keep reading to find out what these products do, how long they last, and which one is best for your face. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best primers for mature skin.
When it comes to the best makeup, skincare, and beauty products for women over 50, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking for a foundation that won’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles, an under-eye concealer that works magic, a new eyeshadow to make your lids pop, the best eyeliner to make the perfect cat-eye, the hottest face masks everyone is loving now, or a self-tanner for mature skin, you’ll find something to love in our beauty archive. Just add the best makeup primer to make your makeup look even better!
What are makeup primers?
As the name suggests, makeup primers are gels, creams, or oils that get your face ready for your beauty products, providing a smooth, even base on which to apply your favorite foundation or loose powder. By creating this barrier between your skin and you makeup, you’ll boost the longevity of your look, making primer a must-have for any makeup devotee.
Combining elements of both skincare and cosmetics, certain primers can even moisturize, just like your favorite creams, while others will work to even out your complexion, just like a bb cream would. Makeup primers are available at drugstores, department stores, and dedicated cosmetics retailers, in a range of prices.
Why use makeup primer on aging skin?
As we mature, adding a face primer alongside your favorite serums and retinol-infused moisturizers ahead of our makeup is a step you won’t want to skip. In addition to keeping product firmly in place and making it last longer, the right primer can also help you address aging skincare concerns. For some, skin may gets drier with age, while others will see wrinkles and fine lines appearing on the horizon.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that certain primers do specific things. It’s about evaluating what issues you have with your skin and then finding primers that address them,” makeup artist Allan Avendaño told Allure in 2019.
If you suffer from dry skin, for instance, you’ll want to look for primers that are made with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or coconut water. If it’s fine lines and wrinkles you want to tackle, look for ones that feature smoothing properties or a dose of plumping collagen.
No matter what your specific need may be, there’s an accompanying primer out there to help make sure you always look your best. There are even primers for eyelids, created specifically to keep your eyeshadow and your eyeliner in place!
How to Apply Face Primer
Adding a primer to your routine is as simple as can be. Applied just after moisturizer to prevent pilling, but before makeup, a pea-sized amount of primer should do the trick. (If your skin is dryer than most, use a little more; if you’re using a half-dollar amount, you’ve gone too far.)
Begin applying your gel, cream, or oil of choice, working from the middle of the face outward. After you’ve fully coated your face, allow the product to absorb for at least one minute before continuing on with your normal makeup routine.
Whether you’re treating wrinkles and fine lines, or your skin is in need of an intense hydration boost, using the best primer for mature skin will help keep your makeup fresh all day long!
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Where to buy: $10.57, Amazon
While most of us take pride in investing in our skincare, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great results. One great drugstore option putting many of its luxury counterparts to shame? NYX’s Angel Veil. This skin-perfecting primer will make your face feel just like silk while ensuring makeup goes on easily. Add in the fact that it’s less than $10, and you’ve got a guaranteed primer win. (See more of the best primers you can buy at the drugstore!)
Promising review: “This primer is amazing! I have dry sensitive skin and this feels like velvet when I apply it to my face and it doesn’t irritate or dry my skin out like most products do. Highly recommend!”
Where to buy: $42, Sephora
Luxury beauty house Lancôme is known for its outstanding skincare products, and its La Base Pro Perfecting makeup primer is no exception. With a little help from the company’s “Elasto-Smooth” technology, this oil-free formula manages to refine skin and diffuse light while simultaneously creating an even, radiant base that will keep makeup looking fresh and vibrant all day long.
Promising review: “This is now my favorite primer. I read other reviews so I wanted to give it a shot. It of course is on the pricey side, but a little goes a long way. I can’t believe how this makes the texture of your skin feel. Your skin will feel like silk. The result is that your foundation kind of just glides on and doesn’t stay more on those trouble areas. Love love this.“
Where to buy: $20.99, Amazon
Used by makeup artists the world over, DHC’s Velvet Skin Coat is an industry favorite, and for good reason. It’s formulated with olive fruit oil (a natural hydrator) to instantly transform skin into a velvety smooth canvas as it minimizes the look of fine lines, pores, and wrinkles, for a quick and easy makeup application.
Promising review: “This is my first time using this product, but let me tell you, when you get two compliments in one day on how youthful your face looks I’m sold! (I’m no Spring chicken either!) One tip that I would give to women ages 50 and above would be to mix this with your foundation and apply directly onto face. When I applied it separately from my foundation it just wasn’t as flattering. I will definitely purchase again!”
Where to buy: $60, Sephora
Are you someone who prefers a simplified routine over a shelf full of potions? Then Bobbi Brown’s vitamin-enriched face base just might become your next skincare obsession. A primer and moisturizer all in one, this oil-free formula is enriched with shea butter for hydration and vitamins B, C, and E for antioxidants. It’s also laced with notes of grapefruit and geranium for a light, fresh scent.
Promising review: “My favorite product. Bobbie Brown’s skin care line is excellent. I use this everyday before putting on my tinted moisturizer, foundation or sometimes nothing. It feels good, smells amazing and I notice a difference in my skin if I run out and go few days before replenishing. BB you have a lifetime customer so please do not ever stop making face base!’
Where to buy: $32, Sephora
If there’s one new beauty brand you’re sure to have heard of in the last year, it’s Fenty Beauty. Founded by singer Rihanna, who drew upon knowledge she accrued from working various makeup artists over the years to create a line filled of knock-out products, this Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch primer was born. Oil-, paraben-, and phthalate-free, it blurs the appearance of pores and evens skin tone to provide an optimal base for every type of complexion, include those who are prone to shine.
Promising review: “So far I’ve only used this once and it made my skin noticeably smoother and velvety. My pores completely disappeared and my face was a nice matte. Makeup was easily applied and pairs great with Fenty’s foundation. So much better than the Hangover Rx primer from Too Faced in my opinion.”
Where to buy: $37, Sephora
For some, less is more. If you want a primer with enough coverage to skip your foundation altogether, try Tarte’s BB Tinted Treatment. It’s available in a wide range of shades and infuses pigment with anti-aging properties to provide a powerful primer that offers light-to-medium coverage. Better yet, it’s got an added boost of 30 broad-spectrum SPF, keeping your skin both primed and protected.
Promising review: “Wow very nice BB. I used to use Bobbi Brown BB creme but they discontinued it. I’ve been shopping around and came upon Tarte. Nice natural matte finish. I’m very oily so I set it with my Bobbi Brown powder and looks good. This BB feels like a souffle and goes on so smoothly. I’ve found my new holy grail BB.“
Where to buy: $32, Sephora
If one of your major skin concerns is a lack of luster, you may want to invest in Origins’ Original Skin Pore-Perfecting cooling primer. While skin
dullness can have various root causes, carbonylated proteins — a by-product of stress that can create a flat, uneven skin tone — are a major one. This primer is formulated with willowherb, which works to inhibit those proteins for your brightest glow yet.
Promising review: “My skin is aging, dehydrated, but oily, with ginormous pores that clog easily. I wear tinted sunscreen, no foundation. I’ve tried all kinds of primers and haven’t liked any of them much. I love this one. I use it only on my nose, inner cheeks, and chin… where my pores are largest. After my skin care routine has soaked in, I spread a thin layer (a little less than a dime sized amount) and let it dry completely. I can’t stress this enough…drying completely… then sunscreen & bronzer. My skin looks smoother, less oily, and stays much better. I love the cool feeling too…“
Where to buy: $33, Urban Decay
As we age, skin can easily become dehydrated. An easy way to combat this is to add Urban Decay’s Hydra-Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray to your daily routine. This ultra-hydrating spray-on formula is light enough to wear all day, and can even be worn at night under your favorite serum. Infused with vitamin B3 and coconut water, it’s both nourishing and energizing, brightening and smoothing skin while reducing the appearance of pores and helping your makeup look fresh.
Promising review: “Quick Fix is fabulous and easy to use, spray in the morning prior to applying anything and it is very refreshing, kind of like a little wake up call for your face. I also spray in the evening after cleansing my face. As I said [it’s] very refreshing and easy to use. Love it!”
Where to buy: $65, Sephora
No matter how old you are, protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun is important (just ask Anne Hathaway!). According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Using a primer that can also double as a sunscreen, such as MURAD Invisiblur’s Perfecting Shield with SPF 30, is an easy way to stay protected. This lightweight makeup does all the work of a regular primer while also delivering anti-aging skin benefits and protecting against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Promising review: “I absolutely love this product! I was looking for a sunscreen that didn’t look or feel like a sunscreen. This one not only protects me from the sun it makes my skin feel so soft and smooth and look great too! On top of that it has good for you ingredients for my skin. Try it you will love it too.”
Where to buy: $38, Sephora
Want to add a little glow to your skincare routine? Pick up a primer with radiant qualities, like Estée Lauder’s The Illuminator. Soothing and hydrating, it smooths the skin without mattifying it for the perfect dewy base that comes out looking fresh and healthy — not shiny.
Promising review: “Totally love this, great buy. [I] recommended it to all my friends and they absolutely love it! The price is a little high, but a little goes a long way and is worth every penny! love it, holy grail for sure!”
Where to buy: $38, Sephora
For those with sensitive skin, Kiehl’s is one brand you can count on to be a consistent source for high-quality products. It only makes sense, then, that its Micro-Blur Skin Perfector would make our list as far as sensitive mature skin is concerned. Dermatologist tested and noncomedogenic, this lightweight, non-irritating primer blurs the appearance of pores and imperfections while its combination of bark and lentil extract plus lipo hydroxy acid work to refine texture and improve skin’s overall health.
Promising review: “Oh. My. God. This product is the only skincare product you’ll ever need. It makes my skin look like I’m wearing foundation, but still gives me a healthy glow. Every time I apply it, I feel like I’ve just live auto-tuned my face. I would 100 percent recommend this product. It’s perfect for days when I don’t feel like going through my entire makeup routine, and it doesn’t feel caked or heavy. It stays on well throughout the day. I don’t have very drastic skin problems, so I can’t tell you how this would work for someone with bad skin, but I have a feeling that it would still greatly benefit you. This product is worth your money.“