Editor’s Note: It took a lot of trial and error, but I found out the hard way that primer is one of the best holy grail products to keep your skin looking flawless and ensure your makeup stays put for as long as possible. However, not all primers are made the same, and you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice out there – don’t worry, this happens to the best of us. If you’re feeling stressed out by your primer options, make sure you take the time to read our guide on choosing a primer in addition to reviewing our top choices for water-based primers. We like to help you take the guesswork out of a new primer so your makeup application can benefit as soon as possible.
The key to having skin that looks airbrushed and flawless is using the right type of primer. A primer will smooth your skin, fill in pores and fine lines and help your makeup stay on throughout the entire day. It’s the key to having a red-carpet look.
There are different types of primers out there. The two main types that you can choose from include water-based primers and silicone-based primers. Both kinds of primers can achieve similar results; however, water-based primers do not contain much silicone or oil. They tend to be more hydrating in comparison and are more lightweight in texture. These types of primers are highly recommended for those with oily skin.
On the other hand, silicone-based primers contain mostly silicone and many other oils that can do wonders in making your skin feel smoother. However, they may aggravate sensitive skin or skin that’s more prone to acne and dry skin conditions. Some people believe silicone-based primers may even trigger breakouts. With that said, there isn’t a lot of concrete evidence for this. Silicone-based primers usually give more a dewy finish, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
If you’re looking for a lightweight primer that is suitable for all skin types, go with a water-based one. Make sure that you purchase a water-based foundation for the best results.
- How to Choose the Best Water Based Primer
- Top 10 Best Water Based Primers 2024
- 1. Best Overall Pick: Maybelline Master Prime
- 2. Best Budget Pick: Rimmel Stay Matte Fix & Go
- 3. Best Premium Pick: NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up
- 4. Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Dewy Face Primer
- 5. Milani Make It Last
- 6. NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Oil Primer
- 7. Wet 'n Wild Photo Focus Coconut
- 8. Too Faced Hangover
- 9. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
- 10. Revlon Photoready Rose Glow
- A Complete Guide to Water Based Primers
- Get a Flawless Foundation Finish
How to Choose the Best Water Based Primer
Trying to get a flawless finish with your makeup can take hours of hard work and experience. You’ll have a much easier time if you use a water-based primer as a base to hold your foundation and smooth all of the products. Finding the right type of primer, however, is not easy. There are so many different formulas and products on the market.
Many people think that any primer will work for all skin types. This is where they’re wrong. The different features of each primer have been carefully crafted to fit a specific skin type and need to give you that airbrushed finish throughout the day. Water-based primers are usually best for those with drier skin types. These primers are known to hydrate and nourish the skin.
While there are many different factors that you should take into account when purchasing a water-based primer, we’ve highlighted three of the most important ones below.
Much like with every other makeup product, one of the most important things that you want to do is read the ingredients to see what’s in the formula. When it comes to water-based primers, you want to look for products with water as its primary ingredient and lots of essential oils and extracts. The NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Oil Primer, for example, contains sweet almond oil, which can treat dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Understanding what ingredient is in each product can also help you make a more informed decision on what to put on your skin. A good primer will do more than just smooth your makeup. It will also hydrate and nourish your skin to improve its overall condition. A good primer can make your skin glow!
You want to make sure that the primer goes on smooth to give you that airbrushed finish. Ideally, you want to look for something that’s weightless, so it’ll take less of a toll on your skin throughout the day. A formula that doesn’t leave behind any residues will also be easier to build makeup on.
Different products have unique features that are worth paying extra attention to. Some water-based primers have hydrating properties that will nourish dry skin. Other primers may have color-correcting properties that can help conceal uneven skin tones or slight discolorations.
Top 10 Best Water Based Primers 2024
1. Best Overall Pick: Maybelline Master Prime
Maybelline is a household name by now. This American-based company is famous for its makeup products, skincare line and more. The Maybelline Master Prime by Facestudio Primer is, hands down, one of the best water-based primers on the market right now. It’s affordable and comes in many different variations depending on what features you’re looking for. This product can create a flawless canvas for your foundation. This product is suitable for all skin types.
The primary ingredient inside this primer is water although you will find a little bit of silicone that helps tie all of the ingredients together. The formula does not clog your pores and has been tested by a dermatologist. It’s great for those with sensitive skin.
Our only gripe with this product is that, unlike the NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer, it doesn’t include any essential oils or extracts that may be good for the skin. With that said, you can always apply a moisturizer or a serum underneath the primer to hydrate and nourish your skin.
When it comes to coverage, this primer will make sure that your makeup lasts all day. Just apply a good amount onto your face, and your foundation and blushes won’t budget one bit!
The Maybelline Master Prime by Facestudio Primer goes on smooth and light. It’s easy to apply and the texture is quite silky, which can be quite pleasing to most people. The product doesn’t leave behind any oily residues and will make your skin feel very soft.
When you look at noteworthy features, you’ll find plenty of reasons to buy this water-based primer. These water-based primers are all able to blur the pores on your skin, so your skin looks flawless. They are also able to:
- Minimize pores and smooth fine lines
- Minimize redness using redness control pigments
- Smoothen the skin
- Defend against UV radiation with SPF 30 protection
- Hydrate the skin to keep it healthy
There’s literally something for any skin woe that you may have. You can apply this foundation all over your face for a luminous effect. It’s great because its weightless formula leaves behind no greasy residues.
- Weightless, non-oily formula that feels great on the skin
- Comes in many different variations: color-correcting, smoothing, pore-minimizing and more
- Blurs away imperfections on the skin
- Creates a luminous effect
- Dermatologist and allergy-tested
- Doesn’t contain any noteworthy essential oils or extracts for the skin
2. Best Budget Pick: Rimmel Stay Matte Fix & Go
This water-based product is really affordable and contains a lot of extracts and oils that are great for the skin. It can be used as both a primer and a setting spray and offers a matte finish, so you can apply it both under and over your makeup. This product is an ideal choice for those struggling with dry skin conditions, like eczema.
As for longevity, this water-based primer has amazing staying power. Just several spritzes of this primer spray will lock in your makeup all day long!
This water-based primer contains a few extracts and oils that are good for the skin. This product is an ideal choice for those struggling with dry skin conditions. It’s very soothing.
Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract is one of the main ingredients you’ll find in this product. This extract is commonly found in many skincare products. It has anti-inflammatory properties, is hydrating and is also capable of reducing photodamage to the skin.
The most interesting ingredient in this formula is Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, which can repair damage and dry skin. This extract also does a wonderful job at softening, hydrating and smoothing your skin. While it’s a wonderful extract to have in the ingredient list, it does add a unique scent to the product. On that note, you won’t find this product in any other scent.
This formula is lightweight and does a great job of minimizing pores. The ultra-lightweight formula feels weightless and is oil-free. It’ll give you a matte finish and a photo-ready look. After applying this primer, you need to give it several minutes to dry. It can feel a bit tacky at first, but this tackiness is what will hold your makeup in place throughout the day.
The most noteworthy feature of this product is that it contains a lot of wonderful extracts for your skin. It also doubles up as a setting spray, so you get two products in one! This water-based primer will make sure that your makeup looks great throughout the day, even if you have a busy and hectic day ahead of you. The mattifying feature of this water-based primer will also control shine for up to 8 hours!
- Works as both a primer and setting spray
- Flawless, shine-free finish
- Quick drying and weightless formula
- Contains many extracts that are good for the skin
- Only comes in one scent
If you want a bright, dewy finish, you’ll get the perfect look with the NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer. This primer is great because it contains a lot of ingredients that are great for the skin and can hydrate, prime and nourish your skin. It can repair damaged skin and goes on light and smooth.
This product is cruelty-free. In fact, all NYX products, including the NYX Professional Makeup Hydra Touch Oil Primer, are certified and acknowledged by PETA for being cruelty-free.
Our only gripe with this water-based primer is that it tends to be a bit more expensive than many other brands and products. With that said, this product is more than just a primer and is definitely well worth its price!
This water-based primer is luxurious. It not only contains gold flecks, but also many oils and extracts that are great for the skin. Out of all of the primers on our list, this primer will do the most for your skin. Its ingredients can soothe redness and irritation. It can also hydrate and nourish dry skin.
Some of the extracts that you’ll find in this water-based primer by NYX include:
- Honey extract, which is full of natural antioxidants and can help soothe and nourish your skin
- Collagen extract, which will diffuse into your skin to keep it smooth, firm and soft
- Portulaca oleracea extract, which can neutralize the effects of free radicals and prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming
- Hyaluronic acid, which can repair damaged skin
- Nelumbo nucifera (lotus) flower extract, which has anti-aging properties and can protect the skin from fine lines and wrinkles
- Jasminum officinale (jasmine) flower extract, which can calm, soothe and rehydrate dry skin
These are only some of the extracts and oils that you’ll find in this water-based primer. There are many other ingredients, like Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract and Rosa centifolia (cabbage rose) flower extract, that will do wonders for your skin. The gold flecks will give your skin a radiant look and finish.
Although this water-based primer contains a lot of soothing and hydrating ingredients, you should still consider applying a moisturizer underneath to further soothe and hydrate your skin.
This water-based primer looks like oil and is relatively weightless. It goes on smoothly and will be absorbed by your skin fairly quickly. It doesn’t leave behind any greasy, oily or sticky residues and has a consistency similar to a potent serum. A little of this product can go a long way. Apply only a thin layer for optimal effects.
The many ingredients in the formula will do wonders for the skin. This water-based primer does more than just lock in your makeup for the entire day. It also neutralizes redness, hydrates your skin and has anti-aging properties. The honey extract found in this primer is known for its natural antiseptic properties as well.
This primer is best for those with dry skin. The ingredients will soothe and hydrate the skin, and the gold flecks will give your skin a radiant, dewy finish that looks airbrushed.
- Contains numerous ingredients that are great for the skin
- Provides a dewy finish for those with dry skin
- Removes redness and hydrates the skin
- Weightless and goes on smooth
- More costly than other brands
Prep and prime your face every morning with this water-based primer. It goes on smooth and will help your makeup last throughout the day, so you can put your best face forward at all times. This product will smooth uneven textures and will create the perfect canvas for makeup application.
This primer will add some highlights to your face, as it is infused with pearl pigments that add another dimension for that glow-from-within look. It doesn’t contain many other noteworthy ingredients. The only other ingredient that is worth looking at is vitamin E extracts. The vitamin E extracts protect your skin from UV radiation and will also repair damaged skin. The formula is 100% cruelty-free, gluten-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free and vegan!
This primer feels like silk! It goes on very smooth and will practically glide over your skin. A little goes a long way and you’ll get a beautiful, radiant shine with this primer; however, if you apply too much to your skin, it can look too shiny because it contains a good amount of pearl pigments. This ultra-lightweight primer is great for those who also want to only wear primer. The pearl pigments will give you a beautiful, dewy finish.
This product works wonders. If you’re looking for a primer that will last for the entire day and more, look no further! You can apply this primer onto your face before going on a hike, and your makeup will still look pristine even if you sweat the entire day. The pearl pigments add an extra boost of radiance for your skin to make it look even more healthy.
- Infused with vitamin E to help repair damaged skin
- Has pearl pigments that add another dimension of glow
- Lightweight and goes on smooth
- A little goes a long way
- Will look too shiny if you apply too much
This water-based primer is three products in one. It primes your skin, corrects imperfections and sets your makeup. It’s a great bang for your buck and can offer up to 16 hours of wear. You can apply it before and after applying makeup or even wear it by itself. This water-based primer will give your skin a radiant, dewy finish.
The spray nozzle is great for those who have difficulties applying only a small amount of product onto their face. The spray nozzle ensures that you’ll be applying an even amount of product every time. The only downside of the nozzle is that it is a bit forceful and not like a light mist. If you don’t hold the bottle 8 to 10 inches away from your face, you could end up applying too much product on your face.
This is a great product for those with sensitive skin because the ingredient list is fairly short in comparison to other water-based primers. On top of all that, this primer contains some healthy oils and extracts that are great for the skin. Some noteworthy ingredients include:
- Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract, which can protect the skin from cold weather and repair redness and dry skin
- Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) fruit extract, which is filled with antioxidants that nurture and protect the skin
This primer will nourish and hydrate dry skin and will also reduce redness. It’s a great product as it doesn’t contain a lot of chemicals. This is also one of the only water-based primers that is completely vegan.
The best thing about spray primers is that they tend to be ultra-lightweight. The spray nozzle will apply a very thin layer of the product onto your face. This primer goes on smooth and does not leave behind any greasy, oily or sticky residues. It is a bit tacky until it dries, but the tackiness will help hold the makeup throughout the entire day.
The spray nozzle is particularly useful as it will spray on an even layer of product onto your skin. The spray makes it easy to apply the product regardless of whether you use it as a primer or a setting spray. For best results, spray in a zigzag formation.
The best thing about this water-based primer is that it has many functions. It can prime and prep your skin, reduce the appearance of imperfections and then set your makeup, so it lasts for up to 16 hours. This product can remove redness and even out your skin tone.
- Locks in makeup for 16 hours
- Primes, corrects and sets makeup
- Easy to apply with spray nozzle
- Lightweight and quick drying
- Need to be careful with nozzle to prevent spraying too much product on face
NYX produces many wonderful primers, like the NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer. While the NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer does a great job at eliminating redness and adding some radiance to your skin, this water-based primer is much more lightweight and has incredible nourishing properties. It’s an ideal primer for those who struggle with acne or dry skin conditions.
This product comes with a dropper and is easy to apply. Using the dropper, you can accurately dispense the same amount of product each and every time.
If you’re looking for a primer that can help you control acne and dry skin conditions, look no further. This product contains many ingredients that will work wonders on your skin and is a great choice for those struggling with dry skin conditions and acne. Some of the ingredients that we love in this product include:
- Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, which is very hydrating and will nourish and replenish dry, damaged skin
- Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, which can be used to treat acne, eczema and other dry skin conditions
- Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, which is deeply hydrating and can be used to treat acne
Together, these ingredients will boost hydration to your skin and soothe damaged areas. It’ll give you a beautiful dewy finish and glow. This product is also 100% cruelty-free and has been certified and acknowledged by PETA.
Despite the fact that this primer contains a lot of essential oils, it’s not oily at all and will not leave behind any greasy residues. In fact, it goes on smooth and will be easily absorbed by the skin. This product is very lightweight, and you won’t feel it at all after a couple of seconds. The oils in this product, like the jojoba oils, are similar to the oils in our skin. Due to this reason, it easily penetrates through the skin and nourishes the deepest layers.
The most noteworthy feature about this product is that it applies like a dream and is great for treating dry skin. This product can double up as a moisturizer. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the oils absorb into the skin.
- Infused with rice and jojoba oils
- Can treat acne and other dry skin conditions
- Provides a radiant and dewy finish
- Glides on like a dream
- Flawless, airbrushed finish
- Need to work quickly with the dropper
This product is another wonderful 3-in-1 water-based primer. It’s great when you find a product that can do several jobs. This water-based primer will not only prep and prime your face, but it will hydrate and nourish dry skin to keep it looking firm and radiant. Once you’ve finished applying your makeup, you can also spritz on more of this product as it can also be used as a setting spray. It’ll help you keep your makeup looking glamorous even after a long day.
The packaging for this product is beautiful. It comes with a spray applicator that ensures that you’re always applying a thin and even layer of product on your face. The only issue is that this packaging is also a bit fragile. You have to be careful when handling it as it can easily crack or leak.
This water-based primer is an everyday essential. It looks and feels just like water and contains some noteworthy ingredients like:
- Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit water, which contains antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory agent
- Camellia sinensis leaf extract, which is an anti-inflammatory that will also hydrate and nourish your skin
- Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower/leaf extract, which soothes and repairs damaged skin
This product contains many ingredients that are very gentle on the skin, which is why it’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s also 100% cruelty-free.
This product is very lightweight. You won’t even feel it on your face. This product does not leave behind any greasy or sticky residues and will quickly absorb into your skin. It quickly hydrates and nourishes the skin, and you’ll definitely feel a difference if you have dry skin.
There are several features that are worth mentioning. For one, this product is also a moisturizer and a setting spray. You can use this product to set your makeup so it lasts even longer. It also smells like coconut!
- Comes in several scents: coconut, cucumber and rose
- Comes with a spray applicator and is lightweight and easy to apply
- Primes and hydrates the skin and sets makeup
- Contains many extracts that are great for the skin
- Ensures that your makeup lasts throughout the day
- Fragile packaging
Too Faced is a well-established brand known for making high-quality makeup products, and the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer is no exception. This is a popular water-based primer that will brighten your skin and give it a dewy, healthy-looking finish. It does more than just prime your face to create the perfect canvas. It will also enhance your skin’s elasticity and tone over time. This product is perfect for more mature users!
Our only gripe with this product is that unlike the Revlon Photoready Rose Glow Face Makeup Primer or the Wet ‘n Wild Photo Focus Coconut 3-in-1 Primer Water, it does not come with a nozzle or a dropper. Without an applicator, it can be difficult to dispense the same amount of product each time.
The most interesting thing about this product is that it uses coconut water as a base. Coconut water can do wonders for your skin. It contains cytokinins, which have anti-aging properties. The coconut water will hydrate and nourish your skin while firming it up. It’ll help slow down the hands of time and get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. Other than coconut water, this product also contains some other ingredients that can do wonders for your skin. Some of these ingredients include:
- Olive glycerides, which have antioxidant properties and hydrate and replenish your skin
- Lactobacillus ferment, which can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions
- Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, which does a great job at replenishing and repairing dry skin
These ingredients really do a great job at brightening your skin. If you use this product for a long period of time, you might find your skin getting healthier by the day. The formula is paraben-free. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free.
This creamy water-based primer is extremely lightweight. It glides on smooth like silk and will absorb fairly quickly into your skin. In fact, you can feel it hydrating and nourishing your skin just seconds after applying it. It does have a bit of a tackiness to it; however, this helps your makeup stay on your face throughout the entire day.
Infused with coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers, this product does a great job at hydrating your skin and enhancing its overall elasticity and tone. This water-based primer is great for mature skin and anyone who would prefer a product with more anti-aging properties. This primer is also suitable for all skin types.
- Can enhance skin elasticity and tone
- Brightens skin and gives it a dewy finish
- Infused with coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers
- Relies on coconut water rather than water
- Free of parabens
- Does not come with any type of applicator
Most people prefer water-based primers because they go on so smoothly, are weightless and dry quickly while hydrating the skin. The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is a great example of an excellent water-based primer. Like the Milani Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + Set, this product can do many jobs. It can prime your face, hydrate your skin and set your makeup.
This water-based primer doesn’t contain many ingredients, which is great as it won’t aggravate the skin. It doesn’t contain as many extracts and oils as some other primers, like the Milani Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + Set; however, it still does a great job at hydrating the skin. If you’re looking for a simple product that will nourish and moisturize your skin, this is it! This product also feels very refreshing.
Although this product doesn’t contain many extracts and oils, it is formulated without parabens, silicone, oil, talc, sodium lauryl sulfate and phthalates, so it’s still a great choice for those with sensitive skin. It does, however, contain revitalizing electrolytes that will reawaken your skin and leave it looking and feeling ultra-soft. This product is non-acnegenic and cruelty-free. It has also been tested by both ophthalmologists and dermatologists. It’s recommended for all skin types.
This product can be easily sprayed onto your face. Like most other primer sprays, it’s easy to get a fine mist that will cover your face in an even and thin layer of product. The product does not leave behind any greasy, oily or sticky residues. It basically feels like water and will quickly absorb into your skin, leaving it hydrated and feeling ultra-soft.
Two things make this product stand out. For one, it is not only a primer. It can also be used to hydrate the skin and set makeup. You can spritz some of this setting spray on your face throughout the day to make sure that your makeup holds. This one product can replace three!
Another interesting feature about this primer is that it is applied with a nozzle. The nozzle ensures that you only apply a little bit of product. It also ensures that you get an even application each and every time. It’s a great product for beginner makeup users!
- Great for treating dryness, dullness and uneven skin textures
- Easy to apply a thin and even layer with the spray nozzle
- Light and absorbs quickly into the skin
- Free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and other irritants
- Used to prime and hydrate skin and set makeup
- Does not contain many essential oils or extracts that are good for the skin
If you love beautiful packaging, fragrances and sparkles, you’re going to want to get your hands on the Revlon Photoready Rose Glow Face Makeup Primer. This water-based primer is infused with pearlescent quartz and hydrating oil beads. The cute pink packaging looks great in any makeup bag and smells like roses. The smell can be a bit too much for some people, especially those who prefer fragrance-free makeup products.
You can apply this primer under any cream, liquid or powder foundation. It’s great for boosting your skin’s radiance and will moisturize your skin for up to 24 hours. This is a great product for those with dry skin.
Unlike other primers, this water-based primer comes with a dropper. The dropper makes it easy to apply a set amount of product each and every time.
When you read the ingredient list for this water-based primer, you’ll notice that it has a lot of great ingredients that make it a very effective primer. Some of the ingredients that you’ll find in this product include:
- Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, which contains a lot of fatty acids that will nourish and hydrate dry skin
- Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) fruit extract, which is an antioxidant with anti-aging properties
- Lens esculenta (lentil) fruit extract, which will soften and smooth your skin
- Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, which will brighten your skin
This product also has hydrating oil beads that will pop when you apply the product to your skin. These oil beads do a great job of moisturizing and hydrating your skin. They’ll also fill in pores and erase fine lines and wrinkles.
The formula is ultra-lightweight and will quickly absorb into your skin to create a flawless canvas. It offers a dewy finish. The formula is neither too runny nor too thick. The only issue is that some people find it difficult to pop all of the hydrating oil beads. You may need to spend some time massaging the product onto your skin.
This product blends well and is easy to apply. The most noteworthy feature is perhaps its packaging. A lot of people fall in love with the beautiful shimmery formula, as well as how easy it is to apply. The dropper makes sure that you get the same amount of product each and every time. Other than the dropper, the extracts found in this product does a good job at repairing damaged skin. The pearlescent quartz specks also double up as a highlighter, so you get a beautiful dewy finish.
- Moisturizes and hydrates skin for up to 24 hours
- Boosts skin radiance and shine
- Infused with pearlescent quartz and hydrating oil beads
- Ultra-lightweight and fast absorbing
- Easy to apply the same amount every time with the dropper
- Scented, which can be a con for some people
- Can be difficult to pop all of the oil beads
A Complete Guide to Water Based Primers
It’s not possible to achieve an airbrushed, flawless makeup finish with foundation alone. A primer is an essential product in your makeup kit and will create a flawless canvas for you to work with. A good primer can also blur and hide pores, brighten your skin, fade wrinkles and fine lines, treat acne and dry skin conditions and moisturize and nourish your skin. Some primers can even give your face a little lift without feeling too heavy.
You don’t necessarily have to apply primer to your entire face. You can apply it only to areas that need it the most. For example, if you notice that you have some redness on your nose, you can use a primer to correct the color for an even canvas. You can even use a primer to add more glow or to get rid of shine in your T-zone.
This type of product has many uses. Finding the right type of water-based primer, however, can be difficult. You need to know what you’re looking for and what your skin needs.
Water vs. Silicone-Based Primer
The two main types of primers out there are water-based and silicone-based. To determine whether a product is water-based or silicone-based, you need to take a look at the ingredient list. In general, water is a product that will be at the top of almost all ingredient lists because water makes the product more spreadable and blendable.
If you’re looking for a water-based primer, you want to look for an ingredient list with little to no words ending in -siloxane or -methicone at the top. It’s okay if there are some silicone-based products near the end because the primer will still contain more water than silicone.
Benefits of Water-Based Primer
Water-based primers tend to be more lightweight and natural than silicone-based primers. They’re less oily and greasy and won’t feel like anything on the skin. On top of this, water-based primers tend to be more nourishing and hydrating. They’re ideal for those with dry skin or for those who struggle with dry skin conditions, like eczema. Due to the fact that these primers are composed mostly of water, they will not clog your pores and are also suitable for those with sensitive skin.
Water-based primers also are typically less mattifying. They usually offer a more dewy and radiant finish that will make your skin glow! Just like silicone-based primers, these primers do a great job at blurring pores and hiding imperfections. They also make sure that your makeup lasts the entire day, so you won’t need to touch up your makeup. This can save you a lot of time and money. The ingredients in these primers also tend to be healthier for your skin.
Once you find a good water-based primer, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It’ll become a permanent part of your makeup routine!
When to Use a Silicone-Based Primer
Silicone-based primers contain polymers that offer an ultra-smoothing effect. These primers are able to get rid of fine lines, wrinkles and pores with ease. These primers tend to have a smoother texture that allows it to glide easily and evenly onto your skin. They also usually offer a mattifying effect. These reasons make silicone-based primers an ideal choice for those with oily skin. The silicone will form a barrier between the oils from your face and your makeup, so that your makeup lasts longer.
Silicone-based primers also work well in humid and hot environments. They ensure that your makeup lasts the entire day even if you’re going to be sweating a lot. In fact, some silicone-based primers are able to regulate sebum production and prevent oil formation.
Although silicone-based primers come with a lot of benefits, they’re not ideal for those with sensitive skin or skin that’s prone to acne. Some people find that silicone-based primers can clog their pores and trigger breakouts.
Tips for Using a Water-Based Primer
The right water-based primer will do wonders for your makeup routine, but you have to know how to apply it properly. Here are some tips from makeup artists:
Water-based primers go with other water-based products. Always pair a water-based primer with a water-based foundation, concealer, etc. Silicone-based primers should be paired with other silicone-based products. If you mix two different bases together, it can cause your foundation to pill when you layer it on. It can also cause the product to “slip” in a sense so that it easily smudges.
Apply moisturizer underneath. Applying a moisturizer underneath can provide the primer with a smoother surface to work with.
Use only a small amount of primer. A very thin layer should be sufficient in making a difference. You don’t want to apply too much primer on your face, as this can create a slick film that may cause your foundation to slide off much more easily.
Tap the primer onto your face. This will help fill in pores. Tapping the product into your face is much better than rubbing it in. If you try to rub the product on your face, you’ll find that it won’t fill in the pores as effectively.
Apply the product with your fingers. Most makeup artists recommend applying primer onto your face with your fingertips. A brush isn’t an ideal choice, as it will merely drag the product around. You can also try using a sponge.
Give the primer sufficient time to dry. After applying the primer, wait a minute or two before layering on the foundation. You want to give the primer sufficient time to dry, so that it’ll be able to hold the rest of your makeup.
Each primer will apply differently. It’ll have a different texture and require different lengths of time to dry. You may need to play around with different primers to find one that suits your skin and works for you.
Other Types of Primers
Other than water-based and silicone-based primers, there are many other “types” that you can look for. These primers offer different properties that make them more suitable for different situations or skin tones. Let’s take a look at some of your other options below.
These primers, like the NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer, also possesses many ingredients that allow them to double up as skincare products. These primers can often be applied separately on their own and will give your skin a dewy finish and look. These primers are great for those with dry or mature skin.
The Rimmel Stay Matte Fix & Go 2-in-1 Primer & Setting Spray is a great example of a primer spray. These are easy to apply and you won’t have to worry about overapplying. The spray makes sure that you get a thin layer of product everywhere. This type of product is also great because it often has a tacky texture to it that will help it hold onto your makeup for a longer period of time.
Pore Filling Primers
In general, most pore-filling primers are silicone-based, as silicone polymers do a great job at filling in pores and fine lines. With that said, some water-based primers do have this feature as well and are usually applied to the T-Zone.
Mattifying primers are generally ideal choices for those with either normal or oily skin. These primers are able to tone down the natural shininess of your skin and also reduce oil production. They’re great at making sure that your makeup lasts longer, especially in hot and humid environments. These primers are not as great for those with dry skin, as they can feel too drying.
Illuminating and Dewy Primers
If you want radiant, glowing skin, you can’t go wrong with an illuminating, dewy primer. Illuminating and dewy primers can look very natural when worn under makeup. However, if you apply too much, your skin might look too shiny. These primers are ideal for those with normal and dry skin, although those with oily skin can use illuminating and dewy primers as well. They may, however, want to avoid applying a dewy primer on their T-Zone.
Color Correcting Primers
You’ll find that most primers are usually clear or translucent in color. Color-correcting primers, however, are tinted with either green, yellow, lavender, peach or pink. These primers use color theory to balance out uneven skin tones and get rid of unwanted discoloration. We’ll take a further look at how to use color correctors to fix uneven skin tones below.
Choosing a Primer for a Specific Skin Type
Different skin types will fare better with different types of makeup primers. Many people are under the misconception that each water-based primer will work for all skin types, but this isn’t necessarily true. Each and every person’s skin has different characteristics and needs. While some skin types may be more prone to being oily, others may need more moisturizing properties to nourish their dry skin.
If you don’t know what your skin type is, take a look at this video below:
should look for in a water-based primer based on your skin type can really help speed up the process of finding the perfect product.
For Dry Skin
Water-based makeup primers are great for dry skin. The high water content usually means that these primers are more hydrating and better for sensitive or acne-prone skin. If you have dry skin, you’ll want to look for a makeup primer that has a creamy, light texture and is capable of hydrating and adding some shine or glow to your skin. In general, water-based makeup primers that boast hydrating or moisturizing properties are usually best. You should also look for water-based primers that offer a dewy finish.
Hydrating primers are also great for those with more mature skin. These primers can turn back the hands of time on your skin and make you look younger.
For Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, look for a water-based primer with mattifying effects. This will get rid of any extra shine on your face. This type of primer will also provide a smoother surface for your foundation, so your makeup lasts longer throughout the day.
In many cases, large pores and acne usually accompany oily skin. In these cases, you might want to look for a water-based primer with pore-minimizing features. Anti-acne ingredients, like salicylic acid and glycolic acid, can also help tame flare-ups. Primers with vitamin E and A can also repair damaged skin. You should also try looking for oil-free and oil-absorbing primers, as they are less likely to block your pores and aggravate your skin.
For Normal Skin
Those with normal skin have all the luck. The good news about normal skin is that they never have to worry about whether their skin will get too dry or too oily. Those with normal skin don’t really need as many features in their primer. Usually, most makeup artists will recommend going for something that offers a dewy finish because it’ll make your skin glow!
For Combination Skin
Having combination skin can be a headache. Parts of your skin need to be nourished while other parts need something that will curb excess oil. Most experts recommend choosing a neutral formula that is neither mattifying nor dewy.
For Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you need to be careful when choosing a primer. Make sure that you apply a small sample on your face first to confirm that the primer doesn’t aggravate your skin. It’s also a good idea to look for simpler primers that contain not a lot of ingredients. These primers tend to be gentler on the skin. The fewer additives that are present in the formula, the less risk that you’ll have of experiencing a negative reaction to the product. You should also look for primers that are oil-free, fragrance-free and paraben-free.
A Quick Guide to Color Correcting Primers
Some makeup primers have color-correcting properties. These water-based primers come in different colors, and their goal is to neutralize specific colors on your face, so you get an even-toned base. Knowing which color to choose doesn’t come naturally, so here’s a guide to help you out!
A purple, or lavender, primer will neutralize unwanted yellow undertones and make your skin look brighter. This color correcting primer will make your skin glow. If you’ve had a terrible night of sleep, a purple water-based primer adds a little color to your face. Many people apply a purple primer to the center of their forehead and down the bridge of their nose to give it that extra glow.
If you’re tired and overworked, you can’t go wrong with a pink water-based primer. This color-correcting primer will add luminosity to just about every skin tone and will add some glow to your complexion. Pink primers are great for balancing blue tones. This is why many people apply pink concealers under their eyes to hide dark circles.
Green water-based primer neutralized red skin tones, so it’s perfect for those who are trying to cover up rosacea and acne blemishes. You can apply a green water-based primer all over your face or you can dab it where you need some extra color-correcting help to get a flawless, even-tone base.
Those with a light complexion may have a difficult time hiding blue-purple blood vessels that are situated right under the skin. These people tend to have dark eye circles that may be hard to hide even with a concealer. A yellow primer will do wonders in this scenario and will remove the need to pile on a concealer. Yellow primers are able to neutralize dark blue tones and add some warmth to darker complexions.
If you have dark circles, patches of melasma or even age spots, a peach-colored primer can do a brilliant job at hiding these flaws to give your skin a flawless finish. A peach-based primer can also cancel out any grey tones. Peach-colored primers work on just about any skin tone and can help hide a lot of different types of unwanted pigmentation.
Get a Flawless Foundation Finish
A good primer can make a significant difference to your makeup routine. You’ll find that you won’t have to reapply your makeup as often throughout the day and your foundation will look flawless. You’ll have airbrushed skin without needing photoshop! A good primer will also make sure that your makeup is more effective. You won’t need as much concealer to hide dark circles and uneven skin tones. You also won’t need as much foundation.
A water-based primer is great for those with dry skin, although you can also use this type of primer if you have oily skin, normal skin or even a combination of different skin types. Just make sure that you apply only a little bit at a time. Like with every other makeup product, a little can go a long way!