Some people in the beauty community say primers don’t work, but I’m not one of them. When it comes to finding the right primer to minimize pores, it’s important to take into account the formulation, ingredients, and how they will affect your skin. Included in this list are 14 of the best primers for minimizing large pores, and they come in a variety of price points suitable for any budget. Keep in mind that proper skin care is essential to having your makeup look good, and combined with a holy grail primer (mine is currently e.l.f.’s Jelly Pop Dew Primer) you’re sure to feel flawless.
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez is one of the hottest new beauty brands. Her Pore Diffusing Primer, part of the Always an Optimist collection, comes in an absolutely gorgeous bottle (getting some serious Fenty vibes). The cushiony gel formula is best for those with oily skin and large pores. It has hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, vitamin E. If you’re looking to try other products from her brand, try the Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick and Soft Pinch Liquid Blush.
Sometimes you’ve got to a classic. I’ve been sleeping on Ulta brand makeup, opting for the more flashy and colorful packaging, but this is a hidden gem. Ulta’s Matte Face Primer is another wallet-friendly and accessible choice to add to your collection. One reviewer said it worked well in the Florida heat, which, if that doesn’t convince you to give it a try, nothing will!
Next up is Benefit’s POREfessional Pore Minimizing Primer which has a cream formula that feels amazing upon application. Also, can we talk about how this matte finish kind – along with the natural and radiant finishes – feature the cutest designs? One reviewer said they’d previously had problems with makeup melting into pores and blackheads and that this is one of the few primers that helps. It comes in a standard size along with value and miniature sizes.
Next up on our list is Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More. This option includes red clover flower extract, oil-absorbing spheres and a derivative of salicylic acid that kills two birds with one stone: minimizes pores and mattifies skin. One reviewer said it has a slight tint to it and is like “your skin but better.” Sold!
The NYX Pore Filler Primer is another drugstore buy if you’re looking to save money. Infused with smoothing agents, the cream formula is good for all skin types, especially textured skin. It minimizes the look of pores while sitting comfortably under foundation or on its own for your no-makeup days.
This option is on the pricier side, but Smashbox is always a dependable brand. The Photo Finish Primer is a clear gel with vitamins A and E that’s free of sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, phthalates, and contains less than 1% of synthetic fragrances. Lightweight and oil-free, it reduces the look of pores and is also great for those with dullness and uneven texture.
As someone with oily skin, I’m all about that soft matte base. Look no further than the Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer which features Rihanna’s “invisipink” formula that melts into skin of all types and adds a blurring effect. It’s comfortable and cushiony on the face. Like the Rare Beauty primer, it’s in gorgeous glass packaging that looks and feels luxurious.
Milk Makeup knows what they’re doing when it comes to priming (hello, Hydro Grip!). The Pore Eclipse Primer, made with niacinamide, bakuchiol and lentil extract, feels cool on the skin and gives you a smooth canvas to create your next big look. It has a subtle scent of natural orange blossom and chamomile, so it may not be ideal if you’re sensitive to fragrances.
Of course I had to include the primer that broke the internet because yes, it’s that good. The Poreless Putty Primer from e.l.f. Cosmetics is a holy grail staple in my makeup collection that I’ll never go without. With the superpower ingredient squalane, it fills in pores and grips your makeup in place for hours on end. It glides easily on the skin, especially when using the e.l.f. Putty Primer Brush and applicator, which is also affordable.
Many beauty enthusiasts say e.l.f.’s Putty primer, as we discussed above, is a dupe for Tatcha’s beloved Silk Canvas Primer. The price difference is very, very high, but if you’re a Tatcha diehard, there’s nothing wrong with splurging. There’s another version of Silk Canvas that takes the ingredients you know and love and turns them into a weightless liquid. As most other primers on this list, a little goes a long way for a smooth canvas.
The Bare Minerals Prime Time Primer will get you looking TV-ready. The silky formula is made with plant extracts, antioxidants and vitamins C and E and works well with all foundation types. It’s formulated without oil so no extra pore-clogging is involved, plus it’s cruelty-free and dermatologist-tested.
Tula’s Filter Primer now comes in four sheer tints: luna, for fair/light skin tones; sunrise for medium tones; magic hour for medium/deep tones, and cosmos for deep tones. The formula is made with “glow particles” that burst when applied and leave you with a radiant base. It’s garnered over 4,300 reviews on Ulta with almost 3,500 of those being 5 stars. I’m such a sucker for this packaging, too–the light blue color is stunning.
Our last on the list is the Veil Mineral Primer from Hourglass. Described as an “airy, cloud-like texture,” the oil-free primer has a natural finish that fills in pores, tampers down redness and evens out texture. It contains less than 1% of synthetic fragrances. Even better, the formula is also made with 15 SPF, so you’ve got extra sun protection in the mix, too.
Raise your hand if a majority of your makeup is from the drug store. Hey, me too! Maybelline never disappoints. The Master Prime is an ultra-affordable and accessible option for beginners and experts alike. This has nabbed close to 12,000 reviews on Ulta with an average of 4.5 stars. Dermatologist and allergy-tested, it’s lightweight, non-oily and made for all skin types.