The right makeup primer smooths over little imperfections so that foundation looks flawless. Matte primer hides pores and reduces shine for hours on oily skin. Hydrating primers keep makeup from looking flaky. But which is the best primer for dark skin?
Although most primers are transparent, a few contain color-correcting pigment. That’s what makes primer different for various skin tones. The pigmented ones may not be ideal for darker skin.
How do you choose the right primer for dark skin? Match the product to the skin type first. Make sure it addresses your concerns, whether your complexion is oily, acne-prone, or dry. Then double-check that it’s sheer and blendable. Check out the best primers for dark skin tones below.
|The best primers for dark skin||Why we love them|
|FENTY BEAUTY Pro Filt'r Hydrating Primer||
|Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer||
|tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer||
|Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer||
|The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer||
|Rimmel, Stay Matte Primer and Stay Matte Setting Spray||
|TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer||
|e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer||
|NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Shine Killer Primer||
Best Primers for Dark Skin in 2023
FENTY BEAUTY Pro Filt’r Hydrating Primer
Someone asked how to apply primer to Black skin. Our advice is to choose a sheer formula that blends nicely. Once it’s blended, it should be invisible.
Case in point, this is the best primer for dry skin and it’s straightforward to apply. It was developed by Rihanna’s cosmetics company. Reportedly, she uses it herself when her skin is feeling “extra thirsty”.
Try it if you’re tired of makeup looking flaky or cakey. It solves the problem by making the surface of the skin smooth and silky with hyaluronic acid and grape seed oil. And yes, it’s a silicone-based primer.
With that said, let’s take a quick detour to explain why silicone is not bad for your face. It’s an ingredient that appears in all sorts of cosmetics, skincare products, and hair care products. Yes, it’s synthetic, but it doesn’t clog pores. Instead, it’s what gives primer a silken texture. It forms a film on the skin that locks in moisture without feeling greasy. It also helps blur pores and fine lines and absorbs excess oil.
Speaking of oil, don’t be disappointed if you have oily skin because Fenty Beauty also makes a mattifying primer.
- Transparent and lightweight, this primer prevents makeup from flaking and caking on dry skin
- Silicone-based formula infused with hyaluronic acid and grapeseed oil
- Blurs pores and fine lines
- Not cheap, but worth it – it only takes a little to do the whole face
Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer
What about the best primer for combination skin? Dermalogica’s Hydroblur is recommended by regular users and makeup artists as the perfect solution. If you have an oily T-zone and flaky cheeks, there’s no need to purchase two different primers. This single product does it all.
Not only does it hydrate, but it also blurs pores and uneven texture. It features Abyssinian oil and an exclusive H2ORelease Complex that seal in moisture for hours. Customers say it leaves their faces silky and soft, so some choose to still use it on days they go without makeup.
Other benefits include the fact that it contains no gluten or parabens. It’s also certified cruelty-free and vegan.
- Perfect for combination skin or dry complexions
- Can be worn alone or underneath makeup
- Hydrates and leaves the skin silky soft
- Free of parabens and gluten, vegan and certified cruelty-free
- Not inexpensive, but a little goes a long way
tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer
What’s the best primer for oily skin? Several experts recommend this one. It promises to keep your complexion shine-free and matte for up to twelve hours.
It’s an invisible gel that sinks into the skin and minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines. To that end, it has optical blurring technology.
Moreover, it’s waterproof, the perfect accompaniment for your long-wear makeup.
The dermatologist-tested formula feeds your skin essential nutrients from avocado and superfruits. These include açai, pomegranate, and goji that are rich in anti-aging antioxidants.
Lastly, the formula is vegan and free of parabens, mineral oil, gluten, and phthalates.
- Mattifies the complexion for up to twelve hours
- Waterproof invisible gel with optical blurring technology to hide pores
- Vegan formula packed with anti-aging nutrients
- No parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, or gluten
Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer
What about drugstore primer? This one is suitable for all skin types and it’s tested to be non-comedogenic.
Maybelline’s Baby Skin primer provides professional results for a budget-friendly price. It’s lightweight and easy to apply. Give it a couple of minutes to dry and you’ll be astonished at how easy it is to apply makeup over the top of the soft matte finish.
In fact, that’s the secret to get any primer to perform better – let it dry completely before putting on foundation or other makeup. Wait at least a minute or two. The results are worth it as your makeup then will be highly unlikely to pill up, peel, or crack.
Reviewers say it’s one of the best pore smoothing primers they ever tried. The main complaint is that oily skin will probably need to be blotted during the day as this is not the most mattifying primer.
Another highlight is that it contains no parabens, mineral oil, or artificial fragrance.
- Budget-friendly drugstore primer with professional performance
- Suitable for all skin types
- Lightweight with a soft matte finish that blurs pores
- Those with oily skin may not be satisfied
The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
Keep it simple and leave out the harsh ingredients. That’s kind of like The Ordinary’s motto. This brand makes two kinds of primer: High-Adherence and High-Spread ability. Choose the latter if you prefer to use primer on its own for a no-makeup day.
Otherwise, pick this one as it stays tacky to keep makeup in place without budging even on the oiliest of skin. Don’t be put off by the sticky, slightly shiny finish because your foundation will still go on smoothly. It forms a barrier that reduces shine for hours on end.
- Sticky finish creates the ideal canvas for makeup to stay in place all day
- Reduces shine for hours on the oiliest of skin
- Free of harsh ingredients and inexpensive
Rimmel, Stay Matte Primer and Stay Matte Setting Spray
Here’s another of the best drugstore primers for Black skin. Actually, it’s a kit with primer and setting spray. The spray can be used as a primer, too. This is what you need if you’re tired of blotting oil.
Scroll through online reviews and you’ll discover thousands of fans praising this primer. It can keep oily skin shine-free throughout the workday, for eight hours or longer.
However, it has a thick texture and needs to be blended thoroughly and left to dry for a couple of minutes before applying foundation. It contains talc, but we’ve not seen complaints about it leaving a white cast.
The effort of blending it properly is worth it because the skin stays matte and natural-looking while you go about living. Spritz on the setting spray and your makeup stays perfect for hours.
Did we mention that it blurs pores and fine lines? Yet, it’s weightless and never greasy. Happily, there are no parabens or artificial fragrances.
- Drugstore primer that banishes shine for eight hours or longer
- Blurs fine lines and large pores
- Setting spray doubles as a primer, too
- Non-comedogenic; no parabens or artificial fragrance
- Needs to be completely blended on dark skin
TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer
This brand offers color-correcting and regular primer. Both have “skin sebum catch powder”, the magic ingredient that leaves the skin like velvet.
It comes in both a stick and a tube. The stick is handy for little touch-ups, and it has a smudging applicator for easy blending. Makeup goes on smoothly over the top.
Customers say it does a fabulous job of filling in large pores and can keep the complexion shine-free for several hours. It seems to work better on combination as opposed to oily skin.
- Straightforward application with the stick format
- Maintains a velvety soft complexion by controlling shine for hours
- Hides large pores and helps makeup go on smoothly
- Also available in a color-correcting version that reduces redness
- Oily skin may not get the best performance from it
e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer
If you’ve been holding off on trying this primer because it’s white, fear not. Once it’s correctly blended into the skin, it doesn’t show. Just a little bitty amount can cover the entire face. If needed, it’s buildable to further disguise pores, discoloration, or lines.
The creamy texture melts into the skin, never clumping like some silicone primers. It has no fragrance and sets to a satin finish. When they say your skin will feel like a baby’s, they aren’t kidding.
What’s more, it’s made by a certified vegan and cruelty-free company. The formula has no parabens or artificial fragrance.
- Buildable primer camouflages large pores and lines
- Creamy texture that melts into the skin, leaving it baby soft
- Fragrance-free, vegan, with no parabens, and never tested on animals
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Shine Killer Primer
NYX makes several different primers, so we selected the most mattifying one of them all. We wanted to love it as it starts out lovely, leaving the skin smooth and ready for makeup.
We’ve seen mixed results. Some found that it greatly reduced the amount of shine and help the makeup last longer. Others said that they had to blot and touch up after a few hours. What seemed to make the difference was the weather. If you live in a humid, hot area, you might want to try a different product.
- Promises to nix shine for hours, extending makeup wear
- Can be worn alone simply to reduce oiliness
- Cruelty-free with no parabens
- Some complaints about poor performance on oily skin
If you match the primer to your skin type and the kind of makeup you’ll be using, you’ll be delighted with the results. Primer perfects the canvas of your face. You may find yourself wearing it alone just to enjoy the benefits on a no-makeup day.
If we helped you find cosmetics that delight you, we’d love to hear about your experience with them. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.