The 10 Best Primers for Dry Skin That Leave You With a Dewy Glow

Though primer is one of the best ways (second to a setting spray) to keep a full face intact for hours on end, certain formulas tend to further dehydrate your skin. This is especially true if it’s already pretty dry to begin with. Sure, cutting it with a moisturizer or serum is always an option, but you risk diminishing its staying power. Luckily, a select group of foundation primers that come pre-infused with the hydration your skin needs exists on the market, simultaneously taking all the guesswork out of your product cocktailing and providing a flawless base over which you can blend on your foundation.

“​​Primers benefit those with dry skin because they offer a base to hold the foundation,” celebrity makeup artist Janice Daoud tells InStyle. “Hydrating primers adds moisture to the skin, which softens and blurs imperfections and pores.” Read on to explore the best primers for dry skin that have earned a seal of approval from makeup artists and reviewers alike, plus an easy-to-follow guide on how to find the right one for your skin. 

The Best Primers for Dry Skin of 2021

    • ​​Best Overall: Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer
    • Best 2-in-1: Glossier Priming Moisturizer
    • Best Longwear: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
    • Best for Large Pores: Kat Von D Lock-It Hydrating Primer
    • Best for Mature Skin: Tula Blurring and Moisturizing Primer
    • Best for Sensitive Skin: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
    • Best for Combination Skin: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
    • Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Catrice Prime and Fine Anti-Red Base
    • Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Glow Booster Primer and Serum
    • Best With SPF: Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer SPF 30

    What to Look for in a Hydrating Primer 

    If you have dry skin, you know that the ingredients list can make or break a beauty product. When shopping for a makeup primer, Daoud recommends opting for formulas that contain humectants to restore your skin’s hydration levels and keep it from getting thirsty later in the day. “Some ingredients that replenish and lock in moisture are hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and nourishing oils (jojoba, coconut, grapeseed, rosehip, etc.),” she shares. As for what to avoid, Daoud adds that “alcohol, clay, talc, and silica” shouldn’t make the cut due to their skin-drying and irritating tendencies. 

    Keep scrolling to learn more about these top-rated hydrating primers and find out how they’ll transform your glam.

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    Best Overall: Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

    Though the superfood mix used in this primer’s ingredient list would look more at home in your Whole Foods shopping cart than your makeup bag, they’ll benefit your skin’s hydration levels more than your post-workout smoothie.

    Here, coconut water and quinoa protein come together to replenish and strengthen your skin barrier in order to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. These nutrient-rich ingredients also promote stronger skin, which makes it great for improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin also gets a boost of radiance, courtesy of the primer’s light-reflecting micro-pearls. “This is my all-time favorite priming moisturizer,” one reviewer shared. “It leaves my dry skin feeling super hydrated and it smells so good.” 

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    Best 2-in-1: Glossier Priming Moisturizer

    If your skin tends to get especially dry, opt for Glossier’s hyaluronic acid-rich option, which doesn’t leave your complexion with a weird, powdery film as some primers do.

    Delivering the richness of a moisturizer with the skin-perfecting benefits of a primer, the Priming Moisturizer creates a dewy base by smoothing away signs of texture and pores and restoring your natural glow. It’s also formulated with an anti-redness complex, which helps rebalance and soothe stressed-out skin. “I have a lifelong history of dry flaky skin, and have tried many, many facial moisturizers,” one Glossier shopper wrote. “[It] worked great under makeup and with SPF.”

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    Best Longwear: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

    Even if you’re not hungover, the tall drink of coconut water offered up by this serum-like primer benefits dry complexions all the same, keeping skin plump and hydrated for hours on end. Not only does it rehydrate skin, but this fan-favorite pick also uses probiotic-rich ingredients to visibly brighten and tighten. The rejuvenating formula grips onto the skin to improve the wear of your makeup, helping it apply more smoothly and keeping it fresher for longer. “My skin is dryer than a desert and this hydrated my skin for hours,” said one Sephora shopper. “Doesn’t melt off in the sun nor does it leave your dry skin oily.” Another added, “[It] makes my makeup look flawless and creaseless. If I don’t use this primer, I will have many creases.” 

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    Best for Large Pores: Kat Von D Lock-It Hydrating Primer

    Kat Von D’s moisture-rich concoction enlists the holy trinity of jojoba, shea, and aloe, but remains lightweight because of the water used in its base. Perfect for dry and oily-prone skin types alike, this formula smooths over the skin to blur the look of pores and even out the complexion. According to reviewers, it’s long-wearing and improves the application of their makeup as well as diminishing dryness and texture. “I feel comfortable, as [it is] a white liquid [and] there is no white cast left behind or apparent,” one shared. “I also feel hydrated, mind you, I am an oily/combination type of guy. With that [said], I do also feel that my oils are under control when using this product and my somewhat dry [patches] are smooth and bouncy.”

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    Best for Mature Skin: Tula Blurring and Moisturizing Primer

    Makeup wearers with mature skin are no stranger to dryness. And thanks to the Tula Blurring Moisturizing Primer, you can tackle dry patches, texture, and dullness in one step. “The formula is powered by moisturizing ingredients and contains licorice to keep skin nice and bright,” Daoud says. “It keeps the skin plumped and gives a radiant filter-like finish.” According to reviewers, the primer helps improve the smoothness of their foundation application while also making their skin feel more nourished and glowy.

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    Best for Sensitive Skin: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer

    One of Daoud’s favorites, the Hydro Grip Primer quenches dryness using sensitive skin-approved ingredients to minimize redness and create a dewy glow. “The blue agave is gentle and keeps your skin feeling hydrated and smooth,” she shares. “It holds makeup on like a dream.” Other key ingredients include moisturizing hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe water, and antioxidant-rich cannabis seed extract. Plus, its gel-like texture gives your skin a refreshing boost of hydration. It’s no wonder why it has more than 185,000 loves from Sephora shoppers! 

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    Best for Combination Skin: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base

    Combination skin types have oiliness and dryness to worry about, which is why they need a hydrating primer that doesn’t add shine in their makeup prep. With the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, vitamins B, C, and E come together with hyaluronic acid and shea butter to boost hydration, blur texture, and awaken the skin. Daoud is a fan of this primer because it “keeps moisture in the skin and gives your skin a shot of multivitamins that smooths and brightens your skin,” she explains. Reviewers can’t get enough of its multitasking formula, which some say keeps their makeup in place for more than eight hours. “This product is probably one of the best primer/moisturizers I have used,” one Ulta shopper wrote. “I have dry/combination skin so it’s hard to find a good primer, but also [a] moisturizing one that isn’t too oily. This product really helps keep your makeup on all day, but also helps create a moisturizing base.” 

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    Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Catrice Prime & Fine Anti-Red Base

    “This is my favorite for acne-prone skin because it neutralizes [the] redness in the skin due to acne or breakouts and has hemp oil to soothe the skin,” celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek says. “It’s lightweight and great for redness or blotchy skin that needs a flawless base or prep before applying foundation or concealing discoloration without fading. Plus the formula is oil-free, which means it won’t clog your pores or cause any pesky breakouts. One reviewer adds that it “has the best staying power out of all the primers I have tried. It shrinks your pores and it doesn’t cling to dry patches.” 

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    Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Glow Booster Primer and Serum

    A primer with skincare benefits? Sign us up! Sesnek loves the multitasking nature of this primer-serum hybrid, adding, “It delivers exceptional hydration because it contains hyaluronic acid. The skin is prepped and looking hydrated, plumped, and ready for any foundation products.” Having hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient also helps this primer create a dewy glow, which is great for makeup wearers looking to reverse some dullness as well as dryness. Amazon shoppers are fans of this formula for its lightweight and non-greasy feel, which many were happy to report doesn’t clog pores, irritate sensitive skin, or leave a goopy texture behind. 

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    Best With SPF: Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer SPF 30

    The  Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer SPF 30 ensures that dry skin is always quenched and protected from the sun, courtesy of its chemical sunscreen formula. “This primer has a water base with minimal silicones and feels fresh and hydrating on the skin,” Sesnek explains. “Its SPF 30 coverage is just the right amount of sun protection that you need against UV rays, but keeps your skin hydrated, fresh, and primed.” Vitamins C and E combine to promote brightness and moisture with their antioxidants, which help improve the appearance and health of your skin over time. No wonder why it has more than 7,000 loves from Sephora shoppers. 

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