All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
While makeup primer can often seem optional, once you reach a certain age, the best primer for mature skin becomes non-negotiable. Over time, the benefits of a good face primer become increasingly apparent: They can promote plumper, more radiant skin in addition to improving the longevity of your makeup products, of course.
Ultimately, “think of primer as double-sided tape for the face,” makeup artist Nydia Figueroa explains. “It locks in skin care, helps your makeup stay put, and prevents it from settling into fine lines or wrinkles.”
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer, $38
- Best for Dry Skin: Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer + Hydrating Primer, $42
- Best for Combination Skin: Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer, $54
- Best for Oily Skin: Nyx Professional Makeup Pore Filler Primer, $10
- Best for Wrinkles: StriVectin Line BlurFector Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer, $39
- Best for Blurring: Caliray So Blown Blurring Collagen Primer, $36
- Best for Large Pores: E.L.F. Liquid Poreless Putty Primer, $10
Frequently Asked Questions
Best Overall: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
Why It’s Worth It: Figueroa can’t stop raving about the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer, which she considers a staple in her kit and won a Readers’ Choice Award in 2020. “This primer is ideal for mature skin because it delivers instant results and keeps makeup in place for up to 12 hours,” she explains. The gel formula glides on smoothly, and a little goes a long way in creating a seamless base for your makeup.
Editor Tip: Never want to hit empty? You can get this hydrating primer in a jumbo size, which holds an impressive 150 milliliters worth of product.
Key Ingredients: Blue agave extract, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide | Who It’s For: Everyone, but especially those prone to dryness
Best for Dry Skin: Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer + Hydrating Primer
Why It’s Worth It: Smashbox was one of the first brands to introduce primers, effectively launching the category with the brand’s Photo Finish line in 2000 (!). They’ve only gotten better: For the perks of a hyaluronic acid serum with the staying power of a primer, consider Photo Finish Primerizer+ Super Hydrating Primer; it has not one, not two, but three forms of hyaluronic acid, as well as niacinamide to brighten and plump skin. It’s also silicone-free, which lends it a lightweight, breathable feel.
Editor Tip: This hydrating primer won a Best of Beauty Award back in 2022, as did Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer for oil control. The Photo Finish family also includes a Correct Anti-Redness Primer and Illuminate Glow Primer, which may also suit mature skin.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, probiotic extract | Who It’s For: Those with dry skin
Best for Combination Skin: Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer
Why It’s Worth It: Makeup artist Emily Gray highly recommends Tatcha’s The Liquid Silk Canvas and says it’s “the most lightweight primer” she has ever used. Infused with silk extract, it hydrates the skin and also helps to blur the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. To add to its benefits, this primer also contains pink and gold pearl powder that works to even out and brighten the skin.
Editor Tip: It can work wonders for reducing the look of large pores.
Key Ingredients: Silk extract, green tea, algae extract | Who It’s For: Those with combination skin types, or people targeting pores
Best for Oily Skin: Nyx Professional Makeup Pore Filler Primer
Why It’s Worth It: Say goodbye to your expensive blotting paper habit with Nyx Professional Makeup’s Pore Filler Primer. A drugstore favorite, this vegan, tinted, and water-based formula is a game-changer, helping skin look blurred and matte even for the shiniest among us. It’s so popular Nyx came out with a stick version of the primer for more targeted application.
Editor Tip: If you have combination skin, layer it over moisturizer in areas prone to dryness, like your cheeks.
Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, glycerin, vitamin E | Who It’s For: People prone to oil or large pores
Best for Wrinkles: StriVectin Line BlurFector Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer
Why It’s Worth It: If you have any irregularities in texture, be it deep wrinkles, fine lines, or even acne scars, then you’re in luck: StriVectin Line BlurFector Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer is designed to fill, smooth, and blur uneven texture to prevent makeup from settling in and exacerbating their appearance. Not only that, but it also contains light-reflecting microspheres that visually diffuse the look of imperfections, too, for skin that looks and feels smoother.
Editor Tip: The silicone makes it prone to pilling, so start with a tiny dab before layering on your foundation.
Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, glycerin, microspheres | Who It’s For: People with textural concerns
Best for Blurring: Caliray So Blown Blurring Collagen Primer
Why It’s Worth It: The formula makes SoCal-inspired brand Caliray’s Blurring Collagen Peptide Primer more than your average makeup primer. It smooths rough texture and makes quick work of pores with finely milled powders, which niacinamide, vitamin E, and camellia oil replenish moisture. What sets it apart, however, is the addition of a peptide that boosts collagen production, leading to firmer skin and boosting elasticity over time.
Editor Tip: Pick up a dab of product with a short, angled brush and use it to enhance eyeliner.
Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, peptides, camellia oil | Who It’s For: People who want a versatile option
Best for Large Pores: E.L.F. Liquid Poreless Putty Primer
Why It’s Worth It: The problem with formulas that target pores? They can often be geared towards oily skin, meaning they’re not exactly ideal if you’re prone to dryness. That’s where E.L.F. Liquid Poreless Putty Primer stands out. Rather than leave skin looking dusty, the 2023 Best of Beauty Award winner melts into skin, nourishing with squalane and imparting a matte finish that feels surprisingly fresh.
Key Ingredients: Squalane, camellia leaf extract, glycerin | Who It’s For: People with large pores, but any skin type
Best for Brightening: Chanel Le Blanc De Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base
Why It’s Worth It: We all have those days when our skin appears lackluster, even after religiously following a multi-step skin-care routine. But fear not because makeup artist Molly Stern has a solution for you. She suggests giving Chanel Le Blanc De Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base a try — this primer not only brightens up your skin but also helps your foundation stay put for longer.
Editor Tip: For a subtle base, mix a few drops of foundation into the primer for added coverage.
Key Ingredients: Witch hazel, licorice extract, glycerin | Who It’s For: Those with dull skin
Best Radiant Finish: Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer
Why It’s Worth It: As its name suggests, Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow Face Primer is designed to give you the ultimate glow, thanks to light-diffusing particles, peptides, wild pansy, and hyaluronic acid. This serum-like formula not only blurs fine lines but also provides up to 24 hours of hydration, making it perfect for those with dry or dehydrated skin — or for those of us who suffer from insomnia but want to look like, well, we don’t.
Editor Tip: It doubles as a highlighter in a pinch; simply tap it onto your brow bone and/or cheekbone for a subtle glow.
Key Ingredients: Peptides, hyaluronic acid, rosehip seed oil | Who It’s For: Anyone seeking a dewy or glowing finish
Best for Deep Skin Tones: Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Primer
Why It’s Worth It: Gray recommends Hourglass’s Vanish Airbrush Primer to anyone who will listen. The lightweight, translucent primer “smooths the skin and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” However, it also has oil-control properties, so it may not be suitable for those with very dry skin.
Editor Tip: If you’re prone to dry skin, make sure to moisturize well before applying this mattifying primer.
Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, glycerin | Who It’s For: People prone to shine and breakouts
For a Bronzy Goddess Finish: Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Glow Serum
Why It’s Worth It: The Yummy Skin Glow Priming Serum by Danessa Myricks Beauty is a must-try for anyone looking to add a sun-kissed glow to their makeup routine. “This serum is especially great for mature skin as it minimizes pores and adds hydration,” says Figueroa. Plus, it features the holy trinity of skin-care ingredients, vitamin C, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, which provide a powerful one-two punch against dark spots and discoloration.
Editor Tip: For a match made in makeup heaven, go in with Yummy Skin Serum Foundation. “This foundation is the very definition of luminous,” former associate news editor Gabi Thorne said in her review. “My skin looked extremely glowy without an ounce of highlighter on my face.”
Key Ingredients: Squalane, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid | Who It’s For: People with discoloration
Best Lightweight: Tarte Base Tape Hydrating Primer
Why It’s Worth It: You might not have scored an invite to a #TrippinWithTarte press trip (yet!) but the brand’s Base Tape Hydrating Primer is too good to ignore. Infused with moisturizing jojoba, coconut, and vitamin E, this hydrating makeup primer replenishes thirsty skin and leaves it baby-soft. According to Figueroa, “It’s like applying a moisturizer but it also helps your makeup stay put all day.”
Editor Tip: It has the faint scent of coconut, so if you’re sensitive to scents, this might not be the one for you.
Key Ingredients: Coconut, jojoba, centella asiatica | Who It’s For: Those with dry skin
Best With SPF: Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Perfecting Primer SPF 50
Why It’s Worth It: According to Stern, the Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Perfecting Primer is a great option for anyone serious about protecting their skin from harsh outer elements (like the sun and living in a city). And the best part? It’s tinted, so there’s no pressure to wear foundation afterward if you choose not to.
Editor Tip: It uses mineral sunscreen filters titanium dioxide and iron oxide.
Key Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, gluconolactone, glycerin | Who It’s For: People who want to streamline their routine
Frequently Asked Questions
What ingredients are best for mature skin?
If you’re looking for a primer for mature skin in particular, makeup artist Emily Gray recommends focusing on skin-care ingredients that provide hydration and soothing benefits, such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. Another ingredient to consider is niacinamide, which can help perfect the skin’s texture.
Just as important is what to leave out. For instance, “avoid formulations that contain stripping ingredients and unnecessary oils,” Gray warns, as these can emphasize signs of mature skin. Opt for a lightweight primer that won’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles, creating a smooth canvas for foundation, concealer, and whatever else you’ve got going on.
How we test and review products
Before reviewing any makeup, we ask questions about a number of factors: What ingredients are in it? Does the brand offer a wide shade range inclusive of consumers with all skin tones and undertones? Is it safe for readers who have sensitive skin or wear contact lenses? Is it on the affordable side or more of a splurge? Is its packaging consciously designed or needlessly wasteful?
For our review of the best primers for mature skin, we enlisted the help of multiple editors, writers, contributors, and makeup artists to review the products. This ensures our testing base spans different skin tones, genders, and dermatological conditions. We considered each product’s performance across four primary categories: ingredients, wear and longevity, packaging, and inclusivity. For more on what’s involved in our reporting, check out our complete reviews process and methodology page.
Our staff and testers
A beauty product is a personal purchase. You might be searching for a face cream to address persistent dryness or a new nail product to add to your Sunday self-care routine; you may simply be browsing around for the latest launches to hit the hair market. No matter what you seek or your individual needs and concerns, Allure wants to ensure that you love anything we recommend in our stories. We believe that having a diverse team of writers and editors — in addition to the wide range of outside testers and industry experts we regularly call upon — is essential to reaching that goal.
More Allure-approved products for mature skin:
- 17 Best Moisturizers for Mature Skin to Target Fine Lines and Wrinkles
- The 16 Best Foundations for Mature Skin, According to Makeup Artists
- The Best Concealers for Mature Skin, According to Makeup Artists
Now, watch Victoria Beckham answer your burning beauty questions: