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

First Aid Beauty’s FAB Priming Moisturizer gives you that donut glaze in the best way.

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The 10 Best Primers for Dry Skin That Leave You With a Dewy Glow
Photo: Courtesy of Brands

Though primer is one of the best ways—second to a setting spray— to keep a full face of makeup 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. 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 your foundation.

We interviewed different celebrity artists to find the best primers for dry skin. When looking for primers, we looked for products that offer hydrating ingredients, a dewy glow, and the ability to keep your makeup flawless all day. With its ability to smooth and hydrate your skin, plus give the perfect selfie finish thanks to light-reflecting micro-pearls, First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer is our Best Overall pick.

Here are the best primers for dry skin for lasting luminosity.

Our Picks

Best Overall: First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Ulta and Sephora

What We Like: This blend of moisturizing ingredients leaves your skin radiant.

What We Don't Like: Not everyone is a fan of the coconut scent.

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.

Hydrating Ingredients: Coconut Water | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1.7 oz

Best Value: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Glow Booster Primer & Serum

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Ulta and Walmart

What We Like: This primer instantly plumps your skin with the power of hyaluronic acid.

What We Don't Like: The glowy effect is more subtle than other primers.

A primer with skincare benefits? Sign us up! Celebrity makeup artist, Robert 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. 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.

Hydrating Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1 oz

Best 2-in-1: Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Priming Moisturizer
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What We Like: This formula doubles as a moisturizer and primer.

What We Don't Like: The shea butter can cause breakouts on acne-prone skin.

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. Plus the skin-perfecting tint balances your overall complexion, so you can wear this alone without makeup.

Hydrating Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1.7 oz

Best Longwear: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Ulta

What We Like: This formula doubles as a moisturizer and primer.

What We Don't Like: It's not fragrance free.

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, silicone-free formula grips onto the skin to improve the wear of your makeup, helping it apply more smoothly and keeping it fresher for longer.

Hydrating Ingredients: Coconut Water | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.68-1.35 oz

Best for Large Pores: Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Oil-Free Foundation Primer

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Ulta and Macy's

What We Like: Your skin will look smooth and poreless with this blurring primer.

What We Don't Like: It doesn't help that much with shine.

When you have dry skin and large pores, makeup can easily seep into them and crease. Smashbox's best-selling primer smooths your skin and blurs pores for a flawless finish. It also boasts vitamins A and E to protect your skin from pollutants, damage, and stress. Though this primer is lightweight and oil-free, customers with dry skin say it keeps their skin moisturized and their makeup stays put all day.

Hydrating Ingredients: Vitamin E | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.34-1 oz

Best for Mature Skin: Tula Filter Primer

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Ulta and Target

What We Like: It gives a radiant finish on dry, dull skin.

What We Don't Like: It can make combination or oily skin a little greasy.

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," says celebrity makeup artist Janice Daoud. "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. It comes in five different sheer tints to blur the skin and add radiance, making it a universal favorite.

Hydrating Ingredients: Probiotics | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1 oz

Best for Sensitive Skin: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Hydrating Makeup Primer

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Milk Makeup

What We Like: This primer is free of irritating ingredients and calms redness.

What We Don't Like: It can feel a little sticky.

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. We also love that it's silicone-free (which can irritate some skin types) and comes in an airless container that keeps the formula fresh and lets you see how much you have left.

Hydrating Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Water | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.33-5.28 oz

Best for Combination Skin: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Ulta and Nordstrom

What We Like: This vitamin-rich formula moisturizes without being too heavy or greasy.

What We Don't Like: The citrus scent may be too strong if you are sensitive to fragrances.

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 says. Reviewers can't get enough of its multitasking formula, which some say keeps their makeup in place for more than eight hours.

Hydrating Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Squalane, and Shea Butter | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.5-3.38 oz

Best for Acne: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer Color Corrector - Redness Corrector

MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Primer Color Correcto
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Also available at Macy's

What We Like: The green tint hides any redness while vitamin B5 moisturizes.

What We Don't Like: It's not fragrance free.

For those with acne, Sesnek recommends a primer with a green tint to counteract any redness. Reviewers love Make Up For Ever's color-correcting primer because it easily blends into the skin and hides redness without leaving a green tinge. The formula also has vitamin B5 to hydrate for 24 hours and ginseng to improve the skin's radiance and texture. Even those with rosacea claim this is their holy grail primer for making their makeup look flawless and last all day.

Hydrating Ingredients: Vitamin B5 | Finish: Natural | Size: 1 oz

Related: The Best Setting Sprays

Best with SPF: Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer - Protecting Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Priming Moisturizer
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Also available at Bluemercury and Macy's

What We Like: This primer protects your skin from the sun with SPF and antioxidants.

What We Don't Like: It's a bit pricey.

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," says Sesnek. "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.

Hydrating Ingredients: Glycerin | Finish: Dewy | Size: 1.7 oz

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients

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.)," says Daoud. 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.

Primers also fall into two categories: water-based and non-water (often silicone) based formulas. You should choose a formula that matches your foundation, water-based or non, to ensure the formula will sit well with what you put on after it. How to tell? Water will often be the first ingredient in a water-based formula.

Finish

While you might associate primers with a matte finish, if you already have dry skin that you want to look more radiant, look for primers that create a dewy finish to make your skin look healthy and hydrated. Or you can opt for a satin finish, which is a happy medium between matte and dewy.

Your Questions, Answered

Can I use a primer if I have dry skin?

Yes, but you need to pick a formula that works with your skin type. "​​Primers benefit those with dry skin because they offer a base to hold the foundation," says Daoud. "Hydrating primers adds moisture to the skin, which softens and blurs imperfections and pores."

What else can I do to make my makeup last?

According to celebrity makeup artists, the key to making any makeup last is to properly prep the skin. Especially if you have dry skin, be sure to exfoliate any dry patches.

"Prep the skin! If the skin is not properly prepped, this can cause the foundation to separate or wear off. It's important to cleanse and moisturize prior to application, but avoid face oils as those tend to break down the foundation," says celebrity makeup artist Dominique DellaMaggiore. And once you're done with your makeup application—a great setting spray can be a lifesaver. "Not only will it keep your foundation lasting all day and night, but it eliminates any powdery finish allowing the makeup to look similar to your natural skin texture."

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