The 15 Best Mattifying Primers for Every Skin Type, According to Makeup Artists

Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer gives you airbrushed skin.

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Best Mattifying Primers
Photo: Galina Zhigalova/Getty Images

After putting in all of that work to do your makeup, the last thing you want is an oily T-zone ruining your glam. Instead of piling on setting powder throughout the day, you can stop shine in its tracks with your prep — starting with your primer.

Makeup artists recommend kicking off a full-faced look with a mattifying primer, which can do everything from keep shine in check to erase pores. "Mattifying primers help control oil throughout the day, but they're also amazing for minimizing the appearance of texture in the skin," says professional makeup artist and content creator Jonet Williamson.

We interviewed several professional makeup artists to reveal their favorite primers for different skin types and needs. In addition to controlling oil and blurring pores, we looked for formulas that held on to your makeup all day without caking, pilling, or drying out your skin. Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer took the top spot with its ability to blur lines and wrinkles and color correct at an affordable price.

Keep scrolling to explore the best mattifying primers that the pros recommend for every skin type and makeup look.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Ulta and Amazon

What We Like: This primer comes in different shades to color correct.

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

This budget-friendly matte primer is a favorite of makeup artist Stephanie Flor. "The reason I love this primer is because it helps with blurring lines and minimizing pores, but it also comes in different colors to help with discoloration and redness," she says. "It gives everyday makeup wearers the confidence to use a primer to even the skin tone before using foundation with heavier coverage." The green tone helps camouflage redness while the light purple shade eliminates any unwanted yellow tones. It's also dermatologist tested to ensure it won't clog pores or cause any allergic reactions.

Good For: All Skin Types | Size: 1 oz | Tinted: Yes

Best Value: L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Secret No.1 Magic Perfecting Base

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Walmart and Ulta

What We Like: This primer mattifies skin like professional formulas.

What We Don't Like: It can be a little annoying having to scoop the product out of the jar.

What can't this primer do? Thanks to its creamy mattifying formula, this drugstore pick glides across the skin and eliminates all traces of shine and texture. Its line-filling capabilities make this primer a must-have for professional makeup artist Ashley Rebecca. "This primer will mattify and fill in anything — literally anything," she says. "It is almost like applying a spackle to the skin before makeup and holds up really well during photo shoots." It's great for controlling oil in the T-zone, shrinking pores, and preventing your makeup from settling into lines.

Good For: All Skin Types | Size: 0.5 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur Universal Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Amazon

What We Like: This primer instantly absorbs shine and moisturizes with oils and vitamin E.

What We Don't Like: The texture is a little crumbly.

This mattifying primer from The Body Shop gets to work instantly to absorb shine. It uses a blend of moisturizing ingredients to prevent dryness — or worse, that dreaded caked-on look. "It has up to 12 hours of shine control, which is the key to a good primer," says Flor. "It's great on sensitive skin and enriched with vitamin E and marula oil, giving you a beautiful canvas for makeup that's also good for the skin." In their reviews, shoppers vouched for its staying power and said that it lasts "throughout the day and into the night to control shininess" without any help from a setting powder.

Good For: Sensitive Skin | Size: 0.67 oz | Tinted: No

Best Pore-Blurring: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Mattifying Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Ulta and Fenty Beauty

What We Like: This primer gives your skin a soft-focus for the perfect selfie.

What We Don't Like: The product is very runny, which may take some time getting used to when applying it.

Say goodbye to your pores and hello to airbrushed skin courtesy of Rihanna's Fenty Beauty. Powered by blue agave extract and a blend of pore-blurring powders, this universally flattering face primer creates a soft-focus finish and grips to the skin for all-day wear. "This really plays well with loads of different types of foundations," professional makeup artist and content creator Delina Medhin says. "I notice this really makes the skin look better in photos."

Good For: Combination-Oily Skin | Size: 0.5-1 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Oily Skin: Urban Decay All Nighter Face Makeup Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Amazon and Sephora

What We Like: This primer keeps your skin shine free without stripping it of hydration.

What We Don't Like: It can cause breakouts in acne-prone skin.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray fans, meet your newest makeup obsession. Designed to lock in your makeup and disguise the appearance of texture, this hydrating-yet-mattifying primer absorbs quickly into the skin and maximizes your inner glow. It does contain the ingredient isoparaffin, which excels at hydrating and smoothing the skin, though it can lead to breakouts for those prone to acne. According to Medhin, the primer "grips makeup so you don't have to touch up as much and this works very well for oily skin."

Good For: Oily Skin | Size: 0.28-1 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Smashbox Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Matte Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Available at Sephora and Ulta

What We Like: Acne-fighting ingredients in this primer keep breakouts at bay.

What We Don't Like: If too much is applied, it can cake.

There's nothing better than makeup that acts like skincare. In the Smashbox Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Matte Primer, acne-fighting ingredients like witch hazel, salicylic acid, and zinc come together to clear your pores of breakout-causing bacteria and give your skin a shine-free finish. It's so good that it's recommended by more than one of the makeup artists we interviewed, who raved over its long-lasting 12-hour wear and "skin-like" matte finish from its gel-to-powder formula.

Good For: Acne Prone Skin | Size: 0.34-1 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Combination Skin: bareMinerals Combo Control Milky Face Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Macy's and Amazon

What We Like: This primer absorbs shine in oily spots while keeping dry spots hydrated.

What We Don't Like: It doesn't spread as well as others.

Finding a primer that soaks up oil without drying out your skin is key if some parts of your face aren't as shiny as others. bareMinerals Combo Control Primer's smooth formula transforms combination skin with its multitasking magic, according to experts and shoppers alike. "This primer is two-fold," says Carly Giglio, a professional makeup artist and beauty educator for bareMinerals. "It absorbs oils where needed but maintains the skin's moisture as needed. It's a milky consistency that lays onto the skin evenly but dries down to a powder texture, giving a natural finish." Silica and African tree bark work together to keep you matte all day. The formula is cruelty-free as well as free of parabens, mineral oil and phthalates.

Good For: Combination Skin | Size: 1 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Mature Skin: By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Primer Moisturizing Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Amazon and Dermstore

What We Like: Hyaluronic acid plumps the skin and reduces fine lines in this primer.

What We Don't Like: It may not be hydrating enough for those with really dry skin.

Blurring the look of pores and reducing shine aren't the only things that this primer is good at. As its name suggests, it hydrates your skin and prevents it from losing moisture throughout the day, preventing your makeup from settling into fine lines or spots with uneven texture. "It's loaded with hyaluronic acid, so it nourishes the skin while still controlling oil and diminishing any texture or fine lines," assures Williamson. Its hyaluronic acid-based formula also gives your skin a plumper, more youthful-looking glow, which is always appreciated. Plus it's great for reducing the appearance of fine lines and is overall texture-smoothing.

Good For: Mature Skin | Size: 1.36 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Dry Skin: The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Sephora and Deciem

What We Like: For less than $10 you get an effective primer that hydrates and smooths the skin.

What We Don't Like: The formula contains silicone, which can irritate certain skin issues.

Another hydrating pick, The Ordinary's High-Adherence Silicone Primer blurs the look of pores — no matter their size. Plus it's less than $10, making it the most price-conscious primer on this list. "I love this for being an affordable, hydrating, pore-blurring primer that can be used under makeup for extreme longevity or alone to reduce the appearance of pores," says celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon. It's also pH-balanced and won't leave a greasy sheen behind. Some reviewers say it's an excellent dupe for certain high-end primers. Do note that it does contain silicone, which is great at smoothing the skin, but also is known to possibly exacerbate skin issues like rosacea, acne, sensitive skin, or milia.

Good For: Dry Skin | Size: 1 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Enlarged Pores: Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional Pore Minimizing Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Ulta and Target

What We Like: It blurs even the largest of pores.

What We Don't Like: It has a strong scent.

This balm-like primer is equipped to handle the most visible pores with its mattifying formula, which gives your skin a texture-blurring filter and uses vitamin E to defend against free radicals. "I often use this to help minimize the look of pores and excess shine," Rebecca notes. "It doesn't pill with makeup." In fact, it actually improves the look of color cosmetics, so you don't have to worry about midday caking, creasing, or smudges. It also comes in three different sizes, perfect for just trying it out or tucking into your purse for travel.

Good For: Enlarged Pores | Size: 0.25-1.5 oz | Tinted: No

Best With SPF: Supergoop! Mattescreen SPF 40

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Supergoop!

What We Like: You get sunscreen and primer in one.

What We Don't Like: The tint may not work on darker skin tones.

A sunscreen with oil-absorbing benefits? Sign us up! This mattifying mineral sunscreen simplifies your morning routine with its multitasking formula, which smooths away texture and minimizes the look of pores as it protects your skin with broad-spectrum SPF 40. "Sunscreen is a very important step in our makeup routine for skin health and preservation, though applying all the layers of skincare and makeup can be daunting and we often forget," Aharon says. "I love that this one provides SPF 40 yet also acts as a primer giving a natural, poreless finish." Reviewers report that it doesn't leave a whitecast behind thanks to its neutral tint and works well with a variety of other products. No wonder the brand has a loyal fan base to every new launch.

Good For: Sun Protection | Size: 1.5 oz | Tinted: Yes

Best for Dewy Makeup: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Milk Makeup

What We Like: You can still have the dewy look with none of the grease with this primer.

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

Finding the balance between dewy and greasy is a struggle when you're oily. Well, at least it was before the Hydro Grip Primer. The gel-based formula uses blue agave extract to blur the look of imperfections, hemp-derived cannabis seed extract to smooth away texture, and hyaluronic acid to create a dewy glow. "This primer feels super moisturizing when you put it on the skin, yet it completely dries down and works so well with water-based makeup," says Medhin. "It really helps your makeup stay put but keeps you looking hydrated." With niacinamide and aloe, the primer also has a soothing effect on sensitive skin. According to shoppers, this formula offers the perfect amount of slip without breaking down your favorite foundation or leaving a streaky finish.

Good For: Dry, Sensitive Skin | Size: 0.33-1.52 oz | Tinted: No

Best for Oily T-Zones: Nars Pore & Shine Control Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Nordstrom and Bluemercury

What We Like: This primer gets oily spots under control.

What We Don't Like: It doesn't make a big difference in pore size.

The Nars Pore & Shine Control Primer tackles shine wherever it strikes, but according to Giglio, it really thrives in the T-zone. "This little tube is a staple in my kit," she says. "It is lightweight and absorbs oil on the skin, but doesn't dry it out. I use it only where needed, mostly in the T-zone or wherever my clients have excess oil." It's formulated with skin-smoothing peptides and pore-refining powders that prolong the wear and performance of your favorite skin makeup. Reviewers with oily skin were impressed by this primer's longwear formula, noting that it controlled shine for "hours" on end.

Good For: Oily, Combination Skin | Size: 0.33-1.52 oz | Tinted: No

Best Airbrushed Finish: Tatcha Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Tatcha

What We Like: You can blot away oil with this primer without leaving the skin looking flat.

What We Don't Like: It contains silicone, which can trap moisture and be problematic for acne-prone skin.

This Tatcha primer is basically an Instagram filter. Thanks to its silky-smooth texture, it seamlessly melts in and creates a skin-perfecting barrier that locks in hydration and protects against free radical damage. "It minimizes excess shine with a soft-focus finish so the skin doesn't look flat," says Giglio. "I love how it also smooths texture, allowing for a perfect prep before makeup." It also contains superfood ingredients like green tea, rice, and algae, which also boast anti-aging benefits and protect your skin against pollution. The compact packaging also makes it easier for stowing in your bag. If you work in a big city, consider it a shield against all the day's stresses.

Good For: All Skin Types | Size: 0.24-0.7 oz | Tinted: No

Best Color-Correcting: Stila Correct And Perfect All-In-One Color-Correcting Palette

Face Makeup Primer
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Also available at Sephora and Ulta

What We Like: You can color correct and prime at the same time with this palette.

What We Don't Like: We wish the brand made the colors refillable.

With the Stila Color-Correcting Palette, you're able to sideline redness, under-eye circles, and dark spots while blurring your pores and controlling oil. Recommended by makeup artist Charlie Riddle, who is also the global beauty director of Stila Cosmetics, this multitasking pick comes stocked with five cream color correctors and two tinted pressed setting powders (yellow and purple) for all of your brightening, neutralizing, refining, and setting needs.

"A trick I use to help the skin stay matte is, after I moisturize, I lightly set the face with the setting powders, wait one minute, and then apply the color-correctors and my foundation," says Riddle. "Not only does this create a flawless canvas, but the makeup lasts longer and there is less shine throughout the day."

Good For: All Skin Types, especially those with discoloration | Size: 0.45 oz | Tinted: Yes

What to Keep in Mind

Skin type

Contrary to popular belief, matte primers aren't exclusive to oily skin. In fact, they can benefit any skin type if they're formulated with the right ingredients. "If you're on the normal to oily side, this will be your best friend," says Williamson. "I'd suggest staying away from mattifying primers if you're someone that has dry or flaky skin, but if texture or enlarged pores is a concern for you then totally get a mattifying-but-hydrating primer."

Dry skin types should opt for primers that contain hydrators like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and shea butter, according Giglio. "Don't be afraid to try a primer as well with a little illumination for dry skin," she says. "This will help to add dimension and also give the look of hydration—not just the feel."

Color

While most primers are made to be translucent on the skin, you can reap extra benefits by using one in a color-correcting shade. If you want to tone down redness, look for products with a green tint. Purple helps with yellow tones while orange/yellow is good for brightening dark circles and hyperpigmentation. Want to target all these issues? Get a palette, like our last pick, to get all the shades in one place.

Your Questions, Answered

How do I apply a mattifying primer?

While everyone's application style is different, Williamson says that less is more when priming your skin. "When it comes to any skin prep, I always suggest spot-treating areas based on your personal needs," she explains. "If you know that smile lines or oil in your T-zone is something you'd like to avoid, then applying a mattifying primer in those specific areas will go a long way versus applying it over areas that may not need this attention."

As for tools, Aharon recommends using a brush. "Brushes are my favorite tool, especially if you're working with naturally oily skin," she notes. "You don't want the natural oils from your fingers on your face too. Apply your primer with a foundation brush sparingly; sometimes if you load it on, it can start to pill."

How else can I minimize pores and oiliness?

A primer isn't the only way that you can kick shine and enlarged pores to the curb. Flor says it starts with your skincare, such as being careful with your moisturizer placement. "Apply moisturizer in places where hydration is needed only," says Flor. "I see people putting moisturizer all over the face and that's great, but leave that for your night time routine.

If you're worried about oiliness and shine, you want to focus more on just priming the skin and applying the moisturizer in areas that need it. I also recommend using mattifying lotions." (But psst, if your sunscreen is your moisturizer, apply that everywhere.)

She also suggests using a pore-refining toner to help battle unwanted texture. Her favorite is The Body Shop's Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner, which exfoliates dead skin cells and soaks up excess oil.

In terms of makeup, Flor says that having a good setting powder or mattifying finishing spray on hand will also help. "Makeup can start to look cakey after a few hours," says Flor. "So by setting the makeup in place, you can minimize the pores and prevent buildup." Beefing up your glam routine with a longwearing matte foundation is also a good idea, especially if you're really prone to oiliness.

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