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Home>Blog>The Best Primers for Acne Prone Skin

The Best Primers for Acne Prone Skin

MIRA BEAUTY • updated Jan 5, 2021
The Best Primers for Acne Prone Skin

Say goodbye to blemishes as you lock makeup into place

“Not to prime is a crime!” NikkieTutorials said it to Selena Gomez in a YouTube video after the actress admitted that she’d just discovered the importance of primer. Gasp. The video has since been watched over 10 million times… and for the record, Nikkie is totally right.

Primers are the foundation (pun intended) of your beauty routine - a preparatory product that you apply before your powder, liquid foundation, tinted moisturizer or concealer to blur imperfections and keep looks in place all day. Each one is specially designed for certain complexion types to look their best, including acne-prone skin. Breakouts can sneak up on you at the worst times, and you need a primer that doesn’t just conceal blemishes, but also heals and prevents future ones. Salicylic Acid, Witch Hazel, Kaolin Clay… all can be found in the best primers for acne-prone skin, hiding every last imperfection and producing a fresh and flawless complexion.

Just in time for your glam makeup looks at virtual holiday events! Try these top primers for acne-prone skin that will transform your beauty routine.

Mattifying Primer by Cover FX, $38

Mattifying Primer by Cover FX
Source: Cover FX

“This is the only thing that works on my oily T-zone area. I notice when I use this I have significantly less oil buildup at the end of the day, and it has some salicylic acid in it to prevent breakouts.” This Cover FX favorite has everything you could want in a primer for acne-prone skin - including a weightless gel texture, matte finish, and acne-fighting ingredients to prevent and heal blemishes. All while controlling shine and giving your makeup an airbrushed, flawless appearance. Mattifying Primer features 1% Salicylic Acid to heal and prevent acne and African Tree Bark to reduce the look of pores and keep the shine away - along with a Natural Fruit AHA Complex to gently exfoliate, support natural cell renewal, and keep your skin looking fresh. MIRA guests agree that this Cover FX essential is pore minimizing, long lasting, lightweight, and smooth - and you’ll see why it’s frequently rated as one of the best primers for acne-prone skin!

poreless mattifying primer by tarte, $32

poreless mattifying primer by tarte
Source: tarte

Your shape tape concealer and foundation need a friend, and it’s this vegan mattifying primer by tarte. Apply it before your face makeup for a smooth, even canvas that conceals every last imperfection - acne, oil, fine lines, dark spots, anything - and keeps makeup looking gorgeous for up to 12 hours. And like all tarte products, it’s packed with skinvigorating™ ingredients to protect and prep your acne-prone skin. Avocado is a natural oil rich in vitamins to soothe stressed skin, and T5 Super Fruit Complex™ (maracuja, goji, açaí, acerola, and pomegranate) provides antioxidant power to nourish and replenish. It also contains Echinacea Root, Hibiscus Flower, and Rosemary Leaf Extracts to neutralize free radical damage and improve skin texture - and moisturizing properties from fatty acids in Safflower Seed. Even the worst breakouts will be healed and concealed with poreless mattifying primer, and it makes a great addition to your full-face tarte makeup looks!

Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel by Peter Thomas Roth, $35

Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel by Peter Thomas Roth
Source: Peter Thomas Roth

Peter Thomas Roth began his beloved skincare brand on a quest to treat his own complexion issues, including acne. Men typically have more oily skin than women, and can benefit from a mattifying primer just as much (if not more) than women can! That’s why the Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel is a beautiful first step in any men’s grooming routine. It features Salicylic Acid 2% to clear up blemishes and prevent future breakouts, Glycolic Acid Complex 10% to exfoliate while reducing dullness and fine lines, and Aloe Vera to hydrate and calm the complexion. Because anybody with acne-prone skin knows that Aloe Vera is everything. You can wear this gel alone to send your pimples packing, or under makeup to enhance your looks!

Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer by Smashbox, $14

Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer by Smashbox
Source: Smashbox

Did you know that Photo Finish is one of Manny MUA’s favorite primers? The beauty influencer is a foundation enthusiast who’s made countless YouTube videos about his full-coverage and non-caking routine, and you can recreate his glam (not greasy) vibes with this Smashbox primer. Manny says it “keeps him non-oily all day long,” and produces the smooth, Instagram filter-like finish that the Lunar Beauty CEO is all about. No pimples or oily forehead in sight! Photo Finish contains Witch Hazel, Salicylic Acid, and Zinc to fight acne and minimize pores while concealing blemishes. Oil and shine will be absorbed for up to 12 hours as your makeup stays fresh and flawlessly matte from morning until night - which anybody with acne-prone or oily skin knows is a struggle. Blur imperfections, minimize pores, and hydrate the skin as Photo Finish produces your most luxurious, long-lasting, and Manny-approved complexion.

Anti-Blemish Matte Primer by Jouer, $30

Anti-Blemish Matte Primer by Jouer
Source: Jouer

Skincare and makeup hybrid products are a MIRA fave, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with this silky-smooth, imperfection-blurring primer. If you’ve made it this far down the list, you probably know what ingredient is coming first… Salicylic Acid! You know, the zit-zapping BHA that lets you wear full-face foundation without clogging your pores in the process. It gets a little help from Vitamin E, Aloe, Ginseng & Gingko Biloba Extract to reduce the look of redness and inflammation, producing a shine-free, even complexion. Breakouts are just around the corner as temperatures begin to drop, and Anti-Blemish Matte Primer will keep you looking fresh and fabulous all through winter. You can even wear it alone in your morning Zoom classes to even out complexion!

Blemish Control Face Primer by e.l.f., $6

Blemish Control Face Primer by e.l.f.
Source: e.l.f.

Elf isn’t just a reference to a certain holiday movie that you’ll be watching on repeat this season, it’s also the drugstore brand that locks in and perfects your makeup looks for the virtual holiday parties. Wake up with a massive breakout? No problem, as Blemish Control Face Primer is always here to help. At only $6, this primer is packed with Salicylic Acid to banish and prevent zits, Tea Tree to calm down redness and inflammation, and Vitamin E to soothe and keep your complexion looking stunning. While many with acne-prone skin worry about clogged pores with full-face looks, you can apply foundation guilt-free with this primer. It has all the ingredients you need to defeat acne while looking dreamy in your holiday makeup, and you won’t need to break the bank trying to reduce blemishes!

The Silk Canvas Protective Primer by Tatcha, $52

The Silk Canvas Protective Primer by Tatcha
Source: Tatcha

“I absolutely love this primer, and this entire brand. It goes in so smoothly and minimizes my pores while hydrating my face.” Blurring. Priming. Protecting. Anti-Aging. Only the best for your acne-prone skin from Tatcha. This priming balm of pressed silk is as luxurious as it sounds, made with ancient Japanese ingredients to deliver your most dreamy, blemish-free skin. The silk keeps your face looking glowing, but not greasy. Anti-pollution natural actives protect against environmental stress and act against future attack, keeping the wrinkles and dullness away. And you can’t forget Tatcha’s exclusive Hadasei-3™ complex, an anti-aging blend of Japanese superfoods, green tea, rice and algae to restore youthful radiance. The Silk Canvas is a luxury makeup-skincare product wrapped up in one stunning package, and your skin will be beautiful and blemish-free in no time!

Blemish Rescue Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer by bareMinerals, $26

Blemish Rescue Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer by bareMinerals
Source: bareMinerals

“I have a crazy oily face that’s prone to breakouts with the wrong product and this stuff has been AMAZING! I pair it with the Lancôme Ultra Wear foundation.” Ready to be cool, calm, and covering up blemishes with this top-rated primer for acne-prone skin? Blemish Rescue has been clinically proven to minimize redness and acne while maintaining skin’s essential moisture levels - while keeping your makeup looking impeccable for hours, of course. The acne-fighting ingredients in this primer are unparalleled - with Chamomile and Arnica to calm and nourish, and Phytosphingosine to support the skin against bacteria. But the real standout nutrients? A “blemish-busting mineral blend” of Zinc, Sulfur, and Kaolin Clay. These work together to deep clean and purify pores, leaving a refreshed and glowing (in the matte way) complexion that looks beautiful with or without makeup. It’s only the best from bareMinerals, and the MIRA community agrees. 95% agree that Blemish Rescue is pore minimizing, 90% call it hydrating, and 96% say it’s long lasting.

Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer by Dr. Brandt, $22

Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer by Dr. Brandt
Source: Dr. Brandt

Dr. Brandt knows best, and you’ll always be in good hands with Pore No More. As the name suggests, this primer reduces the appearance of pores and creates a filter-like finish - with zero inflammation or breakouts. As for the ingredients? Salicylic Acid does what it does best - gently exfoliate dead skin cells and remove oil buildup to keep pimples away. This primer also includes Red Clover Flower Extract to “shrink the look of pores over time,” which sounds like the best thing ever for acne-prone skin, and mattify skin with oil-absorbing spheres. You may even notice a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles! Enhance your makeup looks and give your skin a boost with this long-wearing, hydrating, and mattifying primer!

Shine Killer by NYX Professional Makeup, $14

Shine Killer by NYX Professional Makeup
Source: NYX Professional Makeup

Most people with oily or acne-prone skin know the struggle. You produce a killer makeup look that would make even NikkieTutorials jealous, only for it to become a greasy, fading, and shiny mess by 3PM. Ugh. However, there are plenty of primers for acne-prone skin to keep the shine and imperfections away, like Shine Killer by NYX! This lightweight, transparent formula feels silky smooth on your skin, locking in your makeup looks for hours and leaving you with a magical, matte finish. Your foundation won’t budge at all, even on the dreaded T-Zone and chin areas, and your face gets a moisturizing boost of nourishing Vitamin E all throughout the day? Just what you could expect from an iconic drugstore brand like NYX.

Find all the best face primers for acne prone skin on MIRA.