When finding the best primer for acne and oily skin, you must first decide if you want a radiant and glowing finish or a matte-finish. And perhaps one of each to make the switch between day and night.
And then you want to make sure the primer is going to allow your skin, and especially your pores, to breathe – this is absolutely crucial with oily skin.
Finally, finding a primer that will keep the excess sebum away is probably one of the sought after features in a primer for those suffering from acne-prone and oily skin.
With all of these requests working against us, we managed to find eight worthy contenders in the radiant and matte-finish categories that will help, not hinder, the complexion and keep that oil from taking over our lives.
And like all of our products, we try to find the healthiest and most healing options. Therefore, these finalists are all paraben-free and cruelty-free for a guilt-free complexion.
Best Primer for Acne and Oily Skin
Best Primer for Acne and Oily Skin *Editor’s Pick
BareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer
BareMinerals is one of our favorite makeup companies and this primer has become a morning ritual. This tint-less foundation primer is so amazing, we sometimes forget our foundation. And this is partly why this is our pick for best primer for acne. Because sometimes our skin looks better without the added foundation.
The BareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer literally goes on silky smooth and leaves an even and glowing coverage. It is very lightweight and will help mask any imperfections you may be suffering from. And these imperfections include pores, uneven complexion, age spots, fine lines, flaky skin or rough texture.
Also, this primer is oil-free and is suitable for those with sensitive skin. And, a little bit goes a long ways so this primer extends its value.
The Prime Time Foundation Primer is made without preservatives and is irritant-free and paraben-free. And of course, for our furry friends out there, this primer is also cruelty-free.
Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer
Sunday Riley gets huge props from us for creating a primer that allows your skin to breathe. The Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer will oxygenate, moisturize and plump the skin, making it a great choice for those suffering from oily skin and for those looking to mask their fine lines and wrinkles.
This primer contains hyaluronic acid which will help moisturize and clean the skin without leaving a greasy feel. It also contains peptides which contain anti-aging benefits and will help increase collagen production.
Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer goes on very smooth and has a light tint. And, this primer is so good at what it does, you may even forgo the foundation.
If you need a deeper tint, you can find the medium and dark tint here.
Finally, as with all of our picks, this primer is paraben and cruelty free.
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Smashbox is known for their great cosmetics and the fact that this primer is their bestselling product says a lot.
It contains Vitamins A and E, grape seed extract and green tea to ensure maximum skin benefits while leaving a smooth coverage.
And this primer works by filling in the fine lines and pores to allow for an even smoother palette to start with.
Although it is not created specifically for oily skin, this oil-free and lightweight primer works great for all skin types and works wonders for those with oily skin.
In addition, to keep the pores from less than desirable ingredients, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is made without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, oil, fragrance and talc. And of course, Smashbox is a cruelty-free company.
Finally, the company suggests that you can also use this in your hair to tame frizzies. So, it’s a win-win all around.
Colorscience Skin Mattifying Face SPF 20 Primer
What is nice about this primer is it has an SPF of 20. So, if you decide to forgo makeup and go au natural, this would protect your skin all day.
Colorscience Skin Mattifying Face Primer uses zinc and titanium SPF to form a barrier and protect the skin from the sun.
As far as coverage goes, this oil-absorbing face primer works to control shine, smooth imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores. The end result is a soft and even matte-finish.
This primer is paraben-free and cruelty-free. However, it is scented and has gluten. So, if you’re sensitive to either of these ingredients, you may want to check out one of our other picks.
Too Faced Primed & Powerless Skin Smoothing Face Primer
If we weren’t so stuck on our Bareminerals primer, this would, hands down, be our pick for best primer for acne and oily skin. And the reason why is because it is formulated with a multitude of beneficial ingredients.
Vitamins A and E work with the Camellia Oil are powerful antioxidants that work to fight free radicals. These vitamins will help make the skin more firm, bright and resilient.
Retinol and Cyclodextrin will deliver moisture, retain moisture and increase elasticity. And Mulberry Extract will help to protect and brighten the skin.
So, to put it simply, all of this will work together to fight aging, help regulate excess sebum and hydrate while providing the skin with an air-brushed finish that will mask pores and imperfections.
And finally, this primer is vegan-friendly, paraben-free and cruelty-free.
Lorac POREfection Mattifying Face Primer
This oil-free mattifying primer from Lorac is formulated with salicylic acid and Vitamins A, C and E which will promote healthier and more vibrant skin.
Salicylic acid works amazing for penetrating the pores and keeping them clean. It also helps control excess sebum and has anti-inflammitory properties to keep acne at bay.
This primer leaves a smooth and pore-free matte finish. The matte finish is very natural looking and lightweight. Also, it is long-lasting and looks great just by itself.
The Lorac POREfection is formulated for all skin types. However, many people that suffer from acne and oily skin swear by this primer.
Furthermore, it works well for those with sensitive skin as it is fragrance-free. This tint-less primer is also paraben-free and cruelty-free.
COVER FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment
This primer is absolutely amazing at fighting acne and deserves one of the top spots for best primer for acne and oily skin.
Cover FX Mattifying Primer is infused with Willowbark Extract which will exfoliate, clarify and reduce sebum buildup. While African Tree Bark Extract will help reduce pore size, shine, excess sebum and reduce pore and acne size.
This primer also contains fruit acid which will help exfoliate and unclog pores and Vitamin F esters, Squalene and Hyaluronic Acid will help moisturize the skin.
And that’s not all. Vitamins F, C and E work to protect and soothe the skin while reducing redness. And, in addition, these Vitamins have enormous anti-aging properties.
So, how well does this work as a primer? To be honest, it is interesting because it is a gel formula. However, it goes on smooth and keeps the excess sebum from showing up throughout the day. And the best part really is that it helps fight acne while leaving the perfect texture to apply makeup.
And like the rest of our picks for best primer for acne, Cover FX Mattifying Primer is paraben-free and cruelty-free.
Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray
This award winning primer has patented temperature control technology that will help prevent the appearance of shine. And Skindinavia claims that it is proven to reduce the need for touch-ups and blotting.
We have to admit, we were skeptical of this primer. How is a spray going to give our skin the base we need to apply flawless makeup? And who knows how, but all we know is it works and it’s pretty amazing.
The spray is light and has a cool and clean feel. And, it doesn’t feel sticky when it dries, it just feels clean. It also leaves a radiant glow while reducing redness.
While we didn’t have a chance to venture out on a hot day with this, users say that their makeup will even last on the hottest and sweatiest day. And, it held our makeup superbly so we don’t doubt this particular claim.
So, if you’re at the point where all else has failed, this is definitely something to try. Or, if you’re up to trying something new and different for the fun of it, go for it! We love this stuff.