3 Must-Have Makeup Primers for Textured Skin

Let me be honest with you: I want a makeup primer that makes my skin look like it’s been Facetuned in real life.

As a girl with acne scars for days, I’ve searched for a primer to transform my textured skin just as hard as you might have searched for “the one” on Tinder. After two rounds of Accutane and countless topicals and prescriptions, it became clear to me that my stubborn acne scars are here to stay. While I one day hope to wake up with scar-free skin, the closest thing I can do is fake it with a few seamless, long-lasting makeup primers. I’ve tried a seemingly infinite number of primers and suffered a few nasty breakouts along the way, but I’ve finally found the primers that work the best for my textured skin and hopefully yours, too.

1. Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer

Two years ago, I was just a girl walking into Sephora to find my perfect foundation match. What I didn’t know was that I’d find the best product in my makeup routine: Make Up For Ever’s Step 1 Skin Equalizer. After marching to the makeover station, I had a brief consultation with a makeup artist about my two biggest issues: color matching and texture. She began by wiping off my orangey foundation and suggested a smoothing primer to even out the texture of my acne-scar-ridden face. She squeezed a pea size amount of a beige primer that effortlessly slid over my scars and mattified my face. For the first time, I fell in love with a makeup primer. Its ability to smooth, mattify and reduce redness is what makes this primer a top-notch product. Aside from working its magic underneath foundation and concealer, it’s also perfect for evening out texture and skin tone on days when you’re too lazy to wear makeup. Although it costs a pretty penny at about $37 for a full-size bottle or $17 for a mini, it will last you months. If you’re an oily gal with visible texture who is willing to splurge, I would rate this one at five out of five stars. 

2. NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler Primer

Although I’m convinced Make Up For Ever has created my match made in heaven, NYX Professional Makeup’s Pore Filler Primer, is the best dupe out there; and rings in at just under $8. Although it’s bargain price tag might seem suspicious, I can testify that this inexpensive option gives you the most bang for your buck against higher-end versions. I first discovered this option at Target after realizing I couldn’t afford to shell out another $37 for a primer. After squeezing a tiny dollop onto the back of my hand, I smoothed it on with my fingertips and instantly saw the Grand Canyon scars on my forehead disappear. I wore it throughout the day and noticed that my oil slick of a nose looked glowy, not greasy. Not only that, but the primer’s slight peachy tint canceled out some of the redness I had on my cheeks, too. With that being said, this formula had a more noticeable tint than the previous recommendation. So if your skin tone is in the dark to deep-dark category, beware that there might be a white cast after you apply it. This peachy corrector disappeared under my foundation though, so it might be worth a shot if you’re planning to apply foundation over it. Overall, this primer gets four out of five stars.

3. Milk Makeup Blur Stick

I was first introduced to the Milk Makeup Blur Stick after receiving a Sephora gift card for Christmas. I picked out the glittery eyeshadows I wanted to try, added a new lip gloss to my cart and headed to checkout. As a Beauty Insider member, I had enough points racked up to snag a few small freebies, and this blur stick was on the list. When it arrived, my first impression was that I was worried about how sanitary it was to swipe the product directly onto my sensitive skin. Even so, I swiped it across my forehead, cheeks and chin. I then used my finger to warm up the stick between my fingers and smoothed it onto my nose and the inner section of my cheeks that I adoringly refer to as “pore city.” In comparison to the other primers on the list, I found that this one had the least amount of smoothing properties, as my scars were slightly less visible after using the blur stick, but not as blurred as the previous products had made my skin. With that being said, I have to admit that I do have some pretty serious texture. But if your main concern is a couple of pores on your cheeks, this mess-free option might be perfect for you. Based on my experience with the primer, I don’t think I would shell out $36 for the full size but would repurchase a mini version for $14 just because of how convenient it was to apply.

Whether you’re a girl like me who’s looking for a filter in a bottle or are in the market for a product to fill in your smile lines and forehead creases, these primers are definitely worth your money. Here’s to hoping that your semester is as smooth as your skin, post-primer!