The best makeup primer is a multi-tasker. Makeup primer should smooth the skin, fill lines, absorb oil, and allow makeup or foundation to last longer. The magic ingredient for all of this is usually silicone, which is why the makeup primers on this list all have that as an ingredient. I find that most silicone makeup primers work pretty well, but a few stand out for me. So here are the top three silicone makeup primers based on those that I have tried. With any of these primers, a tiny bit goes a long way. One good way to apply it is to spread a dab across your fingertips—skin heat helps it thin out, and then apply it. It doesn’t take much to cover your entire face.
(1) DHC Velvet Skin Coat (read previous DCH Velvet Skin Coat review): DHC skincare makes a number of excellent products, including my favorite DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. Velvet Skin Coat is also my favorite primer. This primer is a bit thicker than the others on my list, which I like, because it fills in fine lines and wrinkles better that way. It provides a nice smooth surface for makeup, and I find that it makes a great base for both liquid foundation and mineral makeup. The one downside to it is that the tube is rather small for the price. However, this makeup primer thins out rather well, so only a very small amount is needed at any given time. DHC Velvet Skin Coat is the primer that I have repurchased the most often.
(2) Per-fekt Skin Protection Gel (read previous Per-fekt Skin Primer review): Per-fekt primer has a great combination of anti-aging ingredients and makeup priming properties. It also is tinted, so it can be used alone for a light cover or under makeup for a more finished look. It too comes a bit on the small side, but covers well with only a small amount. I particularly like this one as a mineral makeup primer. The full size is pricey, but there is a mini size that is cheaper if you want to test it before committing to the full size version (see the shopping boxes below for both). Per-fekt is available in translucent and in a number of tint shades.
(3) Exuviance Matte Perfection (read previous Exuviance Matte Perfection review): Exuviance primer is the absolute best for oily skin. While other silicone based primers tend to do well on oily skin, the Exuviance makeup primer is specifically formulated to absorb oil, and it does so quite well, leading to perfectly matte skin. Like the other primers, it also fills in lines and smoothes the skin nicely.
My review of the Per-fekt primer is based on a product that was given to me by a representative of the company. For more, please see my disclosures page.