Dry skin can cause a few issues that make applying makeup a little bit more difficult, but finding the best primer for dry skin can alleviate a considerable amount of these problems. When your skin is dry, it can cause products such as foundation, concealer and blusher to cling to dry patches or emphasise imperfections.
However, this doesn’t mean applying these makeup products to dry skin is impossible. All it takes is one additional product to completely transform the way that your makeup looks and feels, and how well it lasts throughout the day. And that magic product is primer. We’ve put a multitude to the test to see which ones work for a variety of drier skin types, including those of you with sensitive skin to those who’d love for their dry skin to glow.
If you’ve never used primer before, our buying guide below will get you clued up before you spend out. Alternatively, scroll on for our reviews of the best primers for dry skin.
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Best primer for dry skin: At a glance
How to choose the best primer for dry skin for you
What does a primer do?
If you don’t already know what a makeup primer is or have never used one before, think of it this way: when applying paint you often apply a primer first. This primer creates an even base on which paint can then be applied on top of. It makes colours show up brighter and helps paint to go on smoother. We see the same when we apply eyeshadow or foundation on top of skin that has been primed.
Makeup primers work in a similar way. They are applied to the skin, normally after you’ve applied skincare but before you apply your base makeup products such as foundation, concealer or contour and create an even surface, while simultaneously helping your makeup products last longer throughout the day.
What types of formula do primers come in?
Depending on your preference, there are many different formulations that makeup primers come in. But for dry skin, we recommend opting for a hydrating liquid, gel or creamy primer. You want to avoid words such as mattifying and instead, keep an eye out for words like hydrating, nourishing and plumping.
How do I apply a primer?
The best time to apply a makeup primer is directly after completing your skincare routine. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t also apply it to bare skin. Either dispense the primer directly onto your skin and blend it with your fingertips, or apply it first to your fingertips, warm it up slightly by rubbing it together and then apply to your entire face.
It’s best to wait until your primer is completely dry before you then go on to apply any makeup on top of it. Not allowing it to dry properly can cause foundation to pill or go on patchy.
How do I know if I have dry skin?
Typically, if you have dry skin you will find that your skin looks dehydrated and dull, with extremely dry skin even flaking in the winter months. You may also have dry skin if, once you’ve washed your face and left it to dry naturally, you experience a tight feeling to the skin.
Why do I need a makeup primer if I have dry skin?
As mentioned above, if your skin is particularly parched of moisture, skipping a makeup primer can be an easy mistake, one you might not have even known you were making. You don’t want your makeup to crease or look caked-on, simply because you didn’t spend a few extra seconds applying a primer first.
Adding hydration back into your skin, even if you’ve just completed your skincare routine, is especially important for those who have dry or dehydrated skin. This extra step can make applying makeup a much quicker and more pleasant experience, as base products like foundations, concealers and blushers won’t cling to dry areas quite as much. A good hydrating primer can also make your skin look plumper and even glowy, if you pick the right one.
How much should I spend?
While our top pick is over £40, you don’t have to spend this much if you’re on a budget or don’t want to spend too much on your first product, you can pick up a good primer for as little as £5.
READ NEXT: Our round-up of the best foundations
The best primer for dry skin to buy
1. Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Primer: The best all-round primer for dry skin
Price: £47 | Buy now from Bobbi Brown
This 2-in-1 moisturiser and primer combo is incredibly nourishing and without a doubt our favourite all-round primer for dry skin. A great option for all ages including mature skin, it ensures that base products, such as foundation and concealer don’t sink into any fine lines or cake over dry patches.
If you want flawless makeup application or even want to apply it to bare skin for a boost of moisture, this pot of creamy, hydrating primer is the one to pick up. It also has a divine scent that isn’t too overpowering.
Key details – Vegan: No; Fragrance free: No
Buy now from Bobbi Brown
2. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer: The best long-lasting primer for dry skin
Price: £31 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Need your makeup to last all day? Then let us introduce you to this supremely effective, hydrating primer. Designed to grip makeup to the face, you only need a small amount for excellent coverage. It’s ideal for full-face makeup and keeps your skin looking fresh al