14 Best Hydrating Primer for Dry Skin (2019)

Updated 4 years ago

If you have dry skin, you will know that flaky, rough patches and makeup don’t really go well together. The foundation often highlights the dry patches and when you layer concealer on top of it, your makeup just looks cakey and unnatural. But before you store away your makeup brushes in defeat, we have a solution for you: hydrating primers. A hydrating primer not only hydrates pre-makeup skin, but it also creates a barrier to keep the moisture in so that flaky patches will not have a chance to form and interfere with your makeup. Moreover, these dryness-banishing primers provide you with a smooth canvas for your makeup to go on flawlessly and leave your skin comfortable all day. So without any more hesitation, let’s dive into the best hydrating primers that will save your dry skin and makeup this winter.

Our Top Picks for Hydrating Primers

Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Makeup Primer (Hydrate + Smooth)

This two-in-one primer and color corrector is a lifesaver on days when you are pressed for time. The color correcting property helps to tone down blemishes for a more even complexion. You can opt to wear this alone on days when you don’t need too much coverage and prefer a #nomakeup look. The water-based formula also adds much-needed moisture to dry skin and keeps your makeup looking smooth and flawless. It leaves behind a radiant shimmer to enhance your complexion without any glitter.

Rimmel Insta Flawless Skin Tint

This skin-perfecting primer is great for wearing alone or layered with makeup. Available in two shades, light and medium, the lightweight texture goes on smoothly and provides sheer coverage for a my-skin-but-better look. It also adds a touch of radiance and glow. To keep dry patches away, the hydrating formula intensely moisturizes your skin for up to 24 hours so that makeup doesn’t look cakey after long hours of wear.

L'Oreal Paris Magic Lumi Light Infusing Makeup Primer

A light infusing primer that blends well into your skin for a luminous radiance. The creamy formula absorbs completely into the skin to leave behind a subtle shimmer that mimics a healthy glow. Worn under your foundation, the moisturizing base gives you a fresh, dewy finish without accentuating dry lines. It’s no wonder that this has become a staple in most users’ beauty routines.

e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer

Infused with moisture-intense Grape Seed Oil, Vitamins A, C, and E, this hydrating primer serves to boost your skin’s moisture levels and provide a seamless canvas for makeup to go on readily. Users liked how the primer stopped their foundation from cracking and even enhanced its staying power. The primer also doesn’t leave behind a tacky feeling and has made their skin softer and smoother. A little tip to prevent your foundation from balling up is to give this rich formula some time to settle in.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter

Highly raved among dry skin individuals, this primer by Becca is a holy grail item that you definitely need in your makeup bag. Using a unique blend of three Filtering Luminescent Pearls, the primer not only helps your foundation to glide on easily but also infuses your skin with a soft-focused radiance that makes it easy to reflect light for a luminous look. With the addition of the brand’s proprietary formula of crushed pearls, it further enhances your skin’s healthy glow so that you can skip the highlighter. Say hello to perfect skin without having to rely on Instagram filters no more.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer

For a higher-end alternative, give this lightweight primer a try. It goes on sheer and sinks into your skin quickly to create a barrier that guards against dryness. The end result is that your foundation or concealer goes on more evenly without caking up later on in the day. In fact, most reviewers were impressed with this primer’s effectiveness in keeping their makeup flawless all day. Plus, the cherry on top has got to be the primer’s five available shades so that individuals of any skin tone can get the color that flatters them most without worrying about things like a white cast.

Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer

On top of the standard primers that provides a setting base for your makeup, this primer goes one step further by giving your skin a sun-kissed glow. It contains micro-fine amber and bronze pearls to achieve the warm radiance that is accompanied by little sparkles, which means that you can skip your bronzer if you like. Besides that, the primer is infused with Hyaluronic Acid and Shea Butter to prevent your skin from drying out during the day and causing your makeup to flake. Wearing this underneath your foundation will give it a dewy finish with subtle peach undertones.  

First Aid Beauty Hello Fab Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Winner of the 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Awards, this primer also doubles up as a moisturizer, thanks to the hydrating Coconut Water in it. In addition, it is loaded with a mineral blend and the superfood, Quinoa, to support your skin’s health and augment its protective barrier. The intensely-rich formula is so soothing for dry skin that users with chronic dryness and eczema have sworn by this product as their HG primer. It resolves dry spots instantly while extending the longevity of their makeup. The addition of light-reflecting Micro-pearls also gives your face a touch of radiance for depth and dimension.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer (Hydrating)

Dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic, this hydrating primer is ideal for dry and sensitive skin types. Fortified with Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, this primer not only boosts your skin’s internal moisture levels but also helps with water retainment to prevent moisture loss during the day. The moisturizing formula prevents your makeup from accentuating fine lines and dry patches. It also makes any foundation or BB cushion look fresh and flawless even after long hours of wear. In terms of texture, the lightweight gel dries quickly without feeling sticky or silicone-y. In fact, it is so light that you won’t feel that there is a layer of primer underneath your makeup.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Primer

This fast-absorbing facial oil actually doubles up as a face primer to add a dose of hydration to your skin before makeup application. It contains a blend of 15 lipid-rich plant extracts and essential oils like Jojoba and Chamomile to keep dry skin calm and comfortable all day. Using this as a primer underneath your BB cream or foundation will instantly boost the hydrating power of it. Those dreaded days of having your makeup cling to the dry, flaky patches and ruining your hard work are now behind you with this game-changing formula. To get the best out of this oil-based primer, use a few drops on your entire face and wait for a few minutes to let it sink in and dry completely before following up with your next makeup step.

Kat Von D Lock-It Hydrating Primer

A water-based priming formula that preps your skin for makeup so that it stays on for hours on end. Packed with nourishing ingredients like Aloe Vera, Jojoba, and Shea Butter, this primer pampers your skin and keeps it well-moisturized. The soft, dewy finish prevents your foundation from settling into the fine lines on your face and also evens out your skin tone. It has helped numerous users’ makeup withstand long hours and high humidity so that they looked just as flawless at the end of the day. One thing to note is that the milky liquid may leave a slight white cast on darker skin tones so make sure that your foundation shade can cover that.

DHC Velvet Skin Coat

If you are a fan of J-beauty products, this one’s for you. The powdery gel consistency dries down to a velvety finish without being too drying on your skin. It provides a smooth base for your foundation to go on perfectly so that it doesn’t ball up or end up looking cakey. The addition of moisture-rich Olive Fruit Oil also ensures that no dry patches or flaky skin will interfere with your makeup to make you look less than perfect. Do note that a pea-sized amount goes a long way so a tube of this will last you for quite some time.

Laura Geller Spackle Under Make-Up Primer

Sporting an ultra-hydrating and vitamin-rich formula, this primer is the answer to your dry skin woes. Loaded with natural plant extracts like White Tea and Centella Asiatica, this primer retexturizes your skin for a smooth and bump-free complexion. It also adds a beautifying glow to your skin so that it looks healthy and radiant. Some users loved this feature of the primer so much that they often wear it alone on their face to get that luminous-looking complexion. The consistency of it is pretty watery but absorbs fast into the skin and keeps your makeup on and in place all day.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer

Infused with five types of concentrated coconut extracts, this primer is what you need to make your makeup sit up and stay where it’s supposed to. The coconut water-derived polysaccharide complex offers a natural way of priming the skin, unlike synthetic ingredients. It also forms a moisturizing barrier between your skin and makeup to prevent clogged pores while perfecting your skin to look its best. The best part is that dry skin users who have always wanted to use a matte foundation but were afraid of the overdrying effects can now use it with this ultra-moisturizing primer. It keeps the matte finish smooth and prevents it from clinging to dry patches. One pump of the primer is sufficient to cover the entire face which makes the slightly extravagant price worthwhile.

As hydrating primers are way more moisturizing than your standard matte primer, these intense formulas do need some time to sink into your skin completely. So give the primer five to ten minutes to settle in. Drink up your coffee or nibble on some cereal before following up with your next step. This will prevent your foundation from pilling into little rolls when you apply it later on.

Beauty Tips for Dry Skin

Besides a hydrating primer and having a solid skin care routine, there are also other little things you can do to overcome dry skin problems when it comes to makeup application. To help you get the most out of your makeup products and tools, we share with you some of the best beauty tips that makeup artists and dermatologists have been using for years:  

  • Moisturizer: to address the root cause of dehydrated skin, investing in a heavy-duty moisturizer that is specially dedicated to dry skin is a must. Follow up with something more intense like a sleeping mask if you feel your skin needs some extra TLC.  
  • Exfoliate: exfoliating a few times a week is the key to preventing the buildup of dry flakes that is causing your makeup to go on unevenly. Chemical exfoliants and peels are a great way to reveal new skin without being too harsh on the face.
  • Sheet Masking: for the special occasions, use a hydrating sheet mask before putting on your makeup. This mini-facial amps up your skin’s hydration levels and lock it in so that your makeup can go on more seamlessly without drying out after a few hours of wear.
  • Facial Oils: these oils have also seen a resurgence in their popularity due to their versatile nature. You can use it alone or mix it with your primer or foundation to give it a moisture boost. For dry skin, try Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, or Olive Oil.
  • Dewy Foundations: having a dewy, luminous finish is a thing now, as indicated by most Korean celebrities. This will give your skin flawless coverage without highlighting dry patches or making you look overly-matte and unnatural.
  • Don’t Mix Foundation with Concealer: layering concealer on top of your foundation is a surefire way of making your makeup look cakey. Instead, skip the foundation on areas that only requires concealing such as the under eyes and nose bridge.
  • Setting Spray: to seal in all your hard work, opt for a hydrating setting spray. This will ensure your makeup stays in place without cracking under the pressure of high humidity and air-conditioned areas. Sprays are also a better alternative than powders which may dry you out even more and highlight the fine lines.
  • Facial Mist: always keep a hydrating facial mist in your bag so that you can whip it out the moment you feel like your skin is feeling cranky or tight. It is a foolproof way to add moisture back into your skin without messing up your makeup. Tip - after spritzing, let the mist dry on your face before retouching to minimize cakiness or any mistakes.

These beauty tips are easy to master so that you can enjoy a beautifully made up face without worrying about the cakey foundation or the creasing of your concealer ever again.

Wrap Up

The power of a hydrating primer is not to be underestimated. Besides holding your makeup in place and making them last forever (or at least a couple hours more), this ingenious formula pulls double duty by acting as a moisturizing agent to add more hydration to your skin. You should definitely stock up on one of these babies to maintain your makeup game in the winter months to come.