The most surefire way to flawless, long-lasting makeup wear? When your complexion is The best primers for dry skin might be the most important products when it comes to extending the longevity of your favorite foundation, blush, highlighter — you name it. In fact, let’s rewind, and emphasize a skin-care routine that covers all of the basics is always essential. “Skin prep, including adequate exfoliation and moisturization, will always be key to providing the smoothest base for your primer to then do its job,” makeup artist Jamie Greenberg explains. Taking notes yet?

If you skip the primer and go straight for the foundation, your complexion’s dryness could cause the makeup to cake or crease, makeup artist Nydia Figueroa notes. To avoid this, she says to look for nourishing face primers that contain hydrating skin-care ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, aloe, and blue agave extract. You’ll also want to steer clear of traditional mattifying primers, as these were made with oily skin in mind and contain ingredients that could potentially dry out the skin. 

It’s tempting to skip a step (or five) when completing your daily glam, but for those with dry skin, a hydrating primer could make all the difference in enhancing the lay of your makeup. As makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran (and member of the Humphreys Witch Hazel Committee) explains, primers are a “key step in your skin prep” and should be applied before foundation or skin tints. She said to think of primers like a top coat, as in, something that allows for additional products applied after it to really shine through.

In regard to primer application, makeup artists Allan Avendaño, Mary Phillips, and Robin Black have all previously recommended using your fingers for a natural, melts-into-your-skin finish. “A makeup brush will just drag the primer around,” Phillips noted.”If you’re a germophobe, you can always use a slightly damp Beautyblender sponge.” 

Like moisture, dry skin tends to absorb makeup more quickly, so a hydrating face primer is of the essence. While it’s always smart to start off with a small amount and build up as needed, like makeup artist Vincent Oquendo has divulged to us in the past, people with dry skin can handle up to a quarter-size dollop of primer with no issues. Make sure your primer is fully massaged and absorbed into your skin — when in doubt, Philips recommended waiting for a full minute before tackling foundation — to avoid unnecessary pilling or patchiness. 

When you do find the right hydrating primer, you’ll definitely know it. The makeup experts said that your skin will appear more nourished, hydrated, and radiant. Primer can surely help in combating signs of dehydrated skin, but makeup artist Jamie Greenberg notes that skin care plays an important role too, saying, “Your canvas is the most important factor for beautiful coverage, so skin prep, including adequate exfoliation and moisturization will always be key to providing the smoothest base for your primer to then do its job.”

Find the perfect moisturizing primer for your dry and/or sensitive skin with the help of makeup artists and Allure editors who know their way down a beauty aisle. Ahead, scroll through 15 expert-approved primer picks that suit every budget.

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