Non-comedogenic, dry makeup primer?
August 22, 2017 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Last year I received a sample of makeup primer, and I was surprised at how much improved my skin looks with it. Since then, I have been trying out a few different primers and haven't found a perfect one yet. They either feel too silicone-ey and greasy, and/or they seem to break me out. Does a dry-feeling, non-comedogenic primer exist? (Bonus if it also has some glow to it but not required).
posted by nanook to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
My dermatologist has approved Smashbox Photo Finish for me, and I feel it fits your parameters.
posted by hmo at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've been using Smashbox Photo Finish Primer for almost a decade. It goes on very smoothly, and is non-comedogenic.

On preview: seconding the above!
posted by Everydayville at 3:13 PM on August 22, 2017

It would be good to know which ones you've tried already, so we don't suggest them.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:14 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

you're probably going to want to search for what's called a blurring primer or a liquid to powder primer. becca has one, hourglass and cover fx also have them.

if you're near a sephora, you can go in and they will give you up to 3 samples a visit of things to try, so you don't have to buy a whole expensive bottle of something you'll hate.
posted by koroshiya at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have tried the Mac primers (Strobe and something else, I liked the texture, but they seemed to break me out), and the Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer (too greasy).
posted by nanook at 3:27 PM on August 22, 2017

Laura Mercier Radiance primer. You can get samples at Sephora stand-alones, but not the ones in JC Penney (they don't carry Laura Mercier).

I use the Smashbox Photo Finish under it, in areas I know need smoothing.
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:31 PM on August 22, 2017

Hourglass Mineral Veil. It is so lightweight but does a great job.
posted by joan_holloway at 3:37 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

ELF mineral primer is amazing (especially for the price).
posted by okayokayigive at 3:51 PM on August 22, 2017

Smashbox Photo Finish is great and my runner up is Benefit's POREfessional. Neither break me out and both have a dry finish, though POREfessional is a bit drier. Both come in small/travel sizes so you can give them an extended try.
posted by quince at 4:04 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been a user of Benefit's POREfessional for many years now as it tends to play nicely with my sunscreen, which I put on first. I'll be trying out suggestions from this thread.
posted by Miss Matheson at 6:15 PM on August 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Smashbox Photo Finish is great, but it does break me out if I wear it for more than a couple of days in a row. I can usually get away with using it once a week or so. It contains dimethicone, which I think (?) is one of the ingredients that makes things feel a little silicone-y.
posted by day late at 7:30 PM on August 22, 2017

I came to say Smashbox Photo Finish primer as well. It's often one of the Sephora rewards deals, if that's a thing you do. I don't wear it every day, but have never had a problem with it.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:53 PM on August 22, 2017

I'd be remiss if I didn't throw in a vote for Vapour stratus soft focus primer. You just need to use a tiny bit and it gives a really beautiful diffused effect on the skin. In other words, it looks like you've been airbrushed (!) I'm prone to cosmetic and skincare breakouts (silicone and coconut oil in particular) and this one works for me. It was formulated to work under foundation as a primer, but it also works really well by itself for a nice natural glow.
I like the 904 tint which is slightly pinky to balance out sallow skin tones, but there are two other shades you can choose from. The site offers samples, so you can try it out without committing a whole tube.
posted by Champagne Supernova at 10:22 PM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have been using Hourglass Mineral Veil, Laura Gellar Spackle Primer and Becca First Light Priming Filter. The Laura Gellar is not greasy at all. Feels like a light moisturiser for me (which is great as I have dry skin). Becca is also not at all greasy but feels less moisturising than the Laura Gellar. Mineral veil has the most silicone feel to it for me but its not much when compared to others on the market. I have not used the Smashbox one which I know is a very popular suggestion as shown in this thread.

Tangent comment:
For glow, rather than relying on primer, I have been lately mixing liquid highlighter with my foundation (Coverfx or nars). Another method I've been using that I'm really loving at the moment is applying powder highlight to my cheek *under* blush. Got that one from Reddit and I think it gives a nice "lit from within" glow instead of highlight bling. Not that there's anything wrong with bling, but this method allows me to use highlighter for a daytime office look.
posted by like_neon at 5:10 AM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

A dark horse candidate for best primer I've tried: Nivea Men aftershave balm. No silicones, very light, keeps my makeup pretty well put even during the hot humid summers where I live. Absurdly cheap compared to "real primers".

If you prefer the creamy, siliconey feel, Monistat Anti Chafe gel is indistinguishable IME from Smashbox.
posted by padraigin at 5:48 AM on August 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Came here to say monistat anti-chafe gel. I'm not positive about its general comedogenicity but it's definitely had the feeling you describe for me, at least. Plus, it's dead cheap. I imagine mixing in a little tiny bit of liquid highlighter would really up the glow factor, though I haven't tried that myself.

I'm also intrigued by the primers from the ordinary, if you want something new to try - I haven't tried them but I've used some of their other stuff and the quality is really impressive especially at their price point.
posted by R a c h e l at 6:46 AM on August 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have used Smashbox (and its drugstore alternative, the Monistat anti-chafe gel). Both are great, but to me, seem to go on a little heavy. Sometimes that's what you want - such as when I am doing full makeup for a big evening event - but for daily wear or the average night out, it's usually more than I need and I don't like how it makes my skin feel over the course of days. I use these only every so often.

For every day, or at least more frequent use, I've been using a Paula's Choice product - a smoothing primer "serum" with SPF 30. I like it a lot - it goes on very easily, feels extremely lightweight, and does what I need it to do - that is, get my skin prepped for powder foundation. It's non-comedogenic, like all of Paula's Choice products (though everyone's skin is different, of course - but my skin is pretty reactive to anything that might clog my pores). The SPF is a huge bonus, too, because it means I can use a lightweight moisturizer first and not layer primer over sunscreen - another trigger for breakouts for me.
posted by devinemissk at 7:16 AM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Okay, I am going to recommend Dr. Brandt's Pores No More primer which is AMAZING. Smashbox doesn't compare. Like, at all (and I like Smashbox). It's light, dry, and not only provides a good base but makes your skin look great AND provides great oil control for my combo skin. It is beige-colored but I notice little to no foundation effect (which is fine with me, ymmv). It's just a really great product. A little expensive but so so worth it. If you can get to a Sephora, they carry it, so you can get a sample to try before you buy.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:45 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've only used it a couple times but it has been incredible: Hylamide Blur. The parent company (Deciem) has a one year guarantee/return policy and I have loved everything I've gotten from there.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:14 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

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