The Best Primer For Sensitive Skin – 2018 Reviews & Top Picks

In our commitment to help you find the top skincare products on the market, we have reviewed the best primer for sensitive skin. These products made our list because they worked great for our sensitive skin and helped us smooth out our fine lines and fill in the enlarged pores, as well as protected our face from the sun. We believe these products will be secret weapons in your beauty arsenal.

Makeup is a very fulfilling process - it’s like baking and cooking in a sense that you follow steps to make it look right, but you also play it up and “decorate” with the various colors and shimmers available on the market.

Unlike what most people think, makeup is not just powder, eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick; there are a lot of products that can be considered makeup even if they aren’t that visible.

An example of these “invisible heroes” is the primer. It can’t be seen, it can’t be felt, but its effects and function are greatly beneficial to the skin.

Now, the primer, and other makeup products for that matter, may be of good quality but this does not mean that it’s suitable for you.

The issue may now lie in your skin type, and choosing the right primer for sensitive skin may be a little challenging.

This is where we come in! We give you our top 5 picks for the best face primer for sensitive skin. Let’s take a look.


At First Glance: Our Top Picks for the Best Primer for Sensitive Skin

OUR TOP #1 PICK - For our top pick as the best primer for all skin types including sensitive skin, we have bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer. This primer combines the power of two antioxidants, vitamins C and E.

OUR TOP #2 PICK - Coming in at number two as our best drugstore primer for sensitive skin is Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Makeup. This primer can be worn alone for the no-makeup look, but it can also serve as a base for your full-on makeup.

OUR TOP #3 PICK - Number three on our list is DHC Velvet Skin Coat. This primer is a gel formulation, and it may also be applied on your hands and neck. Not only does it help reduce signs of aging, but also help fills in larger pores.

OUR TOP #4 PICK - For our number four pick, we have Simply Balanced Foundation Makeup Primer. Not only is this primer a helping hand in moisturizing your skin, but it may also be beneficial in reducing the visible signs of aging.

OUR TOP #5 PICK - Last but definitely not the least is Reviva Labs Makeup Primer. This is the best makeup primer for dry sensitive skin as it mostly uses organic ingredients such as aloe vera and cucumber in its formula.

What Is A Primer And What Does It Do For Your Skin?

To the ordinary eye, the most visible type of makeup would be blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, and eyeliner.

And common logic will dictate that since these are the most visible, won’t these be the only makeup you will need?

The answer is both a yes and a no. Subjectively speaking, these products may be everything that you need if you just want the essentials.

Objectively speaking, the "invisible" products not only do wonders for your overall look, but they also help your skin condition at times and acts as support so that those visible products can show their true colors (source).

One such product is the primer, and from its name, you have the general idea that this product should be the first in your makeup regimen.

So then what it is a primer?

Primer works similarly to its namesake, the primer paint.

Primer prepares your skin so that when you apply your moisturizer or foundation, it will last longer as it now has another layer it can stick to (source)

Aside from acting as the adhesive that keeps your makeup on for the better part of the day, a primer may also help your skin look more supple and smooth because it fills in the gaps by smoothing large pores, wrinkles, and fine lines.

Not only that, a primer is the way to go when you want your makeup to stay longer even in extreme weather. This added layer conceals and holds your makeup in place, and it will do the job even in winter.​

As a bonus, primers can also be applied to your eyelids and they double as eye-shadow for the “no-makeup” makeup look, and even help prevent creasing.

What Should You Do For Your Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is a pain. You develop trust issues when choosing the products you put on your face.

It does get frustrating when the hottest product works for everyone, but on you, it burns your face or may even make you look red and swollen.

Although sensitive skin is a hassle, having this skin type is not rare. It's even worse when you get the trifecta of skin conditions: oily, sensitive, and acne-prone.

Now let’s deal with the problem. What do you do for your sensitive skin?

It’s simple: give your skin what it needs, but be cautious when it comes to using a new product.

Before purchasing or applying any cosmetics to your face, conduct a patch test first in an area that would be easy to conceal to see if it stings and reddens (source).

If your skin had an adverse reaction to it, then put the product down no matter how good the shade, the reviews or the price, as your skin’s comfort is your top priority.

Next, you might also want to take note of the ingredients that make your skin burn or swell.

Know these products and their possible alter-egos (a lot of these elements goes by a different or a scientific name so take note), and start reading the ingredient list on every product you buy.

If you spot the irritant, then let go of this product - hopefully you will remember and not repeat the same painful and horrendous experience.

Lastly, try to find the perfect balance of organic and synthetic ingredients.​

Yes, organic makeup is good, but some of the natural ingredients may trigger unwanted allergic reactions or irritate your sensitive skin.

Though some synthetic ingredients have their downsides, the proper dosage and usage of products with such ingredients may also benefit your sensitive skin.

The Best Primers for Sensitive Skin

bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer



Our Rating

Our top pick for the best primer for any skin type (including sensitive, oily, dry and combination skin) comes in a liquid form, yet with the pump (that we certainly loved!). 

We love that this primer is very effective as a small amount is enough to cover the face.

As a primer, this product helps conceal rough patches and smooth out fine lines, uneven texture and even enlarged pores.

When you apply your foundation, the gaps and holes are filled in, and thus you have smooth-looking skin.

Aside from working as a concealer and filler, this primer may also help mattify your skin if it’s oily, and smooth it out if you have dry skin - or both.

This primer may work as well for sensitive skin as it has organic products in its formula.

Aging skin may also be improved with the combined strength of vitamins C and E, which are effective antioxidants.

The free radical cells in your body may be the culprit for the fines lines or darkening skin patches, and with the antioxidants in this primer, these skin imperfections can be reduced or treated.

This primer also has aloe vera leaf extract in it, and with this ingredient, red or irritated skin is soothed as aloe is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

We loved how just one pump is enough for good coverage - makeup will stick to the face evenly, and the added layer of primer did not feel heavy at all as it was absorbed by our skin quite well.

What We Like

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    Silky finish
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What We Don't Like

  • May be a little greasy for some
  • You may have a little problem with the pump if you consumed almost ¾ of it

Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Makeup



Our Rating

Our number two for the best primer for sensitive oily skin may be worn as is and you won’t have much of a problem if you do.

This primer, when worn alone, may not only smooth out your fine lines and fill in the enlarged pores. It may also help protect your face from the sun’s harsh exposure.

Sun damage and free radical cells are two of the most common reasons why your skin’s aging visibly.

Sun damage even causes your body’s melanin to overreact and as a result you have hyperpigmented patches all over your face or even your body.

This primer’s main active ingredient is octinoxate. Octinoxate is a common ingredient in sunscreens and it helps disperse the harmful UV rays of the sun which cause your sunburn or hyperpigmentation in the long run.

Aside from acting as a sunscreen, when you do use this primer as a base for your makeup, the glycerin in its formula is a big help in moisturizing your skin.

Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it helps lock-in moisture to the skin so that your skin remains hydrated.

What We Like

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    Protect you from the sun

What We Don't Like

  • May be a little heavy
  • The shimmer it leaves may not work for some

DHC Velvet Skin Coat



Our Rating

The third primer on our list has a transparent and powdery gel texture that may be worn alone or used as a primer.

This is the best primer for sensitive mature skin as it helps reduce the presence of fine lines and fills in larger pores for a smooth and evened out face ready for no-makeup makeup.

The main ingredient of this primer is cyclopentasiloxane, a kind of silicone, and this ingredient is mostly found in your primers or BB and CC creams.

This silicone in this primer acts as a moisturizer and skin conditioner. It also helps to bring the nutrients from the next ingredient into the skin.

This element is olive fruit oil, an ingredient that contains essential fatty acids to keep your skin supple and younger-looking.

Olive fruit oil also contains phenolic compounds, and this enables it to produce antioxidants that fight off free radical damage.

What We Like

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    Smooth texture
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    Matte finish

What We Don't Like

  • Tiny nozzle
  • May be a little greasy for excessively oily skin types

Simply Balanced Foundation Makeup Primer



Our Rating

Our next primer is paraben-free and fragrance-free which is good news for acne sensitive skin - paraben and fragrance may irritate the skin as it has chemicals in it.

This makeup primer also has cyclopentasiloxane in its formula, and this helps your makeup stay longer than without using a primer.

Another ingredient in this primer is silica, and this helps you if you're struggling with the unwanted shine that is due to excessive oil.

Silica is a mineral that is light and airy, but this lightness and airy-ness allow this element to absorb twice or even thrice its weight and size.

For this primer, the silica helps in giving your face a matte finish that goes perfectly well with the “no makeup look.”

Aside from this, silica doesn’t leave any traces or white film which is why your skin is left mattified and ready to go with or without makeup.

The tocopheryl acetate or vitamin E in this formulation is the antioxidant that helps reduce the visible signs of aging in your skin.

As free radical cells are mostly to blame for the damage, the vitamin E helps minimize the fine lines and wrinkles as well as fade blemishes left by acne.

What We Like

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    Pump type lid
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What We Don't Like

  • May be a little greasy especially to the excessively oily skin type
  • May have a tendency to clump together in the eye area

Reviva Labs Makeup Primer



Our Rating

The last but not the least on our list is a primer with vitamin D3 as its main ingredient.

The vitamin D3 in this primer is mainly used to help your skin fight the dangerous rays of the sun.

It helps destroy free radical cells brought about by sun exposure and therefore also helps in reducing the visible signs of aging in your skin.

Aside from acting as a sunscreen and antioxidant, the vitamin D3 in this primer also encourages your skin to rejuvenate.

Your skin sheds dead cells every day, and vitamin D3 helps ensure that those dead skin cells are replaced with new and smoother-looking skin.

Aside from vitamin D3, this primer also has cyclohexasiloxane which helps your makeup last longer than when you didn’t apply a primer. It also helps moisturize your skin to look healthier and fuller-looking.

Lastly, the olive oil in this primer helps you with your aging skin as it is an antioxidant. It also helps moisturize and rejuvenate your skin as this oil is rich in squalene.

What We Like

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    Matte finish

What We Don't Like

  • May be a little greasy
  • Silky feel

The Bottom Line

For the best primers for sensitive skin, bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer is ranked #1 on our list.

Not only did this primer come from a reputable brand, but it also takes your skin type into consideration. It was formulated to accommodate sensitive skin as well as dry or oily skin types.

We loved how it comes with two antioxidants in its formula. Therefore, it helps address issues that we may have regarding the visible signs of skin aging (click here if you want a more effective primer for aging skin).

The bareMinerals foundation primer also has no scent and this is a bonus as fragrance mostly triggers or irritates sensitive skin.

For those of you with sensitive skin, you should still use a primer even if it is an added step in your makeup routine.

We recommend to you our top pick - and the entire top 5 - as part of your makeup regimen.​

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