15 Pore-Filling Primers That Help Create A Long-Lasting Base For Makeup

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by Miki Hayes and Danielle Calma
Originally Published: 
Bustle / Amazon

If you feel like your makeup doesn’t look as fresh as it could, a pore-filling makeup primer might come in handy. While it can be difficult to see what certain types of primers actually do for your skin and makeup, the pore-filling kinds can offer clear and immediate results: a smoother-feeling canvas to build on. The best pore-filling primers come in a range of formulas, including tubes, compacts, sticks, and even sprays, so you’re sure to find one that meets your needs and fits your application preferences.

One key benefit of blurring primers is that they’re one of the few types of primers that can often be worn alone, without needing to finish it off with foundation. Unlike color-correcting primers and illuminating primers that may need to be topped off with foundation to blend and tone down the effects, many pore-filling primers can be swept on before running out the door for a blurred complexion. Many can also be layered on top of existing makeup to reduce shine if you wish, which can be a nice perk when you’re out and about. Since they come in a huge range of formats, it’s easy to find one that will work with your makeup routine — without eating up a ton of precious time. Pore-filling makeup primers typically only take a few seconds to apply, which means they are pretty much the ultimate five-minute makeup product.

Whether you want to wear them alone or under makeup, here are 15 pore-filling makeup primers that will instantly give you a long-lasting base to work with.

1. Smashbox Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer

Shoppers looking to control oil should try this Smashbox primer. Not only does the lightweight gel formula help smooth out pores, but it also includes ingredients like witch hazel, salicylic acid, and zinc to help control shine and offer skin-clarifying benefits for up to 12 hours.

One reviewer wrote: “This is my first time ever using a face primer. It definitely improves the overall smoothness of my skin. I have an oily T-zone and this stuff does not make my face oily or shiny at all.”

2. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

This budget-friendly primer is both lightweight and non-comedogenic, which means it’ll be less likely to clog pores or trigger breakouts. It instantly minimizes the appearance of pores, has earned over 31,000 five-star ratings, and as a plus, will only set you back $6.

One reviewer wrote: “I use this after putting on foundation to minimize the appearance of pores, and a very little goes a long way. While the effects don't last all day for me (possibly because I use a moisturizing foundation), I love this product and think it’s very economical to use.”

3. Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer

This pore-filling primer from Benefit is a classic for a reason — and it’s a go-to for Bustle editor Wesley Salazar, too. “This balm is an easy way to smooth out your skin before applying other makeup,” explains Salazar. “But sometimes I wear it alone or even use it on top of foundation when I need a touchup.” Swipe it on to quickly reduce the appearance of pores while protecting from free radicals.

One reviewer wrote: “I have large pores on my nose and other products ‘settled’ in the pores which only made them more noticeable! This product goes on very smoothly - a great primer - under my pore minimizing makeup and my pores do disappear! So, after many trials and errors I finally found the best product for me!”

4. Urban Decay All Nighter Face Primer

This long-lasting primer is formulated to fill in pores while also prolonging the wear of your makeup. It leaves skin feeling hydrated — not oily — and promises to keep makeup looking fresh for up to eight hours. One reviewer raved that it made their makeup “last ALL DAY and NIGHT!”

One reviewer wrote: “I picked up this primer on a whim but this has become one of my favorites for my oily skin. I was skeptical because of the lotion consistency but it provided a smooth prep for my skin and allowed my primer to last all day! Combined with the UD All Nighter setting spray your makeup will be long lasting.”

5. Tatcha The Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer

This pore-filling compact is perfect for travel and on-the-go touch-ups. The balm-like formula not only creates a smooth canvas for your foundation, but it also works as a protective barrier to prevent makeup from clogging your pores.

One reviewer wrote: “You need so little of this and pores are minimized, skin is wonderfully soft, giving a great foundation for makeup [...] I just use this and tinted SPF and I’m done!”

6. Peter Thomas Roth Skin To Die For Mattifying Primer

This Peter Thomas Roth primer is formulated to help minimize the look of pores in both the short term and over time. One shopper described, “This primer goes on like silk and has a bit of a matte finish,” and other customers have claimed that it is lightweight and leaves skin feeling soft.

One reviewer wrote: “Beautifully blurs pores and is lightweight [...] Works well on my combination skin.”

7. Milani Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + Set

Use this versatile setting spray and primer before and/or after applying makeup. Spritz it over your face before foundation to soften the appearance of pores — and after to seal makeup in place for up to 16 hours. If you’re feeling a lighter regimen, you can wear it on its own instead.

One reviewer wrote: “Works great on sensitive skin, very moisturizing, and is probably my favorite setting spray for the price. I love that you can use it as a primer spray, setting spray, and correcting spray. I suggest always priming your face with this spray first as it locks moisture into your pores so when you're using foundation, the minimization of your pores is phenomenal.”

8. Touch In Sol No Poreblem Primer

This silky primer blurs the look of pores while infusing your skin with the long-term benefits of nourishing ingredients for skin, including collagen and antioxidant-rich green tea. Plus, it comes in a green-tinted version to help balance out redness though that’s best worn under makeup rather than alone.

One reviewer wrote: “One of my favorite pore filling primers. Smells so nice and my skin feels smooth and soft upon application. My skin doesn’t look dry after applying makeup on top either. Love it!”

9. NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler Targeted Stick

Swipe this handy primer stick over your face to soften the look of pores and help balance out any excess oil. One shopper described, “This product glides onto your skin like warm butter. It is easy to use and does not leave your skin greasy.” Other reviewers have praised the small, purse-friendly package.

One reviewer wrote: “If you like NYX Pore Filler in the tube, you will love this. Easier to apply and doesn’t get the clumps the product in the tube gets, so I feel like there is more usable product and less waste.”

10. L’Oreal Age Perfect Blurring Face Primer

This blurring primer has a velvety finish that helps minimize the look of pores whether or not you layer another product on top. “It does come out of the tube as pink,” one reviewer reported, “but it blends into your skin perfectly.” With regular use, it’s formulated to leave your skin looking more radiant, too.

One reviewer wrote: “The way this primer just visibly smooths, blurs, & moisturizes all at the same time is mind blowing.”

11. Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Mattifying Face Primer

  • Also available on Ulta, $9

Looking for a primer with sunscreen? This budget-friendly makeup primer does double duty: Not only is it formulated to leave a matte finish even on oily skin, but it also has SPF 20 to help protect your skin from sun damage. Wear it alone or under makeup to blur the appearance of pores for up to 16 hours.

One reviewer wrote: “Honestly one of the best primers I have used. Made my skin feel less oily, and makeup stayed in place longer than other products.”

12. NYX Professional Makeup The Marshmellow Primer

With 10 makeup-extending benefits, including minimizing shine and pores, this hardworking primer covers all your bases. One shopper summarized, “It feels great on the skin, hides pores, and imperfections, while gripping your foundation all day.” It has a creamy texture and is vegan-friendly, too.

One reviewer wrote: “I’m not one to try new primers, but my makeup hasn’t gone on as smoothly as I’ve hoped the past month or two. This is by far the best primer I’ve ever had on my face. It feels amazing, it looks silky, and it smells good.”

13. CoverGirl TruBlend Base Business Mattifying Skin Primer

This weightless primer contains kaolin clay to control excess oil and creates a smooth surface so makeup glides on effortlessly without sinking into pores. You can even mix it with your moisturizer or foundation for a matte finish.

One reviewer wrote: “I have worn this on no makeup days and on days where I’m wearing a full face. When I tell you, you will not get greasy or sweat thru this for a few hours, you will not. Just wash your face, moisturize, apply spf and then apply small amounts of primer all over the face. The trick is to let it all dry, so wait about 3-5 minutes before applying makeup. Oily/combo skin girls, thank me later.”

14. Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish Primer

Use this shine-stopping primer alone, under makeup, or as a midday touch-up to help absorb excess oil. It has a matte, powdery finish that, according to one reviewer, leaves skin “very smooth and soft to touch.”

One reviewer wrote: “This stuff is amazing. I’m a guy with pretty naturally oily skin. I dab on a pea-sized amount and that’s enough to all but eliminate shine for around 4-5 hours. It also makes your skin feel so soft afterwards. It’s a small tube but worth it if your shiny skin bothers you.”

15. e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer

Fill your pores with this wallet-friendly yet vitamin-rich makeup primer. It locks in moisture but won’t leave skin slick and disturb your makeup, making it a great option for dry skin. It’s infused with vitamins A, C, and E to further help hydrate and brighten skin.

One reviewer wrote: “Great lightweight face primer. Goes on easily and leaves a smooth surface on face to then apply makeup.”

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