Featured, Makeup

Best Primers for Acne-Prone Skin: Oil-Free and Non-Comedogenic



by Lydia


When it comes to a makeup routine, for most, one that is non-negotiable is a primer. This is what prepares the skin for the foundation and will also make sure that the makeup will last longer. It covers imperfections and controls shine. 

However, not all primers will work the same. You have to be more careful when selecting the best primers for acne-prone skin, making sure that it won’t cause excess oil production or trigger breakouts.

Those that are oil-free and oil-absorbing can be great. Mattifying primers will also work to control oiliness.

Need help in finding the best makeup primers for acne prone skin? Read on and we’ll have a rundown of some of our personal favorites.

26 Best Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Finish

Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Finish

Technically, this is a sunscreen. However, it can also double as a primer for acne-prone skin, making sure your skin feels as smooth as silk. Using it underneath your foundation or makeup can be great because it also provides sun protection every skin demands.

It’s a daytime lotion, SPF, and antioxidant-rich face moisturizer in one. It provides your skin with light hydration, reduces shine, and gives you the much desired fresh-looking coverage. This matter finish sunscreen is perfect for oily and combination skin.

The sun protection is broad-spectrum with SPF 30. On top of that, it’s water-resistant too. The formula contains rose hip oil. This particular ingredient is what brings in all the antioxidants for protecting your skin against potential environmental aggressors.

So how about buying a mineral-based SPF/makeup primer that controls shine while also nourishing and protecting your skin?

DHC Velvet Skin Coat

DHC Velvet Skin Coat

Trusted even by professional makeup artists, this can help in making the skin softer while effectively masking fine lines and large pores. Users recommend applying only a little amount on the chin and forehead to avoid oiliness. You can smooth it out evenly over your face, including visible pores and fine lines, before adding your makeup.

You can even opt for wearing this primer alone without any foundation or makeup. What it does is gives you a natural flawless look by softening and improving the texture of your skin.

The beauty cream also reduces the appearance of pores, fine lines, and the like. While minimizing oil, which is great for gliding on makeup easily. It also keeps the makeup on for a longer time. And all throughout the wear, your skin is bound to look and feel silky smooth. That’s the kind of magic you should look forward to.

Stila One Step Correct

stila One Step Correct

This serum gel primer is a special formula that delivers multiple benefits, including correcting, brightening, and smoothening the skin. It comes with three color-correcting pigments; lavender, green, and peach. And all 3 contribute to improving your complexion.

The face serum brightens, nourishes, color-corrects, and primes the skin instantly. Now let me tell you what each color-correcting pigment does here.

The green tone conceals your blemishes and neutralizes redness. The lavender tone counterbalances sallow undertones to give you an energized and vibrant look. And the peach tone minimizes the appearance of visible sun spots.

There’s also mineral complex packed in here to control oil and boost hydration. This particular exclusive Youth Revival ingredient also reduces the visibility of fine lines and pores. So there’s a lot this face serum is capable of doing as a makeup primer for acne-prone skin.

Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer and Brightener

jane iredale smooth affair

It is a skin-nourishing primer + brightener that goes smoothly on the skin to provide excellent coverage. Even with just a dime-sized amount, it goes a long way. Best of all is that it does not feel heavy at all, even after layering it with foundation or makeup.

In fact, the primer readies your skin so the makeup glides on easily and even lasts for a longer time. The formula encourages the skin to look youthful while minimizing the visibility of fine lines and pores. It even draws out your natural radiance.

So if you want your primer to increase the luminosity of your acne-prone skin, it’s time to seriously consider buying this one.

e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer

e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer

This is a great primer for acne-prone skin as it instantly adjusts your skin tone after every application, making it easy for the makeup to blend in. It is also mattifying, thus great for acne-prone skin that is characterized by excessive oil production. There’s no doubt it makes you feel and look fresh throughout the day.

The formula is equipped with lavender for neutralizing redness often accompanied by rosacea, blemishes, or even dry skin. What’s quite exceptional here is that the primer corrects all the yellowness and balances out any unevenness of the skin tone. It’s what makes the mineral-infused primer an ideal foundation.

You don’t even require a large amount to create the desirable impact. Just a little bit is more than enough for blending into the skin and providing full coverage. And to make the experience more satisfying, the product is vegan and cruelty-free. No phthalates, sulphates, or parabens either. Isn’t that amazing!

Touch in Sol No Pore Blem Primer

TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer

Whether you have big pores or uneven skin texture, this is another primer that can prove to be promising while controlling acne as well. It has soluble collagen responsible for maintaining the moisture of your skin. Best of all, it creates an invisible layer.

Uneven texture and big pores don’t stand a chance against this face makeup primer. It has the ability to leave your skin glowing and looking flawless. The formula is lightweight enough to provide seamless coverage. Be it for wrinkles, pores, or an uneven complexion.

What’s added into this is extracts of green tea. They protect and energize your skin while also allowing the makeup to last for long. But it’s the soluble collagen that brings back elasticity and moisture. Just make sure you apply it post-moisturizer and before-makeup for the best results.

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

Using this primer helps in getting rid of shine for up to eight hours. It comes with an oil-free formula, so you know it’s effective against acne. With the application of this primer, you can achieve a flawlessly matte finish, which looks good even without makeup on.

The matte primer has the power to render your pores invisible. The formula is ultra-lightweight for a silky smooth appearance. It doesn’t feel greasy against the skin either, which is ideal if you have oily or acne-prone skin.

You can use it with foundation or alone; it reduces the stubborn appearance of visible pores both ways. In all, expect your skin to look even and moisturized all day long. That’s for sure!

NYX Shine Killer

Nyx Shine Killer

The current beauty product eliminates not only shine but even oil, making it another great makeup primer if your skin is acne-prone. It makes your skin feel smooth, no doubt. It even glides on without any problem, even if your skin has pores. And if your skin is excessively oily, however, then expect some shine.

But there’s no denying that this professional makeup shine killer keeps the face matte throughout the day. All you need to do is apply it below your foundation. You can wear it on your bare skin or as a makeup primer for acne-prone skin.

It works to the best of its abilities when it comes to eliminating oil and shine from the face. And that’s what matters the most.

Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

You do not have to think about your fine lines and pores as this product instantly covers them up upon application while also leaving a matte finish. It gets rid of excess oil as well, which is basically the reason why it lessens the chances of breakouts. So you can breathe a sigh of relief if you have acne-prone skin.

You know what’s the greatest news here? That this pore refiner primer is fit for all types of skin. But it works the best on acne-prone and oily skin. Apply it without makeup or with it, the outcome stays unaffected. Plus, the tube is perfect for quick, urgent touch-ups.

As for effectiveness, it eliminates shine and hides pores. The thing is a miracle worker says one of the reviewers on Amazon. It covers pores very softly and smoothly. And once you get used to it, you might not be able to carry on with your day without it.

Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer

Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer

This is a non-comedogenic primer, which means that it doesn’t clog the pores. This means it’s a great solution for those with acne-prone skin. The color is light cream, but it becomes translucent when applied on the skin and can be easily covered by the color of your foundation.

The oil-free skin formula reduces oil, shine, pores, and imperfections without making the skin feel and look dry. It’s not just an oil-free formula, but it’s also waterproof. This suggests complete effectiveness even if your skin type is oily or combination.

A matte finish, soft complexion is the outcome after every application. Speaking of which, daily use is recommended. The primer does an excellent job of muting warm undertones while also adding more depth. So you can rely on it to improve the manageability factor of your skin.

Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer

Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer

With the water-based formula of this primer, you can be confident that it will not trigger acne. Also, this means that it is lightweight and non-sticky, even during a hot day. This is unlike many others that can start to feel greasy when you get hot.

It’s a water-soluble primer with active ingredients for blurring lines, wrinkles, and pores. Even though lightweight, the formula can protect your skin from sun damage. It also has the strength to control oil and color-correct. Feel free to wear it alone and expect a luminous appearance.

You might also want to know that the primer is allergy-tested and recommended by many dermatologists. The latter is proof that the beauty product doesn’t clog your pores. So your acne-prone skin is well cared for.

Laura Geller Make-up Primer

This is an oil-control primer, which is exactly the reason why it’s so great for acne-prone skin. Aside from controlling the production of oil, it also minimizes the size of your pores while giving your skin a matte finish.

It’s only natural for me to mention that the formula contains powerful antioxidants and plant extracts. Ingredients like centella asiatica and white tea extracts, when paired with aloe vera, really provide skin protection. Natural moisture is also retained along the way. So your skin looks smoother and feels softer.

It’s an incredibly lightweight and lush formula perfect for all types of skin. After all, the primer comes from a brand that is quite popular for manufacturing the most effective and innovative skincare formulas.

Thank Me Later Matte Face Primer

Thank Me Later Primer

It is a waterproof primer, so you can rest assured knowing that it’s going to last throughout the day. This matte face primer is also paraben-free and cruelty-free, making it an eco-friendly product. Best of all, if you are unhappy in any way with the results, you can return it to the manufacturer, and they will issue an unconditional refund.

But the chances of returning the product due to not liking its effectiveness are highly unlikely. It’s a long-lasting and waterproof primer that makes the skin look flawless all day long. Its pore-minimizing properties are the reason for the huge success here. Minimizing the appearance of fine lines is also quite remarkable.

However, it’s the mattifying effect that keeps you hooked on, no two ways about that. And the fact that it’s cruelty-free makes the experience even better.

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer

As the name implies, you will always be ready for a photo with this primer as it makes you look good throughout the day. It has the High Definition Filter Technology, which reflects and diffuses light. The result is that you can achieve an effortless airbrushed effect without much effort.

The formula is pink-tinted and lightweight for making your imperfections appear to be softer. It also brightens the skin.

The primer is also oil-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free. The oil-free part means you can use it even if you have acne-prone skin. As for no parabens and fragrance, that just makes the product a healthier and more natural choice for your skincare routine. 

Almay Primer 5-in-1

Almay Primer 5-in-1

Here’s another product that comes with a lightweight and non-oily formula, which is why it’s effective for sensitive acne-prone skin. It can refine, correct, perfect, hydrate, and mattify your skin. So now you understand why the 5-in-1 primer is such an excellent addition to your makeup routine.

You can use it even if your skin type falls in the sensitive category. Like I said, the formula is non-oily and lightweight. It corrects and targets the most common skin issues. Dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic; this Almay primer is certainly a one-of-a-kind beauty product.

Expect the thing to color-correct, smooth, and blur lines instantly. So it’s not like you have to wait for a few days or weeks for the primer to show long-lasting results. It’s got lavender that immediately evens out your skin tone and reduces all the visible redness. Now that’s how effective the primer is!

L.A. Girl Pro Prep HD High-Definition Smoothing Face Primer

L.A. Girl PRO Prep HD High Definition Smoothing Face Primer

For softer and flawless skin without fear of acne, this is another makeup primer that should be on your list. A lot of its users shared that they did not encounter any breakouts, which can be attributed to its lightweight formula.

How does it smooth out the appearance? By simply filling in your pores and fine lines, thus creating a smooth base for your foundation. Particles that diffuse light are infused in here along with Vitamin E to nourish your skin.

The best part is that its lightweight texture is not at all difficult to apply and blend in. The thing seals your pores while filling in your fine lines. There’s no questioning its ability to also help your makeup stay on for a longer time.

And one last thing, the product is fragrance-free and paraben-free. So it’s suitable for sensitive acne-prone skin as well.

Mineral Fusion Primer, Color Correcting

Mineral Fusion Primer

One thing that we loved the most about this primer is the use of neutralizing mineral pigments, which are very effective in correcting the color of the skin and other imperfections. It also has aloe and chamomile known for calming the skin, making it potent against acne.

If you have any hyperpigmentation and redness to deal with, you can do so by using this mineral-infused primer. No doubt the formula evens out your skin tone and smoothens your skin texture.

There are natural antioxidants in here that perform all the wrinkle-fighting action. Along with peptides that boost collagen production for minimizing the stubborn and visible appearance of your fine lines.

Additionally, the primer is vegan, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and paraben-free. In simple words, it works well on sensitive skin too.

Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment

COVER FX Mattifying Primer

This gel primer is water-resistant and comes in a lightweight formula. It utilizes the power of willow bark extract, which is a natural source of salicylic acid. The latter is the main reason why it provides effective acne treatment while also mattifying the skin.

The gel primer not only conceals but also prevents blemishes. It reduces the visibility of pores instantly after application. Extended wear of makeup is also an important advantage here. It’s wonderful when your primer has the ability to make the texture of your skin look flawless in no time.

Most importantly, it’s not often that you come across face primers for acne-prone skin equipped with salicylic acid to fight acne. So the current pick does seem like an exciting choice.

Clinique Super Universal Face Primer

Clinique Super Universal Face Primer

This luxury primer is formulated for people with oily, dry, and combination skin. Looking at the ingredients, we saw that silicone is not listed as one of its components, which can provide you the assurance that it doesn’t cause acne.

It blurs pores quite effectively. Meaning you can wear the primer alone as well. And when applied under a moisturizer, the effects last for a longer time. It goes without saying that the primer keeps your makeup looking good for hours.

It’s a hypoallergenic formula that causes zero breakouts. On top of that, substantial differences in your skin tone and texture are also inevitable. That’s the beauty of this Clinique face primer.

Better’n Ur Skin Mineral Makeup Primer


It is natural, organic, and vegan! So you can be confident that it does not contain any types of harsh chemicals that might cause breakouts. It is also packed with beneficial skin vitamins, which make it an excellent anti-aging skin treatment as well.

This mineral-infused makeup primer is packed with only pure ingredients that feel good on the skin. You can have large pores and combination skin and still expect the formula to work its magic.

It is lightweight plus the primer dries up quickly without giving rise to any blemishes. No matter how sensitive your skin is! And here’s another piece of great news. A little quantity travels a long way.

So for light, natural coverage, don’t look beyond this primer that eliminates the need to use blotting paper even if your skin is extremely oily.

Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

If you have always had a problem with makeup meltdown, this primer offers the perfect solution. It increases the staying power of your makeup, eliminating the need for reapplication. It has a silky and invisible finish that works well with different foundations.

The face primer under the spotlight here is waterproof, re-texturizing, and mattifying. It contains Matte-Blur technology for filtering out your blemishes, line, and wrinkles. The formula makes your canvas shine-free and adds a matter finish. So the foundation you apply over it can last for a longer time.

The gel is invisible and plenty silky, thus ideal for oily and even combination skin. You can look forward to an even skin texture and reduction of pores. So your acne scars, dry patches, and fine lines don’t get highlighted.

To be honest, it is the perfect solution to common makeup meltdown, indeed.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

Presenting another oil-free primer for acne-prone skin that I highly-recommend. It has ingredients that can control the production of oil for an assurance that your makeup will stay all day while also dealing with your acne problems. 

An even, smooth surface is what you desire, right? And it’s no unreasonable demand given just how effective this primer is. The soft-focus action of the formula minimizes the look and feel of fine lines, pores, and the like.

How about oily skin type? Well, much to my relief, it’s specifically designed for those having to deal with oily skin on a daily basis. The gel, in that regard, is water-based, lightweight, and soothing. It gives your skin a natural matte finish equipped with complete invisible coverage.

Being non-comedogenic, the primer doesn’t clog pores. No wonder it’s highly recommended by many dermatologists across the globe. And for both oily and normal skin!

Dermatologica Skin Perfect Primer

Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer

One of the best things about this primer is that it has SPF 30, which means the primer protects the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. It also helps in stimulating the production of collagen to make your skin firmer, making it a great anti-aging solution.

It’s hard to believe that a primer has the ability to smooth away your fine lines while also priming your skin for makeup. The combination of soy protein and velvety silicones is the best here. It’s what offers instant smooth results.

Even the use of natural minerals is quite commendable. These enhance radiance and luminosity while balancing out your skin tone. Then there are potent peptides for improving skin firmness. Along with white tea polyphenols that inhibit potential collagen damage.

Needless to say, you can wear the primer alone on top of the moisturizer for filling in your fine lines. And as for those with skin sensitivities, known that there are no artificial colors or fragrances added to this.

Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer

Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer

The primer comes with a derivative of Vitamin E, which allows it to be instrumental in the overall health of the skin and not just for masking the flaws. It is lightweight and silky, which wears even over your makeup.

The formula is not oily and even translucent for complementing all types of skin and skin tones. A refined complexion is what you should expect. And that’s what you get too, no doubt. A thin layer is enough for cleaning and moisturizing your skin.

The balm, all alone, is generously silky and lightweight with lots of Vitamin E for protecting your skin. That’s the key takeaway here.

Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer

Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer

This is a replenishing primer that can provide an instant fix to your skin problems. It brightens and hydrates your skin, making it easy to achieve a dewy finish that is ready for makeup application. Even with the primer alone, your skin is bound to look good.

The thing contains coconut water to revive the look and feel of the skin. There are many other skin revivers in here as well that boost radiance, hydration, and elasticity. And along the way, these elements also lock down your makeup for longer.

This primer is like a good, natural energy drink for your skin. It retains your moisture levels to keep your skin from looking dry or dull. And you can wear it alone or under your favourite bronzer to establish a clean, shine-free canvas.

Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer

Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer

Let me start by mentioning that it has no parabens, fragrances, and oils. Ingredients that can have harsh effects on the skin, especially if you have acne-prone skin, are not added to this formula. It also protects against UV damage while making sure your skin does not end up looking excessively shiny.

When it comes to smoothing the visible appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores, this primer knows how to do it best. It extends the lifespan of your makeup while also minimizing shine and providing broad-spectrum sun protection.

And no parabens, oils, and fragrances means it works well on sensitive skin too. After all, the formula is incredibly lightweight and silky.

What is a Makeup Primer?

What is a Makeup Primer?

In very simple words, a primer comes in the form of a fluid that is silicone-based. Primers are also available in the form of gels and liquids that just sit over your face to create an even and smooth surface.

In the beauty world, you’ll come across many skincare products that work as primers. However, these are also labelled as moisturizers and serums. Typically though, primers have an oil-free and even non-comedogenic nature. The latter means primers don’t tend to clog your pores, which means acne doesn’t get triggered.

But this is not always the case. And this leads me to the next very important part of the guide section.

How to Choose a Makeup Primer for Acne-Prone Skin?

I’d be lying if I said that every traditional face primer doesn’t cause breakouts. There are quite a few that do trigger acne.

However, the reason here may not be your oil-free, non-comedogenic makeup primer. It could possibly be another thickener or emollient you pamper your skin with along with your makeup products that are packed with even more such emollients. So the primer is yet another layer you add to the skin.

The main culprit here is the presence of silicones. But silicones are a part of most skin, cosmetic, and beauty products. And sometimes these silicones contain latex too. So if you’re already allergic to the substance, then your chances of having a negative reaction to silicone-based makeup primers are even higher. The negative reaction here includes breakouts too.

Irrespective of that though, it’s important to first figure out if your skin even needs a primer. Now I know that not everybody’s skincare routine is efficient. And when that’s the case, your makeup takes a blow for it. On top of that, the wrong powder, foundation, and concealer just make matters worse if they don’t suit your particular skin type.

But there are many multi-tasking primers out there. At such times, you just have to overlook the silicones. A primer with SPF, salicylic acid, anti-aging technology, or brightening agents is a true gem when it comes to controlling and preventing acne.

There are many makeup primers that also come in the form of serums containing peptides, antioxidants, AHAs, or hyaluronic acid. The ones with color-correcting properties make way for using less foundation, which means no overloading the product on your face.

A non-irritating, lightweight formula is an ideal choice for women dealing with breakouts all the time. A primer like this doesn’t clog your pores and avoids the formation of acne. Along the same lines, to prevent breakouts, you also have to tweak your daily routine a bit. And by tweaking, I mean using lighter products or maybe even skipping a few of them entirely.

You might also want to keep away from too much blending and rubbing during the makeup application. Excessive friction is also not such a great idea for acne-prone skin.

How to Use/Remove Makeup Primer to Prevent Acne?

Now you already know that primers contain silicones that are known to cause issues if you neglect cleansing your face at least twice a day. Silicones are semi-occlusive; they form that weightless film over your skin. Think of it like a web, but a breathable one that doesn’t suffocate the skin as in the case of wax or petroleum.

Silicones create a barrier to shield the skin from potential harmful aggressors found in the environment. Some of them are even non-comedogenic to prevent the formation of breakouts. So what I’m trying to tell you here is that they should be applied to a clean surface. Otherwise, they’re bound to push bacteria and dirt even deeper into the pores.

So think twice before you plan on skipping your morning cleanse. Another huge mistake would be to skip removing the primer properly at the end of the day. And by properly, I mean using a facial cleanser designed for breaking down those weightless, invisible silicones. You can even use a makeup remover to get rid of them. Just keep in mind that most toners and all sulfates don’t eliminate silicones.

As a matter of fact, even sweating with the primer on tends to increase the chances of triggering breakouts. Needless to say, it’s no easy game taking care of acne-prone skin, with a primer or without one. In the end, I would recommend a patch test. It’s always the safest bet.

Benefits of Using Makeup Primer for Acne-Prone Skin

Let’s assume you’re not using one currently. In that case, you’re truly missing out on a skincare product that can actually make your acne-prone skin feel and look better.

Now it doesn’t matter if you prefer a simple makeup routine or you go for foundation and full face coverage. A primer works either way for creating a smooth base so you can apply your foundation evenly and properly. It also works for combating oily, shiny skin that often is the cause of acne.

But you know it’s not uncommon to skip primer because you think it’s not necessary to use or that it’s a waste of money to buy. However, not many people realize just how effective water-based makeup primers are when it comes to keeping your makeup looking fresh and smooth for longer. They also make the skin look comparatively better.

Be it cream, gel, or powder, whatever primer you pick is bound to prepare the face for makeup. The former gives the latter a smooth, even surface to latch on to so it can last throughout the day without frequent touch-ups.

You already know by now that makeup primers are silicone-equipped polymers. Even they’re well-supplied to produce a smooth effect on your face. Needless to say, primers make enlarged pores, fine lines, and wrinkles look smooth. They also have the strength to correct rosacea redness and conceal acne.

A primer is also invaluable in the sense that it’s suitable for all types of weather. Be it hot, cold, humid, or dry. It keeps your makeup in place no matter the climate. Many women even apply it alone without any heavy foundation or makeup over it. This gives the face a fresher and more polished look, particularly if you have acne-prone skin.

Ingredients to Avoid in Makeup Primers for Acne-Prone Skin

Well, so far only 2 seem to be the most troublesome as far as makeup primers for acne-prone skin are concerned. The first you might already know. It’s latex. To be honest, it’s not always silicones in primers that are to be blamed. Sometimes, these silicones are contaminated using latex. And latex increases the likelihood of creating allergies that mimic acne.

Another culprit here can be bismuth oxychloride. Now you should know that not all makeup primers contain this particular ingredient. But please make sure to avoid it at all costs as it gives rise to breakouts on sensitive or irritated skin. Bismuth oxychloride even causes cystic acne.

Wrap Up

In sum, with the best primers for acne-prone skin that have been briefly mentioned above, it will be easy to get rid of acne while being able to enjoy a high-quality primer. They will help improve the staying power of your makeup, among other benefits, without causing breakouts.