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Top 12 Foundation Primers

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Primers are an incredibly popular pre-step to foundation application. Foundation primer creates a smooth surface for foundation or tinted moisturizer, filling in pores and fine lines so your foundation doesn't. You'll find your foundation will seem to melt onto your skin, rather than sit atop it when you apply a primer first.

While some experts admit moisturizer works almost as well as primer, we are addicted to ours. Here's a rundown of the best foundation primers on the market.

More on primers and foundation:

Bare Escentuals "Prime Time" Foundation Primer

A favorite among makeup junkies, this mineral primer is preservative-free and great for all skin types. Formulated to combat flaky, dry skin and rough patches, this primer also fills in fine lines and wrinkles providing a satin-like base for foundation. As a bonus, it's infused with soothing plant extracts, antioxidants and Vitamins C and E. Does not have parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances or dyes.
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Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

A hands-down favorite of beauty blogger Ann Gugliotti at Blogdorf Goodman, Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer provides a flawless base for foundations and tinted moisturizers. In a write-up in Allure Magazine, Gugliotti says she loves that the primer contains silicone so it feels light and velvety. It was the ultimate favorite in primer tests she conducted for her blog.

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Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector

More than 300 people reviewed Clinique's Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector on Makeupalley.com and of those, 75% would buy the product again. One of the favorite primers on Makeupalley, Clinique's product is beloved by users for it's silky texture and matte finish. Many testers even claim it magically made their pores disappear. While products can fill in pores, nothing will make your pores disappear. But with claims like these, who wouldn't want to try it?
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Laura Mercier Foundation Primer -- Oil-Free (or Not)

This is my hand-down favorite foundation primer. I've been using Laura Mercier's Foundation Primer for a couple years now. I love the way it glides on smoothly (again silicone in these primers is fabulous) and fills in all fine lines, wrinkles and obvious pores. I suggest exfoliating at least once a week to get rid of any scalies. Even the best primers will sit atop dead, scaly skin. And that's not pretty.

MAC Prep+Prime Skin

A good primer will not only help foundation glide on smoothly, but it will help keep it in place for a full day, until you wash it off at night. MAC's foundation is another great primer that's actually pretty affordable as far as department store brands go.

Chanel Base Lumiere

The Grande Dame of primers, Chanel's Base Lumiere is one of those rare beauty products that seems almost magical. Worn under foundation, it not only fills in pores and lines, but helps conceal ruddy skin tones. At this price, it wouldn't last long if it wasn't worth the money. It's one of Chanel's top products.

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Yves Saint Laurent Matt Touch Primer

One of Sephora's favorite primers of all time. Goes on light and fills in wrinkles. Provides the perfect smooth base for makeup with effects that last all day long.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15

Goes on feeling like satin! This mineral-based primer has bonus SPF 15 and neutralizes the skin creating a smooth, uniformed canvas for flawless makeup application. A popular favorite with Sephora users.
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Tarte Clean Slate

A great basic primer that helps makeup stay in place while filling in fine lines and wrinkles. Also contains natural fruit- and plant extracts to soothe and hydrate the skin.
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Clearprep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment

This primer is a lightweight gel helps prevent and heal acne blemishes. It's free of parabens, oils, and fragrances and is perfect for all skin types, especially those with oily tendency and are prone to breakouts.
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Laura Mercier Mineral Primer

If your first step in your makeup routine is to use a powder foundation, you should consider this new mineral primer from Laura Mercier. The primer settles into your pores and fine lines and wrinkles and works as an excellent base for powders.
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Purple Lab Pearlesque Show

I tried this primer out and loved it. I can't describe it better than the company can, so here's what Purple Labs wants you to know, "Silicone-free primer with a glam twist of pearl powder, kiwi, and honey. Velvety smooth with plumping peptides, aloe, grape seed extract, ginkgo biloba, and lavender, the formula is decadently rich and ultra moisturizing, giving you firm, even, toned skin that steals the spotlight. This is the best way to treat your skin before applying makeup so that it lasts forever. It glides on with ease and soothes the skin at once.

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