The Best e.l.f Primer for YOUR Skin Type

Just like primer for paint, makeup primer creates a smooth, even canvas for makeup application. Whether you prefer a full face of makeup, or keep it simple with some foundation and mascara, primer combats slipping and shine, keeping your look fresh all day long.

Primer isn't just a one-type-fits-all product, either.

Combatting an oily T-spot? There's a primer for that.

Need a primer that nourishes dry, flaky skin? There's a primer for that too.

Primer can even smooth fine lines and minimize pores, making your skin look young, healthy, and nourished.

One of my favorite cosmetic companies provides a wide variety of primers. E.L.F. is the magic trifecta of good quality, extremely affordable, and perhaps most important, 100% vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Their products can be found in most drugstores, supermarkets, and online retailers like Amazon (no need for special orders here!).

All vegans know that special kind of joy that comes with getting to choose from an entire product line, without having to study the ingredient list and packaging! Each product is guaranteed to fit in with your values, as well as your budget.

With 17 type and size options for primers that are all free of animal products and are certified cruelty-free, you have quite the choice available to you!

While E.L.F. has plenty of primers, we've chosen our top 5 favorites based on the skin types they are most suited for. Be sure to determine your skin type before choosing one of the products we list below.

e.l.f. Studio HD Mattifying Balm - Clear by The Elf Company

Best e.l.f Primer for Oily Skin

HD Mattifying Balm


For people with oily skin, it can be so frustrating to look in the bathroom mirror in the afternoon to find a shiny, slick T-spot. The HD Mattifying Balm from E.L.F. will keep you from having to blot with paper towels come 2 pm. The Mattifying Balm primer is infused with natural ingredients like jojoba, almond, grape, and vitamin E to create a flawless base for your foundation that will keep away the shine.

The balm doesn't just keep your skin smooth and shine-free, but it also nourishes throughout the wear. It's weightless and non-greasy, so those with oily skin can wear it even during hot, humid summer conditions.

Since it's meant to soak up and prevent excess oil, the slightly solid Mattifying Balm comes in a small mirrored compact instead of a pump-top tube. It is applied with a sponge applicator, which comes with the balm, but you could use your fingers favorite blending tool if you prefer.

What We Liked

Many purchasers, mostly those with oily T-zones, found this balm kept them shine-free all day long – nearly eight hours! Reviewers also note that this is very effective at minimizing pores, so it's great for all over your face, not just for your troublesome oily spots.

What We Didn't Like

This is one of those products that people either love or hate. Those who love it are super vocal about it, and those who dislike it have a lot to say on the subject! Some users said it had a slimy feeling, but I did notice that many of these people did put it on over their complete makeup instead of putting it under their foundation. Luckily, the product is cheap enough where you can give it a try and see for yourself!

e.l.f Studio mineral infused face primer, 0.47 Ounce

Best e.l.f Primer for Combination Skin

Mineral Infused Face Primer


Combination skin is the most common skin type, but somehow, it's always a challenge to find good makeup that won't aggravate either the oily or dry patches. Finding products for combination skin can be frustrating, expensive, and involve a lot of trial and error.

Is it possible to get a primer that addresses a slick, oily forehead and dry, flaky cheeks? E.L.F. says: absolutely! Enter the Mineral Infused Face Primer.

This primer was designed to handle it all. It manages excess oil while soothing dry, flaky skin. It even shrinks pores and fine lines, giving you a smooth, youthful, and healthy complexion. The mineral infusion allows this formula to nourish your skin while you wear it so that it won't cause any flare-ups, flakiness, or afternoon oil slicks.

Reviewers have overwhelmingly positive things to say about this mineral infused primer, namely about the flexibility of the product and the finish it provides. People with wildly varying skin types agree that this is an excellent go-to primer, and it provides a great satin look overall.

This primer comes in .4 or 1 fluid ounce containers. The product is dispensed through a pump-top and should be applied with a blending brush.

What We Liked

Not only does this product create a beautiful, velvety canvas for your makeup, but it's also incredibly versatile. It's a great choice for people looking for their first primer, who don't know much about their skin type or makeup needs, or who don't want to spend to much finding the ideal primer. It's a win-win-win!

What We Didn't Like

This foundation is lightweight, but it does tend to feel a bit greasy. You'll want to use this sparingly on your oily spots, and it's not suggested for a full-face primer for those with oily skin.

E.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer, 0.47 Fluid Ounce

Best e.l.f Primer for Mature Skin

Hydrating Face Primer


As we get older, makeup application can get complicated. Foundation can settle in fine lines and wrinkles as the day goes on, exaggerating them instead of smoothing them out.

Infused with grape and vitamins A, C, and E, E.L.F.'s Hydrating Face Primer nourishes mature and dry skin and creates a smooth canvas that helps makeup stay put all day long. With the help of this product, your skin becomes a smooth canvas, giving you a youthful and clear complexion.

Purchasers of this product describe it as silky and lightweight so that you can use it as a base for your summertime looks.

The Hydrating Primer comes in a sleek pump-top bottle that fits easily into your medicine cabinet or makeup bag. The Amazon listing is for a .47 ounce bottle, but if you use a lot of primer, or prefer to keep a good stock on hand, you can purchase a 1 fluid ounce bottle from E.L.F.'s website.

What We Liked

Reviewers love that this primer is hydrating and nourishing, but doesn't leave a sticky or greasy film. It dries quickly after application, meaning you don't have to put your beauty regimen on hold waiting for it to dry. You can also use your powder foundation with it, without having to battle any stickiness or clumping.

What We Didn't Like

Some purchasers noted that there is a lot less product in the bottle than one would think given the size of the bottle. A few reviewers said they would rather see the product in a smaller bottle, or pay less for the amount.

Elf 83408 Blemish Control Primer Clear .47 Oz

Best e.l.f Primer for Acne

Blemish Control Face Primer


Sometimes, makeup and acne can create a cruel cycle – you get breakouts, so you cover them with makeup. The more you use makeup, the more your face breaks out. And so it goes...until you pick up a Blemish Control Face Primer!

This product does double-duty – it provides a smooth canvas for your makeup, but the inclusion of salicylic acid, vitamin E, and tea tree oil makes it a pimple fighter. With this primer, you can tame breakouts and blemishes, even under a full face of makeup.

Many acne-prone users said this primer was the perfect balance between gentle and effective. It didn't dry out skin or cause flakes, but it was enough to get stubborn pimples and blackheads under control. No more having to choose between dry, clear skin, or hydrated acne-prone skin.

Like the other E.L.F. primers, this comes in a pump-top bottle for easy application with no mess on your hands, or in your bathroom.

What We Liked

Especially considering the price, this primer is super effective when it comes to controlling acne. Some reviewers use it as their primary acne care product – not just a primer!

What We Didn't Like

Reviewers who suffer from acne really like this product, but had a few "wish list" items if the company ever decided to make improvements. While this primer is effective at controlling blemishes, it is a translucent formula, so you'll need to pair it with foundation or other types of makeup to conceal any breakouts. Some users said they'd prefer this product to function as both a primer and concealer through the addition of color.

elf primer prep and balm

Best e.l.f Primer for Dry Skin

Prep & Hydrate Balm


The fact that dry skin needs hydration isn't anything new – this probably isn't the first place you've ever heard it. But we can't stress enough how important moisture is for dry, flaky, itchy skin! That's the main reason that the Prep & Hydrate Balm from E.L.F. is such a great choice for makeup lovers struggling with dry skin.

The Prep & Hydrate Balm is a water-based primer that includes moisturizing, nourishing ingredients like shea butter, cocoa, aloe, and grape. The product delivers this intense hydration without feeling greasy or slimy. Because it dries quickly, it's ideal for a post-workout makeup application session or fitting into your morning routine.

The primer comes in a unique twist-up stick that fits easily into a makeup or gym bag. To apply, just twist up and apply to your face in even, circular motions. You can use clean fingers to apply the primer all over your face, if you prefer.

What We Liked

This primer dries quickly and doesn't need much time at all to "sink in" and dry enough to apply the rest of your makeup. It's also versatile enough to be used under powder, liquid, and cream foundations.

What We Didn't Like

If you're someone who is very sensitive to scents, fragrances, or perfumes, use this product with caution. While this product gets overwhelmingly positive reviews, some scent-sensitive purchasers reported getting headaches after using this product.

Creating Your "Prime" Makeup Look

Primers are great additions to any makeup routine, as they create a flawless, smooth canvas for the rest of your products. However, it can be a lot of work and stress to comb through all the different products out there to make sure they are 100% in alignment with your values.

By choosing your primer from E.L.F., you can spend your efforts finding the ideal product for you and your skin type, without having to worry about whether the company tests on animals, or if that product contains products from animals. It makes the purchasing process that much easier and more enjoyable – and will probably result in better quality, too!

In addition to being good for you, buying from 100% vegan and cruelty-free companies sends a very clear message to the cosmetic industry. In a business that has been contaminated by cruel animal testing and the inclusion of animal products, buying vegan and cruelty-free is a statement!

You're using your dollars to tell companies that are NOT vegan and cruelty-free that you aren't willing to sacrifice the well-being of other sentient creatures in exchange for vanity. You are proving to them – and to others – that you can still look your best without having to harm others. Who knew makeup primer could send such a powerful message?

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