13 Best Water-Based Primers Of 2020- A Buying Guide

by Atulya Satishkumar
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A primer is applied to the skin before any other cosmetic product to prepare the skin for  makeup. Primer acts as a strong base that smoothens uneven and patchy skin and gives it a perfect finish. A classic cosmetic primer provides great coverage and keeps the makeup intact throughout the day. However, what’s even better is that these days, you can find different water-based primers in the market that offer additional benefits compared to standard primers.

Products
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NYX Cosmetics Hydra Touch Primer
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Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
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Smashbox Photo Finish Water Primer
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First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Moisturizing Primer
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Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Invisible Primer
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Becca Backlight Priming Filter
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Honest Beauty Matte Primer With Micronized Bamboo Powder
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Skindinavia Face Makeup Pore-Minimizing Primer
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Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
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Jouer Anti-Aging Moisture Primer
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Water-based primers are lightweight, nourishing, and make your skin look flawless. Especially if you have dry or sensitive skin, a water-based primer will help you ace your makeup game. So if you are excited about trying it, here are the 13 best water-based face primers to get your hands on along with an informative buying guide.

13 Best Water-Based Primers That Keep Your Face Fresh & Hydrated

1. NYX Cosmetics Hydra Touch Primer 

If you have an uneven skin tone, this Hydra Touch Primer by NYX Cosmetics will provide a smooth canvas for seamless coverage and prepare your skin for makeup. This primer’s creamy formula will enhance your skin tone by covering pores and smoothening  fine lines. Plus, the primer is made using skin-friendly ingredients, which make it suitable for sensitive skin as well.

Pros

  • Oil-free formula
  • Fragrance-free product
  • Conceals fine lines and patchy skin
  • Hydrating and moisturizing

Cons

  • Some may find the consistency sticky.

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2. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

 Are you looking for a primer that prepares your skin for long-lasting makeup? This face primer will instantly hydrate and brighten your skin for a dewy finish. The best thing about this primer is that it is infused with coconut water, skin reviving ingredients, and probiotics to boost the elasticity and the natural glow of your skin.

Pros

  • Feels airy light
  • Not tinted or glittery
  • Oil-free primer
  • Vegan and paraben- free
  • Creamy primer quickly penetrates the skin
  • Soothes and smoothes dry and sensitive skin

Cons

  • Consistency can be thin for some.

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3. Smashbox Photo Finish Water Primer

For keeping your makeup striking and intact throughout the day, you need an excellent water-based primer, and this primer does exactly that. Its nourishing formula will make your skin feel instantly hydrated and supple. Plus, the primer gets absorbed quickly, and it effortlessly masks various skin imperfections. Undoubtedly, it will hold your makeup for hours regardless of the weather or your skin type.

Pros

  • 3-in-1 primer and makeup setting spray
  • Infused with revitalizing electrolytes for deep moisturization
  • Feels light on the skin
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores

Cons

  • Some may find the odor too strong.

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4. First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Moisturizing Primer 

If you are worried about your skin imperfections and pores, then fret not. This primer by First Aid Beauty is formulated with coconut water along with some superfood ingredients to brighten and smoothen the skin. It helps blur the appearance of open pores and imparts a natural glow. Plus, it’s free from alcohol, parabens, talc, and other skin-irritating ingredients.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 moisturizer and primer
  • Enriched with proteins and minerals
  • Non-comedogenic, allergy-tested, and gluten-free
  • Light-reflecting pearls for a dewy finish
  • Suitable for sensitive and combination skin

Cons

  • It may take time to get absorbed in the skin.

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5. Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Invisible Primer 

 If you are looking for a pore refining and correcting primer then this Clinique Pore Refining Solution Invisible Primer is a great pick. This brightening primer feels smooth on the skin and reduces the visibility of pores by up to 50%. Plus, it provides a rich and natural matte finish, which lasts for up to 8 hours without smear.

Pros

  • Sweat and humidity-resistant
  • Available in 2 shades for different skin tones
  • Buildable coverage
  • Oil-free and lightweight
  • Perfect for concealing large pores.

Cons

  • May leave a white residue on the skin.

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6. Becca Backlight Priming Filter 

For a refreshing and radiant glow, opt for the Becca Backlight Priming Filter. It is infused with a vitamin E enriched formula that helps minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. It is a great product for mature skin (women above 30 years) as it effortlessly hides blemishes and hydrates the skin for an even and silky finish. This formula is definitely lightweight and feels like second skin under makeup. Becca primer can also be used with or without makeup. 

Pros

  • Feels super light on the skin
  • Conceals dark circles
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Doesn’t make the skin feel greasy

Cons

  • May feel greasy after a few hours.

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7. Honest Beauty Matte Primer With Micronized Bamboo Powder 

This premium water-based primer is infused with micronized bamboo powder that helps eliminate skin imperfections and shrinks large pores. The primer leaves your skin with a matte finish and an even-toned look. Irrespective of your skin type, its oil-free formula controls the release of oil and prevents your skin from getting dry. 

Pros

  • Long-lasting coverage
  • Prepares and nourishes the skin for makeup
  • Free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, and phthalates
  • Cruelty-free product
  • Skin-friendly and dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • May not work for acne-prone skin.
  • Not suitable for dry skin.

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8. Skindinavia Face Makeup Pore-Minimizing Primer 

Here is a silicone-free, water-based primer that easily blends with the skin and creates a smooth canvas for an even makeup application. This multi-tasking primer minimizes  the appearance of pores and signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness. Its versatile and hydrating formula offers instant nourishment and lifts the skin. The primer controls excess oil production and keeps your makeup fresh throughout the day. The product is purely vegan and free from parabens.

Pros

  • Best for dry, irritated, and dehydrated skin
  • Works well with water-based makeup products
  • Holds makeup for up to 16 hours
  • Prevents makeup from creasing
  • Heat-resistant and waterproof

Cons

  • May not work with silicone-based makeup products.

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9. Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector 

This oil-control primer is the perfect pick if you have oily skin and need a crease and fade-proof makeup look that is also long-lasting. The primer offers a mattified look and reduces the appearance of pores and skin imperfections. Plus, it easily lasts for up to 12 hours and keeps the makeup intact. Its balancing formula targets oil-prone areas and leaves your skin feeling fresh and smooth.

Pros

  • Holds the makeup for up to 12 hours
  • Preserves the coverage
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Prevents color loss

Cons

  • Consistency may be too thick.

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10. Jouer Anti-Aging Moisture Primer 

This primer combines the benefits of a moisturizer, anti-aging lotion, and a primer, thereby offering a rich base for makeup. The primer is enriched with moisturizing ingredients like argan oil, vitamin E, and shea butter for providing instant lift and smoothness to the skin. Plus, it also consists of Ginseng, antioxidants, and Ginkgo Biloba extracts to improve skin elasticity and a youthful glow.

Pros

  • Contain peptides for hiding lines and wrinkles
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Oil-free and hypoallergenic
  • Silicone-free

Cons

  • It may take time to set.

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11. Glamair Airbrush Makeup Face primer 

With this primer, your skin will look airbrushed and smooth within minutes! This vitamin E and minerals enriched matte primer effectively covers brown spots, blemishes, pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. The best thing about this primer is that it holds your makeup for up to 24 hours without smearing or fading, regardless of your skin type.

Pros

  • Offers youthful glow
  • Heat and humidity-resistant
  • Oil-free and alcohol-free formula
  • Prevents the skin from drying out

Cons

  • The spray may get clogged.

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12. Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer 

For illuminating radiance and perfect-looking makeup, this is the primer you need. This primer is infused with phyto-pigments for making your skin glow from within and is suitable for all skin types. The primer is lightweight and is formulated without oil and silicones. Plus, it has coconut alkanes, organic base of botanical juices, and antioxidants to offer a natural and youthful glow to your skin.

Pros

  • Controls oil production
  • Perfect for all skin types
  • Hides skin imperfections
  • Blurs wrinkles and fine lines
  • Antioxidant protection with vitamin C & E.

Cons

  • May not be completely waterproof

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13. Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer 

Grab this Flawless Primer by Pixi and create a flawless base for makeup. The primer is formulated to prepare the skin while reducing the appearance of wrinkles and lines. The primer controls breakouts and makes the makeup last over 12-16 hours without creasing or melting. Made using skin-friendly ingredients, this primer is great for everyday use and can be used with or without foundation.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Feels lightweight and airy
  • Hides blemishes and hyperpigmentation
  • Works as a moisturizer
  • Preserves coverage

Cons

  • It may sting a little on sensitive skin.

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Now that we have discussed some of the best water-based primers available, it’s time to guide you about the ways of choosing the best water-based primer according to your skin type and condition.

How To Choose Water-Based Primer

Long-lasting 

The primary purpose of a water-based primer is to hydrate the skin and offer a long-lasting base to hold the makeup. A water-based primer should ideally hold the makeup for 12-16 hours without losing color or fading. For hydrating the skin, certain primers are infused with coconut water, vitamin E, antioxidants, aloe, and such ingredients that rejuvenate your skin.

Skin-friendly 

Most primers are dermatologist-tested and sensitive skin-friendly. If you have skin-related issues, look for primers that are allergy-tested. If you live in a humid area, pick a water-based primer that is humidity-resistant. These primers are oil-free and also prevent breakouts.

Variety 

If you are looking for a multipurpose primer, there are plenty of options that offer anti-aging benefits and cover a range of skin issues like blemishes, pores, wrinkles, fine lines, etc.

Thus, from nourishing primers to skin-friendly primers, there are ample variations to choose from, according to your skin condition and type.

How Does A Water-Based Primer Work

Water-based primers are hydrating and are composed of ingredients that condition dry and dehydrated skin. These primers are free from oil and silicone. Most primers get absorbed easily in the skin while masking skin imperfections and pores. Water-based primers establish a smooth and even layer on your skin so that it holds makeup for a longer period. Also, because water-based primers are oil-free, they won’t clog the pores or cause breakouts.

How Long Does Water Base Primer Last

A water-based primer generally lasts for 12-16 hours, but some waterproof primers may last for up to 18-24 hours. Water-based primers are engineered to last longer than the regular primers without smearing or fading the makeup.

Nothing is as amazing as a primer that feels natural and enhances the appearance of your skin. Water-based primers are great if you wear makeup every day and want it to stay pristine throughout the day. A water-based primer will help you get your perfect and long-lasting makeup look and moisturize your skin from within. Let us know which of these 13 best primers you liked the most!

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Which is better: silicone-based or water-based primers?

As the name suggests, the silicone-based primers are made using silicone and have a vaseline-like sticky texture. On the other hand, water-based primers are water-based and have a thin consistency. Both silicone and water-based primers blur fine lines and shrink the pores, but due to the consistency of silicone-based primers, sometimes it may cause clogged pores and breakouts. Especially for people with oily or acne-prone skin, silicone-based primer may not work. Thus, if you have dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin, water-based silicone free primer will hydrate and smoothen your skin without clogging pores or feeling oily.

What can you expect from water-based primers?

Water-based primers do not contain oil or silicone, which means that it feels smooth and light on the skin. These primers are hydrating, highly absorbent, long-lasting, and resistant to humidity.

Why should you go for water-based primers?

For those who like a natural look or for those who wish to rock a high-drama makeup look, water-based primer is the best option. This is because a water-based primer offers a natural look and feels like second skin. It hides imperfections and makes the skin look flawless. Plus, it can easily hold the makeup for hours without fading.

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Atulya Satishkumar

‘Techie by day, writer by night’ is how she described herself before embarking on the journey of writing. Her strong belief in the magic of the written word, coupled with a very keen eye for detail, helps her guide her team to create quality content. When she is not editing beauty, fashion, and lifestyle-related content, she writes prose and poetry, plays her ukulele (and/or guitar), and pets floofs.
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