Best Water Based Primers

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Nobody is born with perfect skin. While this is completely okay, you may find a time in your life when you want to achieve that flawless, airbrushed effect.

And the best way to go about achieving that is through a primer!

Primer acts as a base to all of your make up in order to smooth your skin. However, while it may seem like the holy grail of skin products, there are some things to keep in mind.

Not all primers are created equal. Different ingredients do different things.

While silicone-based primers can be miracle workers for fine lines and wrinkles, they can also weigh down your skin. That’s why you may want to consider a lightweight and breathable water-based primer.

However, picking the best water-based primer for your skin is no easy task.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you pick the best water-based primer. We’ve included a list of our top ten favorite non-silicone primers, as well as answered your most asked questions.

The 10 Best Water Based Primers:

1. Jouer Anti-Aging Water Based Primer

Jouer Anti-Aging Water Based Primer

This water-based primer is designed to be as helpful for your skin as possible.

Argan Oil and Shea Butter nourish, lift, and smooth skin texture. The Vitamin E, Ginseng & Gingko Biloba Extract deliver antioxidants to the skin, promoting a healthy, youthful glow.

It also contains a blend of peptides in order to help restore elasticity and diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

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The Jouer primer has been tested by dermatologists and is free of harmful ingredients such as unnatural oils, parabens, fragrances, and silicones. This makes it hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types.

A little also goes a long way. Apply just a pearl-size amount to clean skin prior to makeup application to give dry, dull skin an extra glowing boost with priming benefits.

2. Becca Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

Becca Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

The Becca Matte Poreless primer is a silicone-free primer that gives you all of the benefits of silicone without the harm. It has an instant skin tightening and metrifying effect, and it offers a smooth matte finish.

It’s a lightweight and breathable formula that doesn’t use oils, fragrances, silicone, or alcohol for healthy, happy skin. It also includes helpful ingredients such as Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract and Oleanolic Acid.

To apply, warm a pea-sized amount in hands and pat onto specific areas of concern like the T-zone. Allow product to dry before following with makeup application.

For touch-ups throughout the day, warm primer in hands and pat over makeup to target oily areas. It can also be used alone, before, or after your foundation.

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3. Too Face Hangover Replenishing Makeup Setting Spray

Too Face Hangover Replenishing Makeup Setting Spray

The Too Face Replensihing Makeup spray works to meet all your makeup needs with one easy to apply the product.

It is a weightless 3-in-1 coconut water-infused mist that primes, sets, and refreshes makeup while keeping skin hydrated. It’s also free of ingredients such as silicone and alcohol which dry your skin and clog your pores.

As a result, you can have picture-perfect makeup all day long without worrying about how your skin is doing.

You can apply it as a primer, but you can also spray it after your makeup routine to act as a setting spray or a refresher spray throughout the day.

If you’re worried about greasiness or shininess after you apply it, don’t be! It’s oil-free.

4. LORAC Sensitive Soothing Face Primer

LORAC Sensitive Soothing Face Primer

This skin-perfecting, gentle primer is infused with antioxidants, vitamins, and plant extracts to help soothe your skin. Ultralight and super hydrating, this primer promotes long-lasting makeup with a silky-smooth finish.

On top of its water-based benefits, it also cuts out a slew of common harmful ingredients.

Formulated without oil, silicone, paraben, or fragrance, the Lorac face primer is a great option for people experiencing sensitive skin. On top of that, though, it has a cooling effect to soothe your skin.

It’s also good for acne-prone skin but it’s gentle and uses non-comedogenic ingredients.

If you’re oily, however, you may want to pass on this primer. While it’s designed to be oil-free, it also doesn’t control oil, which could leave you shinier than deserved.

5. Luminess Air Airbrush Porcelain Primer

Luminess Air Airbrush Porcelain Primer

The Luminess Air Porcelain airbrush primer smooths your skin’s surface to create a flawless face for the application of foundation, concealer, and blushes. It moisturizes your skin and blurs pores and other minor imperfections for a smooth finish.

The formula is silky smooth and colorless so it’s suitable for all skin complexions. It’s also oil-free for a shineless finish that’s suitable even for oil or combination skin.

It’s gentle enough for everyday use as well. To use, add 4-6 drops of the primer into the stylus area and spray evenly across your face.

Since this is an airbrush application, it goes on smoother and more even, with less mess. Just make sure to load the airbrush portion correctly.

Too much or too little primer can lead to an uneven finish that can damage your makeup’s ability to stick to your skin. This can cause clumps, lumps, and textured patches.

6. Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer

Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer

With beneficial ingredients such as Vitamin E and Vitamin A, the Pixi beauty primer prepares your skin for smooth makeup applications while also helping improve it. It also has a slight bronze, shimmery tint to help your skin glow.

To apply, smooth a coin size dollop all over your face, just as you would a face moisture cream. You can then either use your foundation over it or wear the primer alone for brighter, glowy skin.

To refresh makeup & rejuvenate skin during the day, apply over existing makeup under eyes, and on cheekbones & lips for a radiant lustre.

Note that this primer does have alcohol in it so if you have extremely dry skin, it may not be the best choice for you. However, the skin healthy vitamins do help with this problem.

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In fact, the natural glow it provides can actually help improve the appearance of dry skin.

7. MAC Prep Prime Natural-Radiance

MAC Prep Prime Natural-Radiance

If you’re new to primers or just want something to blur your pores while focusing on highlighting your natural glow and not add shine, this is a great choice. It’s designed to work as a primer for your makeup while correcting minor imperfections.

It goes on smooth and helps makeup stay put all day. It also makes your skin feel soft.

8. Smashbox Finish Primer Original Smooth

Smashbox Finish Primer Original Smooth

The Smashbox primer fills in fine lines and pores instantly while keeping your makeup in place for hours. This makes it perfect for long shifts or major events.

It’s lightweight, oil-free, the formula glides on to give you a flawless finish. It also protects your skin for environmental pollutants, damage, and stress.

While oils may not make it onto the ingredient list, skin healthy ingredients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and peptides do. This improves your skin while you wear your primer.

It’s designed to give you a natural glow that doesn’t come off as shininess or oiliness. Instead, it works to improve and draw attention to the beauty of your natural complexion.

9. Tarte Cosmetics Poreless Perfecting Primer

Tarte Cosmetics Poreless Perfecting Primer

The Tarte Poreless primer mattifies and retexturizes for an optical matte-blur technology that works to filter out imperfections. It creates a shine-free matte base that acts as a smooth canvas to help hold your makeup for up to 12 hours.

The silky, invisible gel is ideal for oily or combination skin. It works to help to erase pores & resurface uneven skin texture from fine lines, dry patches, and acne scars.

The matte gel spreads easily allowing you to fill in every imperfection of your skin for a smooth, flawless base.

Just make sure to moisturize first. Since this primer forms a barrier on your skin to help makeup stick, it’ll prevent your skin from getting the full moisturizing effects of the lotion.



This versatile formula creates a smooth, glowing canvas for flawless coverage. It uses skin healthy ingredients such as natural botanicals to smooth and refresh your complexion.

One of the best ways to apply this according to makeup artists is with a damp makeup sponge. This allows for it to smooth all fine lines and wrinkles while blurring pores.

It can also help correct and even out your skin tone. The hydrating ingredients will leave your skin feeling fresh and smooth and ready for the day.

What is water based primer?

Water based primers are lightweight alternatives to silicone-based primers that feel more natural on your skin. They’re designed to be hydrating, which make them better for people with dry skin and other conditions.

Water based primers are also non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog your pores. As a result, it’s a safer option for people who suffer from acne.

You see, on a technical standard, silicone has been established as safe for human use by the FDA. However, there are still some potential negative effects from daily silicone exposure such as worsening skin conditions that make water based primer a better choice.

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You’ll also notice that water based primers have a different finish. Due to the ultra hydration, where silicone based primers are heavy and mattifying, water based primers leave your skin dewy and glowing.

How do you know if a primer is water based?

Thankfully, it can be easy to tell whether a prime has a water or silicone base. All you need to do is take a quick peek at the ingredient list.

You don’t have to read each and every ingredient though. Instead, you can look for some tell-tale keywords that will let you know if your primer uses silicone.

If the primer you’re interested in has ingredients that end in suffixes such as -cone, -silicate, -methicone, -silicone, or -siloxane then it is a silicone-based primer. You’ll also notice descriptive words such as matte-finish, waterproof, and photo finish.

If you’re wanting to ditch silicone based products, then you’ll want to avoid primers with these as main ingredients.

Water based primers will either have none of these products, or they will be further down the ingredient list. The lower of the list, the less amount is in the product.

As a result, compared to silicone primer’s jelly-like texture, water-based primers are thinner. This means that they’re lighter and easier to spread.

One thing to note is that water-based doesn’t mean silicone-free. A silicone-free primer will be listed as such.

Can you use water based primer with silicone foundation?

When it comes to primers and foundations, you shouldn’t mix. A water based foundation should only be used with a water based primer, and a silicone foundation with a silicone primer.

There’s a reason for this too.

You see, if you try to use a water based foundation on top of a silcione based primer, it won’t work how you hope. In fact, you’ll find that it comes grainy and won’t absorb or spread well.

This is because of how the chemical elements of water and silicone act. It prevents them from blending smoothly and leaves them partially separated.


Using water based primer makeup can make a huge difference with how your makeup looks and your skin feels. While it’s okay to use silicone based primer occasionally if you want an everyday product, water based is your best choice.

It’s silky smooth and spreads easily for a lightweight, breathable finish. As a result, it’s also more hydrating and safer for your skin than silicone.

You remember that water based doesn’t mean free of silicone. If you’re actively avoiding silicone due to allergies or other reasons, look for a non-silicone primer.

You’ll also need to still take care every night to remove your makeup. Primer won’t protect your skin from the harms of leaving makeup on overnight.

Once you decide and pick the best water based primer, for you, it’ll quickly become one of your favorite makeup tools.

Still searching a good primer? Check also:

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