Water-based makeup primer is a must-have to keep your skin hydrated and your makeup in place—especially if you have sensitive skin and want to stay away from oil—so I’m sharing my top seven product picks.
Silicone and oil-based primers have often been the standard when it comes to preparing a base that your foundation can stick to all day.
Over the years, I’ve been noticing more water-based primers on the market, and after trying some for myself, I understand the hype!
Water-based makeup primers feel much lighter on the skin even though they work just as well to lock in your makeup for all-day wear.
Using a water-based makeup primer will also keep your skin super hydrated, so you don’t have to worry about unflattering dry patches in your makeup.
If you’ve been thinking about trying a water-based makeup primer, these are my top seven picks.
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Shop my water-based makeup primer picks below:
7 Best Water-Based Makeup Primer Products
The first water-based primer I can’t get enough of is the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer.
Too Faced has tons of great beauty products, and the Replenishing Face Primer is one of their best.
The Too Faced Face Primer is infused with coconut water, olive oil, and other natural ingredients that hydrate your skin and make it super glowy.
This primer has a gorgeous dewy finish that keeps your makeup flawless all day.
A 1.35oz bottle of the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer retails for $37.
Another top water-based foundation primer—especially for oily skin types—is Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Hydrating Makeup Primer.
This gel formula makeup primer provides ultimate hydration thanks to hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and aloe water.
The Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer also contains blue agave extract that helps makeup stay put for up to 12 hours.
I’m seriously impressed with how beautifully this Makeup Primer blends into the skin without leaving an annoying layer of stickiness. With thousands of five-star reviews, tons of other people swear by this primer, too.
You can pick up a 1.52oz Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Hydrating Makeup Primer bottle for $38.
Find the best water-based makeup primer by clicking below:
One of the most popular water-based makeup primers is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer.
This primer is a classic Smashbox product because it works magic on your face, especially if you’re prone to dry skin.
The Foundation Primer helps smooth pores and other skin impurities to provide the perfect base for your foundation.
The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is also infused with vitamins A and E to nourish skin and create a protective skin barrier.
The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer costs $42 for a 1oz bottle.
NYX Professional’s Hydra Touch Primer is the perfect option if you’re looking for a lightweight, oil-free formula.
This vegan makeup primer creates a flawless canvas that helps your makeup stick. With tons of hydrating ingredients like licorice root extract and tremella mushroom, your skin will love the feel of the Hydra Touch Primer.
This primer is great for sensitive skin because it’s super light and won’t clog pores.
The NYX Professional Hydra Touch Primer is also budget-friendly at just $15 for a 0.84oz bottle.
Click below for my favorite water-based makeup primers:
The Honest Beauty Matte Everything Primer is one of my top picks for a matte, oil-free face primer.
The Matte Everything Primer is especially great for oily skin since it helps create a smooth, poreless foundation base. The water-based formula also contains a micronized bamboo powder which helps prevent shine and blur pores.
I love all the natural ingredients in this primer—like sunflower seed and rosemary leaf extracts—and I bet your skin will love them, too!
You can pick up a 1oz Honest Beauty Matte Everything Primer bottle for $23.
Another popular drugstore makeup primer that’s free of oil is the e.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Face Primer.
This Putty Face Primer erases pores, leaving your skin perfectly smooth for foundation and other makeup products. The primer also contains squalane, a moisturizing oil that provides long-lasting hydration.
The e.l.f. Face Primer feels like velvet on the skin, and I’m obsessed with how beautiful it looks as a foundation and face makeup base.
One of the best parts of the e.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Face Primer is the price—just $10 for a 0.74oz container!
My last water-based makeup primer pick is the NARS Radiance Face Primer SPF 35.
This Face Primer is amazing for dull, tired skin thanks to ingredients like Evodia Rutecarpa, a plant extract that energizes and revitalizes the appearance of your skin.
Sunscreen is a super important step in any makeup routine to keep your skin healthy and youthful, so I love that this product contains SPF. With SPF 35, the NARS Face Primer offers broad-spectrum protection from sun damage without that annoying sunscreen smell.
The NARS Radiance Face Primer SPF 35 gives beautiful results, and a 1oz bottle retails for $36.
I highly recommend trying a water-based makeup primer if you have sensitive skin or want a flawless foundation base.
Let me know in the comments or on Insta (@wtfab) what your favorite water-based primer is!
Shop my picks for the best water-based makeup primer by clicking below:
Get more makeup recommendations here.
Water-based makeup primer contains water as a base ingredient rather than oil, making it super hydrating and a great option for sensitive skin.
Water-based makeup primers are great for sensitive skin and those wanting a hydrating, long-lasting foundation base.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.