Makeup Tips

This $20 Hydrating Primer Is My Go-To for Barely-There Foundations

Kara Jillian Brown

Photo: Getty Images / Klaus Vedfelt

Makeup primers and I are in an on-again, off-again relationship. Because my skin is so dry, I never really have to worry about my foundation shifting at the whim of oily pores. On the other hand, it can sometimes feel like my parched skin drinks up anything I put on it, especially barely-there foundations.

The Pretty Filter Icy Sherbet Primer ($20) is unlike any primer I’ve ever seen. Many foundation primers that work for dry skin are wet and sticky to literally help the foundation stick to your face. Made by K-beauty brand Touch in Sol, this primer feels silky smooth. It starts out as a cloud-like whipped gel and smooths into your skin effortlessly. It dries down quickly, leaving a smooth finish that’s still a bit tacky to the touch, but not overly sticky.

The airy texture of this primer lends itself perfectly to pair with lightweight foundations. For everyday looks, I swear by my Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint ($26). But sometimes, it feels like I’m just putting tinter water on my face that quickly disappears into my thirsty skin. The pretty filter primer creates a finish that the skin tint loves—it actually has something to sit on top of. This makes smoothing the skin tint onto my face feel more like I’m actually distributing coverage rather than rubbing the ultra-thin formula deep into my pores. Bonus: This primer has a glorious cooling effect, more than living up to the “icy” part of its name.

Pretty Filter Icy Sherbet Primer

Shop now: Pretty Filter Icy Sherbet Primer ($20)

Generally, primers are great because they provide a smooth base.

“I find that they’re useful for those who don’t necessarily want coverage but want a smoother complexion,” says Molly R. Stern, a celebrity makeup artist. “They’re great for people who have big pores and find their foundation settling into the skin.”

This primer, like many others, also contains good-for-your-skin ingredients.

“Brands are waking up to the idea of adding skin-loving ingredients into their makeup products, and it’s basically a match in skin-care heaven,” says makeup artist Alexandria Gilleo.

Made with sodium hyaluronate, a derivative of hyaluronic acid, this primer is great for keeping your skin feeling hydrated. And because it doesn’t go on wet or sticky, it also works with oily or combination skin. The oil-free, silicone-free formula also makes it a great choice for sensitive skin.

“A good amount of ‘older’ primer formulas contain a lot of heavy ingredients, such as silicones,” says Gilleo “Silicones and other harsh ingredients can get into your pores, which can lead to clogged skin and sometimes breakouts.”

For added moisture, it pairs beautifully with the Touch in Sol Pretty Filter Glassy Skin Balm ($32). Packed with squalene, five types of hyaluronic acid, and damask rose water, it’s intensely hydrating and feels amazing on your skin.

The best part of this primer is the price. For $20, you get an amazing product that I’d honestly pay twice as much for if I had to. (But, please don’t get any ideas, Touch in Sol! $20 is just fine.)

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