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The best makeup primers containing sunscreen for all skin types: A review

Curology’s dermatology providers share options for all skin types.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 5 min read
Medically reviewed by Melissa Hunter, NP-C
Woman Applying Sunscreen or Primer to Face
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 5 min read
Medically reviewed by Melissa Hunter, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

We’re here to share what we know—but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Primers aren’t just a makeup base. These days, you can find primers that tout other skin benefits, like evening out skin tone or texture.

Other options contain SPF for extra sun protection—which can be especially helpful in sunny summer months or if your skin is particularly sensitive to the sun. Here, we’ll explain what you need to know about primers that contain SPF, and how you can find the best option for your skin type. P.S. Looking for no-breakout drugstore primers? Read our review.

What is primer?

Primer is a cosmetic product that lays a base, typically used to prep the skin beneath for makeup. Primers tend to use ingredients like silicones to create a slightly adhesive layer that sticks to the rest of your skincare products.

A primer for the face may also close the gap between cosmetics and skincare by creating a barrier from outside factors. When used with a good 3-step skincare routine, some primers can work to keep moisture in the skin while acting as a shield against environmental stressors such as pollution and UV rays. A good primer will also include sun protection, saving you from adding an additional layer of sunscreen.

Primers with sunscreen: How sun protection in skincare works 

In addition to reducing the appearance of skin flaws, certain primers offer the added benefit of sun protection.

If you want to protect your skin against harmful UV rays when choosing makeup products, it's essential to select items containing FDA-approved ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have been granted GRASE (Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective) status by the FDA for use in sunscreens.¹ These valuable ingredients act as a physical barrier and have been shown to absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation to help prevent sunburn and photodamage to your skin.²

SPF

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, serves as a numerical gauge of a sunscreen's ability to shield against sunburn. This number provides insight into the level of protection the product offers. To effectively guard against sunburn, it’s recommended to use products containing an SPF of 30 or higher.³ For proper skin protection, you should always apply sunscreen, even if your makeup products contain SPF.

Primer with sunscreen for oily skin 

Supergoop Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++

Supergoop Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen: Do you have oily skin? Are you looking for a primer that has a matte finish and will also protect your skin from the sun without leaving a white cast? The Supergoop Mineral Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++ may be what you’re looking for.

This primer:

  • Is 100% mineral and oil-free.

  • Gives a matte and poreless look.

  • Can be used on combination and oily skin types.

Additionally, this primer offers sun protection with SPF 40 PA+++.

Primer with sunscreen for dry skin

Paula-s Choice Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30

Paula's Choice Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30: Paula's Choice Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30 is a multi-tasking primer that not only enhances your makeup application but also provides effective sun protection. 

This lightweight, silky formula smooths the appearance of pores, fine lines, and uneven texture, creating a great canvas for makeup application. Its SPF 30 rating offers reliable defense against harmful UV rays, helping to prevent sunburn and skin damage. 

With its blend of antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients, the primer serum nourishes and hydrates your skin for a healthier, more radiant complexion. 

This primer:

  • Softens and smooths skin.

  • Contains antioxidants. 

  • Helps prevent early signs of aging.

  • Preps your skin for makeup.

Additionally, this sunscreen protects against sun damage with broad-spectrum SPF 30.

Primer with sunscreen for all skin types 

COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30

COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30: The COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30 is highly versatile and is designed to cater to all skin types. 

Its weightless, multitasking formula offers broad-spectrum sun protection and creates a smooth canvas for makeup application while addressing various skin concerns. It's an excellent choice for those seeking a high-quality SPF primer that works well with any skin type.

This primer:

  • Provides broad-spectrum protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays, reducing the risk of sunburn and skin damage.

  • Utilizes natural minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, for effective sun protection without causing skin irritation.

  • Is lightweight. The silky, airy texture glides effortlessly onto the skin, leaving no residue or white cast.

  • Minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles for a flawless makeup application.

  • Is infused with a blend of nourishing ingredients and antioxidants that help protect the skin from environmental stressors and promote a healthier complexion.

  • Is suitable for all skin types. It’s specifically formulated to work well with sensitive, oily, dry, or combination skin.

  • Is cruelty-free and reef-friendly. It’s committed to protecting both your skin and the environment, this primer is free from harsh chemicals and not tested on animals.

The makeup products you wear have an impact on your skin, and you should make sure you’re wearing products that suit your skin type so they won’t cause you to break out or irritate your skin.

SPF makeup primers play a crucial role in providing a smooth canvas for makeup application, and they also offer sun protection. Using the right SPF primer can help you address common skin concerns, such as redness, dullness, and uneven texture, while shielding your skin from harmful UV rays. 

Start your journey to healthier, more radiant skin with Curology

Looking to further enhance your skincare routine? Check out our Curology products!

We offer a personalized skincare experience, with products formulated to target your specific skin concerns. Our sunscreen is a fantastic addition to your daily regimen, as it provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. By incorporating our tailored solutions, you can work towards achieving your dream skin while also safeguarding it from sun damage. 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Start your journey to healthier, more radiant skin with Curology today. Sign up now for your 30-day trial.*

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Questions and Answers: FDA posts deemed final order and proposed order for over-the-counter sunscreen. (2022, December 16). 

  2. Cole, C., et al. Metal oxide sunscreens protect skin by absorption, not by reflection or scattering. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. (January 2016).

  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs. (2023, February 17).

Melissa Hunter is a board certified family nurse practitioner at Curology. She received her MSN from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Melissa Hunter

Melissa Hunter, NP-C

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