A primer creates a smooth and even basis for your daily makeup routine. A primer blurs pores and imperfections and helps makeup stay on longer and look better.
For a beautiful, cruelty-free complexion, choose a vegan primer. Made with plant-based ingredients, vegan primers offer you a clean way to prep your skin for the day.
We have gathered a list of our favorite vegan face primers and vegan primer brands. Now you can go ahead and make an informed better-for-the-world choice.
All primers below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals.
Best Vegan Primers 2023
Here is a list of the best vegan primers for your face and eyes for 2023.
- Best Overall: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
- Best Organic: Inika Organic Matte Perfection Primer
- Best Affordable: E.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer
- Best Long-Wearing: Cover FX Makeup Foundation Gripping Primer
- Best Color-Correcting: NYX Studio Perfect Primer
- Best With SPF: Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Primer SPF 50
- Best For Dry Skin: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
- Best For Oily Skin: Milk Makeup Pore Eclipse Makeup Primer
- Best For Combination Skin: Rare Beauty Pore Diffusing Primer
- Best For Acne-Prone Skin: Smashbox Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer
- Best For Sensitive Skin: Lune+Aster RealGlow Primer
- Best For Mature Skin: Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Primer
- Best For Pores: KVD Beauty Lock-It Vegan Pore-Refining Primer
- Best Eye Primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
- Best Lip Primer: Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Primer
Best Vegan Primer Overall
In 2023, Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer is still the best vegan primer. It creates the smoothest makeup base and the makeup stays put for the whole day. It also makes makeup more vibrant. The fresh gel formula is hydrating enough for dry skin, yet doesn’t feel heavy for oily skin.
- What we like: best makeup result, smoothest base
- What we don’t like: it’s a bit sticky
- What other reviewers say: long-lasting full coverage that feels lightweight, lasts through sweating and humidity, makeup looks very different without it under
Key ingredients: blue agave and cannabis seed extracts, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, aloe water | Finish: radiant | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, paraben-free, phthalate-free, mineral oil-free, SLS-free, gluten-free, oil-free, silicone-free, fragrance-free
Best Organic Vegan Primer
Looking for an organic vegan primer? Our pick is the Matte Perfection Primer from Inika. It’s fully natural and 74% certified organic. It uses vitamin C, aloe vera, and geranium oil to keep the skin healthy while creating the silkiest canvas for makeup. It also softens the skin.
- What we like: organic formula, great skincare benefits
- What we don’t like: not sold in many US stores
- What other reviewers say: created an even makeup canvas, non-greasy, good staying power, great for sensitive skin, skin feels soft and smooth
Key ingredients: licorice root extract, geranium oil, vitamin C, aloe vera| Finish: matte | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, organic, halal, paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, alcohol-free, talc-free, silicone-free, fragrance-free, plastic-neutral
Best Affordable Vegan Primer
E.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer is the best affordable vegan primer. For under 10 dollars, you’ll get a really smooth and well-performing primer has a mattifying effect on oily skin. It comes in a clear version and two color-correcting tinted versions which use natural minerals.
- What we like: best price-quality ratio
- What we don’t like: color-correcting versions are not very effective
- What other reviewers say: affordable, goes on smooth, great for oily skin, doesn’t feel greasy, decent lasting power
Key ingredients: mica, silica | Finish: natural matte | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, made in a fair trade factory
Best Long-Wearing Vegan Primer
Cover FX Gripping Primer is the best long-wearing vegan primer. It’s our favorite vegan face primer for special events and long days with makeup. The makeup won’t budge all day and all night. We also love how smooth and flawless it makes the foundation look.
- What we like: locks makeup for at least 12 h
- What we don’t like: it’s not on Sephora anymore
- What other reviewers say: foundation lasts the whole day and looks flawless, skin looks smooth and even, firms the skin, doesn’t set in lines or pores
Key ingredients: kelp, plankton polymers, micro-algae | Finish: glass-like satin | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, mineral oil-free, talc-free
Best Color-Correcting Vegan Primer
NYX Studio Perfect Primer is the best color-correcting vegan primer. Their green one is the best vegan primer for redness, the lavender one is excellent for neutralizing yellow and orange undertones. It evens the skin tone beautifully and feels comfortable under makeup.
- What we like: great for hiding redness
- What we don’t like: no option for dark circles
- What other reviewers say: best affordable color-correcting primer, easy to apply, great under foundation and contouring products, smooth and silky, chemical scent
Key ingredients: dimethicone, silica | Finish: matte | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free
Best Vegan Primer With SPF
Charlotte Tilbury offers the best vegan primer with SPF. It has a strong broad spectrum SPF 50, so you don’t need any additional sunblock. This luxury primer goes on smoothly and evenly and leaves a beautiful blurred finish. It looks good alone and with makeup.
- What we like: excellent sun protection,
- What we don’t like: too rich for oily skin
- What other reviewers say: praised for sun protection and priming qualities, smooth and blurred finish that looks great on its own, helps makeup stay put
Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, African mahogany tree bark extract | Finish: natural, airbrushed | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, mineral oil-free, SLS-free, gluten-free
Best Vegan Primer For Dry Skin
The bestselling Hangover Primer is the best vegan primer for dry skin. It’s the most hydrating vegan primer we have tried. Made with coconut water and probiotics, it effectively gets rid of dry patches and flakiness and makes dry skin soft, moisturized, and radiant under makeup.
- What we like: long-lasting moisture for dry skin
- What we don’t like: sweet scent not for everyone
- What other reviewers say: softens and hydrates skin, great staying power, doesn’t pill or cake, also works for sensitive skin
Key ingredients: coconut water, probiotics, olive fruit oil | Finish: radiant | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, gluten-free
Best Vegan Primer For Oily Skin
Another winner from Milk, Pore Eclipse is the best vegan primer for oily skin. It’s the only primer that keeps oil totally at bay and helps makeup stay on for the day. It blurs pores like a dream and has a beautiful matte finish. We also love the creamy, lightweight texture.
- What we like: controls oil for the whole day
- What we don’t like: strong scent
- What other reviewers say: best feedback from oily skin, beautiful matte finish, blurs pores, no oil comes through, makeup stays on through heat and sweating
Key ingredients: niacinamide, bakuchiol, lentil extract | Finish: soft matte | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, natural, clean, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, gluten-free, non-comedogenic, silicone-free
Best Vegan Primer For Combination Skin
Rare Beauty Pore Diffusing Primer is our favorite vegan primer for combination skin. It hydrates dry areas while balancing shine and blurring pores in the oily T-zone. The skin looks even and healthy with this primer. It’s also very smooth and non-sticky.
- What we like: combo skin looks balanced and even
- What we don’t like: can pill with some makeup products
- What other reviewers say: amazing glow, silky feel, keeps the skin matte all day, hides pores, good hydration but not enough for very dry skin
Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, green tea, vitamin E, moringa seed oil | Finish: natural, airbrushed| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, mineral oil-free, SLS-free, dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, suitable for sensitive skin
Best Vegan Primer For Acne-Prone Skin
Photo Finish Control Primer is the best vegan primer for acne-prone skin. It helps oily and reactive skin to stay matte and comfortable for the whole day. It uses all the right ingredients to reduce blemishes and prevent breakouts such as salicylic acid, witch hazel, and zinc.
- What we like: best for reducing and preventing breakouts
- What we don’t like: not the most even coverage, needs some work
- What other reviewers say: clears the skin and does not aggravate acne, the matte finish lasts the whole day, pores look blurred, makeup doesn’t slide
Key ingredients: witch hazel, salicylic acid, zinc, hyaluronic acid, probiotics, algae | Finish: matte | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free
Best Vegan Primer For Sensitive Skin
Lune+Aster has the best vegan primer for sensitive skin. This hypoallergenic vegan primer is allergy-tested and free of fragrance and gluten. The primer leaves a smooth and even makeup base. We love that it includes licorice extract that soothes sensitive skin and fights redness.
- What we like: healthy glowing makeup base
- What we don’t like: not long-wearing for oily skin
- What other reviewers say: doesn’t irritate sensitive skin, gentle and breathable reduces redness, beautiful glow
Key ingredients: licorice extract, apple seed extract, vitamin E | Finish: radiant | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, dermatologist-tested, allergy-tested
Best Vegan Primer For Mature Skin
Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Primer is the best vegan primer for mature skin. You can trust this primer to fill and blur wrinkles and lines instead of setting in them. It also covers textured skin. The makeup on it looks so much more youthful and even.
- What we like: beautiful airbrushed finish, hides wrinkles
- What we don’t like: clogs pores for some
- What other reviewers say: makes wrinkles and lines disappear by filling them, very smooth makeup basis, skin is silky soft
Key ingredients: vitamin A, vitamin E, grape seed extract | Finish: natural, airbrushed | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, oil-free, fragrance-free
Best Vegan Primer For Pores
KVD Lock-It Primer is our favorite vegan primer for pores. It visibly minimizes the look of pores while smoothing out the skin and giving some light hydration with rice water. Even the biggest pores do not show with this under the makeup. It doesn’t pill or cake.
- What we like: pores won’t show under makeup
- What we don’t like: thick texture
- What other reviewers say: hides pores, feels nice and comfortable on the skin, long-wearing, gives a beautiful complexion, loved by combination skin
Key ingredients: rice water, green lentil extract | Finish: natural, airbrushed | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, mineral oil-free, SLS-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic
Best Vegan Eye Primer
Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is the best vegan eyeshadow primer. We love it for two reasons: it helps the eyeshadow stay on longer and makes the pigments in the eyeshadow pop. See our full selection of the best vegan eye primers here.
- What we like: eyeshadow won’t budge
- What we don’t like: doesn’t hide dark circles
- What other reviewers say: locks eyeshadow in place (even for oily lids), no creasing, creamy and blendable texture
Key ingredients: synthetic beeswax, talc | Finish: natural | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, waterproof
Best Vegan Lip Primer
Anastasia Beverly Hills offers the best vegan lip primer for long-lasting lip makeup. It stops the lipstick from bleeding or fading throughout the day. We love that it feels like a lip balm, and it also keeps the lips hydrated and conditioned.
- What we like: lightweight and non-waxy
- What we don’t like: not a natural formula
- What other reviewers say: lips feel smooth and hydrated, keeps lipstick from feathering and bleeding, works well for also lipliners and lip glosses
Key ingredients: synthetic wax, silica | Finish: natural, smooth | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free
Best Vegan Primer Brands
There are the best brands for vegan face primers in 2023 that you can easily buy online. Find a gorgeous vegan-friendly primer from their selection.
Born in a creative studio in New York, Milk Makeup is our favorite vegan primer brand. They are fully vegan and cruelty-free. Milk’s Hydro Grip Primer is one of the most praised primers in the vegan make-up community. We also love their Pore Eclipse Primer for oily skin.
E.l.f. is one of the most affordable American cosmetic brands. All of their makeup is vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free. Having lots of vegan makeup products for all skin types, E.l.f. has over 10 vegan primers to choose from.
Founded by Selena Gomez, Rare Beauty is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand. Rare Beauty has 3 great-quality vegan face primers and one vegan eyeshadow primer. All of them come highly recommended by beauty bloggers.
LA-based makeup brand Smashbox was born in a photo studio and is mostly known for its high-quality primers. All Smashbox primers are cruelty-free and most of them are vegan. They offer vegan face primers for all purposes and skin types.
These Smashbox primers are vegan: The Original Photo Finish Primer, Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer, Photo Finish Illuminate Glow Primer, Photo Finish Correct Anti-Redness Primer, Photo Finish Primerizer+ Hydrating Primer, Photo Finish Intensify 24 Hour Shadow Primer, Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer, Photo Finish Revitalize 8-in-1 Primer Essence.
What Makes A Primer Vegan?
Vegan primer is a primer free from animal-derived ingredients such as beeswax, collagen, silk, or animal-derived glycerin. Vegan primers are also not tested on animals or contain ingredients that have been tested on animals.
The typical ingredient that makes a primer not vegan is beeswax. Today, however, waxes are not so popular in primers anymore as they tend to clog pores. Emollients in primers may be also animal-derived, e.g. glycerin can be both vegan or derived from animal fats.
Other animal-derived ingredients in primers can include collagen and silk. Collagen is an animal protein that is sometimes added to anti-aging primers. Silk powder from silkworms can be found in luxurious smoothening primers such as the Tatcha Silk Canvas Primer.
While primer is a relatively animal ingredient-free product, many drugstore primers are still tested on animals. To be sure the primer you are buying is vegan, always look for a certified vegan label. Or pick a primer from our recommended list.
How We Review Vegan Primers
Finding the best vegan primers was not an easy task. Many wonderful vegan primers (Glow Recipe Strawberry BHA Primer, Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer) didn’t even fit into our top list as the competition is quite fierce.
Here are the main criteria we reviewed and rated the best vegan face primers by:
- Ingredients: The more chemical-free the vegan primer, the better for the skin. We preferred vegan primers that were paraben-free at the very least. For sensitive skin, we also expect the primer to be fragrance-free and silicone-free.
- Texture: A vegan primer should go on smoothly and cover the skin evenly. Otherwise, it won’t work under makeup and makes the foundation look patchy.
- Longevity: A primer is mainly judged by how well it can hold the makeup in place. You should notice the difference in the makeup’s quality when you are wearing the primer and when you are not.
Why Trust Us
Vegan Avenue has been reviewing vegan primers ever since August 2021. We have tried over 30 different primers and have selected our favorites based on personal experience and peer reviews. None of our reviews has been incentivized by the company or any retailer.
What To Look For In A Vegan Primer?
The function of a primer is to prep your skin for what’s to come. Thus, your vegan primer should be as natural and skin-friendly as possible. Preferably pick a vegan primer that is free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, and other needless additives.
Another important thing when buying a vegan primer is to make sure it fits your skin type. Dry and mature skin types should go for a hydrating vegan primer that uses plant emollients and humectants such as vegan glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
Oily and combination skin, on the other hand, should prefer a mattifying vegan primer. It helps to avoid excess shine and makes the foundation stay on longer. Oily and acne-prone skin should go for vegan primers that are oil-free or at least non-comedogenic to avoid clogged pores.
If you have sensitive skin, choose a vegan primer free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, silicones, and alcohol to avoid irritation. To be on the safe side with reactive skin, also avoid common allergens like gluten or soy in your vegan primer.
FAQ About Vegan Primers
Primers can be vegan but some are not. The typical ingredient that makes a primer non-vegan is beeswax.
Vegan primers are made out of plantbased ingredients such as vegan glycerin, silicone, plant oils, and vegetable extracts.
You can find the largest variety of vegan primers online. We love the vegan primer selection on Amazon, Sephora, and Ulta.
One of the best vegan primers is Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer.
No. None of Peter Thomas Roth’s products can be considered vegan as the company tests on animals.
There isn’t a good alternative for makeup primers. However, mattifying and pore-filling face creams can be used as a temporary primer replacement.
Natural ingredients make for a great vegan primer. Especially since primers do not need any shady animal-based waxes or emollients in them.
Whether you are looking for a hydrating, mattifying, or hypoallergenic vegan face primer – you can find the perfect priming base for every type of skin.
Our favorite vegan primer right now is the Hydro Grip Primer from Milk. As we keep seeking new cruelty-free vegan primers, we’ll test them out and let you know about them.
Thanks for choosing vegan makeup.
See also: Vegan Eye Primers
Article updated on April 28 (2023): Changed the best sensitive skin primer from Ilia True Skin Radiant Priming Serum to Lune+Aster RealGlow Primer. While both primers are safe for sensitive skin, the latter has received more positive feedback from sensitive skin types.