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5 Best Vegan Primers for the Perfect Skin Prep (2019)

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If you’ve ever done any painting, whether a wall, a chair, or a piece of art, you’ve likely used a primer to prepare the surface of your “canvas.”

It helps to cover blemishes and evens out the surface for better coverage. The same goes for a face primer!

This handy makeup product helps to even out your skin tone, fills in lines and wrinkles, creates a barrier for your pores, and adds an extra layer of protection from harsh environmental elements.

In short, it’s the first step to a flawless finish.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks

Why Choosing a Vegan Primer Matters

There are many factors in choosing the best primer and we’re here to help. In today’s modern cosmetic world, you don’t have to settle for animal-laden products. There are a plethora of natural companies that want your loyalty.

Your skin is your largest organ, and the most susceptible to indirect environmental harm.

It’s bombarded day and night with pollutants and deserves to be protected. A good primer can help protect your face every day.

Choosing cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics is an easy way to show your commitment to the animals and the planet.

You don’t have to give up the products you love, just be more conscious when choosing those products.

What to Look Out For

Some animal ingredients are obvious, while others hide behind fancy or innocuous names. It’s important to read labels and understand what the ingredients are before purchasing.

Amino Acids

Amino Acids are used as skin conditioning agents in primer, and are touted to help maintain skin’s natural moisture, smoothness, and hydration. Amino Acids are naturally occurring in our skin but are often adversely affected by harsh environment and aging.

Amino Acids are often derived from animal sources, such as urine and horsehair. Also listed as Tyrosene, Cystine, Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Potassium Aspartate, and Sodium Aspartate.

Luckily, there are plant-based alternatives sourced from corn, soy, and other protein-rich veggies.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is included in primer as a moisturizer and has reported anti-aging properties. It is said to help retain your skin’s natural moisture, reduces the look of wrinkles, and ease the effects of dermatitis.

Hyaluronic Acid is naturally occurring in our own bodies however, in cosmetics, it is often sourced from animals, specifically rooster combs and cow eyes.

Not good! It can be listed on packaging as Acide Hyaluronan, Hyaluronate Sodium, Hylan, and Sodium Hyaluronate.

Lucky for us, nature has given us plant sources of Hyaluronic Acid. It’s sourced from fermented wheat and other grasses. Be aware it may not be suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

It isn’t always clear on the labelling, so look for vegan certifications, get your Google on, or contact the company directly.

Lecithin

Lecithin is used as a skin conditioner and emulsifying agent. It is a waxy substance in tissue of all living organisms. It is often obtained from nerve tissue, blood, milk, and eggs. Also labelled as Choline Bitartrate.

Lecithin sources are often clearly labelled when plant-based sources are used. Look for soybean and corn lecithin in your primer, and you’re good to go.

Squalene

Squalene is used in primer as a moisturizer and anti-aging effects. We make this compound ourselves, in our skin glands, and it is excreted in sebum.

Long ago, someone discovered it was abundant in shark livers, and unbelievably decided we needed to use on our faces instead! Also known as Shark Liver Oil and Squalane.

Plant-based oils, typically olive oil and palm oil have the same effects. As do amaranth seed, rice bran, wheat germ, and olives.

No need to rub shark livers on your face, sharks need their livers more than we do!

Tallow

Tallow is used as an emollient to help soften skin. It’s usually sourced from animals in a very nasty process of boiling the carcasses until the fatty excretions form a thick layer that’s skimmed off.

These carcasses can come from laboratories, slaughterhouses, zoos, shelters, and ‘roadkill’. It can also be listed in ingredients as Tallow Fatty Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid and Rendered beef fat.

Vegetable tallow, Japan tallow (or Japan wax), and Ceresin are plant-based alternatives are better for your skin.

Silicone

Looking for a silicone-free primer? They’re out there, but harder to find. Silicone is used in primer to help fill in the surface of your skin and create a “sticky” surface for your make-up to adhere to.

Folks with oily skin should avoid silicone primers, as they can exacerbate oiliness and lead to breakouts.

Silicone is almost always a synthetic, labelled as amodimethicone, dimethicone, methicone, trimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, polydimethylsiloxane, or siloxane.

This is a somewhat controversial set of ingredients, but in all honesty, the jury is still out on whether silicone is harmful to your skin.

This list contains primers with silicone, and without, so make the best judgment for your face. Silicone is an animal-free ingredient, so you can at least be confident in that.

5 Top Picks for Vegan Primer

All right, now you know what to watch out for when choosing a vegan-friendly primer, so let’s get into the good stuff!

Youngblood Mineral Primer

Youngblood Mineral Foundation, Primer, 1 Ounce

This colorless primer from Youngblood is a best-seller, providing a smoothing, pore-reducing effect leaving your skin plump and luminous. It creates a flawless canvas for your makeup.

Whether it’s your day-to-day routine, or your dramatic night-on-the-town look, this primer will help your makeup stay put. One drop will cover for your daytime needs, and you can layer it thicker for more coverage in hot, sticky conditions.

Anti-aging minerals, skin enhancing vitamins, and lightweight, breathable silicone come together in harmony to give you the soft, perfect base you’re looking for.

Don’t let the thick formula fool you. If you only use a small drop, you’ll get all the coverage you need.

This is a great primer for nearly all skin types and has been reported to improve problem-skin. It helps smooth fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scarring. Flawless skin at your fingertips!

What We Like

  • Lightweight formula
  • One drop coverage
  • Good for all skin types

What We Don’t Like

  • Not long lasting
  • Can leave a greasy feel

Bodyography Foundation Primer

Bodyography Foundation Primer (Clear): Anti-Aging Salon Makeup Primer w/ Vitamin E, A, Jojoba, Grapeseed Oil, 1 oz

This clear primer is the most popular of Bodyography’s primer line. This luxurious and lightweight primer hydrates your skin, leaving it feeling plump and youthful.

Bodyography’s clear formula acts as like a veil, allowing you to use less foundation to achieve a flawless appearance. Two little drops cover your face, filling in all the lumps and bumps. It helps minimize imperfections and can actually help to reverse them.

Over time, it can help reduce redness and protect from fine lines and wrinkles. Continued use leads to softer, healthier skin, with a noticeable glow. The happiest users seem to be those with mature skin, and they report a lasting and healthful radiance from just one bottle.

What We Like

  • Lasts all day
  • Perfect for mature skin
  • Light, airy veil feels like nothing on skin

What We Don’t Like

  • Less than perfect packaging, pump malfunctions
  • Maybe too oily for sensitive or oily skin

Skin2Spirit Better’n Ur Skin Mineral Makeup Primer

Better'n Ur Skin MINERAL MAKEUP PRIMER | 1 OZ | Natural | Organic | Vegan | Cruelty Free | Minimize Pores & Lines | Lightweight, Non-Greasy | For ALL Skin Types | Paraben Free

This creamy primer is water-based, and silicone free, the only one of its kind on our list. It hydrates, smooths, and preps skin for perfect makeup application.

The water-based formula makes a great moisturizer as well, so you can skip your regular day moisturizer if you’re so inclined. It helps to form a barrier between your skin and your makeup, so you’ll use less foundation, and it’ll last longer.

Perfect for all skin types, Skin2Spirit’s primer is the perfect balance your skin has been waiting for! If your foundation tends to dry out your skin, or your moisturizer makes your skin too oily, this is the solution for you.

What We Like

  • Water-based, silicone free formula
  • Long-lasting
  • Perfect for all skin types

What We Don’t Like

  • Contains squalane, which made me panic, but is plant-based (confirmed with manufacturer)
  • Some may consider the smell unusual

Global Care Essentials Silk Facial Primer

Ageless Face Makeup Primer by Eclipse I All-Day Foundation Serum Instantly Hides 100% of Blemishes, Enlarged Pores & Lines For A Gorgeous Airbrushed Look on Oily or Dry Skin, Acne, Rosacea & Eczema

This creamy, colorless primer from Global Care Essentials boasts a moisturizing result leaving your skin velvety soft and silky smooth. It creates a breathable canvas for that perfect, airbrushed surface.

The super concentrated serum lasts all day. With only a tiny, pea-sized dollop, there’s no need to retouch or redo your look from morning ‘til night. Imagine perfect, flawless skin and build your individual look from there.

The unique “Hydra-tech” formula balances your oily and dry spots, forms a barrier to protect from dirt and bacteria, moisturizes, and fights signs of aging. It’s the superhero for your face you’ve been dreaming of.

What We Like

  • Thick formula, lightweight feel
  • Super concentrated
  • Long lasting coverage

What We Don’t Like

  • Can cause breakouts with oily skin
  • Doesn’t minimize larger imperfections

Premium Foundation Makeup Primer

Premium Foundation Makeup Primer- anti aging, fine lines, wrinkles & pore minimizer primer - Enriched with Vitamin A, C & E for flawless skin- Waterproof makeup base - Made in The USA FDA Certified

Bellezza Secreto’s gel style primer dries to a smooth, powdery finish helping your makeup stay put for up to 12 hours. Unlike many other brands of primer this one dries and absorbs almost instantly, without tacky or sticky film.

You don’t have to wait for this primer to set. A little dab spread evenly across your face, and you’re ready to go. It fills in fine lines and wrinkles, minimizes pores and imperfections, and is chockful of anti-aging ingredients.

Perfect for all skin types, this primer is also effective as a daily moisturizer. It’s also waterproof, something unique on our list. Even hot, humid days won’t ruin your flawless face with this primer!

What We Like

  • Waterproof
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Gel formula is easy to apply

What We Don’t Like

  • Less than perfect packaging
  • Flakes and clumps after long wear

Top Choice for the Best Vegan Primer

Better'n Ur Skin MINERAL MAKEUP PRIMER | 1 OZ | Natural | Organic | Vegan | Cruelty Free | Minimize Pores & Lines | Lightweight, Non-Greasy | For ALL Skin Types | Paraben Free

With all these amazing choices, it was difficult to choose a clear winner, but I kept coming back to Skin2Spirit’s Better’n Your Skin Mineral Makeup Primer. I love the water-based formula, and the fact it’s so moisturizing I can skip the extra step.

I’m a sucker for multi-tasking products, and this one was the best in this aspect.

On hot, humid days, when a moisturizer feels suffocating, this primer steps up to the task, without feeling heavy. On dry, cold days, it still hydrates to combat seasonal dryness.

It also has cute packaging, which is a weakness for me! I’m so happy good quality products come in adorable, counter friendly packages.

All round, it’s the perfect choice for all skin types. If your skin leans towards oiliness, use less and you won’t have a slick, sticky feel. If your skin is on the drier side, use a smidge more to balance it.

I didn’t find the scent off-putting, as it’s very mild, but if you’re scent sensitive, just be wary this product does have a slight fragrance.

While I was initially worried about the ingredient squalane, I contacted the company and was assured their squalane was plant-based, sourced from a proprietary combination of plant oils. It’s also gluten-free, so a huge plus for my gluten sensitive friends!

I wasn’t a primer kind of gal before researching this article, but I have seen the light! It’s an amazing product and really makes a difference in my skin and makeup routine as a whole. I don’t know why I shied away from it for so long!

Meet

Michelle M. VanGurp

I'm a mom of two tweens. It's important to find food that satisfies our hunger and also fits into our busy lives. I love to find and share food that's easy, delicious, and plant-based. Writing about cooking is a dream come true.

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