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Cover FX is one of my favorite makeup brands, especially for face makeup. I’m currently using their Total Cover Cream Foundation, and I love it. When I worked at Sephora, I used to recommend Cover FX products to clients all the time. In addition to their foundation and concealer, I would always recommend their primers.
Why do I like Cover FX products, especially primers, so much? Let’s start by learning about the brand. Cover FX was formed with one primary ethical goal: to offer high-performing makeup products made with clean ingredients.
Not only that, but Cover FX offers products for all skin types, including sensitive skin, as well as products that fit all skin colors. I have sensitive, dry, and acne-prone skin, and Cover FX is one of the few brands I can use. Are you looking for a new primer? I will cover all of Cover FX’s primers so you can choose which one works best for you.
Bottom line up front:
Cover FX offers various primers for all skin types. I’m not recommending a specific primer; instead, know your skin type, and your primer needs to find the best Cover FX primer for you.
Keep in mind that Cover FX primers are expensive. If you want something more affordable, I suggest looking at some of my cheaper dupe recommendations. Plus, Cover FX is no longer available at Sephora and Ulta, which is very inconvenient.
My Top Picks Up Front
Cover FX Primers
- Stress Remedy Primer + Redness Relief
- Dewy Skin Primer
- Mattifying Primer
- Gripping Primer
- Invisible Primer SPF 30
Tips to Find the Best Primer
Before recommending Cover FX primers, I want to offer some tips when shopping for the best primer. I will also mention some alternatives in the next section, so you can always use these tips when shopping for an alternative if you decide that Cover FX primers aren’t the best for you.
Know Your Skin Type
Primers not only work to increase the longevity of your foundation but also target specific skin concerns. Using a primer formulated for your skin will improve the look and wear of your foundation.
What are the different skin types? Here are the most common ones:
It’s possible to have more than one of these types. For example, I have dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin, and you may also have normal skin. Later in the article, I will recommend the Cover FX primers and alternatives that correlate to the different skin types.
There are a variety of primers available at different price points. The Cover FX primers are pretty pricey — one costs about $38! If you’re on a budget, all the primers I’m listing in the alternatives section are affordable. And an expensive price tag doesn’t always mean quality. For example, I’m using an elf primer now, and I love it as much as the pricier primers I’ve used.
Where to Shop
When I worked at Sephora, you could buy Cover FX products there. Sephora no longer carries Cover FX products. I’m not sure when the change occurred, but it’s been at least a couple of years since I saw Cover FX on Sephora shelves. I’m also reading that Cover FX is no longer sold at Ulta. I honestly have no idea where else you can buy Cover FX products except online.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind buying products online, and I purchase my Cover FX products from their website.
But I understand this isn’t always an option if you need a primer or other makeup product in an instant. Fortunately, all the products I’m mentioning in my alternatives section are ones you can buy in stores, such as Sephora, Ulta, and most drugstores.
Cosmetic concerns are different from your skin type. These are skin problems but imperfections you want your makeup to disguise.
Many novices rely on foundation and concealer to conceal these imperfections; the problem with this is your foundation will look unnatural, cakey, and may even bunch around your imperfections. Instead, choosing the right primer can blue the appearance of these imperfections and set an appropriate canvas for your foundation.
What are some examples of cosmetic concerns? Here are a few common ones:
- Dull skin
- Large pores
- Fine lines and wrinkles
All these primers are formulated with different ingredients to either blur the appearance of these imperfections or even treat them. For example, I will mention some primers to calm red and irritated skin. These primers are made with cooling technology that soothes the skin. The primers are usually made in a gel form, which is gentle on the skin and feels light underneath your foundation.
Other primers conceal the look of texture problems, such as fine lines and wrinkles. They contain ingredients that diffuse light and trick the eye, so the aging symptoms aren’t visible. Some of these primers are made with anti-aging ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin retain moisture, improving several aging symptoms.
Some of these cosmetic concerns aren’t terrible but could result from an underlying problem. Dullness is a good example; while there are days when your skin looks blah, dullness is a common symptom that you’re not moisturizing regularly enough. Radiance primers are made with moisturizing ingredients such as squalane, so your skin gets an extra hydration boost before makeup application.
Texture problems such as large pores are another example. I have acne scars, so primers that tackle texture are a big plus. This is important in the makeup world because no foundation or concealer can cover texture problems, no matter how full the coverage is.
Putty primers are some of the most common products perfect for textured skin; they contain ingredients such as dimethicone that smooth the skin and blur the appearance of large pores and acne scars. Just be sure you choose the best putty primer. The ones I’ve used tend to bunch off and flake on my skin, so I prefer liquid primers with the same silk texture.
How I Chose These Primers
First, I have to say that Cover FX doesn’t have many primers, and I do love all of the primers of theirs that I’ve tried, which is why I’m recommending all of them. But it’s also essential for me to recommend some alternatives in case those products work better for you.
The Best Cover FX Primers
Again, this is the whole collection of Cover FX primers. I’m not listing these primers in any particular order, and try the ones that are best for your needs and your skin type.
I recommend this primer if you struggle with skin redness and sensitive skin overall. This primer is calming and hydrating, formulated with ingredients such as chamomile that reduce skin inflammation. The primer has a cooling sensation, thanks to the cucumber extracts. It glides on easily and melts into the skin, so you don’t get a greasy finish.
This primer is great to use alone and for makeup application. The primer isn’t greasy but still creates an effective barrier between your skin and your foundation, so your makeup will last all day.
The only downside is the primer is very thin in consistency. This is great if you struggle with redness, oily, combination, and acne-prone skin. But even with the cooling and anti-inflammatory properties, I wouldn’t recommend this primer to those with dry skin.
- Cooling properties
- Good for sensitive skin
- Not a good option for dry skin types
Continuing on about dry skin, the Dewy Skin Primer is the better option for dehydrated skin that needs an extra boost.
The Dewy Skin Primer has a creamy texture and offers a luminous finish. Though the consistency may be too thick for some, this is the perfect primer if dry and flaky skin hinders your makeup application. The creamier texture will help makeup glide easier on dry skin and ingredients such as hyaluronic acid will make your skin look and feel smooth.
I recommend using a powder over your foundation or BB cream so your skin doesn’t look oily. I also don’t recommend using this primer near your eyes; the thick primer may increase oil production around your eyes, causing your eyeliner and mascara to run.
- Dewy finish
- Great for dry skin
- Can wear alone or under foundation
- It can look oily and greasy on some people
- Replacement for Illuminating Primer that was more popular
I can’t find this primer in its full size. I’m not sure if Cover FX is discontinuing this one. In case they are, I suggest checking out The Ordinary’s primer, that I’m mentioning in the next section.
If you do want to try the travel size of the Cover FX Mattifying Primer, then this is one of the best primers for oily and combination skin types. Cover FX uses Ancient African Tree Bark to mattify the skin, controlling shine and reducing the appearance of pores. This primer is also formulated with 1% salicylic acid to treat and prevent acne.
Because of the myriad of powerful ingredients, I don’t recommend this to those with sensitive skin — especially if you’re allergic to salicylic acid. The Stress Remedy Primer + Redness Relief would be a better option for you.
- Works well for mattifying skin
- Great primer for oily skin types
- Only available as a travel size
- It May be too drying for other skin types
If you have normal skin or just want a primer that will increase the longevity of your foundation, the Gripping Primer is your best option. Cover FX claims this primer has a unique texture that locks in makeup for all-day wear, even during hot and humid days.
But because of the unique texture, reviewers complained that this primer has a weird consistency. I’m also recommending a Sephora Collection primer that also has excellent gripping properties and doesn’t have a weird texture.
- Keeps makeup lasting all-day
- Clear in color
- Tacky texture
- May cause makeup to bunch and cake, especially around the nose
If you want a high-quality primer with SPF, this is the one I recommend. This is a primer that’s suitable for every skin type and color. The primer is invisible, so it also works great as a sunscreen by itself. It’s ideal for every skin color since it doesn’t leave that nasty white cast.
If you do wear this under makeup, it does a great job at increasing your foundation’s staying power.
This is one of Cover FX’s best-rated primers, but there are some downsides. First, customers complained it has a weird smell. One reviewer I’m reading even says it smells like shoes. It also has a sticky texture. My elf primer has a sticky texture which I don’t mind, but I can see why that would bother users.
Some users with sensitive skin said this primer irritated them (likely because of the smell), so I recommend looking at the Neutrogena primer that I will mention next.
- Good for all skin types
- Applies smoothly
- It lasts a long time
- A little goes a long way
- No fragrance
- It doesn’t leave a white cast
- Expensive — there are cheaper alternatives
- Some users complained the primer peeled off their skin
Alternatives to Cover FX Primers
I know what you’re thinking. So Stephanie, if you love Cover FX primers so much, then why are you recommending alternatives?
For a few reasons:
- Cover FX has the tendency to discontinue their primers
- They’re expensive
- Sephora and Ulta took Cover FX off their shelves, so you can only order Cover FX products online.
Besides, I think it’s always a good idea to recommend alternatives. For example, I saw that some reviewers complained the Cover FX primers broke out their skin.
I have sensitive skin and have never had this issue (the opposite — my skin loves Cover FX products), but I understand that this brand won’t work for everyone just because it works for me. Plus, Cover FX primers are REALLY pricey. I’m usually hesitant about dropping $40 on a primer, too.
Here are some cheaper and just-as-effective dupes for the Cover FX primers I just mentioned.
Alternative to Mattifying Primer: The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer
The Ordinary is a brand I want to try so badly. Unfortunately, the brand website and Sephora always sell out of their products. I notice this primer is in stock now, so I suggest buying it before it sells out.
As a silicone primer, this product blurs the look of pores while also mattifying the skin to control breakouts all day, which is why I recommend it as an alternative to Cover FX’s Mattifying Primer.
Some reviewers say they don’t use it as a primer but rather as a large pore treatment. Others say they prefer the way this primer works as a pore treatment over a foundation primer. I will say, I haven’t heard much about The Ordinary’s makeup products (though I’m reading their foundation is amazing) so I would try this primer as a pore treatment first.
Alternative to Invisible Primer SPF 30: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15
If you want a simple foundation primer with SPF, this is the one that I recommend. This Neutrogena primer is lightweight and glides on easily. And at the low price range, it has become a fan favorite and a drugstore staple — so much so that this primer has a 4.7-star rating on the brand’s website.
Alternative to Gripping Primer: Sephora Collection Smooth + Blur Primer
I always loved the Sephora house brand. I wanted to recommend another one of their primers and came across this one.
It’s a minimalist primer if you just want something that holds onto your foundation while blurring imperfections. The primer has a silicone texture, perfect if you need to smooth out your skin. Even with the silicone texture, the primer feels weightless on your skin and wears comfortably under the foundation. Reviewers said their face makeup lasts several hours when wearing this primer underneath.
I would be wary about using this if you have dry skin like myself. Silicone-based primers pile on my skin which makes my foundation very blotchy.
Before discussing the skincare benefits, let’s discuss its role as a foundation primer. One reviewer said their foundation lasted nine hours when wearing this primer.
This primer is formulated with ceramides, wild oat extract, and marshmallow root extract to calm sensitive skin. The primer is a gel formula that feels cool to the touch and applies easily to the skin, which also makes it a great primer for those with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin.
Since this is a gel formula, it won’t feel oily or greasy on the skin. And on the plus side, this primer doesn’t have a scent! Even though this is an ideal product for sensitive skin types, read the ingredients first. I have some sensitivities to botanicals, and I know others do.
I’m mentioning this primer as a dupe to Cover FX’s Dewy Skin Primer because of its moisturizing properties. It’s formulated with coconut water (it also has a coconut scent), avocado oil, and aloe vera to keep skin soft and smooth all day. Rather than giving your skin that dewy effect, this primer has more of a glowing effect. Even though I have dry skin, I hate how dewy makeup looks on me, so this primer seems more up my alley.
Most hydrating primers have a creamier texture that can be greasy. This one has a more water-based texture, which is better for a foundation primer. I’m still reading that this isn’t the best hydrating foundation primer, and it’s just a good one if you’re looking for an affordable dupe. Since it does have a thinner texture, this wouldn’t be a good option for those with dehydrated skin.
Question: Do primers have multiple color options?
Answer: Usually, no. Most foundation primers are colorless because they’re meant to prolong the wear of your foundation and offer skincare benefits. Color-correcting primers are an exception, but they don’t add coverage or even match your skin tone. Instead, they use pigments to counteract some of your skincare concerns; i.e., redness-control primers are often green to counter the red pigment in your skin.
You can wear a CC or BB cream as a foundation primer for prolonged wear, added coverage, and skincare benefits. Just be sure to find the shade that matches your skin tone.
Question: What is a blurring primer?
Answer: A blurring primer contains components that reduce the look of imperfections without adding more pigment to the skin. Most blurring primers are formulated for texture issues, such as large pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars.
Question: What are the most popular primers right now?
Answer: Here are the most popular primers now, in no order:
• Reyn Base Serum
• Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
• Tatcha The Silk Canvas
• Embryolisse Lait Crème Sensitive
• Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Blur Face Primer
• Clé de Peau Beauté Long-Lasting Hydrating Veil SPF 21
• Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
Best Color FX Primer Options: Bottom Line
Cover FX offers a foundation primer for nearly every user, and their primers range to target specific skin concerns as well as different cosmetic issues. This is why I’m not saying which primer is best; instead, I suggest selecting a Cover FX primer based on your skin type and needs.
All Cover FX products, including their primers, are effective. But Cover FX doesn’t offer a massive primer catalog. This brand is also no longer available at Sephora and Ulta, so shopping online is your only option. Plus, they are expensive, and that’s why some of the dupes I mentioned may be a better fit for you.