A solid primer can really set the stage for the rest of your makeup routine – it acts as a glue to keep your foundation in place while blending in your other products.
What used to be a one-type-fits-all product has evolved into an essential part of any beauty routine, with a ton of options for all skin types. Whether you need some oil-control or extra hydration, it primes your skin for the makeup that is to come.
Primers also impact the texture of your skin. For example, silicone-based primers really fill in your pores so that your foundation sits on top of the skin – this can leave your skin feeling super silky smooth (and give a great tacky base for the rest of your makeup).
What can complicate things is when you have combination skin that doesn’t want to cooperate. Combination skin is generally where your face is oily in some parts and dry in others, and pores generally look enlarged (this can vary from person to person). A great primer can help balance out the skin before makeup, but not all primers are made the same.
While some people opt to put different primers on different parts of their face, you really shouldn’t need more than one. Why spend the extra money when there are tons of fantastic options that do it all? There are plenty of primers out there that will provide the moisture you need, where you need it without upping the oil factor on places like your t-zone.
If you are one of those not-so-lucky people who have combination skin, there is no need to fret. We’ve got you covered with a list of the best primers for combination skin. Scroll on to find out more!
Best Primers for Combination Skin Reviewed
1. Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer
Dermalogica was founded by a skin therapist, and the company’s goal is to create products that improve skin health. While on the pricier side, it’s absolutely worth it for all the benefits your skin will reap.
This gluten-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan formula will give you the base you need to put your best face forward. And it works double-duty to both hydrates your dry spots and mattifies any oil slicks that like to layer up on your forehead and nose.
It’s a powerful primer that blurs fine lines and pores, setting your skin up for a strong base. Its lightweight, non-greasy formula provides very fine coverage; you can sleep in and skip foundation for a day.
2. First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer
While its name is a mouthful, there is definitely no confusion as to what this primer does. This product is definitely a great pick for combination skin because of the ingredients that are (and aren’t) in it.
The delicious combination of the coconut water, quinoa protein, and other minerals hydrate the dry parts of your skin, and there is absolutely no oil in this primer so you don’t have to worry about becoming too shiny in your t-zone.
The cherry on top? This primer is good for sensitive skin – it’s free of talc, alcohol, parabens, and artificial colors and fragrance, so there’s virtually no way your skin will get irritated.
For those just dipping their skin into the makeup world, First Aid Beauty does a great job of introducing a good-for-you primer at a good-for-you price.
3. Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer
Smashbox is a veteran when it comes to primers. This makeup favorite was modified to provide color correcting for those of us who have a little extra redness going on (it’s the wintertime for me).
In addition to providing a fantastic base for foundation, it provides a solution for redness, uneven skin tone, and dullness – basically, your skin will look gorgeous well before applying foundation. As a bonus, this vegan formula is cruelty-, paraben- and fragrance-free. It blends best with the warmth of clean fingertips, though a damp makeup sponge can also do the trick.
The cult following and fantastic reviews speak for themselves – there’s no question this is an excellent choice for those with combination skin. Still on the fence? Check out any review and you won’t be disappointed.
4. Maybelline Master Prime
Maybelline is a beauty titan, and this line of primers truly hold their own. While they’re all great for combination skin, you can pick and choose between the five primers to find your perfect match.
Each primer has a water-soluble base (so you get that hydration), but they still manage to be nongreasy and blur your imperfections to oblivion. These primers provide a luminous touch to your look and help keep your makeup in place throughout the day.
With five different options, you can pick and choose specifically for your skins’ additional needs. Whether you want some extra oil control, color correcting any redness, or protect against those harmful sun rays there is definitely a lightweight primer for you in this line.
Even if you’re unsure if a primer is suitable for your routine, at this price point, Maybelline made it easy to give it a try.
5. Bellezza Secreto Premium Makeup Primer
It is never too early to be concerned with anti-aging, which is why we included this lesser-known primer by Bellezza Secreto. It’s loaded with all the right ingredients, such as vitamins A and E, and can even be used as a moisturizer on days where you don’t wear makeup.
Not only does it visually help your skin, but this organic primer is also free of grease, parabens, and fragrance.
But you’re here looking for a primer, and this definitely doesn’t disappoint. This gel-consistency primer is waterproof and can last up to 12 hours long while reducing the appearance of fine lines, pores, acne, wrinkles, and redness.
One of our favorite parts? It’s made right here in the USA, so you can look and feel good about this primer.
6. Estee Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer
Estee Lauder is a well-known luxury brand, but who doesn’t deserve to be spoiled every once in a while? This primer will definitely spoil your skin, and give a bright radiance to your look. Bonus? It helps to minimize the appearance of pores through the use of soft-reflection optics.
Your skin will thank you with the vitamin E and shea butter, each known for their nourishing and hydrating qualities. Every makeup lover needs a good illuminating, glowing primer and this one hits the spot with all the right ingredients to act as a great base for any foundation.
If you’re looking for a hint of luxury to add to your routine, this primer is one of the best products to splurge on because of how well it sets your face for the day. Heck, why not apply it while drinking some champagne?
7. Neutrogena Matte Primer + Serum
We know – a primer in the form of a serum sounds a little weird, but let us explain. Neutrogena has been one of the top companies for affordable skincare, and this primer is no exception.
It’s a sort of hybrid between makeup and skincare; it’s super nourishing for the skin but also mattifying for any oily areas.
The rice protein helps absorb the excess oils in your skin to provide a matte base before putting on any foundation. Despite its nourishing benefits, this primer serum is non-greasy and mattifies and blurs the appearance of pores.
And because it’s a serum, you know that a little goes a long way meaning you don’t need to use as much product, win! Despite its lower price tag, it has a sleek component that you’ll want to put on display. It’ll look good both on and off your face!
8. Clinique Super Primer
Clinique is a heavy hitter in the skincare world, and this primer is a great example of their extensive knowledge of the beauty world. This primer is a universal primer, meaning it can work well for any skin type – hello gift idea!
Does your skin run a little red and need some color correcting? Clinique popped out another version of this super primer just for you.
Regardless of your skin needs and concerns, this is a great long-lasting primer that will ensure your makeup stays locked in for whatever day you have ahead of you. While Clinique is better known for its bombastic skincare products, they’ve really put their best foot forward with this super primer.
9. Rimmel Stay Matte Makeup Primer
Don’t let the ‘matte’ in this name fool you – this is a great primer for oil control without drying out the skin. This combination-skin primer is made with a super lightweight, oil-free formula that won’t feel greasy making it great for everyday use. It has a velvety feel to it that acts as a perfect base for any foundation.
This primer boasts up to 8 hours of shine control, leaving you as fresh looking at the end of the day as you did when you first applied your makeup. Not to mention that it minimizes the look of those pesky pores without worrying about clogging them! A very budget-friendly option, this isn’t one to skip over.
10. Touch In Sol No Pore Blem Primer
What list of primers for combination skin would be complete without a touch of K-Beauty? With unique ingredients like green tea extract and soluble collagen, you know you’re in for a treat from this Japanese fave.
An added bonus is that it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic so you don’t have to worry if you have sensitive skin.
This lightweight, silky primer has a cute pinkish tint but doesn’t add to any redness you may have. It checks off all the boxes that a great primer should: reduces the look of wrinkles, pores, and uneven skin and works marvelously to prime the face for your day to come – whether or not that includes makeup.
Whether you’re a K-Beaty pro or just dipping your toes in for the first time, this primer is a makeup lovers dream.
11. e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer
If acne and blemishes are one of your main concerns, we haven’t forgotten about you – don’t worry! This little green gem packs an acne-fighting punch with their combination of Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree.
Because it has such a silky feel to it, you’ll forget it’s even helping your skin because you’ll look and feel great. The bonus ingredient of Vitamin E will help soothe and nourish your skin from all the acne-fighting ingredients.
One of our favorite parts is that it’s 100% cruelty-free and vegan, which doesn’t impact its longevity. The green hue blends out seamlessly with your skin, leaving a lovely matte finish to start off your daily routine. If you dig the product but don’t have acne, there are a ton of other primer options by e.l.f., all at their criminally low prices.
Selecting The Primer for Combination Skin
Clearly there’s a lot of choices out there when it comes to the primers. It can be a little overwhelming when you have so many options, which is why a list like ours is great because it really narrows it down for you.
Now you might be asking yourself, what should I be looking for? The honest answer is that it’s completely up to you. The products we put on our faces should be as unique and customized as we are.
Generally, skin type is the first thing you should consider, but since this is a list of the primers for combination skin, that’s already dealt with. Next, we think, is the budget. You want to make sure it’s a product you can actually afford.
Next, are you looking for a more matte or dewy finish? All of these primers do one or the other really well while taming the difficulties of combo-skin so you don’t have to choose utility over your look. Pick your ‘look’ and commit.
Then there is the ‘extra’ stuff that you’ll want to consider. If, after you’ve answered the previous questions, you still have a couple of options, think of these ‘extra’ stuff as the tie-breaker. Not all primers have the bonus ingredients that minimize fine lines, color correct, or have a high sun protection factor.
If a product being vegan, hypoallergenic, or cruelty-free is important to you then this can eliminate one or more primers in your search. Keep asking yourself what you find the most important until you’ve narrowed it down to one primer, and voila!
A primer is an important first step to your makeup routine. It should be as perfect as the look you’re trying to create. If you’re tired of dry patches flaking your foundation, or an oily sheen peeping through by noon then you’re not alone. This list of the best primers for combination skin is the one and only stop you’ll need to find the perfect base for you.
Don’t forget to ask yourself the important questions, then take a gander at what we’ve compiled. With the primers we’ve selected, you will be sure to put your best face forward.