The Best Primers for Combination Skin, According to a Makeup Artist

Updated 04/15/19
Product Disclosure

Combination skin is pretty hard to understand compared to the less-complicated skincare and makeup advice given to people with dry or oily skin. My cheeks are dry and need hydration, but my T-zone is constantly oily. How am I to apply makeup properly to yield dew in all the right places and a matte complexion everywhere else? I posed that very question to a few top makeup artists in the business, and they had a lot of advice.

Below, find their recommendations for the best makeup primers for combination skin and see which one will work for you.

Veil Mineral Primer - best primers for combination skin
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer $54
Shop

"It's an oil-free primer with a silky finish that minimizes the appearance of pores, fine wrinkles, and redness. It repels water to help your makeup stay longer," says Honey makeup artist Daniela Gozlan.

Bioderma pore refiner - best primers for combination skin
Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner $19
Shop

"I love this brand, and especially this product in particular," says Gozlan. It takes the shine away, and your pores actually appear smaller. It's a must-have for combination skin as an overall primer—makeup no longer appears clogged or goopy as it evens out the texture of your skin. It creates a canvas that looks smooth all over."

Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Makeup Base - best primers for combination skin
Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Makeup Base $55
Shop

"It's a beautiful product that's great on combination skin. It adds just the right amount of radiance without adding too much sheen (that can turn combination areas into an oil slick). The rose shade is great for fair complexions while the gold adds a pretty warmth to deeper skin tones," notes Honey makeup artist Suzy Gerstein.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer - best primers for combination skin
Glossier Priming Moisturizer $25
Shop

"If we're not being too technical, this Glossier moisturizer, while not exclusively billed as a primer is great under makeup. I love using it through the T-zone and patting the rich version over drier areas that tend to be on the perimeter of the face. Both dry down to a beautiful soft matte finish," explains Gerstein.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream - best primers for combination skin
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream $28
Shop

"This isn't technically a primer, but I think its the absolute best way to prime skin before makeup. I love this cream because it's both hydrating and balancing and gives skin a beautiful, smooth finish. It's my go-to for all skin types all year round. It's really a kitchen sink moisturizer that works as a primer," says Glamsquad's director of artistry and education, Kelli Bartlett.

Lancôme La Base Pro Primer - best primers for combination skin
Lancôme La Base Pro Primer $42
Shop

"This is really amazing for people with large, oily pores, as it has the most divine silky finish. Use an Artis Elite Mirror Oval 6 Brush ($57) to smooth over the T-zone and over the center and apple of your cheeks," says Bartlett.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer - best primers for combination skin
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Mattifying Primer $37
Shop

"Primers are problem solvers, and generally I like to cocktail them. Mix Make Up For Ever's Hydrating ($37) and Mattifying ($37) primers to really tailor the finish based on the oil and moisture balance of your skin. If you are very oily or extremely dry, this concoction is best for extreme combination skin," explains Bartlett.

Women's Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer - best primers for combination skin
Sunday Riley Women's Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer $48
Shop

"I love this product for combination skin because it adds a beautiful luminosity to drier areas while balancing the oilier areas of the face," says Gerstein. "I love that it comes in a range of tones as well."

Mehron Velvet Finish Primer - best primers for combination skin
Mehron Velvet Finish Primer $25
Shop

"This is a must-have in my kit! This clear, oil-absorbing formula leaves the skin smooth, matte, and velvety. It's packed with vitamins, antioxidants, aloe vera, and emollients so it helps to leave the skin looking flawless all day while allowing the makeup stay way longer on the skin," says Gozlan.

FYI: This BeautyBlender hack will help your makeup look even better.

Related Stories