The Best Primers for Combination Skin, According to Makeup Artists


Combination skin is pretty hard to understand compared to the less-complicated skincare and makeup advice given to people with dry or oily skin. Your cheeks are dehydrated but your T-zone is continuously oily. Naturally, we were curious about how to apply makeup properly to look dewy in all the right places and a matte complexion everywhere else. So, we posed that very question to some of the top makeup artists in the business, and they had a lot of sage advice to share. Ahead, 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 $54.00

"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 makeup artist Daniela Gozlan. The primer also helps your foundation glide on with ease and has SPF 15, making it an especially helpful beauty must-have for the summer season.

Bioderma pore refiner - best primers for combination skin
Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner $20.00

"I love this brand, and especially this product in particular. It takes the shine away, and your pores actually appear smaller," says Gozlan. "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."

Glossier Priming Moisturizer - best primers for combination skin
Glossier Priming Moisturizer $22.00

"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 Suzy Gerstein, makeup artist to actress Christine Taylor.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream - best primers for combination skin
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream $32.00

"This isn't technically a primer, but I think it's 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 makeup artist Kelli Bartlett.

Lancôme La Base Pro Primer - best primers for combination skin
Lancôme La Base Pro Primer $42.00

"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 ($60) 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 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer $37.00

"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. This concoction is best for extreme combination skin," explains Bartlett.

Mehron Velvet Finish
Mehron Velvet Finish Primer $18.00

"This is a must-have in my kit! This clear, oil-absorbing formula leaves the skin smooth, matte, and velvety," says Gozlan. "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,"

FYI: This BeautyBlender hack will help your makeup (and skin) look even better.

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