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How happy are you with the way your makeup looks?
Is your face getting shiny by noon and your foundation melting?
Then you could benefit from a primer.
But which are the best makeup primers for combination skin?
After all, it’s tricky. Can a primer compensate for the oily T-zone without dehydrating the cheeks?
Happily, yes, it can.
- How to choose the best makeup primer
- Top Makeup Primer for Combination Skin
- Julep Blank Canvas Makeup Base Primer
- Neutrogena Shine Control Matte Booster Face Primer
- Dermablend Poresaver Matte Makeup Primer
- KIKO MILANO – Matte Face Base
- TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer
- e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer
- e.l.f. Mineral-Infused Face Primer
- Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer
- Clinique Super Universal Face Primer
- NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Studio Perfect Primer
- DHC Velvet Skin Coat
- Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer
- Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
- Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer
- L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro Matte-Lock Primer
- Catrice | Prime & Fine Illuminating Dewy Glow Spray
- Covergirl Matte Ambition, Skin Primer SPF 20
- L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer
- LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer
- boscia Porefecting White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer
How to choose the best makeup primer
Makeup primers offer a bewildering array of benefits that vary from brand to brand.
You can find ones that mattify, blur pores, and fade fine lines. They brighten skin tone and reduce redness.
Some promise to extend makeup wear, and that’s true, to a point. Most often, a primer will simply keep the foundation from separating or melting as fast. It creates a protective layer on top of the skin to block oil from affecting the makeup (1).
As you shop, keep in mind what’s most important to you. Besides eliminating the afternoon oil slick, think about these questions.
Are you concerned about acne? Do you wish to get rid of redness?
There are primers with a light tint or light-reflecting particles to perfect the complexion.
What about anti-aging benefits or sunscreen?
Don’t worry too much about price as you only need a little primer each time you apply it. It doesn’t run out as fast as a foundation. Plus, you don’t need anything more than clean fingers to apply it.
Give it a test run on your whole face. If it’s too drying for your cheeks, put it on just your nose, chin, and forehead. It never has to go to waste.
Top Makeup Primer for Combination Skin
You’ll see the best primers in the reviews below.
Julep Blank Canvas Makeup Base Primer
A pea-sized amount of this primer soaks up excess oil to keep your face fresh and velvety soft all day.
It mattifies without over-drying the rest of your complexion. Then, you have a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup.
The primer has long-term benefits, too. It contains over eighteen plant extracts that rejuvenate stressed skin and brighten tone.
Neutrogena Shine Control Matte Booster Face Primer
One of the best primers for sensitive skin is made by Neutrogena. That’s not surprising as they are a brand frequently recommended by dermatologists.
Their Shine Control Primer uses rice protein to absorb sebum to maintain a matte finish.
Wear it underneath eye and face makeup to keep it from melting. Or enjoy the primer by itself to enhance your natural appearance.
It’s water-based and lightweight, perfect for combination skin. Also, it has no fragrance or parabens.
Dermablend Poresaver Matte Makeup Primer
What if you have combination skin and large pores? Then try Dermablend’s Poresaver. It’s a soothing gel that keeps oily skin matte and silky smooth.
You can get 24-hour makeup wear time if you use it in combination with Dermablend’s foundation and setting powder.
The silicone-based formula is kind to sensitive skin with only six ingredients. Plus, it doesn’t dehydrate dry cheeks.
Even when used by itself, 96% of users surveyed said that the primer makes large pores less noticeable.
KIKO MILANO – Matte Face Base
You’ve heard the expression, “matte, not flat.” This primer is a perfect example of what that means.
It leaves the skin with a natural texture and without apparent blemishes. It absorbs oil with light-reflecting powder. As a result, it has a soft-focus effect to hide pores.
It comes in a handy little tube that keeps the primer safe from contamination.
To get the most from it, allow the primer to dry thoroughly before applying makeup over the top.
TOUCH IN SOL No Pore Blem Primer
This Japanese-made primer has a catchy name and an excellent reputation.
It offers several attractive benefits.
First, it enhances the complexion for a no-makeup day. On the other hand, it also preps the skin for flawless application of makeup on top.
It disguises large pores, wrinkles, and discoloration. Over time, it improves the skin’s health with soluble collagen and green tea.
At the same time, it reduces oiliness with something described as “skin sebum catch powder.”
If you’re interested in diminishing redness, try the companion product, which is a correcting base.
e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer
e.l.f makes one of the best primers for over 40. It won a best of beauty award a few years back.
Two things make it ideal for mature skin. One is that it’s enriched with antioxidants to counteract premature aging.
And second, it softens the look of wrinkles and minimizes large pores.
The small dose of moisture keeps the complexion dewy without making it greasy.
Like other products from this manufacturer, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. It doesn’t contain parabens or phthalates, either.
e.l.f. Mineral-Infused Face Primer
This e.l.f primer differs from the one above in that it’s specifically for combination and oily skin. It makes the complexion velvety soft, preparing it for long-wear makeup.
Just a little bit of the silicone-based formula will cover an entire face.
Moreover, it’s vegan and free of parabens and phthalates.
Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer
Here’s a primer suitable for all skin tones as it’s completely translucent.
Pat on a thin layer and allow it to dry. The oil-free formula mattifies the skin without making it look dry.
To keep pores hidden for longer, apply another thin layer over the top of makeup, and blend.
Clinique Super Universal Face Primer
If you have sensitive skin, chances are that Clinique is one of your favorite brands. Their products are fragrance-free and allergy-tested.
They designed this primer to blur pores and build the perfect canvas for flawless makeup application. It has a light tint that lessens redness and other types of discoloration like melasma.
Moreover, it’s oil-free and actively reduces shine throughout the day.
Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and algae provide a light dose of moisture while grape extract and caffeine firm texture to minimize lines.
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Studio Perfect Primer
NYX’s popular primer has sunscreen in it. You can also get it in either lavender or green versions to correct discoloration.
It smooths the skin and mattifies the complexion. It’s the ideal base if you use the same brand of foundation.
The only black mark against it is that it contains parabens. Why does that matter?
Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics and skincare products. Unfortunately, they can disrupt hormones, which can affect fertility and possibly increase cancer risk (2). The risk grows if you use multiple products with parabens, especially those that stay on the skin like makeup.
DHC Velvet Skin Coat
How about a primer used by professional makeup artists? The Velvet Skin Coat is trusted by users worldwide.
It doesn’t require any drying time. As soon as you put it on, your skin feels like silk. It’s ready instantly for eyeshadow and foundation.
Furthermore, you can apply it to your neck and hands to improve their appearance or prepare them for body makeup.
It’s a silicone-based formula with silica to absorb excess oil.
Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer
Elizabeth Mott is a brand that blends the best of Korean skincare and American ingenuity. They make a primer that is both waterproof and lightweight.
It minimizes pores and mattifies. But it still manages to keep the skin hydrated, which makes it ideal for combination skin.
Happily, it’s certified cruelty-free and comes with a money-back guarantee. If you are interested in Korean primers, check out our top picks here.
Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
Rimmel makes the most popular drugstore primer for combination skin. It also performs well on oily skin.
Once you apply it, it keeps your complexion velvety soft and matte for up to 8 hours. That’s true whether you wear it underneath makeup or alone.
Without clogging pores, it keeps sebum making your face shiny.
I checked the label and was pleased that it has no perfume or parabens. In fact, the Environmental Working Group rates it a 2 as it contains only skin-safe ingredients.
Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer
If you’re looking for the best tinted primer, you may find it beneficial to use a BB cream instead. I recently reviewed the best BB creams for oily skin, and most of those would be appropriate.
On the other hand, if you want color-correction and a more radiant complexion, try a product like this.
Revlon’s Perfecting Primer is slightly pink. It brightens tone and gives the skin a healthy glow. Yet, it also keeps shine under control.
Furthermore, it’s free of oil, fragrances, parabens, and talc.
L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro Matte-Lock Primer
Maximize the mattifying effects of the Infallible foundation when you use this primer underneath. L’Oreal designed it to be non-comedogenic.
It comes out white but turns transparent as it sets. You’ll hardly know you’re wearing it except for the fact that your pores won’t be as noticeable. It also keeps the skin fresh and clean for hours.
Catrice | Prime & Fine Illuminating Dewy Glow Spray
Save space in the makeup bag when you use this product as a primer and fixing spray. It’s also pleasant for refreshing the face even if you’re not wearing makeup.
It’s a clear-colored liquid that leaves a subtle sheen on the skin. Be sure to shake it before you use it.
Besides all the rave reviews, there are other appealing advantages. For example, it’s vegan and free of parabens and alcohol. Plus, it dries quickly for a liquid primer.
Covergirl Matte Ambition, Skin Primer SPF 20
It may be one of the least expensive primers, but users say its mattifying power is impressive.
It was created for all skin types, and that’s good news. It means that it shouldn’t turn your cheeks into a desert.
It also provides sunscreen, which is handy if you’re doing a no-makeup day, and your moisturizer has no SPF.
L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer
Sometimes, your primer might cause your foundation to look uneven. This occasionally happens when you have a silicone-based product underneath water-based makeup. But users of this primer say that it behaves even if they aren’t using L’Oreal foundation.
It’s a product you can wear it by itself to enhance your complexion. It makes large pores, fine lines, and imperfections less visible.
Underneath makeup, it helps reduce shine for hours. The skin stays looking natural, not greasy.
LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer
LORAC is a company created by professional makeup artist Carol Shaw. Too many of her celebrity clients were dealing with acne on the set. Therefore, she created better makeup that wouldn’t cause blemishes or irritate the skin.
This primer is free of oils, fragrances, and parabens. Just as important, it has antioxidants and salicylic acid.
While the antioxidants prevent premature aging, the salicylic acid keeps the pores clear.
You can enjoy the primer under either powder foundation or liquid, it doesn’t matter.
boscia Porefecting White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer
Here’s a primer with two natural remedies for oily skin: charcoal and witch hazel. While the charcoal soaks up oil, witch hazel tightens the pores and balances moisture. It also lessens inflammation.
But that’s not all there is to this natural primer for combination skin.
It also has artichoke leaf extract. This ingredient makes the skin more elastic. As a result, it cuts down on blackheads as the pores don’t stretch and collect debris.
Users say that it’s not as mattifying as some primers they’ve tried, but it’s very kind to the skin.
If you’ve never tried makeup primer, you’ll be amazed at the problems it solves for you.
Primer is a necessity, especially for combination skin.
It keeps makeup from melting off the T-zone while preventing the cheeks from looking flaky and dehydrated.
Many primers also disguise pores and fine lines. With a primer underneath your foundation, your makeup will look flawless.
I hope you found the perfect primer for your complexion today. Be sure to leave a comment below to tell us about your discovery.
1. https://www.allure.com/story/how-to-use-makeup-primer by Meirav Devash, Maddie Aberman, Elizabeth Siegel, And Kaleigh Fasanella, published February 6, 2019, accessed July 22, 2020
2. https://www.ewg.org/californiacosmetics/parabens by Tasha Stoiber, PhD, published April 9, 2019, accessed July 22, 2020