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20 Best Makeup Primers for Combination Skin: Review Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 11th December 2020
Best Makeup Primer for Combination Skin

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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.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

Best Makeup Primers for Combination Skin In 2021

1. 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.

2. 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 this oil-absorbing primer underneath the eye and face makeup to keep it from melting. Or enjoy the primer by itself to enhance your natural appearance and is perfect for combination skin types.

It’s water-based and lightweight and control shine, perfect for combination skin. Also, it has no fragrance or parabens.

3. 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 pores less noticeable. We feel this is the best primer for dry skin.

4. KIKO MILANO – Matte Face Base

You’ve heard the expression, “matte, not flat.” This primer is a perfect example of what that means.

This oil-free primer 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.

This oil-absorbing primer comes in a handy little tube that keeps the primer safe from contamination and is perfect for a combination skin type.

To get the most from it, allow the primer to dry thoroughly before applying makeup over the dry patches and also minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

5. 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 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 the anti-redness complex, try the companion product, which is a color-correcting base.

6. 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 and it does not feel like it is dry or chalky.

The small dose of moisture keeps the complexion dewy without making it greasy and is perfect for a combination skin type.

Like other products from this manufacturer, this hydrating face primer is vegan and cruelty-free. It doesn’t contain parabens or phthalates, either, and makes your skin feel rejuvenated.

7. 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 and it goes a long way. We feel this is the best primer for dry skin and we feel this primer is the best overall.

Moreover, it’s vegan and free of parabens and phthalates and will leave your skin looking rejuvenated.

8. 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 dry patches, and blend and will make your smooth skin feel rejuvenated.

9. 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 hydrating 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 and will leave your skin looking rejuvenated.

10. NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Studio Perfect Primer

NYX’s popular hydrating 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? It also minimizes the appearance of pores.

Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics and skin-care products. Unfortunately, they can disrupt hormones, which can affect fertility and possibly increase cancer risk. The risk grows if you use multiple products with parabens, especially those that stay on the skin like makeup.

11. DHC Velvet Skin Coat

How about a primer used by professional makeup artists? The Velvet Skin Coat is trusted by users and makeup artists 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. This oil-absorbing primer also minimizes the appearance of pores and will make your skin look fresh.

12. Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer

Elizabeth Mott is a brand that blends the best of Korean skin-care and American ingenuity. They make a primer that is both waterproof and lightweight.

This good primer minimizes pores and mattifies. But it still manages to keep the skin hydrated, which makes it ideal for combination skin and will make your skin look fresh without feeling dry or chalky.

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.

13. 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 gives a matte finish 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.

14. 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 a 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 shining under control.

Furthermore, it’s free of oil, fragrances, parabens, and talc.

15. 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.

This mattifying primer comes out white but turns transparent as it sets. You’ll hardly know you’re wearing these mattifying primers except for the fact that your pores won’t be as noticeable. It also keeps the skin fresh and clean for hours.

16. 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. We feel these are the best primers out there.

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.

17. Covergirl Matte Ambition, Skin Primer SPF 20

It may be one of the least expensive primers, but users say its mattifying power is impressive.

This mattifying primer was created for all skin types, and that’s good news. It means that it shouldn’t turn your cheeks into a desert and gives a matte finish.

We feel these are the best primers out there. These face primers are long-lasting and minimizes the appearance of pores.

It also provides sunscreen, which is handy if you’re doing a no-makeup day, and your priming moisturizer has no SPF.

18. 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.

19. 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, this makeup artist created better makeup that wouldn’t cause blemishes or irritate the skin.

This priming moisturizer 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. These face primers are long-lasting and are suitable for acne-prone skin texture.

You can enjoy the primer under either powder foundation or liquid, it doesn’t matter. We feel these are the best primers out there.

20. 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.

This priming moisturizer 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.

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.

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. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and algae provide a light dose of moisture.

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 the priming moisturizer 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.


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,

2. https://www.ewg.org/californiacosmetics/parabens by Tasha Stoiber, PhD,

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