The Best Primers For Combination Skin – 2018 Reviews & Top Picks

To continue with our vision to help you support your beauty, we have come up with this list of the best primers for combination skin. The products that made it to this list were carefully selected based on their ability to blur enlarged pores while making your skin look soft and smooth. We believe these products will give your combination skin a beautiful glow without dryness or oiliness.

Having combination skin is like being the child of battling divorced parents - you can’t please one without offending the other.

Caring for this skin type is a constant balancing act, as combination skin is having oily skin in some areas of your face and dry patches in other parts.

Finding the right products that would suit combination skin is difficult, as most skin care products and cosmetics are geared towards normal, oily, and dry skin.

Pick the ones that suit your oily skin, and you might as well get ready to do battle with flakes on your cheeks. But if you choose products intended for dry skin, your t-zone will resemble an oil slick in no time at all.

The good thing is that there are makeup primers on the market that are suited for combination skin, and these products may help balance this finicky skin type while prepping it for makeup.

On that note, here’s our complete list of the best face primer for combination skin.

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At First Glance: Our Top Picks For The Best Primer for Combination Skin

OUR TOP #1 PICK - The top spot on our list of the best makeup primer for combination skin belongs to L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base. This primer gives skin a beautiful, semi-matte finish that’s never oily or dry.

OUR TOP #2 PICK - Next on this roundup is DHC Velvet Skin Coat. A staple of makeup artists around the world, this product makes skin velvety soft while prepping it for your favorite foundation.

OUR TOP #3 PICK - Third on this list is Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer. This is the best drugstore primer for combination skin as it's cheap but very effective in controlling oil while not drying out your skin.

OUR TOP #4 PICK - If you’re a fan of organic makeup, then you’ll like our fourth pick. Bellezza Secreto Premium Makeup Primer is enriched with vitamins for flawless skin. Moreover, it’s paraben- and fragrance-free, which makes it the best primer for sensitive combination skin.

OUR TOP #5 PICK - Last but not the least is Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer. This smooths and brightens dull skin while keeping oil at bay.

How To Tell If You Have Combination Skin

How do you know if you have combo skin? There are several signs to look out for to see if you have this skin type.

One of the easiest ways to find out for sure is to wash your face and observe your skin after 30 minutes. Don’t apply any other product to your face to see how it reacts after cleansing.

If your T-zone (nose, chin, and forehead) appear greasy, but your cheeks remain matte and feel as though they need a good slathering of moisturizer, then you have combination skin (source).

If you have dandruff, this may also be a sign that you have this skin type.

Though this isn’t a sure indicator, studies show that it’s very common for women with combination skin to have dry, flaky patches on their scalp.

Another way to tell if you have combination skin is to see how your T-zone reacts to the weather.

If the area stays matte during the cold months, but turn greasy in hot weather, then it’s very likely that you have combination skin.

Once you’ve confirmed that you have this skin type, it’s important to search for products that won’t aggravate your oily T-zone and won’t make the dry patches on your skin worse.

You can also buy separate products to address this skin condition, but if you’re looking to save time and money, then do the research and see what’s good out there for your combination skin.

How to Care for Your Combo Skin

Caring for combination skin may be a little trickier than if you had oily or dry skin, but with the right products and patience, you can get skin that looks healthy and balanced.

Below are several steps you can follow to take good care of your combo skin (source).

First, wash your face with a mild cleanser. It can be lotion or gel-based, and it should leave your skin clean without stripping it of moisture.

Follow with a toner that soothes dry skin while minimizing the oiliness of your T-zone.

Apply a moisturizer in a gel or serum form to hydrate skin without making your face look as though you dipped it in Crisco.

Wear sunscreen during the daytime to avoid sun damage and premature aging.

Lastly, use a primer that can be worn alone or under makeup to improve the overall look and texture of your skin.

How to Find a Good Drugstore Primer for Combination Skin

There are a ton of makeup primers on the market, and finding the right primer for your combination skin can be daunting.

To be honest, you may feel a bit like Goldilocks as you try to find the primer that’s just right.

By following these tips, you may be able to find a product that will hydrate the dry skin patches on your face while controlling oil on your greasy T-zone.

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    Avoid anything that says “hydrating” on it. These primers may be too rich for oily skin, and it’s almost a guarantee that your nose, chin, and forehead will be shiny minutes after you apply hydrating or moisturizing primers.
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    A primer with the word “matte” on the label will be too drying for combination skin. This will only work for oily skin, so using this on the dry areas of your skin will result to flakes or clumpy makeup.
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    Smoothing or blurring primers may be your best bet. These products blur imperfections while controlling oil and hydrating skin at the same time.

The Best Primers for Combination Skin and Large Pores

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base

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Our Rating


This lightweight primer won our hearts for its ability to make skin look perfect without dryness or oiliness.

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base comes in a small pot, and it contains cyclohexasiloxane, an ingredient that gives cosmetics a smooth and silky feeling.

It also acts as a water repellent by forming a protective barrier on the skin, making this primer sweat-proof.

Dimethicone and dimethicone crosspolymer are both silicones, and these elements add moisture to the skin and help to seal it in so that skin stays hydrated.

The foundation primer has an airy, whipped feel to it, and we had to use our little finger to get it out of the pot.

If you don’t like the idea of product contamination, better get a small spatula to scoop this primer out of its jar.

We love how it made our skin look super smooth that we chose to wear it without foundation or facial powder.

Our cheeks looked hydrated, while our T-zone looked ever-so-slightly-dewy with this primer.

We only wish there was more of the product as the tiny jar contained only half an ounce of primer in it.

What We Like

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    Makes skin look smooth and hydrated
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    Keeps combination skin moisturized yet oil-free

What We Don't Like

  • Very little product in the jar

DHC Velvet Skin Coat

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Our Rating


The second pick on our top five list of the best primers for combination skin wins points for its powdery gel texture that seems to do it all.

DHC Velvet Skin Coat is a favorite of makeup artists all over the world for many reasons. Not only does this product prime your skin for makeup, but it also blurs lines and minimizes pores.

Much like our top pick, this primer also contains dimethicone, as well as cyclopentasiloxane, a soft silicone that gives skin a silky feel.

This ingredient also acts as a mild water repellent as it forms a protective barrier on the skin. It can also fill in fine lines and wrinkles, that’s why cyclopentasiloxane is a staple ingredient in many primers.

For this reason, we believe that this product will also work for you if you have combination mature skin.

However, your skin shows many signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, we recommend you looking for a primer for mature skin instead for more effective results.

Olive fruit oil is another main ingredient of this product. It has antioxidant properties and its rich in vitamin E that keeps skin healthy.

This primer comes in a small tube, and there’s only about half an ounce of product in it. We used this on our face and neck before applying foundation, and it made our makeup stay put.

It also blurred our fine lines, and even our acne scars were not as noticeable as before.

What We Like

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    May help makeup to stay on longer
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    Blurs fine lines and minor skin imperfections

What We Don't Like

  • Not enough product in the tube

Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

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Our Rating


The next product made it to our list for its ability to blur enlarged pores while making skin look soft and smooth. We think product is the best primer for oily combination skin.

Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer contains dimethicone and dimethicone crosspolymer, and both prevent moisture loss by forming a hydrating barrier on the skin.

Apart from these two silicones, it also contains bitter cherry extract, which may lighten skin and improve dark spots.

We used it before to applying our favorite BB cream, and we’re happy about the way that this primer blurred our pores and made our skin look smooth. However, if you are fighting large pores, you may want to check out these primers instead.

However, our T-zone became shiny after five hours, so we had to blot it away with some blotting sheets to make sure that we didn’t look too greasy.

We feel that this product primes the skin for makeup more than it controls oil, so carry some blotting papers or face powder with you if you have an oily T-zone.

In case you have oily skin and want a better control of excessive oil, you can click here for our complete list of the best cheap primers for oily skin.

What We Like

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    Blurs pores
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    Makes skin look smooth

What We Don't Like

  • May not control excessive oil

Bellezza Secreto Premium Makeup Primer

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Our Rating


For a primer that soothes and nourishes the skin, check out our fourth pick - Bellezza Secreto Premium Makeup Primer.

Apart from cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone, this product is fortified with vitamins A, C, and E, and this primer may give you flawless, smooth, and radiant skin without harmful parabens.

This product is fragrance-free, oil-free, and more importantly, cruelty-free, making it the best primer for combination sensitive skin.

Vitamin A keeps skin firm and healthy, while vitamin C has antioxidant properties that strengthen skin.

Meanwhile, vitamin E is a popular anti-aging ingredient that also keeps the skin firm and smooth.

This primer started out as a gel but dried down to a powdery finish once we applied it on our faces. It made our makeup look flawless, and it didn’t make our T-zone oily.

The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t blur fine lines as well as the other primers on this list.

What We Like

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    Makes makeup look flawless
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    May control oil

What We Don't Like

  • May not blur fine lines and other skin imperfections

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

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Our Rating


Last but not the least on our roundup is Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Primer which contains vitamins and plant extracts to make dull skin look brighter, fresher, and younger.

This primer does contain the usual dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane as most primers do, however, it also has mulberry extract, which soothes irritated skin.

This ingredient may also help to tighten skin as it has astringent properties.

Apart from vitamins A and C, this primer also has a powerful dose of retinol in it, which is a staple ingredient in many anti-aging skin care products.

Retinol can unclog pores, reduce acne breakouts, and it even boosts collagen to improve the look of fine lines. So we believe this product is the best primer for mature combination skin.

This primer has a beige color, and it has a slight powdery feeling on our skin. It controlled the oil on our T-zone and even blurred our fine lines.

Our foundation glided smoothly on our skin after we applied this primer, and our makeup looked fresh for hours.

What We Like

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    Blurs fine lines
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    May control excess oil

What We Don't Like

  • May cause slight redness and irritation due to the presence of retinol

The Bottom Line

For its ability to give skin a radiant glow without a hint of oiliness or dryness, our top pick in this roundup of the best primer for combination skin is L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base.

We love how it gives our skin a smooth and silky feeling, and it made our skin look good even when worn alone.

This primer also made our makeup stay put, and it did not make our T-zone oily, nor did it cause the dry patches on our cheeks to flake.

This primer, along with the other products on this list, may help give your combination skin the coverage and care that it deserves.