If You Have Combination Skin, These 17 Primers Will Be Your Saving Grace



Achieving flawless-looking makeup starts with providing a smooth and even-toned base over which all other products are applied. Makeup primers are a key component of this, lessening the appearance of fine lines, pores, and wrinkles and locking in hydration where the skin needs while keeping your makeup budge-free. Like all skin types, combination skin can definitely be affected by the products you use, as harsh, irritative ingredients can result in rough patches and further damage to the skin's barrier. With this in mind, identifying the makeup primers that keep your skin looking and feeling gorgeous can be easier said than done. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about primers straight from a makeup artist and shop some of Who What Wear's favorites.

What Are Primers?

Makeup artist Morgan Leigh shares how she uses primers when working with clients who have combination skin. "Primers are used to prep your skin, giving the perfect canvas for makeup application while adding moisture and or pore blurring, which is what some of us really need," says Leigh. For normal to combination skin, Leigh specifically applies a highlighting primer all over the face before following with a blurring primer on the areas that need some extra attention. These areas include bigger pores on the cheeks and nose, where we tend to get more oily. For Leigh, Tacha's Silk Canvas Protective Primer and Charlotte TIlbury's Wonderglow Face Primer are the must-have primers in her makeup box. Keep scrolling to learn more about these products and more!

Leigh's Favorite Primers

"For smoothing, I always suggest Tatcha's Silk Canvas Protective Primer. It will help with pore coverage and fine lines, even under the eyes and, of course, to help keep your makeup in place all day! This is also a good primer when following with a dewy, buildable coverage."

Leigh's other must-have product? A brightening and highlighting primer like Charlotte Tilbury's Wonderglow Primer to provide a glowing, smooth, and even base for any makeup look. For a flawless finish, she also recommends using Kite Beauty's On the Glow Concealer.

Shop More Combo Skin–Approved Primers

The Vanish Mineral Primer is oil-free, creating a smooth, blemish-free canvas for makeup. In addition to providing broad-spectrum SPF 15 protection all day long, it minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pores.

Crafted with all skin types and tones in mind, this is a creamy, lightweight primer formulated with an antioxidant-rich blend of vitamins C and E. It instantly brightens the skin while also leaving it visibly moisturized and refreshed.

Bobbi Brown's priming moisturizer plumps, preps, and nourishes the skin before makeup application. This multivitamin primer also helps to condition the skin with a moisturizing complex of hyaluronic acid, squalane, and shea butter (a treasure trove for combination skin).

If you're in the market for a primer with a completely vegan gel formula, consider taking this best-selling foundation primer from Smashbox for a spin. Lightweight and oil-free, it protects the skin from environmental pollutants and damage in addition to filling in fine lines and pores.



This award-winning makeup primer has a 94% natural gel formula that grips makeup for up to 12 hours while also smoothing the skin and locking in hydration. As it works across all skin tones and types, you can trust the Hydro Grip Hydrating Makeup Primer will leave you with a radiant finish.

Clinique's translucent and colorless primer formula smoothes the appearance of fine lines and pores to create the perfect base for makeup application. It's lightweight and oil-free, making this one a must-have for anyone with combination skin.

The translucent Step 1 Primer Pore Minimizer by Make Up For Ever visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and pores to create a smooth texture and a natural-looking, blurred finish. One of its key ingredients, ginseng, further helps to promote and protect the skin to keep it looking healthy and radiant.

Extremely lightweight and breathable, Laura Mercier's water-based Pure Canvas Primer extends the wear of makeup with olive extract, marine hydra botanicals, and glycerin to protect the skin barrier and provide it with long-term moisture recovery.



Keep your makeup looking fresh all day with this primer from Milk Makeup. Its name says it all: It blurs the appearance of pores and combats shine for a long-wearing soft-matte finish.

This brand's silky and lightweight primer blurs pores and fine lines for smooth skin and a long-lasting photoshopped effect. Its unique silicon-based formula reflects light away for a soft, even-looking complexion. It can also be worn alone or with foundation and concealer for a flawless finish.

Here's another fast-absorbing, oil-free face primer that works well for combination skin, according to Leigh. Its gel formula absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving the surface visibly smooth and vibrant.

We love this primer because of how unbelievably hydrating it is. Using breakthrough technology in a refillable package and a formula crafted from Tightenyl, hyaluronic acid, and vegetable squalane, the ReEvolve Radiance Locking Hydrating Primer ensures a smooth, radiant base.



Best for dry, combination, and normal skin, the Step 1 Primer Hydra Booster boosts the skin's hydration and radiance for up to 24 hours while ensuring long-lasting makeup wear. Like the other aforementioned Make Up For Ever primer, this one uses ginseng as its main ingredient. 

Get flawless-looking skin with this sunscreen primer. Infused with hyaluronic acid and, of course, SPF 50, Charlotte Tilbury's primer hydrates and primes the skin for makeup application with daily-sun defense.

The Prime Time Original Pore-Minimizing Primer does just what it says it will do: lessens the appearance of pores and fine lines to blur visible imperfections and extend makeup wear thanks to its use of buchu-leaf extract to absorb sebum and shrink the size of pores and fine lines.