Beauty Clinic: Perfect primers for combination skin


Q. I’m looking for a good value primer. I’m 49, with a combination skin – my chin and top of nose are oily but the sides of my nose, forehead and cheeks are dry. I have uneven skin tone so I have just invested in a colour-matched, oil-free foundation.

A. Primers are fantastic in our book, giving a smooth canvas to paint your foundation on, just as an artist would prepare for a portrait.

We asked leading make-up artist Armand Beasley ( to help with your question. He comments that even with combination skin you can balance the drier areas and control the oily T-zone. He also points out that, in the late forties, skin may become dull and be prone to deeper lines as well as broken capillaries and open pores – all of which a primer can help to disguise.

A couple of things first: a little goes a long way with these primers so don't slap on lots.  If you apply too much, your foundation will ‘bobble’ and roll off as you’re trying to apply that, especially on the oily areas.  Also do leave half a minute or so before applying foundation. 

Here are Armand’s top choices for primers for combination skin:

E.l.f Brightening Primer/£7.50, has an odd but effective purple tone and a silky texture. It’s perfect for dull and tired skin while providing instant luminosity on the cheeks.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer/£26, is a clear, silky gel that helps to blur some imperfections and is good for open pores. It’s also oil-free and has peptides that help to smooth the complexion and mop up excess oil.

Inika Organic Pure Primer, £33, is the priciest of the three, but it’s a great investment as it’s packed with hyaluronic acid, which is great for lines. The soothing aloe vera and nourishing jojoba oil make this a great multi-purpose product especially for combination skin where the cheeks tend to be dry or dehydrated as it can be used instead of moisturiser if you’re in a rush.

We also asked Armand for tips for skin care for combination skin. He suggests not using facial wipes as ‘they will kick start the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.  Instead use a really efficient cleansing gel and then hydrating serum on the cheeks.  Finish with an oil-free moisturiser over the whole face.’

Finally, we just wanted to let you know about one we’ve discovered that might suit.  From Soap & Glory comes One Heck of a Blot Primer, Instant-Perfecting Power Primer, which promises all-day shine control, evened-out skin tone and reduced appearance of redness.  All that for a beauty steal price of £11.