Since combination skin exists on a spectrum, there is no one way to do makeup for combination skin – instead, it’s all about learning what the different options are, and then play around with them until you find what’s right for you. In this article, we explain exactly what you should know when picking different makeup products for combination skin, and even cover exactly how to use them with a thorough application guide.
We also recommend a few must-have makeup products for combination skin that will work seamlessly with your foundation to ensure your makeup looks exactly how you want it to all day long. To finish things off, there are a few beauty tips and tricks to help your combination skin look as balanced as possible.
In this article:
- How to Choose the Right Makeup for Combination Skin
- How to Apply Foundation When You Have Combination Skin
- Other Balancing Makeup Tips for Combination Skin
- 9 Best Makeup Products for Combination Skin
How to Choose the Right Makeup for Combination Skin
Combination skin exists on a spectrum, so it can be really hard to figure out hard and fast rules for how to choose the right makeup for combination skin. Take into account the unique behaviors of your skin, and then choosing products will become easier. Be aware that what might work beautifully for one person may not work for you, and vice versa.
Makeup Primer for Combination Skin
You may find it hard to believe but makeup primers that do it all exist! When you have balanced or dry combination skin, you should look for an all-over primer that will fill in both pores and fine lines but without overly mattifying the skin. You can also use a glow-enhancing primer, but it’s best to keep it localized to the high points of the face where you would also apply a highlighter.
If your combination skin gets very oily in certain areas, then you can definitely choose a mattifying primer, and then only apply it to the parts of the face that get oily or it will emphasize flakiness elsewhere.
Foundation for Combination Skin
Make sure to avoid overly mattifying or overly hydrating foundations, giving your preference to foundations with a natural, satin, or demi-matte finish. You can also combine two foundations, using a matte option on the oily parts, like the T-zone, and a moisturizing one on the dry parts of your face.
Concealer for Combination Skin
Since concealers are meant to be applied locally, the concealer you choose totally depends on what you need to conceal and on which part of your face. Concealers for dry areas of the skin like the under eyes should be creamier and more hydrating, while concealers meant to cover blemishes or discoloration in the oilier areas of your skin should be a little more matte and quick-setting.
You can also choose a middle-of-the-road, natural finish concealer if you’d like to have something you can use all over the face.
Powder for Combination Skin
Finding the right powder can be tricky when you have combination skin. You need a powder that will set your makeup well and control oils on the oily parts of your face without sucking all of the moisture out of the dry parts of your face.
One easy solution is to find a light but mattifying powder and to only apply it to the oily parts of the face. Another solution is to choose a hydrating powder and to apply it all over the face. This powder will set the makeup all over, but it’ll also help prevent dryness throughout the day. These kinds of setting powders are especially great if you like a more luminous look.
How to Apply Foundation When You Have Combination Skin
- As always, it’s important to start with clean hands and clean, moisturized skin. Don’t forget the sunscreen, either, if you’re going to be heading out in the daytime.
- Choose a primer that will help target your main concerns. If you’re using a targeted primer to control oils or minimize pores, use about half a pea-sized amount and gently pat it only into the areas where that effect is needed. You can use a more moisturizing primer on the dry parts of your face, or skip it altogether.
- Once it’s time for foundation, the way you apply it depends on the tools you have and your preferences. For a sheer and dewy application, dot a bit of foundation all over your face and then use a damp makeup sponge and stippling motions to blend it out so it covers your whole face easily. Use the larger side of the sponge to cover more area and use the thinner side for getting foundation into the creases of the face.
- For a more full-coverage, matte application, use a flat-topped makeup brush. Dot the foundation for combination skin over your face, and then use the brush to blend it out over the face with circular motions. If necessary, use a smaller brush to get into tougher-to-reach areas like under the eyes or around the nostrils.
- If your initial foundation application is looking a little too heavy, use a clean makeup sponge to soak up and blend out the areas with excess product.
- Next, apply your concealer. Choose a creamy concealer for under the eyes and any drier parts of your face, and if necessary use a more mattifying one for concealing the oilier parts of the face.
- Dot your concealer over your skin, using a small pencil brush for small blemishes and your finger, a larger brush, or the included applicator for larger areas of discoloration. Then blend it out with a brush or sponge, using a combination of tapping and circular motions.
- If you like, you can absolutely apply cream-based contour, highlight, and blush. They will blend very easily over your foundation, look a little more natural than powder complexion products, and will help keep your skin looking dewy if that’s what you’re going for.
- Once it’s time to set your base, take into account the formulation of your foundation and the final look you would like to have. Set your whole face if you like a more matte look that will stay in place all day long. If you prefer a dewier makeup look then, depending on your foundation, you might be able to skip setting your makeup altogether, or you can try only setting the parts of your face that get overly shiny.
- Choose a fluffy brush for a lighter powder application that will partially set your foundation but will keep your skin looking a little dewy. Opt for a powder puff or a dense kabuki brush to set your foundation more thoroughly and to totally mattify the skin.
- Whatever method you choose, you will want to load up your applicator and then tap off any excess product. Use a tapping motion in order to apply the powder to the skin without disrupting the foundation underneath.
- Use a smaller brush or the pointy end of a makeup sponge to apply powder under the eyes, using the same tapping motion.
- Finish off the rest of your makeup as you like, with eye makeup, powder-based blush, highlight, or contour, and lipstick or lip tint.
- Lastly, spray on a bit of face mist or setting spray from about an arm’s length away. If you would like a dewier finish, opt for a hydrating mist, while if you need to lock things into place, use a dedicated setting spray.
Other Balancing Makeup Tips for Combination Skin
- Figuring out which products, combinations, and techniques work best for you is all about experimenting. Play around with different applications to see what your combination skin likes best: it’s hard to predict if combining a dewy foundation and powder will work better than using a demi-matte foundation without powder, for example. Try to have fun when learning what will work best for your skin!
- Remember that your skin will change season to season. Combination skin tends to get a little drier in the winter and a little oilier in the summer, so you might find yourself having to change foundations or techniques based on the time of year.
- If you find yourself getting shiny throughout the day, blotting sheets will do a great job of getting rid of the oils, and unlike powder, they won’t catch on your dry patches.
9 Best Makeup Products for Combination Skin
Apart from the best foundation for combination skin, here we present 9 makeup products that will make your skin shine!
1. bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer
This makeup primer is one of the best makeup products for combination skin because it is able to smooth out all types of skin issues, regardless of whether they stem from dryness or oiliness. It is able to fill in pores and minimize the appearance of fine lines, but it won’t mattify. What it will do, however, is make your foundation look phenomenally smooth all day long. Buy it from Ulta!
2. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer
If your combination skin is feeling a little dry or flaky, then this primer is the best. It is filled with emollients to help soften the skin and glide over the dry patches. It gives the skin luminosity without greasiness, so it’s a must if you’re aiming for a glass skin-style makeup look. The formula contains a whole range of hydrators and probiotics to keep the skin nourished all day long. It is sold at Sephora.
3. Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer
Sometimes the oily parts of your combination skin need to be tamed, and this is the best primer for the job. It fills in the pores and controls oil, to allow your skin to stay matte throughout the day with or without powder. Despite this, it is gentle enough to not dry you out or emphasize flakiness. You can get it at Nordstrom.
4. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
This is the perfect under-eye concealer because it offers full coverage without any dryness or creasing. It has a natural finish that is neither overly shiny nor overly matte, so it can also work to hide any discoloration on the drier parts of the face. The formula includes natural plant extracts that give the skin antioxidant protection. Pick it up at Sephora!
5. Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer
Shape Tape has a cult following thanks to its fuller than full coverage and ability to self-set. While we don’t love it for under the eyes if the skin is dry, it is phenomenal for covering blemishes and discoloration over oily skin. You can always sheer it out a bit with a touch of foundation or primer, as well! Find it at Ulta!
6. Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Match Stix Matte Skinstick
These little makeup sticks can do a lot of different things, and they are super portable to boot! They are just creamy enough not to catch on those dry areas of skin, but they still have the matte finish that is ideal for natural-looking complexion products. Go a few shades darker for your contour, a few shades lighter for highlight, or pick one up in your skin tone to use as an all-over concealer. You can buy these at Sephora.
7. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
This loose powder has a special place in the makeup world, because it perfectly mattifies without getting cakey, and it looks incredible both in real life and in photos. This simple setting powder can definitely make the skin too matte, so you can apply it only in the areas where you need the oil control. Order it online from Sephora!
8. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
Finding a great powder for combination skin is no easy task, but we dare say this powder might be it. This pressed powder is lightweight with very low pigmentation, so it doesn’t cake up or feel heavy on the skin. It helps to control oil, but its subtle pearlescent finish adds a bit of dimension to the face. It gives an ethereal, smooth finish to the skin without being shiny. Pick it up at Ulta!
9. Milani Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + Set
This fantastic setting spray locks makeup into play, with or without powder, but otherwise it doesn’t impact your skin’s finish. This means that no matter what kind of combination skin you have or what kind of makeup texture you like, this will help refine your look and keep your makeup in place. The spray nozzle distributes an even mist, and it can also double as a makeup primer if necessary. It is sold at Ulta.
Photos via @ymorbeauty, Instagram