Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Get the Base Right and the Rest Will Follow: Skin Primer Round Up

Can I look like this please?

I've mentioned before, and I'm going to say it again: I swear that what women want more than anything else in the world is their skin to look amazing. Young, fresh, smooth, radiant. We have tools to do that: cleansers, masks, and moisturizers before the makeup, and foundation, concealer and powder to improve on what Mother Nature gave us. One step that often gets skipped is primer. Primer goes on before foundation, and really provides a layer between your skin and the makeup. Why do you want that? Well, good primers make your foundation last longer, and more importantly to me, make you look better. I want a primer that smoothes the surface of your skin, evens out skin tone, and reduces the look of pores. Basically, I want magic.

Declaration: to help you guys understand my skin challenges, I have normal cheeks, a slightly oily nose, dry patches on my forehead every so often, rosy cheeks, and larger than I'd like pores. Yeah, I know, I really want magic to deal with all that!

My first stop was my own makeup cupboard. Everytime Sephora offers a sample or a 100 point perk, I ALWAYS pick the primer option. So I've amassed quite a few to try out during this little experiment. I don't know if these count as true samples in the FTC world when they are just consumer samples, but I guess I should state that not everything in this review was paid for. In the cupboard I found:
  • NARS Skin Primer SPF 15
  • Make Up For Ever HD Primer
  • MAC Prep & Prime Skin
  • Smashbox Photofinish SPF 15
  • Smashbox Photofinish Original
I am trying all of these with the same foundation in the interests of being fair. I'm currently using Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich. I think that I've already said that I'm ambivalent about this product at the moment, but it's the best I've got right now.

Almost every primer "blurb" that I've read have all said that primers can be worn alone or under foundation, so I checked each of these for their immediate improvement as well as how they worked with foundation.

First up is the NARS Skin Primer SPF 15 ($33 / 1.7oz). When I put this on, it did nothing. I noticed no immediate improvement at all. When I put foundation on, still nothing really. Luckily I did not buy this product because I really could not see a single damn thing happening here at all. NARS = FAIL.

My next contender in the primer face off was Make Up For Ever HD Primer ($32 / 1oz). When I put this on, I did feel that my skin looked a little more even in tone, although not really smoother or any impact on my pores. It did make my foundation last longer though. Not bad, but nothing to really write home about.

Third up was MAC Prep & Prime Skin ($25/ 1oz). I bought this about a year ago and use it off and on. I thought it performed in exactly the same way that MUFE did - a little smoother, makes my make up last a little longer, but little in the way of va-va-vooming my skin.

Smashbox Photofinish SPF 15 ($42 / 1oz) was a product that I was excited about. I had tried this in store on the back of my hand and loved the instant smooth-glidey feeling that I felt when I put it on. And yes, this did make a difference. My skin was smoother, my pores were less noticeable when bare. This was even more apparent when I added foundation. Oh, and it has SPF 15 which is a score in my book, and something called Dermaxyl which apparently has anti-aging properties to stop me getting more wrinkles that I will have to disguise. Actual progress here people!

I next used Smashbox Photofinish Original ($36 / 1oz). Now we're talking. For some reason, unbeknowst to me, this felt slightly better and worked slightly better than the SPF 15 one. It went on super smooth, once I had foundation on it had a very nice finish as well. Foundation lasted a full day as well, and my skin felt nice and clean rather than cakey. I like having SPF in my face products though, as every little bit helps in terms of protection, so I'm not sure that the mild difference between these two products would warrant not getting SPF 15.

So, from all of my testers, Smashbox was an absolute clear winner, and I'll be using up my testers before scoring a full size one in the coming week or two.

Do you have a favorite primer? Think I should test a different one out before going for the big spend later in the week? Drop me a line in the comments! :)

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links in no way influence my opinion on a product. Clicking through on an affiliate link and purchasing a product earns Jolie Laide Girl commision, which helps keep the site going. My responsibility is to my readers, and I will never endorse a product or provide a positive review on the basis of PR samples or affiliate links. Please contact me if you have any questions.


Princesa Livia said...

Thanks for this post! I'll be on the lookout for that smashbox primer now :) I'm currently using the MAC one. x

Carrsky said...

I've never found a good primer that works for me and like you i've tried so many! Now there's smashbox counters in the UK so I think i'm going to go and have a try :) xoxo

Lisa Kate said...

Awesome review! I'm still in need of a face primer, I'm definitely going to try out Smashbox soon!

scarlettholly said...

thanks guys! I'm pretty pleased with smashbox. It definitely feels like it's making a difference.

PoorCollegeStudent said...

This sounds weird, but I use monistat chafing relief powder-gel as a primer. The main ingredient is dimethicone, same main ingredient as the smashbox primer. it's only 7.99 for 1.7 oz


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