Review Series: Primers #1

I think one of the most common sets of questions I get asked from my friends is - what is a primer, do I need one, and if so, which one. Day to day, I'm not a massive primer girl. But if I know I'll be out for a long time or if I'm going out-out (as we so articulately all call it), you can bet that there'll be a layer of primer somewhere in the midst of my product-infused face.

So which ones are my favourite? I've tried several: Hard Candy's I used to like to mix with a heavy foundation, AVON's Illuminating one is quite nice and I like Youngblood's and Murad's as well. I've also used the more liquidy Japanese primers from Maquillage and Lunasol which are both really quite nice but a big culture shock to us who are used to silicone-based ones. However, when it comes to cost performance, my favourite was Lanacane. Yes, Lanacane, the anti-chaffing gel. Smother it all over your face, and it'll be worth the 5 seconds of shame at the till. (And yes, after that whole list I still maintain that I'm not a massive primer girl..)

Anyway, I digress (massively). Today I'm talking about the three primers that are currently in my possession.  I thought it might be good to write "Review Series" to fill you in on some products of the same type that I am trying and comparing at the moment. Hopefully having mini-reviews in one place will help you get a better idea on which one might be best for you, and overtime you can look through different Parts to find a good overview!

Let's start with my bottom line for primers - the basic standard, if you will: it has to make foundation last, smooth out your skin and if possible, minimise the appearance of pores. On that basis, here's Primers 1 :)

This primer has been doing the rounds recently, and as per usual, I'm hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. Firstly, the packaging is pretty bad. The spout is the size of a needlepoint (slight exaggeration), and it's really awkward because this is a product you need a fair bit for.

This leads me on nicely to the consistency. It's not one of those products where you only need a tiny bit - you need a decent amount i.e. it doesn't spread very well. So considering it's quite expensive, it's not the best value. At £37.50, it's probably more expensive than your foundation.

The actual performance, on the other hand, is quite good and does what a primer should do (not too much emphasis on minimising pores though). I think this one would be better suited for the oilier of ladies, because I find it works much better on the centre of my face where I get a little bit of oil whereas on my cheeks it can feel a little bit drying.

Anyway, what sets it apart are two things: the skincare qualities and the shade. The shade is a pink-toned medium skin colour which I am NOT a fan of. Sure, you're going to put foundation over the top but who wants to see their faces look ashy and deathly at 6am in the morning, when life feels like shit anyway? Not a fan.

However, the skincare qualities set this primer apart regardless. It has SPF30 which is a godsend for ladies who cannot be bothered to apply SPF otherwise (*raises hand*) and if you know anything about dermalogica, it's probably because someone's been raving about their amazing skincare line, or you saw them in a salon. This one is from their anti-aging line: it speaks for itself, the contents are good despite the not-so-great superficial aspects of it. And let's not forget the fact it does what a primer should.

Preceded only by the likes of smashbox and Benefit Pore-fessional, I imagine a lot of people know about the bareMinerals Prime Time. This is probably my favourite of the lot, because it's a no gimmick, basic silicone primer - and a really really good primer at that. It spreads easily, it noticeably minimises the appearance of pores, it's CLEAR (who knew that would annoy me off so much? Definitely not a morning person, me) and it's not a bad price. It comes in at a mid-range £18.50, and the brand is also incredibly accessible. If you have additional skincare concerns, they have modified formulas for redness, oiliness etc., This one makes my make-up last perfectly, and it adds no shine nor mattness, and gives you everything you want from a primer without altering your finish. 

pur is a relatively little-known brand which is from the United States and stocked at M&S Beauty Halls. This one is perhaps the most unconventional of the three, in that the consistency is like foam - it feels whipped. It's so light, smoothes really well and does indeed help with pores and making your foundation last - it ticks all the boxes of a great primer. However. And this is a big however - it does make your foundation a little bit dewier.

I imagine half of you went, "wheeeey!" and the other half went "..oh." So yeah, it's not an all-rounder but I think for those who suffer with dryness, this would be a godsend. Remember how I said it was like foam? When foam or whipped products dissolve, it ultimately turns into liquid, right? It's kind of the same with this primer - once you blend it in, it's really really hydrating and I quite like it for the dryness on my cheeks. It's also really light because of the consistency, which means people who usually have dull skin and may want a bit of glow, or people who feel like silicone-based primers are just too much, wont feel like it's weighing the skin down. Because of this, I think it's a very well-crafted product for the right people.

Also, it's worth mentioning that pur's star product is their compact mineral foundation, which means that people who use powder or mineral foundation may find this primer to work better than silicone-based ones, or it might counteract the dryness you might get from buffing powder in with brushes (I find that, anyway)!

This one is £22.50 for a tube, but given the unique properties I think it's totally worth it despite the not-so-sexy packaging. It also comes in four shades including this white one for colour-correcting properties. These are blue, green and peach :)

Left to Right: Dermalogica, bareMinerals and pur

What's your favourite primer?



  1. I've never actually used a primer.. I don't know why, they just never appealed to me. I must try one some day though, really informative post! :) x

    Leanne | |

    1. It's definitely one of those things that if you don't need it.. you don't need it, haha! Thanks, glad it helped :)


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