Go on, grab a cup of coffee/tea and some cookies if you fancy, and let's have a little chat about foundation primers.
Now I don't profess that I've tried every single foundation primer out on the market, but I have tried quite a fair few over the years, namely:
- Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer*
- Make Up For Ever All Mat*
- Make Up For Ever HF Primer in Mauve and Green*
- MAC Prep & Prime Face Protect Protection Visage SPF 50*
- MAC Prep & Prime Skin*
- CanMake Watery Moist MakeUp Primer*
I must also preface to say that my skin has progressed from an oily pimply faced teen, to a typical combo/oily 20 year old adult, and then that progressed onto a mid-20 year old adult with combo/oily skin and severe jawline acne (the most horrible skin episode of my life), and then to a combo/dry skinned adult with the occasional pimple and an occasional eczema episode (hello adult skin sensitivities!).
After I found an amazing facial lady (hello Dee!) who performed miracles and stopped me from going on the unnecessary step of using Roaccutane for my severe acne, she kindly advised that I must steer clear of anything that contains oils or silicon, and also told me to beware of anything with minerals which are particularly pore clogging. This was quite contrary to my beliefs from all the mineral makeup advertising that I had succumbed to. But upon the advice from Lisa Eldridge, I do believe higher end cosmetics that use quality mineral oils would not be pore clogging at all, and would be nutritious for the skin more than anything else.
I didn't necessarily believe in using foundation primers until I did some research and applied makeup on other ladies, to find that foundation makeup does stay put for much longer than normal and foundation applies smoother too.
And of course, if you are blessed with picture perfect 'normal' skin that doesn't require much foundation in the first place, then perhaps a basic moisturiser is all you need before applying foundation. But for girls that have skin on either of the dry/oily spectrum, and require a bit more skin coverage, then primers are perhaps life changing.
For me, I tend to stop searching for better when I find a product that fits my everlasting list of requirements. To me, a foundation primer must:
1. Help your foundation/base "stick" to your face, prolonging overall longevity of your makeup
2. Look natural with no trace of white or paleness shining through (even with camera flash)
3. Lightweight, basically feel like nothing more than moisturiser
4. Leave my forehead and nose free of shine by the end of the day
5. Not cause a pimple/acne breakout
6. Not cause eczema or any dry skin flare up further or show upon foundation application.
Numero Uno: Napoleon Auto Pilot Primer*
This primer and I go way back. Back when it was the original black and white packaging to right now in its shiny gold art deco repackaged best.
This primer for me, is kind of like that first love you had when you were young, and you didn't necessarily want to commit to, so then you part ways, go on to use others, but always seem to come back to this original love. There's something about the clean fresh scent that brings me back to my makeup academy days with Napoleon cosmetics, and now that my skin has become drier as I've gotten older, it seems to love drinking this moisturising primer right up, leaving a beautifully moisturised base for further makeup application.
It comes out like a gel moisturiser consistency. If you're a foundation stick user, this primer is great in helping your foundation adhere to your skin smoothly. I sometimes like to even mix the primer with a bit of foundation stick to warm it up before application.
It's a trusty number in my makeup kit, as well as in my personal makeup bag, a makeup item I have repurchased through the years. I love using it to massage into client's skin as a first step before anything else, and for myself, I even use it in place of normal moisturiser should I run out of my normal daily moisturiser. I have used this on mature skin too, and it works a treat.
With Vitamin E and other good stuff like Chamomile extract, what's not to love?
Bonus tip, if you need to reapply day-old makeup to later go out, use this to massage and wipe away the old makeup first so that your skin can feel pepper up and refreshed before reapplication of makeup. Two steps in one!
Numero Duo: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer*
I'm new to this beauty brand but I've heard a lot of murmur and great comments in the beauty blogging world, so I decided that a good test would be to start off trying an item that the brand has received the best reviews. This primer promises to minimise large pores, fine lines and shine, provide protection from the sun, and most importantly prep the skin for makeup application while extending durability.
Now I must admit I have only used this primer a handful of times, however with each use so far, this primer has delivered results. Let me tell you my ever enlarging pores are filled, leaving an ultra smooth base for foundation or BB cream to glide over. I was just amazed that no pores were showing through the foundation. No pimples or clogged pores have resulted and the slight eczema I had on my lower cheeks in all the times I've used this primer did not show through as foundation flakes. If you're on a particularly dry skin day though, don't forget to moisturise well before popping this product on.
The product comes out in a milky consistency but as you dab and rub it onto the skin, it dries and feels like a smooth silicon-y texture. It doesn't seem to have any sort of scent. There is a tiny speck of SPF to give it that extra boost, it is waterproof and it's free of so many nasty fillers that even the most sensitive skins would have to give this one a go. Don't be deterred by the white colour, you'll be surprised that it adds a slight luminescence to your complexion.
The major downer is that this little gem comes with a hefty price tag (AUD 79 / USD 52 for 30ml). But luckily, there is a mini option for a fraction of the price (AUD 25 / USD 18 for 10ml) so you can at least give it a go. A little goes a long way, for me I only need 1-2 pumps to smother my rather large face, in the areas that I need it. I purchased a mini bottle to start with but I am definitely going to repurchase a full size for myself and for my makeup kit. This would be so perfect for future brides, especially the ladies with oilier skin.
Now I know both these primers are on the mid to high end price range, however I haven't yet found a primer on the lower price point that also fits the bill. I'm currently testing out the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser so we'll see how that goes!
What are your favourite base primers? I am convinced by Charlotte Tilbury that her Magic Cream is worth trying (there is something with her husky, lispy, sexy, English accent that makes her so convincing). I'm waiting till we get to London to make an assessment before buying this very high-end cream, but would love to know what anyone's thoughts are!
If you want to read my beauty reviews for other items I have tried and deem true to its promise, check out the following:
*All products purchased independently