Prime Time ūü¶Ą (Dermalogica, Hourglass, No7, Botanics, Benefit, Etude House)

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What are your feelings toward face primers РA totally unnecessary extra step in your makeup routine or the be-all and end-all?!

After trying many, many primers over the years I can definitely see both sides of the argument, where very few primers have made a major difference to my skin. I recall my first dalliance with primers way

 back in college circa 2008 when a pal brought me back the then revolutionary and one of a kind Smashbox Photo Finish Primer from America. I liked it Рit blurred and smoothed my twenty year old skin, but on my student budget a repurchase fell far below my needs of vodka, takeaways and shoes.

Fast forward some years later and I’ve tried ’em all. And what currently is winning gold in my eyes is the Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer. I first tried this primer last Christmas, and was somewhat disappointed. Yes it acts against sun damage with SPF30 which is always handy if nothing else, but at ‚ā¨40+ I didn’t notice too much of an improvement to my makeup.


That was until I realised I was being far too frugal with my application. A¬† trip to Marrakech last January (Click here for my Moroccan musings!) resulted in me packing individual sachet samples of said primer as opposed to the full-sized tube, and I subsequently realised its magical powers when used liberally – It’s fantastic. It’s a skin-toned, lightly fragranced (of camphor) velvety creation, with an extremely subtle shimmer. It provides light, luminising coverage when worn alone, and blurs imperfections/redness.

I love that it provides SPF protection, but it also protects against fine lines and wrinkles with it’s blend of ‘Dermalogica AgeSmart’ active ingredients (antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, white tea, etc).

With this base on, my makeup glides on incredibly smoothly, and, importantly – has serious lasting power. It can be worn alone for a light coverage, blurred skin finish, or with foundation for a glowing, luminising finish. Are you converted yet?

The glitch – It’s price. It’s expensive considering I only notice its effects when applying a decent¬† dollop – (we’re talking minimum two pea-sized quantities for comparison!). At 22mls one tube won’t last forever. And so I save this for the weekend – it shall not be wasted on work.


It can however be totally justified when comparing it with my next in prime – the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, aka my most precious primer, strictly for use only on the most special of occasions. This can be snapped up in Space NK and will set ya back around seventy euros. Ouch. But it’s ah-may-zaaang for lasting power – being water proof my makeup literally does not budge ’til it’s being washed off tens of hours later. Making it the perfect base for wedding (attendance!) makeup etc.


The Hourglass Veil Primer (SPF15) is a blue toned white cream (perfect for banishing redness), and extremely light in consistency. It doesn’t dry the skin in the way that other primers can (Porefessional type products, ahem), and gives a velvety smooth finish to the skin, without feeling too silicone-esque. With this your skin almost looks photoshopped – it gives that blurred, no pores/bumps/hairs effect. It’s magic in a bottle. The downside being the price obviously – I’m not sure a repurchase can be justified considering the Dermalogica Primer is a fraction of the cost, and equally amazing.


For every day use (when I’ve the time to prime) No7 Instant Illusions Airbrush Away Primer is what I currently have on the go. To be honest it doesn’t compare at all with the aforementioned, but it does still provide a soothing, hydrating base and prevents the dreaded concealer-crease on my under eye area.


It’s quite creamy in texture, blurs out imperfections and fine lines, and hydrates any dry patches. I don’t notice much improvement to the¬†longevity of my makeup, nor any reduction in shine. But all in all it’s pretty decent, and when used with your endless supply of No7 vouchers for ‚ā¨7.50 off, it’s all the more affordable for daily use. Will I repurchase?! Possibly…. Actually probably not to be honest, but each to their own – many, many people swear by this.


In keeping with Boots branded primers, I picked up another tube of Boots Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm yesterday, which seems to be eternally on a half price offer – thus costing me ‚ā¨4. (Side note: I really rate the Boots Botanics range in general, and continuously have at least one product from it on the go.)

This All Bright Radiance Balm is a little tube of sunshine – akin to my beloved Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector – but for literally one tenth the price. I’m all about the glow – I hate a matte finish as to me youthful skin is dewy and fresh. When used as a primer, this pearl finish, semi-translucent highlighter provides that glow from within. It’s repeatedly compared with Mac’s Strobe cream, and whilst its shimmering capacity is nowhere near as intense, I can totally understand the comparison. You can also layer it to get the same Strobe Cream effect, by letting it dry between each application (as a highlight though rather than a primer, obv). As a primer, it’s not going to improve the lasting power of your foundation, nor will it provide much blurring/fine line reduction¬† BUT for the price it’s a no-brainer, and is a constant in my makeup stash.


Another primer in my stash is the Etude House Goodbye Pore Ever, which I picked up a year or two ago, when I was going through my borderline clinically obsessed ‘Korean Beauty Addiction‘ phase. (The packaging just gets me every time!). This is great for oily skin, and as the name suggests for filling in visible pores. It’s quite similar to Benefit’s Pore-Fessional¬† primer (VERY similar), which I also have in my stash.


To be honest I rarely use either of these as they’re definitely aimed at more oily skin – and I therefore find them quite drying. They do however blur out pores, and when I have the time to layer fifty million products I find myself gravitating towards them, but other than that they’re a no-go on dehydrated skin types (aka me). In saying that PoreFessional is many a blogger’s holy grail.


Finally, for those of you yet to dabble in primers – I figured I’d feature a budget friendly, ‘no biggie if you hate it’ version – the Catrice Prime and Fine Smoothing Refiner primer. This is available pretty much everywhere, from Penneys to many a local pharmacy. We’re talking the most basic of primers here, but it does blur out the skin somewhat, and as it’s pretty much pure silicone, you’ll soon realise if you hate the¬† characteristically smoothing effect silicone provides without blowing your budget!

So which primers have I missed? I’m loving the sound of Kevin Aucoin Celestial Skin, and also Marc Jacobs Undercover Perfecting primer (Swoon!)…

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  1. I love the sound of that Dermalogica primer! I have a few on the go at the minute. My must have is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm but I love Hourglass No 28 Primer Serum too & I have By Terry Terrybly Densiliss primer, which I love too. I must try that Botanics one because so many people rave about it! xx


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