There is some debate about makeup primers, specifically about whether or not they are needed. Well, I am not Kim Kardashian and I don’t get unlimited skin treatments to keep my face looking like porcelain so I tend to think they are a MUST underneath any foundation. Yes, you can use a moisturizer as a primer if you’re so inclined. But for me and my pore size and texture…a moisturizer just ain’t gonna cut it.
Fortunately for you, I have tried many many many primers in my years playing with makeup. Not all of them do what they claim to do. Which ones work, which ones don’t? Also remember that my skin type is combination/oily and my main concerns are my pores and my texture. So I look for primers that smooth the skin and blur pores. Which most claim to do, but some are just straight up useless. (My absolute favorite primer ever in life comes from NARS and it has been discontinued or reformulated…I don’t know yet so I won’t mention it here.)
Please remember these are my opinions only. Not facts, not negativity, just opinions and experiences.♥️
Dior BACKSTAGE Face & Body Primer, $36 for 1.6oz. It’s new, it’s hyped up AF, and it should be. First, that price for that amount of product is gooooooood. Most primers are 1oz or less, so thats 60% more for a product in the same price range as many others. AND IT WORKS BETTER. I really enjoy the Dior Backstage foundation but that’s a different post. This primer does the heavy lifting, my skin looks smoother and more supple. Apply with hands or a brush in circular motions as you smooth into the skin. I personally do not touch my face, or I try not to because it makes ya girl breakout. Product claims: Professional performance – instant radiant blurring & plumping effect – mattifying – 24h hydration*. This primer creates a naturally-enhanced, even, and luminous complexion for a touch-up effect and foundation that lasts all day.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, $54 for 1oz. Hourglass is, and I’ll probably say it again in another post, one of my top favorite brands. It is a true cruelty-free line whose products are just gorgeous. They perform well, they blend well, they just work. Hourglass is considered a “luxury” line, which you can see by that price tag. I was not sold on this stuff at all for the longest time. In fact, I distinctively remember at one point buying and returning it to Sephora because I disliked it so much. Fast forward to current me who has actually used entire bottles of this primer and replaced it more than once. And that is not something I can say about most primers I have tried. What’s changed? My skin and my understanding of what products actually work well on my skin. There is a reason why everyone loves this stuff!! I do have to say this works better for me in winter months when my skin gets drier than a cactus as it is not drying at all like some others in this post. If you’re unsure because of the price, they sell a Mini size .31oz for $20 for those looking to get their feet wet before diving in. It glides on my skin and makes it look flawless. all. damn. day. Product claims: With a texture unlike any other, this oil free primer not only creates a smooth, even canvas for makeup, but also conceals redness, minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and provides broad spectrum SPF 15 protection, all in a supremely airy, silky, cloud-like texture.
Farsali Skintune Blue Perfecting Primer, $54 for 1oz. Ok…I know what you’re thinking. I just dogged this brands’ first product, hard. And I stand by that. This was a product I was not interested in because Farsali releases questionable, mediocre products that are just too gimmicky for me. This primer caught my attention because of a YouTube-r who doesn’t strictly post about makeup. She used this for awhile, and admitted the applicator dropper is weird, because it is, but it mattified and smoothed her skin very well. This stuff is pretty hardcore, so if you like a lighter consistency, go with the Hourglass. However, if you get oily, especially in warmer weather when it’s hot AND humid, this stuff will work because it dries down pretty quickly to a super matte finish. I use it strictly in my T-zone and use something else in areas I don’t need or want to be so matte. Sounds extra AF? Yep, it is. My skin isn’t the same in all areas of my face so I don’t treat it as if it were. My biggest issue with this product is the price. $54 is expensive, even if it does work, for a brand who is not considered a luxury brand. They’re just Insta-famous and that’s it. Product claims: A hybrid primer-serum that softly blurs the skin, reduces the appearance of pores and imperfections, and creates a brightened, fine-tuned effect.
Cane + Austin Mattifying Primer SPF 50, $56 for 1.5oz. Part of me almost didn’t include this product here because I just realized that Sephora no longer carries it. In fact, the only place I can find that does still carry it is the brands’ website itself. That’s unfortunate because this tinted, mattifying primer works so well. I just recommended it to someone so that stinks. It is a price-y one but as you can see, you get 1.5oz of product so it will last you longer. And if you are concerned about sun damage the obvious benefit of SPF is right there in the name. This stuff is gold, and it doesn’t even need to be worn under makeup because it is tinted, so if you wore it by itself for a smoother looking appearance, you’d even get the bonus of a little color, while getting your sun protection! I’ve purchased multiples of this one as well, and it also has a TON of positive reviews online so I am clearly not the only person loving it. Product claims: Blurs imperfections, protects against signs of sun damage and photo-aging, creates a smooth and even surface for makeup application, and provides all day oil control.
Honorable mention: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (original and pore minimizing), and Lancome La Base Pro Oil Free Primer.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r instant Retouch Primer. I posted about this already, I won’t do it again. Does. Not. Work.
Same goes for Tatcha Silk Canvas Protective Primer. So sad.
YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer, $52 for 1oz. Another “luxury” brand but only YSL beauty is very very hit or miss when it comes to makeup. This stuff is just ‘meh’ for me. It is not horrible but I have to mix it with other primers most of the time. Just like everyone else who has bought into the hype of this product, I wanted to love it. It is a gorgeous bottle, and has gold flecks of marketing genius in it. Those tiny specks are not going to illuminate anyone’s skin because your makeup will cover it anyway. But does it perform well on my skin? Not really. Definitely not $52 really. I only keep using it because I can’t bring myself to toss it and I can’t return it. Product claims: An illuminating primer that blurs imperfections and boosts the radiance of foundation.
Huda Beauty Matte Perfect Pre-Makeup Base Primer, $32 for 1oz. I tend to or try to ignore online reviews when it comes to beauty products. Why? Because again: there are often (usually) really important details missing like skin type and wants. This primer though, the reviews are not great and rightfully so. It’s a clear gel-like consistency and it went right back to Sephora after maybe 2 uses. It’s that bad. And I actually really enjoy Huda Beauty a lot. But this did nothing for me in the most literal way possible. Product claims: A comfortable, gel-like formula that controls shine and keeps makeup in place throughout the day, while reducing the appearance of pores and uneven skin texture.
YSL All Hours Makeup Primer with SPF, $58 for 1.3oz. Liquid nothingness as far as I can tell. This may seem like I’m coming for YSL Beauty, I’m not. But this is strike two. This primer is a milky-like consistency which first off makes it incredibly difficult to control. It runs like water. That’s a great way to get consumers to over-use your product because it runs everywhere when you squeeze it. It claims to keep your skin shine-free and smooth. It does help with oil control but it does nothing for pores or texture. Nothing. For $58 my expectations are high and this doesn’t measure up. Thank u, next. Product claims: provides a shine-proof canvas for your foundation, bronzers, or powders by mattifying the complexion and smoothing skin’s surface for a “just-applied” makeup look that lasts all day.
These primers are just so bad I’m not going to give details. They were not good for my skin.
Benefit Porefessional. Yes, really. And this one is so freakin’ popular and is a consistency I normally enjoy. But it is just terrible on me, no matter what YouTube guru is currently pushing it.
Benefit Stay Flawless 15 hour Primer. This is a later post coming up: stick forms of ANYTHING for complexion just do not work for me. They’re a mess, not to mention incredibly unsanitary.
Becca Velvet Blurring Primer. Ulta doesn’t even carry the full size of this anymore after only a couple years (if that), which is everything you need to know.
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