SIX: Foundation Primers


Primers are one of those make-up items that I go through phases debating if I think they’re worth the extra step of effort or not – sometimes deciding that definitely a primer makes enough of a difference that I’ll happily take the extra time to apply before the base. Other times I either decide they’re just too much of a faff, or when I want to make even less effort – I have been known to use some of these primers as a base on their own if I’m having a good skin day and maybe just want to smooth things out rather than apply layer upon layer. So I raided my primer drawer and decided to do a little run down of the primers I have and what I think of each of them…

foundation primers




I should probably add the slight caveat to this that the primer line up aren’t all *technically* primers – but they’re all products that make perfect skin-smoothing or perfecting in one way or another bases. Or they promise to give make-up extra staying power or similar benefits. I also like each of them for different reasons and tend to reach for them at different times or different ‘skin days’ (like bad hair days… but for skin).

First up:

Nip + Fab Shine Fix – Best for Oily Skin!

This is one of my Summer go-to products, when I want to keep skin looking healthy and natural, but keep shine at bay. This little tube is light-weight and manages to feel hydrating at the same time as mattifying. A rare combo! One I’m happy to use as a primer to keep shine away, or just on it’s own for a simple base.  Although having now written this post I can’t seem to find a link online so it may have been discontinued…but still. It’s in my collection so worth a mention! 


Balance Me Facial Expression Filler* Best for anti-ageing!

On days when the fine lines are making me feel overly self conscious this is the one I’ll reach for. It’s manages to blur the look of fine lines and keep skin feeling soft – again, hydrating and smoothing at the same time.


Smashbox Hydrating Primer* Best for dehydrated skin!

This is the latest addition to my primer line-up and one that I’ve had on the lust-list for a while. I picked it up at a recent Boots ‘lock in’ event where bloggers were invited to go to a store after hours to explore the range of brands on offer, chat to experts and pick up some products to try out. This was without a doubt my number one pick as I’ve been keen to try the hydrating variant of the famous Smashbox Photo Finish primers for ages so happy to report that it was worth the wait and this is an absolute gem for those of us with dehydrated skin. It’s a light gel that absorbs quickly and feels amazingly refreshing (a great one if you wanted to remove and reapply make-up after work before heading out – will feel like a mini version of a cool shower) and really manages to leave skin feeling soft, moisurised and perfectly primed for foundation.


Benefit Stay Flawless 15 Hour– Best for long days!

This is one I have already reviewed and for staying power, it’s absolute love. I’ve been using this as a base for all sorts of foundations and they all seem to work that bit better and last that bit longer with a layer of this underneath. It’s one you apply as a stick and need to move fast as it does tend to ‘set’ quickly. But once it’s on, there’s no budging it – your foundation (my current favourite pairing for this one is the new YSL foundation).

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer– Best for all skin types! 

A classic and  for good reason. It applies like a gel and quickly sets into a velvety matte finish instantly leaving lines or imperfections looking that bit more subtle. It creates a good base for foundation to apply and stay applied all day long. I’m keen to give the oil free variant a go and see how my skin likes that in comparison.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer *– Best for combination skin! 

A much raved about primer, many bloggers out there sing this little ones praises. This is a very velvety feeling one – with that distinctly silicone feel to it – that so smooth and silky you could almost skid across the surface of your skin when it’s so smooth and strokable. I have to be honest, I am somewhat on the fence about how amazing this is… I like it, it does feel lovely to apply…but I’m not totally convinced it’s quite as special as others seem to feel. I need to test a bit more to see if it might be a grower.

Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector* – Best for morning-after/tired skin!

This is my not-enough-sleep/hungover go-to. Skin feeling tired and dull? A pump of this sorts it right out and has my skin glowing like I’m the picture of health and early nights. This is the Rose Shimmer version and has that slightly pinky pearlescent sheen to it that offers glow, not glitter. About as instant morning after pick-me-up as a cold can of full fat coke and an egg sandwhich – but leaves you looking much better.

Also worth an honourable mention are the new Clinique Primers – I’ve been trialling a few lately and I’m really liking the Universal Primer* (not pictured) – a creamier primer than the others above but sets to that familiar velvet sheen and manages to give make-up more staying power over the day. The combo of that and my anti-blemish solutions foundation is a great last-all-day-no-touch-ups-needed combo.

*PR samples



  1. September 27, 2013 / 10:34 am

    Oh I’ll have to try the benefit one! I need something to help my foundation on long days! Great post!

  2. September 27, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    I want the Clarins. I have a huge thing for illuminating bases at the moment!

  3. Annie
    September 27, 2013 / 8:49 pm

    Ahhh they all look so good but I definitely need the Clarins one. I have really tired and dull looking skin which takes so much time and effort to brighten up so I shall add Clarins primer to my wishlist and see if it helps at all(: x

  4. Nita
    September 27, 2013 / 8:56 pm

    I love the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer! I have it in Light since my combo skin is on the oily side. It does an amazing job of keeping my makeup on for hours.


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