Beauty Hoarder: Face Primers

I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently that I’m something of a hoarder when it comes to certain beauty categories. I tend to collect things like texturising sprays, makeup brushes, eyeshadow palettes and nail polish – and honestly most of them aren’t that different from each other. So I thought I would start showing you my stash in a series of posts, starting with face primers.

Beauty Hoarder: Face Primers | All Dolled Up

Hydrating primers

I mainly have two types of primers because my skin faces two challenges: oiliness and dehydration. Primers that battle the latter condition tend to be light and refreshing on the skin, and contain humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Keeping your skin hydrated extends the life of your makeup because it stops your skin from absorbing the moisture in your foundation and breaking it down in the process.

The Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer is cooling and lightweight but it’s pretty pricey and the Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm does a similar thing at a fraction of the cost. Don’t be alarmed by the “men’s after shave” thing – it’s basically just a glycerin-rich moisturiser that smooths over your skin and preps it perfectly for makeup. You can see me using it in this recent First Impressions video.

Beauty Hoarder: Face Primers | All Dolled Up

Mattifying primers

The one I’m using the most at the moment is the L’Oréal Infallible Mattifying Base because it works like a dream, especially on hot summer days. It’s a very thin, light, silicone-y formula that I smooth over my forehead, nose and chin before applying foundation and it keeps me looking matte all day long. You need a TINY amount though, otherwise it pills. The Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer SPF 20 is another really good drugstore option that is technically mattifying but I see it more as an all-rounder. It smooths skin, extends the wear of your makeup, battles oil and gets bonus points for having SPF. The primer I wore on my wedding day and really should repurchase is bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer which is a real powerhouse, dealing swiftly with rough patches, flakey dryness, fine lines, excess oil, uneven texture and enlarged pores so that your foundation goes on flawlessly. Yup, I really should get a new bottle of this one.

Beauty Hoarder: Face Primers | All Dolled Up

Smoothing primers

Two of the best smoothing primers on the market are the Benefit Porefessional and Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch – both are fairly thick in formulation and are great at filling in pores and scars and providing a really smooth base for foundation. I find smoothing primers a bit heavy for my skin so I only have samples of these and probably won’t buy the full size.

Beauty Hoarder: Face Primers | All Dolled Up

Primers I should throw away

I bought the Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner after seeing Lisa Eldridge use it in a tutorial and I wasn’t that impressed with it tbh. It’s supposed to reduce the look of your pores and limit oil build-up but it just didn’t seem to make a difference to me. Don’t ask me why I hang on to – the same goes for the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which was another disappointing product that I just didn’t “get”. It’s meant to tighten and brighten your skin and provide a smooth base for makeup but I didn’t notice any firming effects to speak of. As for Embryolisse? I think it’s the most over-rated moisturiser/primer of all time.

What are your favourite primers? Help me add to my stash!

11 comments on Beauty Hoarder: Face Primers

  • Simone C

    I really want to try that L’Oreal primer. I’m using the foundation in that range and didn’t realize they had a primer.

    I believe the Nivea has a strong scent though, so I doubt I’d try it due to hayfever issues.

    I’ve used the Bodyography (??) Primer. I didn’t really know what a primer was when I used it, so I didn’t know what to look out for in terms of my pores, oiliness, etc. It did keep my make up in place though.

    Currently I’m using the Smashbox dark spot corrector primer, though I’m guessing this is more like a treatment than a primer. I’m also using the Benefit Porefessional Primer. Both are okay. My make up stays in place…but I do need something that makes more of a difference with my oiliness, so in hindsight I wish I went with a different smashbox primer.

  • Siobhan Hughes

    I tried that Indeed Labs Nanoblur finally, after reading about it in one of Camilla’s posts ages ago. After trying to work out how to use it, it also works best for me mixed in with my moisturiser. My skin stays flawless and matte all day, and I didn’t even find that the L’Oreal Infallible primer worked as well as that for me! Nanoblur is on special at Clicks right now for R105 too!!!! I feel like I should grab another one while that special is on…

    -Siobhan – Sugar and Spice blog

  • saffiya

    Great post. I love the nivea after shave balm and the loreal Infallible matte primer. Can you please do a products I regret post.

  • Bianca

    Yes please a ‘products I regret buying’ post or a ‘not worth the hype’ post would be great. I love the Smashbox primers, currently using the Pore Minimising one. Was not impressed with the L’oreal Nude Magique Blur cream. I quite like the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – definitely works at picking up my face after little sleep or a big night out.

  • Surita Cloete

    Do you apply SPF after or before primer? I’m never sure of the ‘steps’.

    • Jules (author)

      I would apply SPF beforehand so the primer and the makeup are “next to” each other.

  • dionne

    Really love the Mac face protect prep and prime for summer. Definitely keeps the oily nose away but you don’t look too matte just right! It’s also not heavy and has an spf of 50 which definitely works! Would love to know what you think

    • Jules (author)

      I’ve never heard of that one actually! I love that it’s SPF50 too – will definitely check it out!

  • Camilla (Jane Wonder)

    I LOVE my Maybelline Baby Skin primer and my Inglot Under Makeup Base (for special occasions). I have a few of the ones mentioned above, but those may be my favourite…

    – Jane Wonder –

  • Jyothi Laldas

    The Bodyshop’s Instablur is quite nice – controls oil and maintains hydration too. I honestly do not enjoy the Baby Skin though, feel like it does nothing for me. I used to love the Revlon Perfecting Primer in the pump bottle but they’ve done away with it sadly. Must try the L’oreal soon. =) cool post Jules!

  • Lize Hartley

    I got the Smashbox light primer (oily skin) and I honestly find it does nothing. For me the best products to prevent shineface have been:

    1. MAC Fix + BEFORE makeup (not after). It makes a real difference to my makeup’s longevity but spraying it on afterwards makes my skin just a bit *too* dewy.
    2. Nimue skin regulator – my mum gave me this recently and I thought it was a bit random. But I applied it after toning, before my SPF, and it makes a huge difference! One of my next eternal repurchases for sure.

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