Friday, 4 July 2014

Getting started series - #1 Primer

Beauty addicts (and explorers alike), Happy 4th of July!!!

As the Constitution was to America, so is primer to base, if you want to get really great make-up then this is non-negotiable unless you have skin literally made of alabaster, which let's be honest ladies of the late twenties onwards, few of us do. If you do, I guess I hate you but I also want to spend hours studying your poreless perfection ;)

Smashbox Photo Finish
(oil-free, travel size)
My love affair with primer started with a QVC Smashbox kit where their photo finish primer was included. I loved it (and discovered that I was fortunate to be able to use silicone based primers without fear of a massive spot flair up as some of my more sensitive skinned friends find). I'm currently using Charlotte Tilbury's Wonder Glow, but it's not a favourite - it's just really, really expensive so I'm determined to finish it!

Why would/should you wear it? A good primer will smooth fine lines, blur large pores, give an even canvas for your base - and a great one will mean you need to use less base good news for expensive foundation junkies!! Your foundation / base should also be able to last longer.

So, here goes… (in no particular order)

1) Garnier 5-second blur: this is affordable, readily available in Boots and Superdrug and gives a really smooth finish onto which to apply your base.  
2) L'Oreal Professional Secrets Primer: really similar to the above, less hygienic glass pot (v plastic tube) but lovely finish.
3) Laura Mercier: more expensive, I like the radiance version I got in a sale kit but probably wouldn't re-buy. Popularly loved but not Holy Grail ('HG') for me.
4) Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (above): my first, my last….not quite my everything because it doesn't super outperform my cheapies. However, they do have an impressive range of versions including oil free, colour correcting, radiance and travel sizes. Find in the UK at Boots beauty halls. 
5) Laura Gellar Spackle: tried in the original, bronzing and champagne radiance. Not a fan - too wet. Might be an option for those who react to silicone.
6) Clarins Beauty Flash Balm: never really understood the obsession with this until I hit 27. Love it - but leave a little extra drying time to avoid annoying flakies of excess product. 
7) Illamasqua HydraVeil (below and now also available in a Matte version for oily skinned lovelies): liked it, didn't love it - pretty cool how it self levels in the tub, but not cool enough to have me running to the counter to get it ahead of other products they make which definitely have HG status.

You can also use a BB cream as a primer, though I don't personally do this much where I have a silicone option available. Next on my wish list is the expensive but beautiful Guerlain Les Meteroites primer - a gel like formula with lovely little pearls of beautifulness suspended in it - and Stila's colour correcting primer - like a lollipop suspended in silicone.

Top tip: where you are considering plumping for a high end product go find a friendly counter lady who can decant you a trial amount so that you sample for a couple of days to confirm it works for your skin before going for it with your actual pennies. 

Hopefully that de-mystifies primer a little and gives an honest verdict on some widely raved about products. 

Happy hunting in the aisles…!

xx Josephine xx


  1. Wow Jojo a busy week of blogging! Just wanted to say that you have already altered my routine this week - Clarins Beauty Flash balm has been resurrected from the back of the cupboard. It was banished there because it always went flaky when I put products on top of it - now I know I just needed to let it dry longer (d'oh - seems simple when you know how) and it works wonders. Ta! Luce. x

    1. Yay! I love Beauty Flash but it took me ages to work this out and I couldn't understand all the hype…you've inspired me to dig it out now, too :) xx


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