So ladies, primer.
Do you or don’t you? Do you every day? Should you? What the heck is it and why do you need it in your life?
Got it. Welcome to the beginners guide to primer and blur products, from the Beginner Herself, ME!
Whether you’re not that handy in the makeup department or you’re a certified pro, starting with a well prepped base is key to improving the look, feel and longevity of your makeup. Now that I’m old (HA! I was born in the seventies for christ-sake!) I’m all about primer and blurs. They smoothe out the surface of my skin, even out my sun damaged blotches, mattify, help makeup stay on longer/look good for longer and help me to do a somewhat better job of applying the stuff as foundation glides on beautifully over primer.
How do I use it?
After cleansing I pop some ProActiv on any spots I have, apply a serum or oil, then my moisturiser – super hydrated skin = happy makeup day. Then I apply a primer before my BB cream or tinted moisturiser. If it’s a rare day when I need to wear full coverage I’ll use foundation over the primer.
That said, let’s summarise shall we?
- Is face primer akin to vehicle primer i.e. does it bog holes? Yes. Primer does a fab job of minimising pores.
- Is face primer akin to house/furniture paint primer? Will it provide me with a smooth, profesh look? Yes. About as profesh as this post is. Just joking, add primer and your makeup will look much more professional than a beauty post written by me ever could! Smooth as a baby’s bum ring any bells?
- What is in primer/blur products that makes them so magical? Every single product I tested, except for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, contains Dimethicone in at least one form, often multiple forms. Dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer—”polymer” meaning it’s a large molecule made up of several smaller units bonded together. It makes products easily spreadable and forms a protective barrier on the skin, whilst being able to fill in the fine lines and wrinkles on the face < that’s why it’s the key ingredient in primers.
- Is this something I need? Mama’s, I say YES. Go forth and buy primer!
Meet the Sample Team
SMASHBOX Photo Finish Primer Water RRP $62
So, meet the only product in the trial that’s silicone and alcohol free as well as being the only liquid primer. Photo Finish Primer is one of those gems that does triple duty – spray it on as a primer before makeup application, use it as a setting spray or as a refresher to breathe some life into hours old makeup. I’ve used it all three ways and I love it, it feels great on my face, does a fab job of ‘preparing the canvas’ (groan lol) and when I’m wearing it my makeup looks amazing all day long. Without the silicon polymers that are included in other products, it doesn’t have the ‘blur’ effect, but once my makeup is on the difference is negligable.
MURAD Invisiblur™ Perfecting Shield SPF 30 RRP $140
I love this luxe product because, to put it simply, it takes care of business and can also boast a skincare hat-trick. As a primer, Invisiblur™ does an amazing job. It goes on like a dream, is silky smooth and the blur is amaze. As a makeup base, products glide on and stay on. I’m notorious for forgetting to apply sunscreen to my face so the inclusion of Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a big plus for me. In addition, it’s “non-comedogenic formula contains a powerful blend of youth-enhancing ingredients like Shitake Mushroom Peptides, Black Currant, Rosemary and Goldenrod Extracts. These ingredients combine to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving skin resilience and texture to reveal an overall more youthful look and feel”. Yes. Please. So, my skin is receiving the benefits of a treatment product while I’m wearing makeup and is protected from the sun plus primed and blurred. This is as good as it gets.
This is getting down to the nitty gritty. Primer for your eyelids? What the? Hold on. Have you looked at your eyelids lately? Mine are all kinds of lumpy, bumpy, they are a little bit veiny with uneven colouring, not the smoothest looking skin on one’s body right? Air Patrol has just launched and is customised specifically for those pesky parts of our peepers. The softest applicator I’ve ever felt, combined with a one-twist dispenser results in a fail safe experience. I rarely wear eyeshadow but I’ve been reaching for this on makeup days as it smoothes and blurs my lids and creates that ‘my skin but better’ look effortlessly. This is a BB cream so it is tinted, creating soft, natural coverage which is perfect on its own. I’ve read reviews for Air Patrol online and people are raving about it’s ability to keep eye shadow going the distance. An eyelid angel indeed!
- Of course Benefit Air Patrol belongs in this section too! You already realised that though didn’t you……?
So, our eyes definitely require a bit of special attention when it comes to skincare and makeup. The skin is super thin and delicate (wrinkly, crinkled, puffy, tired, dark…..) so the same rules don’t apply as for the rest of your face. Slapping concealer under there on it’s own won’t work. The area needs to be super hydrated so makeup doesn’t get cakey, dark circles often need to be colour corrected before being concealed and then powdered over to set……crikey.
Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer takes much of the fuss out of this, combining a primer, super hydrating lotion and brightener all in one. It’s perfect as a base for concealer or it’s genius on it’s own to reduce puffiness and lift/brighten the under eye area. Super light formulation glides on and leaves a dewy, silky finish. LOVE.
L’Oréal Paris REVITALIFT Magic Blur Daily Anti-Ageing Moisturiser RRP $39.99
The first Magic Blur product I tried was from a sample in a magazine and I was pretty wowed to be honest. The effect was amazing! I love this combo product because many primer/blurs go on quite dry, almost chalky and need to be used in conjunction with a moisturiser, so for time poor women, adding another step to an already rushed beauty routine just becomes too much work. So, by combining the magic of Blur (which I think L’Oréal have down to fine art btw), with Pro-Retinol, a key anti-ageing ingredient, ‘wrinkles appear reduced, skin feels firmer and skin complexion looks more even’. My mum said that she had never put anything on he face that felt so silky and smooth! Go L’Oréal!
- Of course Benefit Air Patrol belongs in this section too! You already realised that though didn’t you……?
This little pink tube comes under the ‘balm’ category for me. This is a product I would use on targeted areas rather than smoothing across my whole face as the consistency just doesn’t lend itself to that. The box describes the texture as ‘velvety cream’ and this is spot on. Awesome mattifying powers, if you suffer from oily spots this would be a great product to try. It absorbs instantly leaving a lovely smooth finish. The tint is subtle and is definitely suitable for all skin tones. This creates an awesome base for foundations or BB creams, or on it’s own with a swipe of mascara for an easy, no fuss pick-me-up. Great, cost-effective option if you’re wanting to try a primer or blur without investing a pay cheque!
L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique Blur Cream RRP $29.99
OK, out of this and Skin Perfection I prefer this one. Remember I’m no scientist, but it feels like there is more of the miraculous silicone polymers in Nude Magique – it’s positively slippery! The tint is more apparent also, I’ve totally worn this out on it’s own and felt like it was an improvement over my 36 year old au naturel lol. I wish I could show you the effect these products have on your skin, but it’s super hard to capture. I’m looking at it on my hand right now where the skin is thin with lots of fine lines and wrinkles and to the naked eye it looks like someone has run a filter down my hand where I’ve put Nude Magique! This as a base, has awesome non-greasy, corrective powers, layering other makeup on top results in a really flawless finish. Top product for a great price.
Straight up Blur/Primers
BENEFIT The POREfessional RRP $57
So this guy is one of the heavy hitters. A cult fave, and staple in many women’s beauty arsenals. The POREfessional is described as a PRO balm to minimise the appearance of pores. And really, that’s all we want, we can’t make pores disappear otherwise our skin will look as fake and plastic as a Barbie Doll and I think we’re all mature enough to have moved on from that phase?! An interesting point of difference here is that the box describes using it over makeup! I tried this after a workout the other day when I was wearing full face but looking a little sweaty/shiny. Ah-maze-ing! Instant matte and hot, open pores totally under control within seconds. Definitely setting the standard in primer/blur balms. I use more on targeted areas – nose, chin – rather than smoothing over my whole face. Can’t fault it. LOVE.
L’Oréal Paris Base Magique Smoothing Resurfacing Primer
So, Base Magique has quite a different texture to most of the other products. It’s much tackier and stickier to apply but the finish is velvety smooth. Described as a blend of silicone oils (like other products we’ve discussed) and soft light powders, there is definitely more to this primer, with a thicker consistency that is a bit harder to spread. But as a base – perfection. Once you rub the product between your fingers to ease spreading as recommended on the box, you’re good to go. Definitely one to wear over your moisturiser, the rosy shade creates a gorgeous translucency that would look good on anyone. I think more mature skin would love Base Magique, the texture is perfect for minimising the appearance of deeper lines and wrinkles.
Garnier 5sec Perfect Blur RRP $17.49
This one is my pick for kick ass results on a beer budget. Perfect Blur is easy to apply, feels light and silky and actually delivers the promises on the box; visibly blurs wrinkles, imperfections, pores and shine. The slim tube would be perfect for keeping in your purse to manage shine throughout the day. It includes light reflectors which help promote that youthful, dewy look which I’m all about! I like this product. One to apply over moisturiser to ensure skin remains hydrated throughout the day, Garnier has taken a must-have product and made it accessible to everyone with a fantastic price point.
Described as the last step in your skincare routine, Magic blur is slick and no-nonsense. The consistency is almost serum-like, it goes on so easily, you could absolutely apply it full-face in about 10 seconds, which I like. I’d rather not have to dab and keep returning to a product to finish the job you know? For those like me who don’t wear foundation every day, a product like this is a way to look like you’ve attempted to, I don’t know, do ‘something’ lol but with absolute minimal effort! That’s rad. My skin looks soft, touchable, and super super smooth. On days when I do wear foundation I’ve found Magic Blur works as well as some of the higher-end primers, makeup went nowhere! I love the notion of this being a ‘Finishing Cream’ as that’s a great way to think of it; it finishes off your skincare.
I’ve only tried this in a wee sample size so can’t comment too much, but I’ve a feeling this could be one to watch. One of the latest products from Dermalogica, Hydrablur™ provides three benefits in one formula; intense hydration, neutral coverage and pore-refining properties using mushroom extract which counteracts the drying nature of some primers. The media release for this also states it can be used over foundation for a flawless finish. I used it as a base and loved it, if the sample is anything to go by, this could definitely be an investment product!