I have such a love/hate relationship with makeup primers. I don’t think I’ve ever truely found one I really love or that I would consider entering in to the HofF. I have my eye on a few high-end ones, but I’m not a fan of spending money on primers as I am usually really disappointed that they don’t live up to their hype. As I’m sure you know, I have a hatred of those heavy, silicone primers (poor old Benefit Porefessional …) and the Max Factor Facefinity Primer that I used to love has started to peel and roll on my skin, so that one is out for the time being. I hated the Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base, which was a pricey mistake, and the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (which costs £52.00!!!!!!!! – thankfully mine was a sample size that I got free from SpaceNK) was just bloody awful! The rest of them are just meh.
The only ones that I can cope with and have stuck with are the Pixi Flawless Beauty Pimer which is more of a glowy primer than anything else, and the Clarins Instant Light Perfecting Touch which I use around my nose, eyes and mouth; it contains silicone, but not as much as the Benefit. Apart from that – nothing. Thank god, therefore, for Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base as for the last few months that has been my go-to primer and it is amazing.
So, I did some research and I thought I’d try something different … Step forward some strange primer weirdness …
Yes. That is Nivea Men Post Shave Balm. No. I am not a man. Honest. No, I do not have beard. No, I do not shave my face.
This little gem is the new thing doing the rounds on the beauty blogs at the moment and it is getting some serious loving!
Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm – £2.67 Boots
First things first – if you have oily skin I don’t think this is going to suit you – I could be wrong, and it is only £2.67, so not too expensive a mistake if it doesn’t work, and if you have an other half who shaves you could always palm it off on him.
The simple reason why this is getting so much love at the moment is because it works! It is a hydrating, simple, fuss-free, cheap, effective primer. It doesn’t contain alcohol or silicone, so my ideal kind of primer! If you’re looking for something to smooth out lines/wrinkles/pores, then this isn’t for you. If you have dry/dehydrated skin and want something to keep skin hydrated and makeup in place, then this is for you!
The main ingredient is glycerin – which is what you want/need for dry/dehydrated skin – that is the main ingredient you want/need in a hydrating toner. I tend to get dry, flaky patches on my skin as the day goes on, especially around my nose and the corners of my mouth, but when I wear this, that is significantly reduced – much more so than any other primer I’ve used!
I’m quite excited about this product because it is so cheap and so effective! It is cooling, smooth lotion in texture. It does have a slight masculine scent, but once you’ve put foundation on the top that disappears ( I wouldn’t wear this alone as the scent will remain for longer). I have redness around my nose and mouth and it does alleviate that – something that I was very happy about. I’ve been playing around with it for a while, but I tested it properly yesterday when I was away all day. I put it on at 8am and my makeup was still in place at 7pm when I got in and looking decent – hardly any nose flaky patches – and my skin didn’t feel tight or uncomfortable. I was seriously impressed!
So, all in all, if you want a makeup primer that hydrates your skin and makes your makeup stay where it should, that doesn’t cost the earth and beats the quality of many high-end primers that are ten times the price, then this is definitely one to pick up. I cannot recommend it enough!
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water £20.00 – Boots
The opposite end of the price spectrum and formula spectrum too! This has also been doing the rounds online – with quite a few mixed reviews. I picked this up on the Boots Black Friday sale, so I think I paid £16.00 for it. I was intrigued to try it as it is designed for people exactly like me: want make up to last longer but don’t want to add another gunky layer to the skin (and hate silicone).
This product is alcohol, oil and silicone free (hurrah!) and can be used as a primer, refresher or fixing spray. I love the Clarins Fixing spray for making sure my makeup doesn’t move, so I don’t use it for that. I also don’t really ‘refresh’ my makeup during the day so that is a bit of a waste on me. I am constantly searching for a decent primer though.
I really like the idea behind this primer. Light, refreshing and silicone free – the idea of spraying rather than rubbing something else on to my face is quite nice. The face that it is oil free though can be a bit of a double edged sword for dry/dehydrated skin sufferers like me – oil free means that there is minimal moisture in this spray – which could mean dry patches.
I’ve tested this out on a full day’s makeup and a night out makeup and, in my opinion, it works better when you’re not needing it to last for the 12+ hours needed on a full day – simply because of the dry patches appearing. On the night out, where I needed it to last about six hours, it worked really well. In future, I’d definitely leave it for evenings out or when I don’t get up until after midday and only need it for about 6ish hours.
The actual product is a very fine mist-spray that you spritz on the the face, I did about 4 pumps. You’re meant to moisten your face with the spray, not soak it. You need to wait for it to sink in a bit and then apply foundation. It says that it will keep skin hydrated all day – but I beg to differ at the moment, with my winter dry skin. It might perform completely differently in the summer, warmer months – or on oily skin.
As I said, for the six hours, my makeup did stay in play and looked great – for longer than that I don’t really rate it. This product gets massive thumbs up for being silicone and alcohol free, but the staying power is a bit limited, in my opinion. I will still use it, but considering it doesn’t smooth lines or do anything jazzy, compared to the Nivea above, I prefer the Nivea and I’d rather spend the (tiny amount!) of cash on the Nivea any day. If the Water Primer did something else then maybe it would be a different story …
Moral? Buy the Nivea Sensitive Post Shave Balm