Smooth operaters: six great Primer picks from budget to bling

By Emma | May 10 2012 | 35 Comments


For ages now I’ve been kind of obsessed with finding the perfect primer. After much testing I’ve yet to find my shortcut to complexion perfection, but they’re handy if my skin needs a boost or my make-up has to stay on longer than usual. These six are my favourites – they all work well under makeup and help to keep my base in place, while offering other benefits, too:

1. Essence My Base Skin Perfection Make-Up Base
A lot of primers that claim to boost radiance don’t work too well on oily or combination skintypes. This is different – the alarming apricot colour blends out to a fresh, youthful finish. At €4.79 it’s a bargain, so we can forgive it for not blurring imperfections or filling in pores.

2. Rimmel Fix & Perfect Perfect Pro Primer
This takes up where the Essence offering leaves off. For €8.25 you get a product that helps smooth out your skintone, while mattifying, too. After makeup the finish isn’t flawless, but it’s definitely improved.  Read our review here.

3. Avon Magix Face Perfector
This is €13.50 and is a step up again in terms of smoothing, blurring imperfections and filling in pores. With a velvety feeling gel-powder finish, this has been compared to Benefit’s Porefessional and the SPF 20 means it helps to protect as well as perfect.

4. Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer
One of two new primers from the brand this spring, this version evens out the skintone, controls excess oil and calms problem skin, too, thanks to skin friendly ingredients like Green Tea and Vitamin E. An Illuminating version is also available for drier skintypes; both are €29.50.

5. Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30
Unless I’m having a really good skin day, I don’t feel this gives enough coverage when I use it alone. So although it isn’t strictly a primer I’ve found if I stick it on under my foundation  it smooths, hydrates and controls oil all in one, a blessing for my combination skin. (€32)

6. Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse SPF30 P++++
My favourite, but sadly, the most expensive too at €34. The texture gives it the edge over the Clinique and Lauder offerings: the lightweight mousse dries quickly to a matte finish, but with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, its hydrating too.

Check out the primer category for even more tips and reviews.

I know lots of you will have tried one, some or even all of these so please, share your thoughts in the comments!



Foundation, On a Budget, Reviews , , , , , ,

35 Replies to "Smooth operaters: six great Primer picks from budget to bling"

  • daisydaisy says:

    I have that Avon one and I love it. Liking the sound of the Essence one. Catrice do a really good one also, its in a jar and is less than a fiver I think and does a really good job.

  • Hey lady, wrong author code on this one :)

  • reidy says:

    Only talking about this this morning with my mom.
    I swear by Catrice Fine and Prime (in a jar) its about €5 and its FAB!
    Gorgeous and smooth and really works. Deffo worth a lash.

    • Cate says:

      Hi Reidy, where can I find Catrice Fine & Prime in Dublin? I’ve been looking around and can’t seem to find it. Thanks

  • Ave xx says:

    I use the benifit porefection I love really covers my pores xx

  • Thanks ladies will have to keep an eye out for that Catrice one!

  • lainey316 says:

    I adore the Shu one, though I got the pink. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s lovely.

    I spent 20 minutes last night busting open a MAC Prep & Prime (seriously, WTF is with their packaging? Hides at least 20% of the product in so many cases!) and actually it’s very nice, more illuminating finish.

    Smashbox didn’t work for me, haven’t tried these other ones. The Avon one looks interesting.

  • ZsaZsa says:

    I like The Body Shop’s Matte It Skin Primer for under liquid foundations or alternatively I use No7′s BB Cream for Oily Skin in Fair under powder foundations.

  • I love the really high SPF in the Shu one. So good that Sali Hughes in The Guardian included it in a column about sunscreen! Here’s the piece if anyone is interested :)

  • witchgirl26 says:

    I got the Bourjois one a while back. I’m always a bit sceptical about primers but have to say I was impressed. It doesn’t look like its doing much when it first goes on but I’ve definately noticed a difference once my foundation goes on. Seem to need much less concealor.
    Tried the L’oreal one before & just did nothing for me. But then their make-up doesn’t seem to like my skin.
    Might have to look at the Catrice one as love their stuff.

  • I bought the very expensive Benefit Porefessional one only 2 weeks ago.. My skin broke out in spots and I don’t generally get spots. I have dry skin. I was very disappointed. I stopped using it after about 10 days and my skin is back to normal ;)

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