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Prime and proper

Primer products for skin - a waste of time or a beauty must have? Nancy Spencer investigates...

Published on November 19th 2010.

Prime and proper

To prime or not to prime? That’s the question my clients always ask me and I can totally understand why. Wind the clock back only a few years and primers were not a thing we considered as part of our everyday regime. Wind forward and we now have primers for skin, eyes, lashes and lips – and with that a whole new world of product confusion. Luckily you have me to road test three very different skin primers available and along with my pro application tips you’ll feel ready to prime with proper peace of mind…

Why Prime?
Primers for the skin aim to do a variety of different things. This can include smoothing pores and fine lines, reducing redness of the skin, adding luminosity or mattifing the skin, keeping your foundation on longer. When choosing a skin primer, take into consideration your skin type (oily, dry, combination) and how you want your skin to look (glowing, matte, smooth) and pick a product to target your specific needs.

Application tips:
Always apply your primer onto cleansed moisturised skin, before your foundation. With all primers only ever use a pea sized amount of product. Too much will actually make your foundation slide – the opposite of what you want to achieve. Use your fingertips to smooth and melt the product onto your skin or a synthetic hair foundation brush works well to blend and glide with an even result.

The products:
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer 30ml @ £28 has won numerous beauty awards including Marie Claire’s 25 Products to Change Your Life, and actually I can see why. I used this product whilst on a photo shoot recently and found it to keep foundation on extremely well. It has a very smoothing texture that feels really silky when applied. It was so good at keeping the skin matte that I only had to powder the model once on the whole shoot. I was really impressed with this product and although it is slightly expensive I think it’s worth the money and will last ages. Good for all skin types.

Airbase Primer 30ml @ £39.95 is a gel based product which felt cooling and blended easily. A small amount of the product went a really long way and it kept the foundation on well throughout the day. I did find the product slightly drying though so if you’ve got open pores or dry skin I’d opt for something else. Because of the gel texture I would recommend it for a more oily skin type.

Airbase Primer

Mac Prep & Prime Skin 30ml @ £16 has a lovely creamy texture and the pump bottle makes it easy to get that ‘pea-sized’ amount. It’s very smoothing on the skin and also has tiny glowy particles that give the skin added radiance. In comparison it’s a great value for money product. I found that on an oily skin this product seemed to slide and needed more powder, so I would recommend it for a normal, dry or dehydrated skin.

Mac - Prep & Prime

So, with any new product try grabbing a sample and trying before you buy. Skin products are so personal in terms of what can work for one person to another. In terms of my professional opinion, I love using primers and really think they are a beneficial addition to my kit – and really, what’s another two minutes added to your beauty regime?!

Nancy Spencer is a freelance make-up artist and founder of Make-up Manchester. Nancy covers everything from wedding make-up to fashion and special effects. She also offers make-up lessons at her studio. For more information please visit www.makeupmanchester.co.uk

Follow mkupmcr on twitter mkupmcr

Make-up Manchester
10 Stevenson Square
Northern Quarter

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