Style Beauty

Saturday 23 August 2014

The Panel: In your prime

Sarah Caden

Published 13/02/2013 | 09:29

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From left: Mac Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Base Visage; Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer; Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer; Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer; Tom Ford Illuminating Protective Primer SPF 12

Valentine’s Day approaches,  but you won’t find any  themed pink products on the  Panel. We’re not talking  about the rose-tinted  romance here, the first flush of love or  the early days blush. 

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No, we’re all about making it last and  so, we turn our attention to primers,  which aren’t exciting, but they are  reliable and dependable. Not romantic,  but loveable all the same. There is a  difference. 

A good primer will not just help  your foundation to fix on your face all  day or night, it will also improve  the smoothness of the application  and boost the properties of the  foundation. 

Further, it should minimise all those  complexion bugbears that show  through your make-up after a few hours,  whether they are the lines into which  make-up sinks or the oily T-zone  that seeps through and causes  make-up to slip away or, in some cases,  change colour. 

Primers multi-task, basically,  but they do so unobtrusively. And, at this  time of year, we all know that showy  rarely lasts.

BEST OVERALL 

Mac Prep + Prime Natural Radiance  Base Visage, €36.50, Brown Thomas  and BT2 

This is a thin gel-lotion with a slight  yellow tint that works wonders to play  down the Irish tendency to redness  at this time of year and performs  excellently as a foundation fixer. Because  it’s so liquid, it doesn’t feel like applying  a second layer of moisturiser, and it has  calming caffeine, skin-friendly vitamins,  and optical pearl powders for a bit of  glow. “I got the ultimate compliment  when wearing this,” said one panellist.  “He said I looked very young; you can’t  say better than that.”

 BEST ALL-ROUNDER

 Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer,  €19, Boots and selected pharmacies  nationwide 

This award-winning primer is a pale  pink colour and has a slightly waxy,  silicone-rich texture that helps to even  out the skin and create a smooth-feeling  skin surface. The same formula is also  available in a Colour Correcting option,  which is pinker in hue, and there is an  eye option, too, for making shadow stay  on. “A little goes a long way with this and  it really works,” one panellist said. “Also,  as the label says, it has a skin-improving  effect when worn solo.”

BEST FOR YOUNG SKIN 

Nivea Daily Essentials Express  Hydration Primer, €6.09, available  nationwide  This is a good-value product that works  best for younger skin in that it’s light,  it’s fresh and it doesn’t try to fill furrows,  just to improve make-up performance.  The pots of gel-cream come in  two variations, and we liked the  normal/combination option, while the  sensitive variety is good too. Both absorb  instantly, as promised. “This has a very  fresh feeling on the skin, sort of cooling,  and not at all like you’re applying tons of  thick stuff,” said a panellist. 

BEST MATT FINISH

 Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer,  €29, Estee Lauder nationwide  For people with oily skin, primers can be  a bit off-putting. A matt primer is a good  option, but take care not to use one  that soaks up too much oil, or your  foundation will look cakey. This is a  good product that is oil-free, but has  “soft-vision optics” that create the  illusion of glow without any grease. “I  looked softened with this on,” said a  panellist, “and it kept my T-zone under  control and my make-up smooth all day.” 

BEST YOUTH GIVER 

Tom Ford Illuminating Protective  Primer SPF 12, €61, Brown Thomas  Dublin and Cork  This is dear, like all Tom Ford products,  but it is a good one and, tried under all  manner of foundations, it made a  difference to them all. It is, however,  maybe better suited to older skins  that need a bit more nourishment.  Thicker and infused with rather more  of a glow than our other favourites,  it creates a lovely, sheeny finish.  “If you’re after a soft-focus effect,  this is the one for you,” one panellist said.  “A face-changer.”

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