There is a lovely moment when you’ve just applied your make-up and you think, "That’s it, that’s me for the day."
And then, a few hours later, you glimpse your reflection in a window or mirror and think, “Oh, where did that face go?” In truth, there are only a few foundations on the market that have true longevity, and even fewer again that don’t have the downside of drying out your skin as they stay and stay. What most foundations can benefit from is a layer of primer beneath, not just to help them to last longer, but to look better. Silicone in primers can fill out lines to an extent, while light-reflecting ingredients can mimic a soft-focus effect and draw the eye away from imperfections in tone and texture. And who wouldn’t like their skin to be a better canvas for their cosmetics? However, if you feel guilty at the thought of yet another product purchase, then consider that a good primer will make your foundation go further and might help a cheaper product to do a more expensive-looking job. How about that for salving your conscience while smoothing your skin?
L’Oreal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer, €15.11, available nationwide This little bottle will go a very long way and do a lot in the process, as it contains a highly concentrated potion that covers and hides a multitude of skin sins with its subtle, mother-of-pearl sheen. Foundation grips well to it and lasts longer and more evenly, we found. “I liked this under my foundation, through which it imparts a radiance that is not full-watt but nicely soft focus,” said a panellist. “And I believe that it means I use less foundation to better effect, so it has economical merit too.”
BEST MATT CANVAS
Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, €27, Estee Lauder counters nationwide This is one of two new primers from this brand, whose previous primer we liked on the Panel, aside from its slightly medicinal smell. The illuminating option scores well for radiance, but this is the best mattifying primer we tried, as it’s utterly non-slip but gentle with it. “Mattifying products are great for making your foundation budge-proof, but they can cause awful scaly patches in record time, even for those of us with oily skin,” said one panellist. “Not this. Loved it.” BEST
Mac Prep + Prime Skin Smoother, €29.50, Brown Thomas and BT2 If you like a silicone primer, then this is the one for you. Basically, this is a liquid silicone product in compact form — you apply it with your fingers as a completely invisible layer that provides a smooth, slightly slippery base for foundation. Definitely not for the dry-skinned. “I like that it’s a compact, so you don’t have to squeeze it out and make a mess on the go,” said a panellist.
BEST LINE LOVER
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, €26.43, Clarins counters nationwide This is the most waxy of our primer picks, but it is for that reason that it scores well as part of your anti-ageing armoury. One of the problems with lines and furrows is that foundation can settle in to them, so while make-up evens out skin tone, it can draw attention to wrinkles at the same time. This pleasingly pink product fills out the lines a little and holds foundation where it should be — on a smooth surface. “This had a wonderfully softening effect,” said a panellist. “Make-up went on very smoothly and my skin felt and looked that bit less careworn.”
BEST YOUNG PEACH
Essence My Base Skin Perfection Make-Up Base, €4.79, available nationwide Probably best recommended for young skin that needs less help in the line-masking department, this is a lovely complexion booster that also controls oil and gives a smooth surface for make-up. Be warned that it squirts out terrifyingly pink, but blends to a natural, fresh finish. “I’d wear this all by itself for a no-make-up day,” one panellist said, “but with make-up, I found that my foundation wore off less patchily.”
Sunday Indo Life Magazine