The Panel: In your prime
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.
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.
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.”
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.”