Showing posts with label primer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label primer. Show all posts

Monday, 2 May 2016

Silicone-Free Goodness: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer

I'm not usually a fan of primer, but this Too Faced one has worked its way into my daily routine.  Hangover Replenishing Primer is designed to perk up dull skin - hence the name - and contains coconut water and probiotics to give skin a boost.  It's also silicone free - which means you won't get that weirdly silky smooth finish you get with a silicone primer, just hydrated, moist skin - and an added bonus is that the lack of silicone means it plays nicely with most foundations (and I've tested it with most of my collection over recent weeks).

There's a very slight coconut scent, thanks to the coconut water, but it's very subtle, and isn't noticeable on the skin.  Hangover is definitely a hydrating primer - if your skin's on the oiler side you may find it a bit too hydrating, and not enough mattening - but if your skin veers towards the dry or mature side, you'll find it a refreshing extra layer of moisture between your moisturiser and your foundation.  I'm not convinced it increases wear time, but it definitely makes application smoother, and keeps the skin moist for longer.

At £27, it's not cheap - but if you like a moisturising, silicone free primer, it's definitely worth a try. Find it at Debenhams.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

More Weirdness from Murad: Invisiblur Perfecting Shield

Invisiblur Perfecting Shield claims to be a 5-in-1 product, with SPF, moisturising properties, skin-blurring effect, "protection" and priming action.  It also claims all this from a very, very light gel texture - in fact, unlike most SPF, it's apparently 100% invisible.

I can definitely confirm the invisibility of Invisiblur - the very slippy, velvety gel texture is completely clear, something very unusual for a product with SPF, particularly with SPF 30.  It smoothes onto the skin exceptionally easily - if you've tried foundation primers with silicone in them before, you'll be familiar with the sensation - but Invisiblur turns it up to 11.  As a result, the skin has a very soft, stroke-ably silky texture after use.  This is either a blessing or a curse - with some foundations, you get that irritating pilling effect where product rolls off your face in little clumps; with other foundations, you get super-smooth application.

Unfortunately, there's a couple of potential deal breakers lurking within that unassuming pump bottle.  Firstly, the scent - the product is very strongly scented and it lingers noticeably on the skin.  The scent in itself isn't unpleasant; it's a bit soapy, a little like Fairy Liquid - but it does hang around for a remarkably long time.  Secondly (you knew this was coming) - the price.  Invisiblur is £55 for 30ml.  And even though you don't need a lot of it, that's very expensive.

So, mixed feelings on this one - I like the lightweight SPF, and I like the silkiness of my skin after I use it - I particularly like it mixed in with foundation.  I dislike the scent, and I suspect that £55 is just too much to pay for a product which is nice enough but not essential.  That said, if your Holy Grail is finding a lightweight SPF that doesn't sit heavy on the skin, maybe you'll be prepared to pay £55 for the pleasure.  Find it at the Murad website now.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Meh: Smashbox Primer Water

Meet the latest addition to Smashbox's primer family - Photo Finish Primer Water.  Billed as a lighter, more versatile product than the iconic Photo Finish primers, it delivers an ultra-fine spritz which can be used before foundation to prime the skin, and throughout the day whenever you need a hit of hydration.  It can also be spritzed onto brushes to apply eyeshadows wet.

It's true, this is a very light product - it produces the finest mist I've ever seen come from a spray bottle, and unlike some other sprays the distribution of water on your face is fine and even - no random wet patches where a bigger droplet has landed.

But does it actually work as a primer?  I'm not convinced.  I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and whilst it's certainly refreshing to apply, I can't say I've noticed any difference in the application or longevity of my foundation after using the primer water.  It's hydrating, but only temporarily, and I've not really noticed any benefits from applying it atop my finished makeup as a fixer either.

Overall, then, it's nice enough (and the fineness of the spray is amazing) but not really worth the staggering £20 pricetag for a 150ml bottle.  If you're interested in trying it yourself, it's released in February 2015.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Olay Regenerist Super 10 Minute Miracle Primer

Olay recently added a new product to their anti-aging Regenerist range - Super 10 Minute Miracle is a primer, which acts to prep the skin for makeup whilst filling in fine lines, softening wrinkles, and giving the skin a silky smooth texture.  It's not just cosmetic, either - it contains skincare ingredients to fight wrinkles over time too.

The question is - does it work?  I applied a dab to my bare skin and waited ten minutes to see the effects.

Left: before; right: after
On my early-30s skin, I can't see a huge difference, although if you look really, really closely, my emerging forehead lines and frown lines do look slightly softened.  The biggest draw for me was the texture of my skin after use - it had that super-silky feeling you get from a silicone based primer.  That's normally a warning sign that certain foundations are going to apply badly and rub off my skin in little strands, but I was pleased to find that none of my foundations reacted badly to this - all of them applied smoothly, and stayed in place longer too.

Overall, whilst I'm not entirely convinced by the wrinkle claims, I do like this as a primer - the fact that it has long term benefits puts it ahead of other primers.  At £19.99, it's on a par with high end primers from premium brands, but the 50ml pump contains a lot of product, protects it from light and the air, and dispenses tiny dabs at a time, meaning it'll last ages.  If you're looking for something with wrinkle-blurring, smoothing, skin-loving effects, it's definitely worth a try.

Find Olay's Super 10 Minute Miracle Primer now at Boots.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Quick Pick: KIKO Pearly Eye Base

At a mere £6.90, KIKO's Pearly Eye Base is much, much cheaper than my favourite eye primer, Urban Decay Primer Potion (which costs £15).  It promises to keep eyeshadow in place for longer, make application easier, and to brighten up eyeshadow thanks to the shimmering white base.

In its concentrated form, it's very pearlescent, but spread out over the skin (or eyelid) it's more subtle - and actually rather nice alone if you're looking for a natural eye look which brightens up the eye area.

And how about longevity?  It's good, keeping my eyeshadow in place for around ten hours before it creases.  Not quite as good as Urban Decay, but if you've not got insanely oily eyelids (like I do) then it should be fine.  It's also much easier to blend shadow over this than it is over UDPP - it leaves the skin feeling dry, primed and skin-like, rather than slightly draggy like UDPP does, making blending easy.

At £6.90, it's a bit of a bargain, particularly if you have normal or slightly oily lids.  It's also available in a non-pearly version for the same price.  Find it now at the KIKO website, or at one of their three London stores.

Disclosure:  Part of a haul I paid for partially with a PR-provided gift card, and partially with my own cash.  

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Review: Illamasqua Hydra Veil

Illamasqua's summer 2013 collection broke the mould, as usual - the Paranormal collection is surprisingly smoky and intense for summer.  So far, so Illamasqua.  One product, though, marks a new endeavor for the brand - Hydra Veil is a skincare / primer hybrid which offers plenty of hydration with a super lightweight texture.

Inside the sleek black packaging, an inner lid ensures that the product inside won't dry out.  There's also a little spoon, which you'll need to scoop up some of the product.  Although this is a totally necessary step to keep the product moist and aid application, it does make for a bit of fiddlyness.

Hydra Veil, stirred up with the spoon, has a strangely frogspawn like texture.  Given a few hours, though, the churned up bobbly gel texture settles back down to a solid gel texture - the air bubbles meander to the surface and pop out.

Anyway, interesting texture aside, the product itself is pretty amazing.  It's a very light gel which disappears into the skin very quickly, yet still manages to keep the skin hydrated for a matter of hours.  It also controls oil at the same time, and I've found that my foundation stays on better when I'm wearing this underneath.  It also provides an incredibly smooth base for blending foundation over - definitely makes a difference.

At £27, this is an expensive primer option - but given that it's part skincare, part makeup essential, it's a price I'd be happy to pay again.  If your skin type craves hydration but still gets oily during the day, this is a great way of balancing out hydration with natural oils.  Find it now at the Illamasqua website.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Unfortunately underwhelming: Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm

I've tried to like this product, I really have, but I just don't quite get it.  Elemis' new Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm seems heavily inspired by the Clarins cult classic flash balm, and promises moisturising properties alongside an instant shot of radiance.  To be fair, I don't really get the hype around the Clarins flash balm either - I just can't see the difference made by a single application of one of these balms.  And it's the same for the Elemis product - it's perfectly hydrating, if a little tacky immediately after application, but my skin doesn't look any more radiant.

Granted, it is a rather lovely foundation primer, smoothing the skin out and resisting balling underneath a multitude of my foundations, but it just doesn't deliver on the radiance promise enough for me to love it.  At £32, it's not cheap, either.  If you want to try it out, you'll find it at Elemis' official online stockist, Time to Spa, but I'd definitely recommend trying a bit in store before you jump in.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Quick Pick: Tony Moly Latte Art Milk-Tea Morning Pack

Okay, I admit it.  I bought this product solely for the packaging.  It looks like a cup of coffee!  Complete with spoon and little package of milk!  So cute, seriously.  

The product itself is a "morning pack" which is actually a moisturising, smoothing gel-cream primer/moisturiser.  The milk package can be mixed in with the cream in the main cup container, acting as a booster to the base product.  Not quite sure what else it actually adds, but hey, it's in a coffee cup container.

The product itself is in the bottom part of the cup - the top twists off to reveal the peach-toned gel-cream underneath.

After adding the contents of the milk package, you can stir it all up with the included spoon (which is actually just a metal stick).  To use, you simply take a small dab of product and massage it into the skin - it's designed to be used before makeup, and has a smoothing and slightly tightening effect which makes a great base for foundation.

Mostly, though, it looks really cool in my bathroom.

Find it on eBay for around £15 - unfortunately Tony Moly is a Korean brand and not easy to get hold of in the UK!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Quick Pick: Clinique Stay Matte Hydrator

If you saw my recent post begging for advice for oily skin, you'll know that I've gone from being slightly dry to being slightly oily since getting a contraceptive implant.  It must have been fate, then, that saw this little beauty pop through my letterbox a few weeks ago.

Clinique's Stay Matte Hydrator promises to keep skin matte and shine free for up to eight hours, whilst providing a moisturising boost.  So pretty much, matte but not dried out matte.  And it really does work - applied under liquid foundation (which I've been struggling with since my skin changed), I've found that it does keep the dreaded nose-shine under control til well after lunch.  It's also got a lovely silky texture, is absorbed quickly, and doesn't interfere with the blendability (is that a word?) of foundation.

My only complaint is that eight hours is not enough.  I typically work ten hours a day, travel two, and often head out straight from work to dinner or drinks with friends - so ideally, I'd like it to keep the shine at bay for about 16 hours.  But, y'know that's probably rather a lot to ask.

At £32 for 50ml, this isn't a bargain product - but the teeny tiny amount needed for each application (a single pump, which is a rather small dab indeed) makes the bottle likely to last for a good long while.  Find it at Clinique counters and concessions, and online via the Clinique website.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Goodbye Bloom haul

Australian cosmetic line Bloom is being phased out of Superdrug, and since my local branch is selling the line at 50% off, I decided to pick up some bits to remember them by.

Eyeshadows in Slate and Night Sky (£6, were £12 each), liquid eyeliner in Ebony Brown (£6, was £12), and makeup base (£8, was £16).

The boxes are a bit bashed around, but my clever Superdrug in Harringay keep all the products in a locked drawer and box them up only when you buy them, so they are all pristine.

The eyeshadows come in smooth round compacts with mirrors inside the lids. They remind me of giant pinkish metallic Go counters.

Night Sky is a teal/blue duochrome. It reminds me a bit of MAC Tilt, but it's more fine and light in application and has a slightly sparkly finish.

Slate is a deliciously cool taupe with moderate shimmer and a slight khaki nuance. It's very pigmented when applied and would make a good crease shade.


Liquid eyeliner in Ebony Brown. This is a polymer liner with a nimble, fine brush. The shade is virtually black and has some very subtle gold shimmer. This held tight without cracking or peeling once it had dried. It comes off easily with oil-based remover though.

I picked up the makeup base hoping it might serve as a replacement for my dwindling supply of Paul & Joe Moisturising Primer N. It has a sunscreen, accordingto the packaging, but I'm not sure what factor.It's silicone based/oil-free, but doesn't feel siliconey - it's just like a lotion and sinks quickly into the skin. It smells of lavender. 

Finally, here's a quick snap of how the eyeliner and Night Sky look when applied. You can see the duochrome effect of Night Sky in the crease of the eye, where it becomes purple-blue.

I'm sorry to see Bloom go. I don't think it was ever right for Superdrug - a brand at this pricepoint and with this quality of formulation and packaging really deserves a staffed counter to allow it to shine. Stuck on a fixture alongside wallet-friendly unit-shifters like Sleek and Barry M, it could only ever look overpriced.

Have you picked up any farewell Bloom buys? Would you like to see this brand sold elsewhere in the UK?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Quick Pick: Mamechiyo for Shu Uemura Under Base Mousse BB

How pretty?!  This cute little can contains a limited edition Shu Uemura Under Base Mousse and has been designed by Mamechiyo, a cult kimono designer known for her blend of retro motifs, Western patterns, and kawaii influences.  It looks so cute sitting on my dressing table - amidst a sea of cleanly packaged products packaged with one hue, it really stands out.

Inside, the usual Under Base Mousse formula has been given a little bit of a BB twist.  Shu Uemura claims that it refines pores, evens the skin tone, and reduces redness, and it can be used under foundation or alone.  It's reasonably light and ashy in colour, and I've found that it's perfect alone for a largely matte but incredibly bright and even effect (as you can see below, in a recent FOTD).

Mamechiyo has also stamped some incredibly striking designs onto other classic Shu Uemura products, including pink toned and the classic beige varieties of the Under Base Mousse, a foundation case, and the iconic cleansing oils.  If you like the look of the Under Base Mousse BB, though, you'll find it at Shu concessions and stores, and online via their website, where it will cost you £29.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 19 December 2011

Quick Pick: Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse SPF30

Personally, I don't really care for primer too much, unless it's one that gives a high level of SPF protection.  Primers with SPF can often be heavy on the skin, and any primer that combines a high SPF with a light texture is a winner in my book.  NARS Multi Protect Primer has been my primer-of-choice for ages now, with its creamy texture and feather light finish.  This Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse, however, has blown the NARS primer out of the water, taking lightness to a new level.

The mousse comes in a single shade called Beige - which is a little misleading, as despite the tiny touch of warmth in the product, it leaves no colour whatsoever on the skin once applied.  I use about half of the amount pictured above for my whole face - roughly a walnut sized blob - and find that the air whipped mousse blends quickly and seamlessly across the skin.  It sinks in incredibly quickly, and leaves the skin feeling completely clean, almost as if no product had been applied at all.  

It's really the lightest, most unnoticeable primer I've ever used - which, given that it gives SPF 30 protection, is pretty damn impressive.  At £29 a can, it's reasonably expensive - but as with the NARS product, it's absolutely worth it.  If you'd like to try it for yourself, you'll find it at the Shu Uemura website.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Lament: Murad Skin Perfecting Primers

Murad recently added four new products to its acclaimed skincare line, which aim to bridge the gap between skincare and cosmetics.  There are two eye products to illuminate and perfect the undereye area, and two primers to be used under or instead of foundation to smooth the skin and leave it looking even and glowing.  

Unfortunately, despite the so-called Adaptive Shade Technology used in the primers, I can't use them.  

The tint is quite dark compared to my fair, cool skin, and if I apply the primer to my face I look just like I'm wearing a foundation that's too dark for me.  Granted, it's not a massive difference, but it's enough that I won't wear either primer - which is the problem.  Products which try to have a one-size-fits-all approach to colour rarely work, and whilst this might be a great primer in terms of its performance, I'll never know, simply because the tint is not compatible with my skin.  I wish that cosmetics companies would make their products either in a decent range of shades, or in a translucent formula, and not try to cover us all with the same shade!

If your skintone is a little deeper than mine, and you'd like to try Murad's Hybrids range, you'll find them online - BeautyBay has the full range.  The primers come in dewy and matte formulations, and cost £27 each.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review: Lime Crime Candy Eyed Eyeshadow Helper

Sitting pretty in it's spearmint green packaging, Lime Crime's Candy Eyed Eyeshadow Helper claims to keep eyeshadow fresh and uncreased for 24 hours.  I'm not sure I'd ever actually try to get 24 hours wear out of my makeup, but with my super oily lids, I'd be happy with a mere 16 hours.

First of all, the packaging.  The flesh toned primer (which may be a little light for some skins) is encased in a very cute domed pot.  Unlike the unicorn-encrusted Candyfuture lipsticks, launched in SpaceNK last year, I actually really like the packaging of this product.  It's cute but not overly girlie, and has a bit of a retro twist that really keeps it grown up yet still fresh.

Unfortunately, my longish nails end up with bits of primer stuck under them because of the choice to put this product in a pot.  This is easily remedied by using a brush, which is a bit of a faff but preferable to getting flesh toned putty under your nails.  Still - I do wish that primers like this universally came in tubes.  So much more usable.

The top photo was taken at around 7.00AM, just before I left for work.  The bottom photo was taken at 10.00PM - 15 hours later.  The shadow in the second picture is a little less intense, even accounting for the differences in lighting, and there's a tiny bit of creasing starting to appear towards the inner half of the crease.  That said... given how quickly eyeshadow slides off my lids without primer (literally, within an hour), this is impressive stuff.  And unlike UDPP, this primer doesn't create drag and make shadows harder to blend.

Overall, I've found myself surprised by how good this product is.  On my super-oily lids, 16 hours of wear time is a hell of an achievement, placing this primer in the same category as UDPP and Too Faced Shadow Insurance, and earning it a place in my drawer of makeup essentials.  Well worth a try if you find you need a primer to keep your eyeshadow in place all day.

Lime Crime Candy Eyed Eyeshadow Helper is available at Love Makeup, where it will cost you £13.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Urban Decay Primer Potion Now Available In Tubes!

Urban Decay's cult Primer Potion, so famous for its eyeshadow gripping properties that it's known just by its initials, is now available in a squeezy tube.  This is great news for consumers - as any UDPP user will know, the original packaging rendered about half the primer unusable unless you were prepared to take a knife to your tube and scrape the primer into a pot.

The new squeeze tubes are 11ml instead of 10ml in the original, and with that new packaging, hopefully the whole 11ml will be easy to use straight out of the tube.  The price, unfortunately, has gone up - the original 10ml tube was £11.50, and this new squeezy version is £14.50.  That said, I'll quite happily take the price hike to avoid having to chop up my makeup to get good value out of it!

Available in original (clear), Eden (matte yellow), Sin (champagne shimmer), and Greed (gold shimmer), you'll find the new tubes wherever UD is stocked - including BeautyBay online.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Kryolan Shades palettes in Rio - matte rainbow eyeshadows

We recently received a few samples from the Kryolan range, which took me right back to 5 years ago when I used to browse the makeup communities on Livejournal every day. (That was before social media, kids, and before there were even beauty blogs in the UK, if you can imagine such a thing.) On those makeup communities, pigmentation was everything, and Kryolan was considered the last word in colour.

Kryolan is stage makeup from Germany, aimed squarely at the professional makeup artist. The packaging, which is very hard-wearing and practical in design, bears the Kryolan logo of a theatrical mask. It may be no surprise to you that Kryolan are also the suppliers of Illamasqua's eyeshadows, which are famous for their uncompromising vibrancy.

Back when I was reading the Livejournal makeup communities, I didn't have the budget for Kryolan. So although these days my tastes run to less vibrant makeup, I was still quite excited to get a chance to actually play with some real Kryolan at long last.

The palettes we were sent each contain 5 MAC-sized pans, along with a high-quality (relative to the usual cheap brushes and sponge applicators) eyeshadow brush. The hinges are solid and feel like they'd really last the distance, and the mirror is good too. Colour-wise, this palette doesn't disappoint. It's a real primary spectrum, running from red to blue.

The most pigmented shades are the blue and the two greens. The yellow is quite sheer, and took a few swipes to show up in the swatches above. The red is somewhat better, but it does lean towards faded pink. I found that it was best used to layer over the blue shade to make a purple.

Here are some pics of the colours on the eye. The lime green creates an amazing vivid look, and goes extremely well with the teal and blue shades.

I found that these need to be packed on to really show true to pan, and like Illamasqua's shadows they're very dry and fine, so they will lift off the skin unless there is a base underneath for them to grip to. (You can see that happening in the top picture, because I didn't use a base here.) I much prefer this to overly-greasy shadows which adhere to the skin because they're full of mineral oil, but it does mean that a base is a must unless you're happy for the colour to fade or you want to apply lightly for a sheer effect.

Luckily, Kryolan also make an eyeshadow base, which comes in a squeezy tube. It deserves its own review really, but suffice to say it does the job very nicely.

Kryolan Shades palette in Rio, £16.30 from Love Makeup

Disclosure - PR samples
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