Fashion Friday: Makeup Primers

Can you even believe it? I actually have a Fashion Friday post for you today. It’s only been, ohhh I don’t know, forever since my last one. Whoops.

Today’s Fashion Friday Topic: Makeup Primers


About a month and a half ago, I had the opportunity to participate as a product tester for the 2012 Fitness Magazine Beauty Awards. How cool, right?

The product category I was given to test out was makeup primers, which was great since this is a product that I already use anyways (you can see which one I used to wear in my skin care vlog). Makeup primer can really make a big difference in the look and wear of your makeup because it essentially preps your skin for makeup and creates a nice, smooth base.

So I was sent five different primers to test out and and rank based on texture, scent, ease of use, packaging, and effectiveness, and here’s how they ranked for me – starting with my least favorite and working up to my top pick.

5th place: SimplyVera Vera Wang Skin Brightening Primer


I was surprised at how much I really did not like this primer. The packaging was fine, the scent was fine, and it was easy enough to use, but the texture of it on my skin was horrible. It was very flaky and did not blend in very easily at all. I actually washed my face and threw it away after the first use. For it being the most expensive primer out of the group, it just goes to show ya…pricy doesn’t always mean better!

4th place: Korres Mattifying Primer


This primer really didn’t have too much wrong with it except for the scent. I felt like it was the only thing I could smell for at least an hour after applying it to my face. I also didn’t really care for it being tinted – I like my primers to go on clear. It’s also a bit more expensive, coming it at $33.00.

3rd place: Loreal Paris Magic Lumi


This was a pretty good primer and, from what I’ve seen, can also be purchased for a fairly decent price ($10.99 at Target). I liked the pump rather than the squeeze tube, but it comes out of the pump somewhat messy. The primer was oily and separated, although it does end up blending smoothly with a nice luminosity to it.

2nd place: Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Transparent Mattifier


Also at an affordable price ($14.99 at Target) this is an excellent choice. It went on to my skin with ease, didn’t have an overpowering scent, and had an easy to use pump for application. I noticed some slight flaking the first time I used it but no other times after that. For those who have oily skin and are looking to reduce shine, this would be an excellent choice.

1st place WINNER: Sephora Foundation Primer


Out of all the products I tested, the Sephora Foundation Primer ($15.00) was definitely top notch for everything. The packaging was easy, there was no overwhelming scent, and it literally felt like it glided onto my skin like butter. I’ve been using it ever since I received it.

So now, hopefully, if you were in the market for a new makeup primer, you have some ideas on what to look for the next time you’re walking down the cosmetic isle!

Question for the Afternoon:

Do you use a makeup primer? What brand(s) is your favorite?


  1. says

    I use Smashbox and love it, but it is pricey. I love many Sephora branded products so might try that one next time to save money. I like something that goes on smooth but not oily.
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  2. Carolyn says

    Lol Stacey – I use the same thing, only Monistat brand anti-chafing! It works so well, and I refuse to pay over $5 for something that goes under my makeup and can’t see. =)

  3. says

    I really only use a primer on my eyelids to prevent eyeshadow from creasing and help the color pop a bit more. I’ve got pretty good skin to begin with, so I don’t like to put too much product on my face. I’ve used the Sephora brand eye primer (not the same as you used), tarte and Urban Decay. I think I like Urban Decay the best!
    Amanda recently posted..Happy Birthday, Nuts!

  4. says

    Laura Mercier makes my favorite foundation primer. The scent is mild, it goes on easily, and it doesn’t make my face look oily (though most of the time, I stick with Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer or Garnier BB Cream instead of foundation). It’s a bit on the pricier side but a little goes a long way! You can also blend a small dab into the last little bits of foundation if you’re almost empty, and it extends the life of the product (perfect if you use a more expensive foundation and want to get the most for your money).
    Jennifer @ Healthy Wifestyles recently posted..Marvelous In My Monday {Weekend Family Love}

  5. says

    I had never used a primer before until about a month ago for my wedding. I did my own makeup so I made sure to do a ton of research and trials to get the look down before my big day. I used Stila 10 in 1 Beauty Balm which was highly recommended to keep my makeup on all day long. I was hesitant to fork out the money for it, but I got it and absolutely loved it. I’m totally a primer believer now. My makeup stayed all day and night at my wedding, and it’s light enough for every day use too.
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  6. says

    My favourite brand of primer is bare minerals primer, its the only one that doesn’t really irritate my skin since I have really pale and sensitive skin.
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  7. Desiree says

    I use the make up primer from Arbonne. By far it’s been my favorite. I also like knowing that all the ingredients are plant based and natural. What goes on our skin gets into our system. Plus this is the only one that has not bothered my skin. A little pricey but a little goes a long way.

  8. says

    No wonder~you seem to have such pretty makeup and complexion whenever I see your pictures! But it’s probably genetics too 😉 I don’t really wear much makeup except for mascara and powder above my lips (I don’t like it when it gets dark from the sun), but when/if I ever need to wear “stuff” I’ll try to remember this post!
    Ellie@Fit for the Soul recently posted..Back on Track Workout Routine

  9. Nicole says

    I’m totally curious about this whole anti-chafing cream/primer ordeal – it kinds weirds me out, but now I want to try it!

    • says

      I’m with you!!

      I have SUPER oily skin and it breaks out daily so I generally only put Neutrogena anything on my face and def no lotion or anything. I have been leery of putting something else on my face but I might give primer a go…especially now I know which one works best!
      Laura recently posted..Insanity and Big Lots Fail

  10. Marie says

    I just started using primer and it makes a huge difference. I have only used Arbonne, so I have nothing to compare.

  11. says

    I don’t always use a primer but when I do I like the brand Sheer Cover. They also have the best mineral makeup of any I have tried! It goes on super easy and leaved my skin feeling like a babies butt!!! I tend to have dry skin and this also smooths any skin flakiness I have. Good stuff!!
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  12. Karen says

    Thanks for the tip! I’m a fellow Upstate New Yorker (in Ithaca). It’s even more fun to read from a blog that is somewhat close to home. Keep it up, I love checking in with your site daily.

  13. says

    I’ve used that Loreal primer and really liked it, the first 2 or 3 uses… but after that it just seemed “watery” I think I even threw it away, before it was gone. I totally want to try the Sephora one, now… and the price doesn’t make me wince!!! YAY!!! :)
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  14. says

    I use bare escentuals foundation primer when I actually wear makeup. Now that it’s summer I’ve switched up my makeup routine entirely – I am only wearing tinted sunscreen – no moisturizer, no primer, no foundation etc. Sometimes I throw a little blush on just to brighten up my face a bit but nothing much. My skin is clearer and I’m saving a ton of money. We’ll see if I go back to makeup after the summer…
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  15. Lauren says

    Arbonne make-up primer is by FAR the best I’ve ever tried! No scent too which is nice, as many of the primers I tried in the past have been scented- yuck.

  16. Jen M. says

    I use the Arbonne make-up primer – it is reasonably priced when compared to other facial skin-care lines of similar quality, it feels like satin (seriously, I want to put it on my entire body, it’s SOOOOOOO soft), and there is no smell to speak of. Pump container, with fusion packaging, so zero waste, and it’s loaded with vitamins and is botanically based, and anti-aging (prevention, baby!!). I’ve also heard that the Arbonne products are safe for pregnant women, women going through fertility treatments, and cancer patients. I love it!

  17. Sophie says

    I use Napoleon Perdis’ makeup primer. I love it, it’s smooth, smells good and really works. In the words of Napoleon Perdis “not to prime is a crime”. :)

  18. Jen N. says

    I just started using primer and chose to go with the Arbonne primer. Like Jen M said, it feels like satin, has absolutely no smell and you only need a tiny amount. I might try the Sephora brand though, next time, since it’s less expensive. :)

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