Lock It In: Primers

Hello to you all on the interweb! Hoping you had a wonderful Easter long weekend – did your weekend feel like it was only 2 days, like mine? I hope you had plenty of chocolate and enjoyed some makeup adventures like I did!

So, the wedding season is fast approaching for me, which means long days and blending until my arms are numb. This also means I need to seriously consider all my options to really set my makeup and lock it in. Just a heads up that this will be part of a series of blog posts (primers, powders and sprays) – get excited!

STAGE 1: PRIMER
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Take this advice seriously – if you want a polished finish, and want your makeup to have maximum staying power – use a good primer. There are a lot on the market that target specific skin concerns, so choose wisely.

Smashbox

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My go-to primer for regular use – Smashbox Photo Finish (RRP $58/Mecca Maxima). They have a great range – hydrating, pore minimising, blemish control, colour correcting and SPF. Get a sample and see which, if any, suits you. If it doesn’t work for you, fear not – there are plenty of other brands.

Hourglass

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This is a much raved-about primer, and is a much simpler choice than the Smashbox range. Hourglass have two primers – oil-free ($83/$115) and an oil-filled serum ($104) – it’s not actually called oil-filled, obviously! They both come in a travel size ($29/$35). I have a little sample bottle that has been useful on many occasions – it is my go-to primer when I have a serious party/event.

Urban Decay

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.31.01 am.pngI’m not a regular use of this primer, but that is related to allergies rather than the actual design of the product. This is an eyeshadow specific one – for a serious event, I will prime my face and then prime my eyes separately. I do think this is a really decent primer and for a while, I didn’t react to it, but sadly, now it’s out of my rotation. Easily sourced in Australia, available at Mecca ($33).

Soap & Glory

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I know it’s highly irritating to read about products that aren’t available in Aus – but for those curious as to what I’m using regularly on my eyes, this is the one. I love most things Soap & Glory, and this primer makes me happy. Being the hoarder I am, I buy this in bulk when in the UK (£8/Boots UK).

Face of Australia

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Although I don’t recommend this for party makeup, if you are new to the primer market and want to try something that isn’t going to cost you a lot, I think this stuff fits the bill. I recommend trying it out on a workday to just get a feel for it ($12.95/Priceline).

Laura Mercier

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I have to finish with my favourite. This stuff is THE SHIZ. The staff at the DJ’s Laura Mercier counter will ignore you and act all bothered that you wanted help – so just go it alone. Try all the different types – trust in me and all the YouTube bloggers that bang on about this stuff. There are a wide variety of formulas – radiance, oil-free, hydrating, bronzer, SPF and mineral. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between say, the hydrating and mineral – let me know if you have the answer. My choice in this range is the Radiance – I bloody love to glow ($50/David Jones).

Make Up For Ever released a range of primers for different skin concerns about 12 months ago and obviously I rushed out and bought it immediately. I had huge hopes but I didn’t feel they lived up to the hype. They don’t make my list of recommended products, but check them out if you are in Sephora sometime.

My final comment on the use of primers is that I don’t think it can truly replace a good moisturiser – so moisturise first, let that set and then slap on your primer. They claim to be a moisturiser replacement but that’s a no from me.

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Shine bright like a diamond

My disclaimer for this post is that I’m about to rave about a ludicrously priced product that is quite hard to source. I apologise in advance, but it was too stunning to exclude from this blog!

I picked up the Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadow with some difficulty during my time in the US. This stuff seemed to be sold out wherever I went, or I would only find one lonely shade. I’d tested out the shadow in Mecca Cosmetica a few months before, and was stunned at the coverage and quality, and how easy it was to use. I was determined to get the gold shade for greatest impact and maximum use (as I regularly wear gold and brown shades). For $US32.00, I wanted this shade [Metallic Gilded Gold], and no other [RRP $AUD44.00].

Stila-Pack

So as you can see, the eye shadow comes in a serious little bundle. It comes with a primer and a mixing plate, and a dropper to use with the primer. I’m slightly obsessive with keeping things new, so after using it, I cleaned it all up and took the dropper out – but if I was going to use this regularly, I could store it with just the dropper in the bottle.

Stila-Open

The texture of this reminds me of a paste; I wouldn’t say it’s a cream, as it’s not as smooth or fine as a cream shadow. I’ve paired this randomly with a concealer brush, but an alternative brush would be the MAC 239.

Stila-Mixing

So it’s a simple procedure – drop the primer into the pan, add the shadow, mix and apply. Upon application, it feels like any cream shadow, but once it sets, it actually feels like what I would imagine eyelash glue would feel like if it was applied to the entire eyelid – not uncomfortable, but noticeable. You’ve got a little bit of time to move it around before it sets – again, just like eyelash glue. Unlike cream shadows, it doesn’t rub into the skin, so it can be physically moved around the lid, rather than blended in.

The pigmentation from this stuff is insane – it’s really strong and deep, and really makes an impact. Unfortunately, I only took a dodgy photo of me wearing this with my phone (and with the front camera at that! Amateur!), so no great selfie to share at this stage. You’ll have to take my word for it (or obviously refer to some other beauty blogs) – this stuff is gorgeous!

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It really is like tiny bits of foil – who knows how this stuff is made?! My only issue with it is that it’s not really a buildable shadow – this is the main performer. I paired it with an extremely dark shadow (Naked 3: Blackheart) and packed this on top. I personally wouldn’t spend the time packing and blending millions of shades underneath this, as you will probably not see any of it.

Would I buy it again? Sure, it’s very unique. Shame about the hideous price.
Who would I recommend it to? I think my sisters from the Indian Subcontinent will love this shadow – it suits the style of makeup we can pull off at a traditional event.
Is it value for money? I’m not sure what to say on this – I’ve made my thoughts very clear on the price. I suggest not thinking about the price and just buying it if it seems like your thing.
How can you get it? Mecca Cosmetica in Australia and Sephora internationally.  

And remember… if irritation occurs, discontinue use.