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!

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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.


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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.


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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… 


A classic beauty blog item…

A beauty blog cannot claim to be a beauty blog, without some sort of Urban Decay Naked palette review, swatch or tutorial. We’re up to the third palette now, which I’ve yet to get my hands on, but my original and true love will always be the first Naked. I feel like I don’t even need to give details about the palette because it’s so well-known, but I shouldn’t assume such things.

Now, credit for the palette goes to SIL #2, who introduced me to it when I visited her in the UK in 2012. I have paid this recommendation forward to a lot of my friends, who have also gotten their hands on it. Best friend MO, and SIL #1 also have this palette – what kind of friend or sister would I be to allow them to live a life without it? Urban Decay isn’t stocked or sold in Australia (though there is some talk that Urban Decay is coming to Myer), so it takes some dedication and effort to source it! I personally think that Naked really revolutionised the palette market – the amount of nude and basic shade palettes that have come out since is astounding. I managed to get my hands on a previous Urban Decay palette which was definitely before their Naked fame, and it was all bright and vibrant colours – the type that you will use once in a blue moon. I actually gifted it to a friend, who I imagine has used it during that one-off blue moon season.

So, that’s my personal history with Urban Decay and the Naked palette itself. The palette then led me into trying some other Urban Decay products, and let’s just say, the possibility of it coming to Myer is very exciting! Urban Decay, in my opinion, has some extremely high quality products, and their prices really aren’t as ridiculous as they could be – though who knows what their price point will be in Australia?

There are some imitations and attempts to recreate Naked out there – Chi Chi have a palette that pretty much looks like the same thing! I haven’t tried this product, nor am I interested in doing so. I think the price and the brand will make it a decent purchase for a teenager or student looking for a budget nude palette.

Chi Chi’s Nude Palette

As for the original… behold!


Isn’t it lovely? Now, my disclaimer is that my palette did not come with the pencil that is featured in this image (courtesy of the Urban Decay website), but instead came with a flat eyeshadow brush (you will see it in my photo below). I only recently started using it (I have a habit of hoarding pretty things) and I was surprised how good quality it is – surprised because it’s a palette-included brush, not because I expected anything less of Urban Decay.

The shades in this palette are just divine. For someone of my Indian-subcontinent complexion, it has the ideal shades and pigmentation. The quality of the packaging is decent – it travels well, it doesn’t collect too much loose shadow inside, and has a fairly decent quality mirror included. The pigment quality and the range of colours is really what makes this palette so gorgeous. It has a great range of classic nude shades, and can create a huge range of looks. Classic gold eyes, soft smokey eyes, a matte nude look, or intense smokey eyes. I personally don’t use this palette for work looks, but I think it could easily be done.

My favourite shade has to be ‘Sidecar’ – it’s just such a beautiful shade, and so highly pigmented. It’s not too gold, not too nude, not too shiny, not too bland – this is the one I’m most likely to ‘hit the pan’ on first. The only negative comment I would make on this beloved palette is that it comes with limited matte shades – only two. It really caters for glossy, shiny, eye-catching looks, rather than simple matte nude looks. Personally, if I’m trying to come up with a very matte eye, I’ll search for my Smashbox Masterclass 2 palette  (reviewed here).

Would I buy it again? Without a doubt.
Who would I recommend this to? Anyone looking for classic gold shades, or someone who doesn’t like to feel left out in the beauty world.
Is it value for money? Without a doubt – 2 years of extremely regular use, and I’ve yet the get close to finishing any of the shades.
How can you get it? Through a generous friend travelling through the UK (Debenhams) or USA (Sephora) – the RRP is $US52.00. Alternatively, if you want to trust Beautybay (there are mixed reviews, and I’ve never personally used it), they stock it for $AUS81.70, with free international delivery.