Oh, humidity. You make everything stick to my face—my hair (which is now curly despite the painstaking 2 hours I spent flat-ironing it), the sweat emitting from my pores (we are WAY past the point of “glowing”), dainty mosquitoes hovering about. Everything, that is, except my makeup.
In my feeble attempts to appear as if I have it together in weather that should only be reserved for prehistoric organisms and prisoners sentenced to solitary confinement, I turn to primer.
In something larger than a nutshell, primer can obscure a multitude of flaws, making flaky skin moisturized, rough textures smooth, and porous skin sealed. Cover-up doesn’t settle into lines, blush remains vividly contouring, and eyelids aren’t greasy come lunchtime. A good primer will last you through coffee, a day of meetings, happy hour, and the first go at something you might regret in the morning (whether you let him stay for a second is up to you—primers aren’t permanent, after all). Primer is also very handy if, like me, you’ve been blessed with overactive sweat glands and you’ve, in a stroke of genius, decided to reside in a city whose climate rivals that of Dante’s Inferno.
Alright, enough of that. You get the point. On with the review. I’ve been loyal to one Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer because it truly does the trick. I just stick to the good ole regular version, but Smashbox, dears that they are, make this product in a fafillion formulas for every skin need—Light (oil-free), Luminizing, Hydrating, SPF 15 with Dermaxyl (anti-aging), Bronzing, and three Color-Correcting shades to Balance, Blend, and Adjust. I mean, seriously. So, you may be asking, “If you’ve found something that works and that you like, why change to a new product, silly goose?” Because I have a serious case of the grass-is-always-greener syndrome and it is a bitch.
You can imagine the light-bulb moment I had when I found a sample of L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional No. 1 Magic Perfecting Base smushed between the pages of the latest Allure magazine and, shortly thereafter, acquired a deluxe sample size of Nars Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer Oil-Free, awarded to me as a bonus after hemorrhaging cheerfully handing over a sufficient amount of cash-money at Sephora. Experiment time!
I was heading out to a dinner and drinks situation and thought to myself, Now would be the perfect opportunity to get my Beauty Juke testing on. (I know, I have lame conversations with myself. I’m fully aware.) First up, L’Oreal Magic Perfecting Base. Did my normal routine (cleansed face with Yes to Blueberries Facial Cleansing Towelettes—review here—primer, makeup), walked out the door into the sticky night air, and had myself a wonderful time. Four hours and a couple smooches later, I came home to a very visible acne mark on the bridge of my nose that not only would have been extremely invisible had I prepped with Smashbox, but over which I had shellacked layers of my favorite concealer (Smashbox Camera Ready Full Coverage, in case you missed the Beauty Juke post on that one). Tré disappointing.
My testing strategy with the Nars wasn’t as precision-based, since I had more of it to use over a longer period of time. With prolonged use, I consistently noticed that after every application, it didn’t smooth out the skin and the layers of concealer, shadow and bronzer to follow appeared somewhat grainy, almost as if I wasn’t wearing a primer at all. I have a feeling (and they’re generally spot on) that this would be a faboosh product to use in drier climates. Are you in a drier climate? Do you use the Nars Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer Oil Free? Does it perform miracles for you? Feel free to shoot me a comment and validate my hunch.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to advocate a switcheroo for the cheaper drugstore brand (we all know how I love a deal), in my humble opinion, I’d still shell out the $$$ for the premier Smashbox primer. Just can’t fake the flawless-face fixtures, I guess. And who knows, you might get lucky with a beauty-club bonus from Sephora.
P.S. I’m sure there is a lesson in here for me about the grass NOT always being greener on the other side, but I am also quite sure that I am blissfully ignoring it.