Makeup Series: Primers Review


Happy Hump Day babes! I am sooo excited to begin my Makeup Series of blog posts focusing on different categories of makeup! Each week or so, I will be posting about a certain category of makeup and reviewing each product in that category that I’ve tried including both super affordable and possibly a few higher end brands to let you know if they are worth the splurge. Of course, I had to start with Primer since this is the very first thing that goes onto my face after I am finished with my morning skincare routine. Primer is a product that you should use all over your face (i usually just put it on with my fingers) in order to create a smooth surface for applying your makeup. A good primer will also make your makeup last longer throughout the day so that you don’t need to reapply. Here are the different primers I have tried and what I think of each. Click the name of any of the primers to be redirected to see more details and potentially purchase. Hope you enjoy!

NYC Smooth Skin Perfecting Primer (not pictured; $4) – I bought this primer a while ago when I was into more drugstore brand products. It is definitely one of the most affordable primers you will buy. This has a pretty basic, lotion-y feeling texture and looks a bit shimmery, but blends into the skin well. I think it does the job and feels fine on my face, but I am not totally convinced it extends the life of my makeup throughout the day. If you have never tried a primer and are on a super tight budget, this is worth a try. However, if you have a little higher budget to work with, I would try this next one…

Covergirl Outlast All Day Primer ($13) – THIS is the one I’d recommend if you are new to primer but don’t mind shelling out around $10 to try one. You can often find Covergirl on sale at Ulta, Target, or various drugstores (right now thru Aug 27th you can save 25% on with promo code GLOWOUT). I received this in a past Target Beauty Box and I think this is a great drugstore primer! The texture is similar to that of a lotion, but I think it smooths the skin better than the NYC one above. This is what I use daily! Below are some swatches of a few primers mentioned in this post. This Covergirl one is on the right (you can see it is the least thick), Dior Glow Maximizer is in the middle, and Pür Color Correcting on the left!


Benefit Porefessional Face Primer ($31) – I cannot tell you how many samples of this primer I have received over the past couple years. I swear the Benefit marketing team is really on one lol! Anyways, I do like this primer once I get it all rubbed into my face, but the texture is very strange and not what I am accustomed to. Its is very separated and solid-like, not at all like a lotion or cream formula. This primer is supposed to be good for people who have large pores and want to blur them to be less noticeable once they apply their makeup. I don’t really have this issue, so I can’t speak on that but I know this primer is pretty popular in the beauty community. Ultimately, I like the finish of it, I just don’t really like the formula and applying it. For that reason, I probably wouldn’t ever buy it in the full size, but I am happy to use up all of my samples 🙂

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($32) – I received a tiny sample of this and am not really sure how I feel about it. I don’t really like the idea of a primer in water/mist form because that doesn’t seem to smooth my skin and prep it for makeup the way that an actual thick formula like the regular Smashbox foundation would. I have actually instead been using this either after my makeup is done as a setting spray, or spritzing some on throughout the day if I want a little pick-me-up for my makeup. However, I can’t really tell you if there is any benefit of this and for that reason I wouldn’t recommend you to buy the full size of this product without first sampling it for yourself. Another thing I’m not crazy about is the idea of paying over $30 for a bottle of water more or less :/

Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer ($32) – I received a tiny sample of this primer and it puzzled me to no end! You remove the cap and it twits up almost like a Chapstick. I understand the full size product is probably a fairly good sized stick that will cover your face with product in a few swipes. However, the mini one I got is no bigger than a Chapstick and it would literally take me probably an entire minute to roll this over and cover the entire surface of my face. That is too time-consuming for me, especially since I am not even sure how I feel about this formula. I think I prefer it over the Porefessional, but am still not crazy about how Benefit has formulated these two primers. Another concern of mine is how sanitary this stick-primer can be. Unless I wipe off the top of it after each use, aren’t I just spreading bacteria and oils back and forth from the stick to my face each time? Maybe there is a solution, but to me this primer is just not convenient and I would much prefer to spend my money on one of the next two primers I’ll discuss…

Pür Cosmetics Dark Spot Correcting Primer ($33) – This is a primer I bought for two reasons: 1) I have a good amount of sunspots that I like to try and even out and 2) Ulta had it on sale BOGO! They occasionally do that with this brand, which is awesome because that means you get a full size high end primer for basically $16! I don’t think this completely covers my dark spots, but it helps a bit. I don’t use this daily, but once I run out of my Covergirl one I probably will switch! They also carry different colors for the various color correcting concerns: green to correct redness, a blue one to hydrate, and one to boost illumination/glow. The texture of this primer is a bit more high-end feeling. It glides across the skin smoothly and actually has a pleasant smell that is a bit hard to describe. If you are looking for a high end primer and catch this on sale, I say go for it. If not, I would say to spend a couple extra bucks and go with the next primer I’ll discuss…

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer ($36) – THIS is one of my all time favorite primers! The Photo Finish line contains a few different options, also including color correcting primers. There is a green one for redness, a peach version for dark spots, a hydrating version, a pore-minimizing version, and a “light” version. I have only tried the original (which is also a super common sample given with orders) and I absolutely loveee this formula. The original version is clear and almost looks like hot glue or something similar in appearance, however it is so silky smooth to touch that I genuinely find joy in blending this primer into my face. It feels so luxurious and you can just tell how smooth and even of a surface it is giving you before you apply your makeup. I use this for nights out or special events and also bring the little samples with me in makeup bags or for travel. If you want to splurge on a foundation, this is the one to use! I suggest going to your local Ulta or Sephora and checking out all of the different versions to see which would be best for your skin type.

Laura Mercier Radiance Bronze Foundation Primer ($36) – I got a travel size sample of this with a Sephora order ages ago and have always really loved it. This primer has a bronze tint so it is awesome for when I want a little boost in color to my face! The texture is pretty average – soft, but not as silky of a formula as the Smashbox primer. They also have a regular (non-bronze) and a illuminating formula. Head to Sephora and try these out (you can ask them for a few-days worth sample!) They are great if you want a primer product that also adds some bronzing or illuminating onto your skin!


Dior Glow Maximizer Primer ($42) – So, I was on a Dior kick after I discovered their Airflash Spray Foundation and decided to check out this primer. This is also one for adding illumination to your skin and I think it does a great job. However, is it worth the high price tag? I would say probably not. I love the packaging on this – you remove the cap and there is a pump to dispense it. This helps you to use the perfect amount of product, and honestly since I only use this for special occasions, I think this tube will be lasting me a very long time. Check this out next time you’re in Sephora an see what you think! It would be nice to have for those super special moments in life such as weddings, holiday parties, photoshoots, etc.

It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer ($48) – This is the most expensive primer I’ve tried! I received several samples from Ulta and fell in instant love! First of all, the texture of this primer is amazing. As it says in the name, it is more of a serum-like texture but works just as well as the other formula primers out there. Also it contains many anti-aging ingredients such as peptides and collagen, so it is actually working as two-in-one skincare product and primer. If you look at it that way, combine the price of whatever skincare serum you typically use in the morning with your preferred primer, and they probably come close to the price of this 2-in-1 primer anyways. When you realize that, the price tag seems much more reasonable in my opinion. The last thing I love about this primer is the scent. It smells just like a creamsicle (orange-y) and I absolutely love to put this onto my face! I think that once I use up some of my other primers (or if It Cosmetics has an epic sale sooner!), I will splurge to add the full size primer to my collection.

SO, What did you all think of this post?! Please ‘like’ the post or leave me a comment to let me know if you are liking my new Makeup Series! Next up, I will discuss foundations – can’t wait! Let me know if there are any specific ones you request! xoxo, Nicole

Update: CLICK HERE to read the rest of my Makeup Series posts!

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