The Low Down On My Primer Collection

Posted in Beauty

Last weekend I did a mass relocation/ move around of my make-up items and it made me realise quite how many products I own, like come on who needs over 20 liquid/ gel eyeliners when almost all of them are black? Me that’s who. When I was doing the clear out I decided to note down all the items I had and do a comparison of each of them so I could work which ones actually worked, which ones I’d bother re-purchasing and which ones were just duds.

The first post in the series is all about primers for your face, eyelids, lips and eyelashes. Below is what I think of the items in my collection.


Benefit Porefessional £24.50

You can’t really talk about primers without mentioning Benefit’s legendary Porefessional. I’ve been through quite a few tubes of this over the past few years and will continue even if I dabble with other brands. The formula is silky and easy to blend into the skin. It doesn’t dry out my skin or make it oily and it does wonders for my pores. There isn’t much more I can say but this isn’t the top primer without reason.
Would I Buy Again? Yes

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer £25.50

When I went to Sephora last summer in New York I was armed with a list of products that I wanted to buy which worked out cheaper in the US and the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer was on that list. I had read things about it smoothing out imperfections and being such a great primer that I was excited to use it. Sadly though I was a little disappointed, it just seemed like any other primer. It was slightly more creamy than say Porefessional yet it didn’t feel overly nourishing on my skin. It did even out a few tiny bits of red but nothing to warrant spending this much money on a primer. Maybe I was expecting too much for this product but when a primer retails for about £25 you expect it to be worth it but Smashbox sadly wasn’t.
Would I Buy Again? No

face primer swatches

Barry M Flawless Brightening (Purple) and Colour Corrector (Green) Primer £5.99 each

I get quite a lot of redness on my cheeks and nose and then quite dull skin everywhere else so I had already tried the coloured powders and they were pretty good so when I saw these primers I knew I needed to try them. Plus when they’re this cheap you can’t not can you?! I wasn’t expecting much from a brand like Barry M who I hadn’t used since I was a teenager but I am incredibly surprised at the quality.

The products are creamier than say Porefessional but this is great for nourishing the skin so I didn’t have to worry about dry patches. The colour blended in well and it really did help keep my makeup in place over the day. The only negative i’d say is I noticed little difference between the two colours despite one being to increase brightness and one was to reduce redness. I will definitely be buying this again as they’re such good prices but I might just try the original one next time.
Would I Buy Again? Yes

Jane Iredale Facial Primer and Brightener £36

I got this little primer through one of my beauty boxes (I suspect Birchbox) and the first thing I noticed when using it was the orange smell which in my books is amazing. Not only does it smell lovely but it applies evenly and it feels really nourishing as it’s more of a cream as opposed to a silicone based product. My skin definitely looked a bit brighter and like most primers it did help my foundation apply smoother, the only thing which puts me off is the price tag. The product sits only a little under the £30 mark and although it’s good it’s not infinitely better than products for half the price (or less)
Would I Buy Again? No, Unless it was cheaper

too faced and elf eyeshadow primer


Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer £15

Too Faced was the first eyeshadow primer that I tried and to say that it changed my eyeshadow game is an understatement. I used to put off wearing shadow because I used to find that it would move into the crease on my lid by part way through the day and would look horrible. Plus the colours never came out like they looked in the packaging. But using a primer has changed that, the too faced one provides a great base which really enhances the colour of the shadow I apply and it holds the colour for a really good amount of time.

I find my lids can get oily by the end of the day but this minimizes that. Sadly I find the application a little tricky though as you have to squeeze this out rather than pat it on with a wand and it does take a little while to dry. I also find that the product goes quite watery after a while but this is something i’ve only noticed a few months on. Overall a great product but I don’t know if it’s the best out there.
Would I Buy Again? Unsure

Elf Essential Eyelid Primer £3

I only stumbled across the ELF brand when I was in the States and bought one of their lipsticks which is now one of my all time favourites. I bought the eyeshadow primer for the bargain price of about £6 and it is well worth the price (and a lot more). It has a small wand making it easy to dab on the eyelids and once smoothed on it dries really quickly which is a plus. The colour is a light nude shade which means that it picks up the colour pigmentation of my shadows so easily. Despite one of my eyelids having quite a lot of creases on it this primer allows my shadow to not fall into these creases. Overall a great product and i’d buy it again even if it was double the price!
Would I Buy Again? Yes

kiko and too faced lip primer


Too Faced Lip Insurance Primer £15

Much like my eyeshadow primer I was a bad girl and never used lip primer before last summer (oops!) I bought the Too Faced primer as after plenty of research it seemed one of the best out there and it’s certainly helped the longevity of my lipsticks. Using the wand it applies easily onto my lips and unlike the eyeshadow primer it dries quite quickly. I definitely notice that my lipstick glides on smoother and looks better to begin with although I don’t think it’s extended the wear time of it too much. I’m a bit on the fence about this one as it’s good but I don’t think it’s amazing.
Would I Buy Again? Unsure

Kiko Lip Base Primer £5.90

Now I hate that the first product I feature from Kiko in this makeup series is a negative review but I could not get on with their lip primer. It does not have a wand which makes it a little hard to apply but it is essentially like applying foundation to your lips. Now I know the point of primer is to wear it with something over the top so lightening the lips might make the colour pop a bit more but this seriously made my lips disappear it was so light.

For a primer it felt a little heavy and I didn’t think my lipstick looked any better/ brighter after using the primer. Sadly a product that I won’t be buying again, and I probably won’t even finish using
Would I Buy Again? No


Benefit They’re Real Tinted Primer £18.50

This is a product type which has probably been around for a while but until Benefit unveiled their version at the end of 2015 I wasn’t aware your lashes needed priming. It makes complete sense though as by using this the mink coloured primer seperated my lashes and created a base which really makes my my lashes stand out when I use mascara over the top. It’s not something i’d feel the need to wear everyday but for nights out and times where I dress up i’ll 100% be donning this on my lashes.
Would I Buy Again? Yes

 Next products to try:
Soap and Glory: Heck of a Blot Primer and Mac Prep and Prime Lip

What are your top primer picks?
January 27, 2016
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  • I've been using the maybelline one recently. Not sure on it though! I might have to try some of the ones you've mentioned x

  • I really love the smashbox primer and Benefit pore professional, shame my bank balance isn't such a fan!

    Hayley-Eszti |

  • Ooh wow lots of primer!The ELF eyelid one is one of my faves!

  • I know nothing about primer, and the different colours would scare me. I would love to do a make up course one day and learn about make up properly

  • Wow you have a big primer collection! I love the Benefit Porefessional one!
    Emily from

  • Ah see I love primer as it really does make a difference but I have tried a variety like you but the best I have found was less than a fiver and by MUA

  • I don't wear much make up but received an eyelash primer for Christmas and wondered whether it was worth wearing, thanks to your post, I'll be giving it a try.

  • I didnt know there is eyelash primer! thanks for the post! new thingg ive learned

  • That's quite the collection you have there!

  • This is a fabulous review, as I too have wondered about the best/worst ones to use! I will definitely be trying some of these due to your post.


  • I'm looking for a new primer at the moment so this has come in handy, thanks! :)

  • I have never ever used primer. If I am honest I don't really know much about makeup! This was an interesting post to read though. Great photos.

  • Joanne Mallon

    I think I am the only person left who hasn't used Porefessional! I don't tend to wear primer every day, but I do wear the eye primer by Korean brand Etude House which is very good and comes in a very pretty bottle.

  • That is one big primer collection. I know nothing about make up so this was informative.

  • That is one big primer collection. I know nothing about make up so this was informative.

  • Wow Rhian, what a collection. I use Laura Mercier and Urban Decay eye shadow primer at the moment. Also love Stila.

  • I’ve been dying to get my hands and the elf lid’s primer for the longest time! I’m so jealous! I’ve not touched barry m for years other than for nail varnishes, £6 is dead cheap so I might just pick one up 

    If you’re looking for an amazing primer, the air brush primer by no 7 is amazing!
    Jay || PuzzlePieceLife

  • I've used Benefit Primer and thought it was good, but to be honest I do skip the primer so I can spend more on the foundation. My daughter won't be without primer though!

  • You know what I don't even own a lip or eyeshadow primer. What exactly do they do apart from make your makeup stay on longer?

    • With eyeshadow they enhance the colour to make it more pigmented and for me it makes it smoother. With lip primer it makes the colour not stick to certain bits and again blurs over any natural marks

  • I go straight to foundation so I may look at primers now for dressier occasions. Definitely going to try an eyelash primer now!

  • Lovely collection you got here. I used my Body Shop face primer.

  • You can never have too many Primers in my opinion, I have loads x

  • You put my own collection to shame, I really need to treat myself!

  • I don't wear foundation much, but when I do, I always have to pop some primer on first! Usually, Benefit's Porefessional. I know you said you probably wouldn't repurchase any of the lip primers again, but I've never tried any and now I'm really curious!

    – Elodie x

  • I'm going to try the Elf one because that brand is so affordable. Also, since it worked so well and didn't get into your creases, that's a big yes!

  • I'm surprised you weren't impressed by Too Faced eyeshadow insurance. It works wonders for me and keeps my shadows from creasing.


  • I've heard such good things about the elf one, I definitely need to give it a go! I'm intrigued about the Barry M one too.

    Teri-May |

  • This is a great detailed post. I have tried the Benefit primer and have always been impressed. I would love to give the elf primer a go.

  • Awesome primer picks I want to try the benefit one . K X

  • I'm going to the US soon and this is a very useful post! My makeup always slips in the warm weather. I use Daniel Sandler primer which I have found good but I have been thinking about trying a new one. I am glad you said you wouldn't buy Smashbox again as I may have tried that one.

  • I love your collection & photography.
    I haven't tried any of these … BUT I have heard amazing things about Benefit Porefessional – I need to get some makeup for my holiday so will give this a try. Thanks for this post hun
    Charlotte x

  • That Benefit professional one looks amazing! My friend who is a massive make up fan swears on Benefit for anything make up related!

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