Save, Spend & Splurge – Makeup Primers


I think I should start off this (what should be a lengthy) post with a quick history lesson on makeup primers. What are they and why do you need them? One of the things that irritates me the most when I’m applying makeup, let’s call it a pet peeve, is when foundation doesn’t go on smoothly or when my makeup pulls a Houdini and disappears after an hour or two. This is where primers come into action. These (usually) untinted bases act as your first makeup step by creating a smooth surface to aid in flawless makeup application. Well, that’s the idea at least. Some people, like myself, are all for primers while others feel these products are a waste of money. If you fall into the former camp then keep reading.  In this post I’m going to share five different primers that can be classed as a save, spend or splurge product with prices ranging from R83 to R630.



Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser R82.95 at Dis-Chem. A lot of people have alluded to this primer being a great dupe for Benefit The POREfessional. Okay so let me point out the glaringly obvious differences first – the appearance of the primer. Baby Skin is completely clear while POREfessional has a slight hint of colour to it. Maybelline’s Baby Skin feels a bit heavier and greasier when you apply it and it takes a good few minutes for it to completely sink into your skin. My biggest ‘issue’ with this primer is that it has a very oily, silicone consistency to it. It obviously contains silicone just so you know. If you apply even a little bit too much to your face your makeup will slide while you’re trying to apply it. Not ideal! It’s supposed to be formulated with something called Insta-blur technology which smooths/blurs your pores instead of trying to fill them in. Also, it’s non-comedogenic and fragrance-free for those of you that are wondering.

This inexpensive primer definitely does what it claims to do – blur your pores. Now I need to be very clear as to what kind of skin I have before I carry on with more primer reviews. I don’t have enlarged pores by any means but my main ‘problem’ area is probably the space on either side of my nose. I feel like Baby Skin does a fine job of blurring these pores but there are other primers (POREfessional) that do a better job. I think that ‘pore blurring’ is the only thing that this primer does. It doesn’t really make my makeup last longer than it usually would and shininess does peek through after a short while but it doesn’t actually promise help for any of that stuff, so all is good. If you’re on a budget, which honestly most of us are then this will absolutely do the trick. The packaging is cute and it delivers on what it sets out to do. It’s not groundbreaking or incredible but hey it’s also only R83.


The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur PrimerR190 at The Body Shop. I’ve actually written a very long, and pretty extensive review on this primer (over here). But in case you’re not in the mood to go read another post I’m going to run through the most important points. Instablur has a soft and velvety texture to it. It blends into your skin nicely. It feels weightless on your skin (unlike Baby Skin) and sinks in almost instantaneously. It offers your skin an almost matte-like finish (like POREfessional) and blurs away minor pores and imperfections. It’s a great base for foundation! I feel my makeup goes on smoother and it actually does help a bit in the way of wear-time. It doesn’t effectively control shine for too long though so oily-skinned girls you’ve been warned. Also, I know I didn’t mention it up above but It was also pretty obvious that you might want to avoid Baby Skin as well if your skin is on the oilier side. This primer princess contains Community Fair Trade Marula Oil so it’s doing great things for your skin while it sits there. As far as primers go I feel like this one stands up quite nicely to POREfessional in terms of creating a matte/flat canvas.


Revlon Photoready Prime + Anti-Shine R225 at Clicks, Dis-Chem and most Revlon stockists. I literally just spoke about this primer two days ago (over here) and it’s the baby in my primer family. I’ve only been using this one for a week or so but so far I’m loving it. I’m enjoying the balm-consistency and its lightweight feeling on my skin. It does keep shine away for a while but after a few hours (let’s say 3-4) my T-Zone does start glowing a little too much for my liking. It does do the whole anti-shine thing but not for the whole day unfortunately. However, I feel like it definitely blurs your skin quite nicely. It’s a fantastic base for makeup and smooth city is where you’ll be living for a good few hours.

My makeup stays put for longer with this beauty but as I said shine might become an issue depending on if your skin is a loofah or Exxon Valdez on the how-oily-is-your-skin-meter. I think the sponge that is included in this palette is perfect and the thing I’m crazy about is that this primer works even better as an ‘oil blotter’ for when midday shininess hits. I’ve been applying it over my makeup (patting it on with the sponge) when things start getting a bit too glowy.



Benefit The POREfessional R395 on Red Square and selected Edgars stores. I think we are all very familiar (read here and here) with this cult primer and as you’ve seen above I’ve pretty much compared all other primers to this, my holy-grail of primers. I know a lot of people think it’s over-hyped. To be honest I don’t care if it is. I love it. I see results. It’s as simple as that in my books. The oil-free POREfessional doesn’t feel greasy or oily in the slightest. It immediately melts into my skin and you can instantly see the mattifying effect it gives. My makeup glides over it easily (except for L’Oréal True Match) and to be honest my makeup lasts the longest and stays ‘fresh’ the longest when I’m wearing POREfessional.

This silky balm is supposed to minimize the appearance of pores and it does. I mean nothing is going to completely ‘fill in’ or ‘disguise’ your pores but primers like this definitely make them less noticeable. Also, whenever I wear POREfessional I feel like my makeup looks flawless. Isn’t that all we really want? Just remember as with all of these primers if you wear them daily you might experience a bit of pore clogging, but that can actually be said for all makeup. You should always give your skin one or two days a week to breathe without makeup.


Dermalogica Ultra Calming Redness Relief PrimerR630 at Dermalogica concept stores and stockists. This primer is very different to all the other primers I mentioned. Not only is it a major splurge, but it also wants nothing to do with all these pore-busting claims. It forms part of the Dermalogica Ultra Calming range, which means it’s all about skin sensitivity and redness. Now I don’t have an extreme case of red face but I do suffer from a bit of redness on my cheeks and chin. This green-tinted (silicone-based) primer definitely counteracts redness but not only that, the ingredients (oat and green botanical actives) will help calm your skin down after it’s thrown a hissy fit. It soothes inflammation and redness. I’m almost certain that many of you perked up after reading that last part.

This redness relief primer is formulated without artificial fragrances and colors and is ideal for sensitive skins. I’ve been enjoying it as a makeup primer as it feels lovely (and somewhat soothing) on your face, extends foundation wear ever so slightly and as a bonus it evens out my skin a bit before I apply makeup. And as an even bigger bonus it contains SPF20 just in case you forgot to put your SPF on first.

September 11, 2015 • By