Battle of the… Skin Primers

Today’s guest post, Battle of the Skin Primers, is by one of my very own Beauty Babes… Kirsten!

An absolute must have product in your makeup bag is a skin primer.

Primers are great for ensuring that you can go all day without your foundation moving. It blurs fine lines, fills in pores and smoothes the texture of your skin. I love that it provides a barrier between your skin and the makeup.

Here are three steps in helping you choose the perfect primer for your skin

  1. Know what type of skin to determine what you need from your primer (whether you have dry ,oily or combination skin).
  2. Determine what type of finish you would like the end result to be (dewy/glowy finish or matte finish).
  3. Choose the best primer according to your budget.


Over the past couple of weeks I have had the privilege of trying quite a few primers on many different skin colours and skin types and of course on myself.


These are my findings…


Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer


Type : Pore perfecting

Skin Type : all skin types

Skin Colour : Light to Medium dark skin tones.

Qualities : Elizabeth Arden Flawless Instant Perfecting Primer is non comedogenic (it won’t block your pores) and it is oil free. It smoothes out skin, leaving it feeling soft and silky while controlling shine and maintaining moisture at the same time.

My thoughts on it : After applying it, my skin tone looked even and felt really soft and matte. It increased the coverage that I usually get from my sheer foundation and really improved the longevity of my makeup on my face.

Where to buy : Foschini, Truworths, Red Square, Woolworths

Price: +- R365


REVLON Photoready Prime + Anti Shine


Type : Clear, mattifying balm primer.

Skin Type : all skin types, works best with oily skins. Skin Colour : All skin tones

Qualities : Mattifies skin.

My thoughts on it : This Revlon primer works well with dewy foundations when wanting to mattify it. I love that it is clear and works on all skintones. It comes in a convenient compact with a sponge, which I would avoid using as I feel it wastes product. Using fingers or a foundation brush is my favourite option.

Where to buy : Clicks, Red Square, Takealot, Edgars, Dischem, Zando

Price : +- R249


GOSH Primer Plus Base Plus +


Type : Cream primer

Skin Type : Combination to Dry Skin. Skin Colour : All skin tones.

Qualities : It goes on like a moisturiser and feels rich and hydrating on the skin. Gosh Primer plus Base Plus contains an anti-ageing ingredient called Snow algae which protects the skin, adds moisture and stimulates skin cells. My favourite part is that it is perfume and paraben free!

My thoughts on it : When wearing it with a very sheer foundation, I feel it increases coverage. It goes from a sheer finish to a medium coverage foundation. I love that it’s not a matte primer, it’s hydrating with a slight glow. I was very impressed when I looked in the mirror 4 hours later and my makeup was still in place.

Where to buy : Edgars, Red Square.

Price: +- R210


DERMALOGICA Hydrablur Primer


Type : Cream primer

Skin Type : all skin types, works best with oily skins.

Skin Colour : All skin tones

Qualities : Dermalogica Hydrablur smoothes skin while hydrating and mattifying at the same time. It is useful for refining pores and contains no artificial colours , fragrances or parabens.

My thoughts on it : At first glance it seems like quite a thick white, creamy primer, but once it is warmed up it between the fingers and the face, it melts into the skin and becomes invisible. It instantly blurs and refines pores. After applying the primer, my skin was left with a neutral coverage which was really enjoyable on days where I went foundation-less. On the days when I wore foundation, the makeup lasted a lot longer on my skin than without a primer. It is quite a splurge for 22ml, BUT it is a beauty of a product.

Where to buy : Sorbet, Dermalogica Online

Price: +- R850


SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation


Type : Pore minimizing

Skin Type : all skin types, works best with oily skins.

Skin Colour : All skin tones

My thoughts on it : I‘ve enjoyed using this Smashbox primer as I love the fact that it is beigey in colour so it tones in nicely with the skin. I have had great foundation wear with this primer. It blends into the skin beautifully and leaves the skin feeling soft and matte.

Where to buy : Woolworths, Edgars, Red Square , Foschini For Beauty

Price: +- R465


Catrice Prime and Fine Beautifying Primer


Type : Cream Illuminating Primer

Skin Type : Combination to dry skin

Skin Colour : Fair to Medium skintones

Qualities : It contains light reflecting particles which illuminates the skin.

My thoughts on it : I absolutely love the illuminating quality of this Catrice primer as I love skin to glow, but when applying my foundation on top of it, I found lots of the illumination disappeared. The fact that it is slight pinky toned, limits the skin tones that can use this product. In terms of staying power, I don’t feel it prolonged my foundation wear all that much. I would happily use this product solely as a cream highlighter on the high points of the face.

Where to buy : Dischem, Selected Clicks stores , Takealot

Price: +- R73


Optiphi Set the Canvas


Type : Mattifying Primer

Skin Type : Combination to Oily skin

Skin Colour : Fair skin tones

Qualities : It mattifies skin while minimizing the appearance of pores and “sets the canvas” for makeup.

My thoughts on it : I find this Optiphi primer quite dry when applying it on the skin, even though I have combination to oily skin, I do prefer something not completely matte. It definitely does a great job of mattifying a dewy foundation. Because the product is such a stark white, I do find it lightens my foundation ever so slightly. It is a great primer to use if you are wanting to combat oil and shine completely.

Where to buy : and selected salons and spas

Price: +-R240


Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer Primer


Type : Cream Perfecting primer

Skin Type : All Skintypes

Skin Colour : Fair to Medium skintones

Qualities : Contains photocromatic pigments which diffuse light to give the appearance a flawless finish.

My thoughts on it : I love that this Revlon primer was created for your skin to look flawless and fabulous in photos. It works well to smooth skin and makes your pores appear smaller.

Where to buy : Clicks, Red Square, Takealot, Edgars, Dischem, Zando

Price: +- R189


In conclusion, trying all of these primers was a very interesting experience for me and made me realise what a great product a primer is in ensuring that you get the best wear out of your makeup.

There are so many great primers out there but overall my favourites were definitely the Gosh primer plus and the Demalogica Hydrablur primer.

Kirsten Murphy Rossiter

Kirsten is a Cape Town based Hair and Makeup Artist and Model. She also has a passion for performing on stage in musical theatre. She has an insatiable appetite for all things beauty and loves educating women with beauty advice, helping to make it attainable and unpretentious, yet still trendy and cool. She loves trying out Foundations, Highlighters (cream and powder) Mascaras, Matte Lipsticks and Cream Blush.


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