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I have always maintained that I would have the perfect skin, if only I had time for all that sandpapering and puttying each morning. In fact, until I realised (belatedly) that magazines use Photoshop to artificially create the “flawless” skins of their models, I actually believed that the perfect skin could be created with a little foundation.

Sadly, this is no longer the case. Some pigmentation resulting from my earlier years of suntanning with baby oil (don’t ask) and one pregnancy later, I have some pigmentation that requires more than some tinted moisturizer, and my foundation can look a little “cakey”.

I then had a brainwave while painting my garage (well, while WATCHING the painter paint my garage, to be fair) and was amazed when he spent an enormous amount of time priming the walls. He sanded (exfoliated) the walls, and then he primed them. For a smooth and flawless paint job.

I was ecstatic with my new invention, only to find that many beauty houses have known this for years, and that most of them produce some sort of primer. So much for my get-rich-quick scheme!

Anyway, always one to try anything beauty-related, I set out to experiment. And I tried many – until I found my current favourite. But more about that later.

What is a Primer?

Make-up primers are used over your moisturizer and under your foundation. They are largely made out of waxes, polymers and silicones which bond well with other cosmetics, thereby helping your make-up last longer. Most primers are fragrance-free and have a gel like consistency that is both easy to apply and results in a smooth canvas with which to work.

There are three basic benefits of using in (or investing in) a primer:

1. Primers can camouflage a multitude of skin problems such as acne, pigmentation, large pores and wrinkles.
2. Your make-up – including blush and eyeshadow – will last longer and keep its colour longer.

3. Tinted primers can be used to disguise age spots or tone down a ruddy complexion.

How to Apply a Primer

Wait a few minutes after applying your moisturizer, and then smooth the recommended amount of the primer over your face. Pay careful attention to those areas where your make up does not usually last –chin, lips, eyelids and around your nose. Wait another few minutes for the product to be absorbed and then apply your foundation. You will find that you use far less, and that your skin will appear smoother and brighter. Then touch up with concealer where needed.

Shelli NT’s favourite

I have tried a few primers – and my current favourite is the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer available from Woolworths. Apparently this product has an almost cult following overseas, especially amongst celebrities, and I am relieved that I did not know that before I tried it! It creates such a silky texture to your skin, smoothens lines and wrinkles, and makes your makeup feel much fresher throughout the day (my cheeks are less dry and my T-Panel doesn’t run out of make-up). I love the glow it gives your skin, not to mention the sheer feel of it. And my concealer is easier to apply.

I would suggest, if possible, heading to the Melrose Arch branch of Woolworths because the Smashbox beauty assistants will spend a good while with you testing the primer and recommending products while testing them on your face. You can walk around and shop for a bit before deciding to purchase anything.

The primer retails for R335.00 Worth every cent in my opinion!

PS I also discovered a nifty little tip – if your mascara is drying out, squirt some of the primer onto the wand and dip it back into the bottle. The primer will add moisture to the mascara without adding water – and presto, you get a few more uses out of it!

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