Primer Directive

Making the switch to green beauty helped me find a new appreciation for a number of products I never previously used. One such product is primer. Though touted by makeup artists as a necessary step for ensuring a flawless base for foundation and perfecting the skin, I don’t wear foundation on a daily basis (in fact, I only wear a full face of foundation on the most special of occasions) and it just seemed to me as just another unnecessary product to coat my skin and clog my pores. Now though, having discovered natural primers, I am in love: not only are these products beautifully effective as a base for makeup, because they contain a score of skin-loving ingredients, they can actually make foundation unnecessary. My three all-time favorites are the Studio 78 Paris Makeup Primer, Oskia’s Get Up and Glow, and Haut Cosmetics Purifying Primer. A recent article in Harpers Bazaar about celebrity beauty secrets (I know, I know. The secret is to have a makeup artist on staff) mentions the importance of not just using primers, but a combination of them to reduce unwanted shine, while making skin glow and my three favorites do just that.

Studio 78 Makeup Primer is, by far, the most glow-inducing of the three. It’s a softly-golden gel-cream, loaded with fine golden mica particles. Though it won’t make your face shine, it does leave a pronounced glow. That said, it’s not even a little bit greasy-looking and the presence of sage and chamomile in the formula would make it a treat for oily or combination skin. Because my skin is dry as the Sahara, I have to use a face oil under this primer, but it definitely helps keep unwanted shine at bay. This is the sort of primer that can easily be worn without foundation or even used as a highlighter  on top of it. I noticed that adding foundation on top does reduce the glow a fair bit, though I think that it would stand out more with a lighter foundation or tinted moisturizer.

From top to bottom: Haut Primer, Oskia Get Up and Glow, Studio 78 Primer

From top to bottom: Haut Primer, Oskia Get Up and Glow, Studio 78 Primer

Oskia’s Get Up and Glow is a beautiful, softly opalescent, pinky-golden gel. It’s actually billed as a serum, rather than a primer and can be easily worn alone to brighten up the skin. Despite its pronounced opalescence, it does not actually give that luminizing shimmer, but rather an overall glow of healthy skin. I also notice a distinct tightening effect on application. One thing to note is that Oskia suggests using it on top of makeup, rather than underneath, so this would be the product to use when you are not wearing a full face of foundation, but rather some strategically-placed concealer (and make sure to let it dry before applying other products). I have used it all over, with the Kjaer Weiss foundation on parts of my face that needed it and it worked perfectly. The ingredient list is stellar and sophisticated, which I think justifies the fairly high price: this is, first and foremost, a sophisticated skincare product, so you might think of it less as a primer, but as a serum that can give your skin that extra va-va-voom.

Haut Cosmetics Purifying Primer is the most traditional primer of the bunch. It’s a  light gel-cream with an ever-so-slightly odd, slippery texture that brings to mind Nikelodeon slime (what can I say – I have the maturity of an eight-year-old). My weird ideas about texture notwithstanding, this primer applies like a dream and works like a charm. It manages to mattify and smooth the skin, without causing any dryness whatsoever. It also layers perfectly under foundation. I used it on one of those very rare days when I not only wear foundation, but do so the whole day, and it kept me looking fresh, dewey and crease-free – all this while I was out during a sweltering New York City day. Once again, the ingredients are fantastic: MSM, DMAE, hyaluronic acid, with such a bouquet of fabulous ingredients, I really think this primer can benefit any skin type.

Whichever primer you may choose, I honestly think that this is one of the areas where green is better not only for the usual reasons, but because of superior performance. Because none of these primers contain silicone, they are a lot less likely to pill (none of them ever did for me) and they provide a host of skin perfecting benefits. So there you have it – the green primer prime directive: making your skin look better and be better.

6 responses to Primer Directive

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Oh man! So tough to pick a favorite! If I had a gun to my head, I would probably pick the Haut because I’m a big fan of highlighters, so the extra shimmer could be overkill. But the Studio 78 is SO pretty and the Oskia has SUCH amazing ingredients… Told you: it’s impossible! 🙂 I will say this though: if you’re tempted by the Studio 78, then go for it! I haven’t a bad thing to say about it: it’s just a fabulous, golden gem of a primer.

  1. Lisa

    Could you wear the Haut primer under the Gressa serum foundation or is it not necessary? My skin is beyond dry, so I’ve been thinking about buying the Gressa and seeing how it goes on my skin. Just wondering if primer is appropriate or just cosmetic overkill? x

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      I adore them both, but I honestly think it would be overkill. The whole joy of Gressa is in how light it is and how well ot applies, so I’m not sure primer would add much. That said, if you happen to have both, I see no harm in trying it 😉

  2. Lisa

    On that note, what would you recommend for wearing under this foundation for someone with dry skin? I usually just apply the Grown Alchemist day cream before foundation. Thanks!

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      My skin is dry and I just layer the foundation over a bit of whatever oil I’m using at the time. Because Gressa is oil-based, it blends well 🙂

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