Hello there! Here I am with some more beauty chat for you! Thank you for allowing me to do this – my head fills up with stuff and I really want to talk about it and this a wonderful outlet for me and I’m grateful to you.
Okay! Here we go! Recently I read that Japanese women use up to 15 different products on their face every day and amigos, I was staggered! I am MAD about skin-care and I am a marketeers dream – I will buy any ruddy oul’ thing - but 15 seems, well… terrifying! I read about some of the products they use – clarifying lotions and whitening creams and CC Creams and water spritzes and blotting paper and amigos, it made me feel weak with exhaustion. When do they have time to do anything else? And does each consecutive layer not mount up on the face so that their heads weigh about an extra half-stone by the time they finish their morning routine? This could put terrible strain on the vulnerable vertebrae in the neck!
Some of the products are specific to their climate (it’s hot, it’s humid.) And some are to do with the fact that pale skin is prized, whereas in other parts of the world (mine), tanned skin is seen as healthy-looking and glamorous (implying that you have been in the ‘abroads’ in the sunny climes because you certainly couldn’t have come by that orangey glow whilst holidaying on the small grey drizzley rock that is IrelandLand.)
But in many ways, it’s as bad here in these isles, there are so many ‘layers’ that are presented for us to buy to put on our faces and it feels that more are being invented with each passing second. Soon there will be a serum to fight, ‘Inner elbow crease’, no? And ‘Ear droop’ of course. *Medical-style voiceover* “As ladies age, their ears droop – after all, it’s a natural part of being a lady - but buy our miracle Droopy-Ear-Be-Gone cream which tightens and lifts droopy ears and you will be able to leave the house without wearing your special hairband which clips onto each ear and which you tie in a very tight knot, hoisting up your ears to their younger height!”
What makes matters even more complicated is the growing popularity of medical proceedures, for examples, Botox and laser-face-resurfacing and whatnot and the cosmetic’s industry attempt to replicate those effects via creams.
So it is a thicket, my amigos, a veritable thicket of products. There are too many. And sometimes when I walk into the cosmetics hall of a department stores, I feel like my head is going to burst. So in the hope of averting Bursty-Head Syndrome in yourself, I have narrowed beauty care down to some basic rules.
A) Clean your face
B) Wear sun-block. Yes, even if you live on the small grey drizzly rock that is IrelandLand.
And really that is all you need to do.
There is much more that you may want to do and I’m hoping, over the next few months, to explore with you, some of the billions of products that are out there. But today, with your permission, I’d like to discuss primers.
Primers are creams that go over your moisturiser and under your foundation. They claim to prepare the skin to ‘receive’ the foundation but basically they function as foundation glue: the idea is that primers make your foundation last longer. But different primers offer add-on functions – some have SPFs, some claim to ‘illuminate’ the skin, others claim to smooth out a craggy-surfaced face, some claim to shrink pores, some offer day-long moisture and others offer a day-long absence of shine.
I think primer is only useful if you have a hard, lengthy day ahead of you or if you’re going out on a big night which will involve drinking, dancing and sweating. The rest of the time, don’t bother! Please! We have busy lives and this is one less thing you need to do.
So here is my experience of Primers.
Dermalogica Skinperfect primer. Dermalogica has a great pedigree, it’s the go-to range for people with problem skin and actually although my skin is STREEMLY dry, it’s not too problematic (to wit, spotty) and perhaps that’s because for a least a decade I’ve been mostly using Dermalogica and Cream de la Mer. I’m ashamed to admit that many times I’ve been unfaithful and ‘dabbled’ with other brands, but I’ve always returned to my 2 favourites. This brilliant, brilliant Dermalogica primer ticks a multitude of boxes: it has broad-spectrum SPF of 30 - which is lovely and high - and so dispenses with the need for a separate cream for sun-protection. It comes out of the tube with a slight tint, which disappears once it’s on my clob, but nevertheless it neutralises my red patches - so much so that, even though I haven’t left the house without foundation since 1976, I’m half-considering trying it with this and a brush-on bronzer. The product includes silicone which probably explains why my skin looks and feels so smooth, velvety and firm, and finally – and very importantly – it has a beautiful smell .
Illamasqua. My head is quite turned by Illamasqua (pronounced ill-ah-mask-ah, just in case you’re afeerd of making of gom of yourself by saying it.) It’s a new brand (launched in the last 3 years) and it’s fun and colourful and different. They have THREE (3!) primers, the Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel for the STREEMLY dry-skinned person (to wit, me), the Satin Primer, again for a dry-skinned person who also wants ‘illumination’ and the Matte Primer for the oilier-skinned person who is afeert of looking shiny. Well, I LOVED the gel! I found it to be great fun - it’s actually ‘set’ like jelly, it even comes with a tiny little spoon! – and it felt so ‘drench-y’ and lovely on my woefully dehydrated face. The satin primer gives a slightly pearlescent glow and with both of the primers, my foundation stayed set for a long time. I didn’t buy the Matte primer because I couldn’t have less oily skin if I tried, but if it’s as good as the other two, then we are bombs away!
Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro. Fair play to Rimmel. It’s always cheap, on-trend and effective. This cream promises to Smooth, Resurface, Brighten, Mattify and Protect, which is a lot to ask of any one product. I can’t prove that it ‘Resurfaces’ and ‘Protects’ – these are claims that can only be proved in the long-term - but it certainly does, ‘Smooth and Brighten.’ Regarding the ‘Mattifying’ I can’t comment because my Sahara-esque skin is so dry that it couldn’t possibly be any more matte. But a good product for the smoothing and brightening.
HourGlassVeil Mineral Primer. Honesty compels me to admit that, as a foundation glue, this is the most effective primer I have ever tried. It is also the most expensive. And I hate that. I feel so uncomfortable recommending dear stuff to you and I beg of you, as always, to never spend money you need for other things (yoghurt, perhaps or Bonjela) on beauty products. It has an SPF of 15 and forms an almost-latex-looking mask (but not in a bad way, I don’t look like a Spitting Image puppet) and it seems to smooth everything out and my foundation lasts a long, long, long time.
Tom Ford Illuminating Primer. Yes, again with the Tom Ford! I’ve already raved about this primer in the piece I wrote about Illuminators and that’s because it works delightfully, in both capacities. It’s gorgeous. It’s weightless, spread-y and if, unlike me, you were the kind of person who isn’t afeert of leaving the house without foundation, you could use this on its own because it gives a taut, radiant, smooth glow. I wear it with the Tom Ford Traceless foundation and – forgive me for being a boasty boaster – but I do ‘enjoy’ my skin when I’m wearing it. Sadly this is also a pricey primer, but for some reason I feel less bad about recommending this one.
DHC Clarifying Pore Cover Base
New and exciting! Which is always nice, yes? A Japanese brand, I’m only just after coming across them, via their staggeringly impressive Double Protection Mascara, which does that lovely ‘entubing’ thing that I enjoy so much. This primer is powder-based so it’s mattifying so it’s more suitable for those with oilier skin. But it did a lovely job of ‘disappearing’ the pores on my chin. Normally, they’re so big I can stores things in them (like a euro for my shopping trolley and a spare car-key) but once I put this stuff on, they suddenly snapped shut like those funny flowers that look like they’ve got fangs and frankly, it was awkward because I’d been ‘carrying’ my phone in there. I could hear it ringing but couldn’t get to it. (Forgive me for being a bit mental. After all, it is my way.)
SmashBox. A legend. I haven’t used it in a while – I was devoted to it and then ran out and my head was turned by something new but I remember it providing the same kind of latex-looking coverage the Hourglass one does but being far less costly.
So that’s primers. However, may I quickly address the CC Creams question? *Sighs heavily* I don’t know, amigos, I just don’t know… Okay, I ‘got’ BB Creams, they were like tinted moisturisers, but beefed-up by the technical advances that had been made in skin-care – light-diffusing-ness and anti-ageing-ness, (always assuming that anti-ageing-ness is even real and I’ll come back to you on that another day.) But for some reason, I took great umbrage at the arrival of the CC Creams. I felt, “Ah come on lads, you are taking the mickey here!” It felt – yes – like we had moved into Anti-Ear-Droop-Cream territory.
The essential difference between BB Creams and CC Creams from what I could gather, is that BB Creams give a shiny finish and CC Creams give a matt finish. So I went to the trouble of actually going on the interwebs and ordering a CC Cream from a brand called Rachel K to be sent from KoreaLand and when I tried it, it made me look like I’d been smeared with ash. Like I’d taken my head and had a good roll around in the fireplace. I looked grey and actually… yes… dead. Like a white-walker from Game of Thrones
However, I hope you know me as a fair person, my amigos, and I wanted to give the CC Creams a decent crack of the whip so I ‘tasked’ my glamorous sister in New York with sending me the Olay one which was only out there at the time – but once again I looked grey and deceased!
So no more CC Creams for me! And actually, it is a great relief. It is one less thing to worry about.
However, some of you have contacted me on the twitters to say that you are enjoying your CC Creams tremen-jussly and I salute you. We are all different - different things are enjoyed by different people, yes? Which is why I will beg you to always try a tester or ask for a sample before you buy any beauty things. In writing these beauty yokes, my intentions are honourable and I am honest but just because I like something doesn’t mean that you will and it would kill me if you wasted your hard-earned on something you didn’t get pleasure from.
I will sign off now and I hope that where-ever you are, the sun is shining in your sky and in your heart