THE road to hell is not, as it is so often claimed, paved with good intentions.
No, that particular pathway is made up of repeated pressings of the snooze button. Was there ever an invention so downright evil?
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It’s far, far, too easy to hit the snooze button continually — I’ve often been found lying in bed cradling my mobile like it’s a particularly precious infant and sleepily murmuring “just another five minutes” when I should actually be up, out and on my way somewhere.
As a result my morning beauty routine can at times be a little slapdash (less slap and more dash usually), the very last thing I want is, to add yet another step to the cleanse, tone, moisturise, slap, mascara, lippie, grab keys and dash routine.
Now having said that, if I have time, a meeting, a date or any other sort of evening engagement I’ve always been a big fan of primer.
Over the last week as I’ve been testing various primers by putting them on in the morning I’ve realised just how foolish I’ve been to skip out on this tiny step which really doesn’t take any time at all.
Those few extra minutes in the morning result in better applied make-up, smoother looking and less shiny skin and longer lasting make-up.
OK before I launch in to tell you about the various brands let me just pause for a minute to give a quick primer on primers for those of you who don’t really know what they are, or how to use them, or are just a little bit afraid of them.
For the sake of clarity I’m sticking to foundation primers today (with one exception which you’ll see later).
No matter how good your skin is and no matter how well you take care of it, skin is not plastic (unless you’re a Stateside reality TV star, mentioning no names) and therefore tone and texture will vary.
A foundation primer is a base coat that prepares your skin so that you can apply your foundation more evenly and smoothly. It also helps ‘set’ your make-up and keep it in place.
Depending on the primer you choose it can also help absorb oil and reduce greasiness, even out skin tone or colour and often they contain some form of SPF protection which helps prevent sun damage. Primers come in various guises, creams, lotions, mousses and clear gels.
Confusion can arise with primers and moisturisers —do you need both and if so which should you apply first?
Well some primers contain moisturiser but if they don’t I would recommend a light moisturiser that is quickly and easily absorbed (there’s that time factor again) and then put the primer on top.
Clinique have just launched a range of Superprimer Face Primers (£20) including one universal formula and five tinted formulas for specific skin needs (correcting redness, dullness, discolouration etc.).
The Superprimer is a lightweight oil-free product that not only smoothes out skin but includes silicone polymers that help perfect pores, fine lines and wrinkles. I can highly recommend this primer.
It glides on easily and is absorbed pretty quickly leaving the skin smooth and ready for the application of foundation.
I tried both the Colour Corrects Redness and the Universal Face Primer and they both worked a treat. Also at £20 they’re great value for money.
Clinique are also responsible for the All About Shadow Primer for Eyes (£20) without which no make-up bag is complete.
Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control (£28) does the usual job of a face primer and then some. The formula contains 2% salicylic acid — a key ingredient in the treatment and prevention of acne and psoriasis.
Salicylic acid is a very hardworking little monohydroxybenzoic — it causes the cells of the epidermis to shed more regularly, opens clogged pores, neutralises the bacteria within and then prevents them from clogging up again by constricting their diameter.
You don’t have to be a dermatologist to know that this is all good news for anyone but particularly for those prone to breakouts.
The Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control works in two ways, providing blemish-fighting and oil-free hydration which can be used on sensitive skin.
Not only does it help make skin look better instantly but continued use will help you achieve clearer skin.
I don’t have particularly blemish ridden skin (thank God) but like many women I have an over-active T panel so this primer was great for reducing the shine and keeping my make-up in place.
And with this primer you apply it to bare skin so there’s really no excuse for skipping it!
For the ultimate in lightweight under base try Shu Uemura UV Under Base Youthful Radiance Mousse (£29). I was a bit dubious about this at first as it goes on very wet.
However it does dry very quickly and just on its own (even before you apply your make-up) it perks up grey winter-worn skin.
It’s not unlike a tinted moisturiser and I’d be quite happy to pop out on a quick errand with only the mousse between me and the cold light of day.
Although it’s not a primer Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream (£23.50) does exactly what it says on the tin — evens out skin tone and gives you a lovely glow. It also has an SPF 50 and UVA protection, hydrates your skin and it really does last all day.
Incidentally if redness and/or rosacea are a problem check out Dermalogica Redness Relief SPF 20 (£34) which is a 3 in 1 moisturiser which helps reduce the appearance of redness, soothe skin and provide protection from the sun.
This month’s lovely perfume comes to us courtesy of L’Occitane en Provence. I’m a huge fan of L’Occitane mainly because their products always smell so good.
Their brand new scent Ambre & Santal is no exception. Designed by L’Occitane
in-house perfumer Karine Dubreuil, Ambre & Santal is the perfect fragrance for Fall, combining notes of Amber, Sandalwood and Cedar with Bergamot. Sometimes exotic perfumes can be a tad heavy or, heaven help us, overpowering, but Ambre & Santal is a surprisingly light scent, a little bit spicy, a little bit sassy and a whole lot of sophistication.
Just make sure to lock it away when teenage nieces or aging aunties visit as it suitable for all ages.
Fans of Coronation Street are delighted to see the return of Rovers landlady Liz McDonald. I love Liz but more than anything I am fascinated by her hair because, there’s no nice way to put this, it’s fierce.
I sympathise with Bev Callard, the actress who plays Liz, because I too suffer from frizz and my adult life has been one long quest to find either the ultimate anti-frizz product or a live-in hairdresser.
Well, remember last month I told you about the milk_shake Leave In Conditioner special bottle and price for Breast Cancer Awareness month? You do? Good. At the time of going to press I hadn’t had a chance to try the product for myself but I since have and someone should send a bottle to Weatherfield ASAP.
Not my bottle though, I am jealously guarding that one because it is worth double its weight in gold.
For more information or stockists please see:
Available at Harvey Nichols nationwide and in London at Liberty, Fenwick and Shu Uemura Boutique in Neal Street. Mail Order at 0207 235 2375
L’Occitane en Provence