primer picks

Primers, BBs, and Balms: Five Wonder Tubes that Deliver

Every week it seems like I’m hearing about a new multi-product that promises to erase pores and cancel redness. As much as I love putting crazy on my face, I’ve always been a little wary of the “wonder tubes.” My SF esthetician, Julia Robertson* warned me against multi-products, on the basis that one product can do a few things ok, but do none of them great, not to mention if you have fickle or acne-prone skin (check, check) you’re asking for trouble.

My skin:

  • Is classic combo: oily T-zone, dry cheeks
  • Olive/tan
  • Hormonal breakouts? OH SHUT UP.
  • Bonus: not worried about wrinkles
  • Not Bonus: more worried about pore refinement

Laura Mercier, Benefit, Too Cool For School, Pore Putty, Hanskin

With all of this in mind, I’ve done a BB vs. Primer road test with a few products and here are a few I really dig. I change it up depending on the climate and how much makeup I plan to wear on a given day.

1) Laura Mercier, Foundation Primer (US)

Light, non-greasy, and vitamin packed, this is a great every day primer for light makeup coverage when the weather is moderate to cool. It creates a nice barrier between your skin care and foundation—I let my UV moisturizer dry a couple of minutes before I lay this down.

  • Texture: thin, nice slip, sheer
  • Vitamins: A, C, and E

2) Benefit, The Porefessional (US)

Baby, I’d never leave you. I’ve used Porefesh for years and I truly love it. Yes… I used to work at Benefit HQ in San Francisco as a writer and assistant (MAKEUP PARTIES EVERY DAY), but seriously—that only means I scrutinize the line even more. There are a few Benefit products that I truly adore and will pay full, no employee discount/hook up on even to this day. What can I say? It’s great makeup.

  • Texture:  mid-density, creamy, opaque, light coverage
  • Color: beige with cool undertones
  • Oil free

Primers Laura Mercier, Benefit, Too Cool For School, Pore Putty, Hanskin

3) Too Cool For School, Oil Control Primer (Korea)

This is my meltdown primer. If it’s hot and/or sticky out, chances are I’m wearing way less face makeup, but whatever I am wearing, I want it to stay in place. This stuff has to dry before putting anything else on… I tried putting concealer on over this al fresco and it turned into this weird, separated mess on my face. It’s a right tool for the right weather though—foundation stays PUT. Buy it here.

  • Texture: tacky, silicone-based, sheer

4) Keana Pate, Pore Putty (by Sana) (Japan)

This reminds me a lot of Smashbox—clear paste, silicone-y with super soft slip that glides all over and makes your makeup slide on super even. It’s effective enough but I have to admit, with a name like Pore Putty I really wanted this stuff to be my magic face bondo. It’s way less expensive than Smashboox (at least in Tokyo) and for the expat girls here, it makes sense to buy local. U.S. girlies can get it here.

  • Texture: silky, silicone-based, sheer

5) Hanskin, Super 3 Solution BB PA+++ (Korea)

Surprisingly, this isn’t making my skin freak out, but that might be because I only use it in the triangle under my eyes and around my nose. Why you ask? BECAUSE IT IS SO LIGHT. If you have fair, quasi-sensitive skin, this could be your wonder tube. This was a gift from my friends at Glossybox, and I love the coverage- light but with real pigmentation—BUT… it’s way too light for my olive/tan skin. Everyone can get it here.

  • Texture: thin, creamy, opaque
  • Color: pale with yellow undertones
  • SPF 35/ PA+++

*SF ladies: Julia’s a miracle worker—my face stopped aging five years ago because of this woman… message me on FB if you want details!

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