WHAT I USE…PRIMERS
WHEN YOU GET PAID TO TEST BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR A LIVING, WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY PAY TO USE? ELLE’S BEAUTY DIRECTOR Katy Young COMES CLEAN
Our Beauty Director on why primers bridge the gap between professional and amateur make-up kits
Around 1O years ago, primers arrived on the beauty scene. They were a godsend for professional make-up artists, who loved the way they eked out the lifespan of foundation so that you didn’t have to retouch or reapply. Plus, they filled in cracks and crevices beautifully, a sort of Polyfilla for the skin, if you will, so that your tinted base went on like butter on a marble slab – even if what lay beneath was cement. But, for a long time, I pondered whether they were really worth the time and money for us mere mortals. And with so many of us cleaning up our skincare acts and stripping out superfluous products, was primer’s time up? What’s more, most primers use silicones to create a slick film to grab onto skin and foundation. Silicones, of course, have a bad rep for suffocating skin – although I’m yet to see scientific evidence for this. These days, however, I’m unashamedly pro primer. I see it as the missing link between a professional and an amateur make-up kit – much like the copper pans that maketh the chef’s kitchen, or the gold boots worn by a top footballer. A decade of product development means that there is a primer out there for all of us. Please don’t be nervous that primers will dry out skin and create cracks around lines. Good ones do the opposite – in some cases, even moisturising your face. A primer can brighten, mattify, colour correct, boost collagen and even do your washing up… Not really, but you get the gist. It can transform your look by dialling the wattage up or down, taking it from 195Os velvet effect to a very 2O2O super-gloss look. I am particularly grateful for the way good primers – shout out to Hourglass – control oil while smoothing over large pores around the nose, which otherwise act as a resting place for excess foundation. And I’m not alone – according to the big beauty companies, large pores are now consumers’ number-one bugbear. Of course, a primer’s real value is not just in making skin look better, but in keeping it that way. I use one if I have a long day of events, so I won’t have to top up my base. I wonder if Meghan Markle now swears by one after she famously lost some of her make-up to a war veteran’s lapel – a smudge he said he’d never wash off. Hourglass, Too Faced and Charlotte Tilbury do great silicone-free versions. What I like most about them is that the cream won’t pill into sticky little worms if you work it too fast – a nightmare if you’ve only got two minutes to do your face in the morning before you catch your train. But, reader, I get it: using a primer every day is a big ask. If it’s a new step in your regime, nab some samples and go in with baby steps. The truth is, if you like your foundation (if not, why not?), you’ll love it under a primer. Just as a football coach tells their team to invest in the best boots they can afford, I wouldn’t be a very good beauty editor if I didn’t encourage you to let your foundation flourish over a primer.
“PRIMERS ARE THE MISSING LINK BETWEEN A PROFESSIONAL AND AN AMATEUR MAKE-UP KIT ”