Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

[ Edited ]

I've accumulated quite a couple of primers over the years, so I decided to compare them. However, everyone's skin react differently so your input is also greatly appreciate it (your favorite, long lasting, finish etc?) I'm not sure what's the best way to compare them, I tried. Here are the ones I have ranked from the highest to lowest rating on Sephora website:


2013-09-21 22.56.00.jpg

Hourglass Mineral Veil primer SPF15:
- Properties: Water-resistant, minimize shine/oil, mineral-based, free of fragrance/oil/gluten. Used titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of chemical sunscreen.
- Look/feel: Natural/satin finish. It’s white with silicone feel and spreads easily but goes on clear. Light weight


BareMinerals Prime Time:

- Properties: Minimize shine/oil, hydrates, mineral-infused, preservative-free. Contains soothing plant extracts, antioxidants, and vitamins C and E.

- Look/feel: Satin finish. It’s clear and a little gooey out of tube. Medium weight.

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch:

- Properties: Non-comedogenic, allergy and ophthalmologist tested. Contains vitamin E.

- Look/feel: Satin finish. A pink balm that has a silicone feel. Light weight.

SMASHBOX Photo Finish original:

- Properties: Oil-free, with vitamins and antioxidants.

- Look/feel: Natural finish. It’s clear and gooey, goes on a little sticky/creamy than dry/silicone when spreading. Med weight.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless:

- Properties: Hydrates, firms, detox/brightens. Contains vitamins A & C, mulberry extract, and Retinol.

- Look/feel: Natural finish, with a tiiiiiiny bit of shimmer. It goes on nude with a silicone feel, a little thick going on. Medium weight.

Hourglass no.28 primer serum:

- Properties: Hydrates. Contains 14 essential oils, 10 lipid-rich plant oils, and four vitamins.

- Look/feel: Dewy/luminous finish. It's clear and goes on slightly oily and rich so apply sparingly. It's protective and great for sensitive/dry/chapped skin.


Benefit POREfessional:
- Properties: Minimize shine/oil, oil-free, contains vitamin E.
- Look/feel: Matte finish. It’s nude but goes on clear and have a dry silicone feel. It does not dry my skin out but peels/flakes a bit when too much is applied. 


KORRES Quercetin & Oak Age-reversing Primer:

- Properties: Hydrates, silicone-free, with antioxidant Quercetin and Oak extracts. Does not clog pores.

- Look/feel: Natural finish. It's white and feels like a moisturizer, as in water feel instead of dry silicone feel. Light/med weight.


I applied Benefit liquid foundation, Josie Maran cheek watercolor, and Tarte bronzer on my arm to see how they wear. Right after being applied:


After 24 hours (I rubbed off a few numbers):



1 mineral veil

2 prime time

3 clarins perfecting balm

4 smashbox original

5 too faced prime&poreless

6 hourglass no.28

7 porefessional

8 korres anti-aging primer

0. without primer, control group


Lasting power: For powders (bronzer), hourglass ones did the best (1&6) followed by Korres (8), Prime time (2) and Clarins (3). For liquid (foundation), all of them are great but porefessional (7) wores off on me a bit and mineral veil (1) oxidized a bit on me.


Personal opinion: I have combo skin and hourglass mineral veil dries out my cheeks a bit. Too Faced prime&poreless seems to have the most skincare benefit (aside from no.28) but I don't like the tiny bit of shimmer. I like wearing Benefit POREfessional alone for mattifying but it doesn't hold on to makeup well, I like Clarins balm better for that. In the winter I like Hourglass no.28 cuz it's super hydrating and holds onto powder makeup very well, not as much for liquid probably because it's too rich/oily and slips a bit when rubbed.


That's that. What's your favorite and why? =)

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

The Korres one so far is the only one that doesn't break me out. I think I'm probably sensitive to silicone. It does seem to work well for dry patches too. I had a deluxe sample that I decided to try out last night and my UD Naked foundation stayed on through an entire night of jumping around and rocking out on stage. I'm highly impressed.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

Such a great post!  Thanks for sharing your (dedicated) research.


I am always looking for a good silicone-free primer (my face gets irritated/broken out, and other probs from silicone).  It's really hard to find a silicone-free primer that's also NOT highly scented.


Korres has too much scent for me, same with Clarins.  I keep looking!  Next I am trying the sephora brand SF Primer.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

(0) Hearts

Have you ever looked at Lorac's I'm so sensitive primer?

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

[ Edited ]
(0) Hearts

@Nicrohr. Did you try all of them? I know there's the pomagranate, anti-aging and vitamin e. Do all of those have too strong of a scent?


In addition to Sephora, this Tarte and Ardency Inn ones also seems to be silicone free:


Thanks and good luck!

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

I love the Hourglass Veil primer, I'd love to try the serum, but it's full of oils & I'm afraid it will contribute to more milia & mystery bumps. I've learned over the years that products heavy in oil do not get along with my skin well. 

I've really wanted to try the Clarins one for a while, I love Beauty Flash Balm & have been using it sparingly for years, now that I've stocked up on perks I'll probably use it more. Have you tried BFB? 

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

(0) Hearts

@dannyc. I'm not a big fan of wearing ski masks, so in those brutal winter with 20+ mph wind, my cheeks/nose gets really chapped/raw from the wind then the dry indoor heat. The extra layer of protection from the silicone/oil in no.28 really helped. I'm not sure if they contributed to the bumps, because most face stuff, especially moisturizers, either have oil for dry skin or silicone for oily skin.


No I haven't tried BFB yet. The only other ones I have is UD Naked, which doesn't have a good review and I don't really like either, and this discontinued UD primer.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

Thanks so much for posting this, beautytester! Out of this list, I've only given the Porefessional a fair trial run, and it was okay; depending on my moisturizer, it would bead up and it just felt a little funny on my face (I have combo/oily/dehydrated skin). Right now I'm using the Korres Greek Yoghurt Primer, and it is so fantastic! It's moisturizing, and it keeps everything in place; my skin is hydrated, and is keeping my t-zone in check Smiley Happy.


I also have minis of the Hourglass Mineral Veil and the BM Prime Time. Looking forward to trying those!


Thanks again! Smiley Very Happy

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

Beautytester, you're awesome for doing this!!! Smiley Happy


I've got oily skin (drier as we get into the fall and winter months) and my favorite all-time primer is the Hourglass Mineral Veil.


Primers that are a-okay:

1) Tarte Clean Slate Poreless: medium weight

2) Becca Resurfacing Primer: medium weight


And the one primer that is downright terrible... Benefit 15 Hour Primer: Superglue of a primer for your face.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

Thanks for taking the time to do this review, very informative and helpful! Thanks to your recommendation I think I am going to try out the Clarins, just wondering your opinion: does it make your makeup last longer? and is it fine on drier areas?

Also you said the no.28 from hourglass makes makeup last longer, but does it have silicone properties.. by this i mean the feel that it will make my skin smoother/pores less visible? or would the mineral veil be better at that.. 

I'm stuck between all three. Then you said the bare minerals, and now I don't know which one to chose. 

thanks again! 


Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

[ Edited ]
(0) Hearts

They all make your makeup last longer, except porefessional on me. The ones that said "hydrates" in properties above are the ones that are fine on drier areas. All of them (including no.28) except Korres contain silicone. 


As I mentioned, everyone's skin is different, you've got 3 choices and I suggest getting samples of them or swatch to try and decide.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

this is so helpful, beautytester. indeed, you are a beauty tester! Smiley Happy

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

I have combination oily to normal skin with some dry spots on my lower jaw. I like smashbox light photo finish primer. It works will with my liquid foundation. I also like the porfessional by benefit alone without makeup. I have used the too faced pore and primer, not sure if that's the name, but it works okay. It tends to break down after about three to four hours of wear. I may try the hourglass next.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

ty fir sharing! fir me porefessional is the best for minimizing my pores!

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

Great review!!


I really like the stila primers, I like the shimmery one and I also like the correcting one. I think I like them because they are silicone free, because I've tried a lot of silicone primers and I've never liked any of them.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

HANDS DOWN Smashbox photofinish. After an incredibly fun night, I fell asleep with full makeup on. 12 hours later... I woke up and my makeup was astonishingly P-E-R-F-E-C-T. With those results, I am not going to even bother finding a budget version.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

I'm currently using Hourglass Veil Mineral, and I've used BE Prime Time.  I've only used them with powder foundation.  They both have worked very well at keeping the powder in place.  Before using a primer, after only a couple of hours, my foundation would be gone!  I like both and would be happy with either.  However, the Hourglass does give your skin a slight "haze," evening out your skin tone.


Thanks @beautytester!  I've been wondering what other primers are like.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

I use the Korres anti aging primer.  I have normal/dry skin and I find silicone based primers can be quite drying for me. They can also cause me to break out when it is hot and humid because they seal my skin closed.  I am happy with the results I get from Korres.

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

Has anyone ever tired the Loreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Primer ?

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

I got a sample of it in a magazine once and I think it might be worth trying. It's definitely more affordable than the high end ones but still gets the job done! I don't know how staying power would compare with these ones though. 

Re: Primer comparison. What's your favorite?

I have a lot of favorites.


  • Make Up For Ever's HD primer
  • Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
  • Laura Mercier oil free primer
Whimsically yours,
Conversation Stats
  • primer0.jpg
  • primer1.JPG
  • primer3.JPG
  • 2013-09-21 22.56.00.jpg