Return to girliness is harder than I thought.
November 28, 2012 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Need a good, reasonably priced primer/moisturizer to put on before makeup. Help?

I had a professional redo my makeup recently for a more polished day look and it came out fantastic. I bought most of the color products but didn't really go for the skin prep products - the color was expensive enough!

However, getting the products home and applied correctly has proved challenging. So I'm looking for a good primer or moisturizer to put on before I apply foundation or eyeshadow. Basically I'm trying to prime my face for painting!

I'm in the habit of using just a Coppertone sunscreen, which adds much too much shine which I then have to tone down with matte powder. I also have a Cerave nighttime moisturizer but it really does not add enough moisture to ease makeup application.

The eye area is a particular problem. I tried putting a bit of eye cream on this morning before I did anything else, but trying to apply cream liner with a brush was still like trying to paint the Gobi desert. I'm in my 40's so the skin of my eyelid is not as taut as it used to be, in addition to the dryness.

I have Laura Mercier's eye primer but it really doesn't help; perhaps it would in combination with another product. However, I also have to watch out for too much slip because my eye makeup tends to come off pretty easily and hang out under my eyes.

If there's a drugstore product that will do the trick, great. I don't want to spend more than $50. I'd prefer a product I could use all over my face but I'll look at a separate eye cream if it is a killer product.
posted by Currer Belfry to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I use Garnier BB cream as my moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation. It adds just a bit of tint, but it makes everything even out and become soft.
posted by Night_owl at 7:50 AM on November 28, 2012

A lot of people swear by Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer. On the expensive side, but within your budget and a little bit lasts a long time. I had good results with it but couldn't be bothered to use it every day.
posted by peacheater at 7:52 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love MAC Prep & Prime Natural Radiance. It's just a bit sparkly - not so much that you'll look glittery. I only use it around my eyes.
posted by jrichards at 7:54 AM on November 28, 2012

I use Urban Decay primer on my 40-ish-year-old eyelids. A little tube lasts forever and I tried it at the makeup counter before buying. It keeps my eyemakeup from sliding off and doesn't irritate my skin.

For the rest of my face I use the CVS or whatever knock off brand of this Aveeno with sunscreen which is good for making things smooth & even without being gloppy or greasy. It's pretty cheap when I get the store brand. I usually mix it with tinted moisturizer to make super sheer, SPF "makeup".

When I'm going all out the full 9 yards (or am having a super tired looking or hungover day) I use That Gal which you can also somethimes find in a mini size in a kit with other products. Pricey but I use it rarely.
posted by pointystick at 7:56 AM on November 28, 2012

nthing Garnier BB Cream. It's the bomb-diggity. I like their Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller as well.

Loreal makes a makeup primer, which might be a thing.

Any drugstore brand of moisturizer with SPF protection should be good for a base as well.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:59 AM on November 28, 2012

Make-up is not generally my strong suit, but I had (or chose) to learn a lot for my wedding, and one of the recomendations I was particularly surprised by was to use Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel as a primer. It's apparently basically the same thing as SmashBox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, only much cheaper. cf.
posted by cellar door at 8:02 AM on November 28, 2012 [10 favorites]

I was coming to rec. the Monistat chafing gel, so I heartily second cellar door. It is the best face primer I have found, low or high end.

However, it's not very moisturizing. I'll nth BB cream, but suggest Maybelline's Dream BB cream. It gives enough tint that I can skip foundation.
posted by peacrow at 8:13 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

The best all-in-one I have found is Dr. Jart+ BB Cream, but at 45$ a tube, it is pricey. It also lasts forever, and can function on its own. I get the one in the gold bottle.

Yes, the Monistat is the same as the Smashbox primer, without the scenting and colorant. Makeup Alley will have reviews (reg is free). What makes them slippery and at the same time able to ease on/adhere your makeup is dimethicone. Monistat is basically all dimethicone. Be aware this can be a little tough on your skin, Smashbox, Monistat, whoever, without regular and good cleansing.

I have used Garnier BB Cream as well, and I find that to be good. The coverage is not as good as Jart, I would say, and after time, my skin really improves with Jart as well. BB Creams were originally balms (that is the second B in BB) meant to be worn as pseudo-makeup after rigorous, dermatological skin treatments. They were meant to heal. I feel like, barring my ordering off of sites straight from Asia, Jart is the closest I can get here to that. This is all a long-winded way of saying that if you use a product that works and improves at the same time, you use 1) less foundation and color in general and 2) you can reduce the improving product to a maintenance level.
posted by oflinkey at 8:25 AM on November 28, 2012

Nothing I've tried compares to Sofina Perfect for that perfectly primed look. I did a lot of research on a couple of years ago and there was a lot of buzz about exactly the priming qualities. I still have the bottle I bought then so I haven't needed to replace it. A quick search now brought up this line from, presumably, the same manufacturer. I got mine on eBay and it was significantly more expensive. It was so much the rage that it makes sense that they'd bring something to the US market. There might be something better now, (suggest checking forums where serious ladies post great pages on this topic). but I'd only try something newer, as I tried all the alternatives to then. It truly makes a canvas of your face. Also suggest considering a really good night-time moisturizer to ready your skin for a morning primer. We don't have products yet to do both very well so let your skin soak up moisture overnight, before you apply a primer.
posted by Mertonian at 8:29 AM on November 28, 2012

The Urban Decay eyeshadow primer is amazing - disconcertingly so. I can put it on with eyeshadow in the morning and my eye makeup will last all day at work (including bike commutes to and from work) and through the evening. It has also been known to last through a pretty intense cardio workout (I think the people at the gym must think me crazy for wearing eye makeup while working out). It's truly, truly awesome.

I use Too-Faced Primed and Poreless primer, which I used to really like, but lately it has been balling off because it doesn't like my moisturizer or something. However, I've used some samples and I'd like the Nth the Smashbox primer - but I'm glad I read this thread, as I'll try the aforementioned Monistat! Thanks AskMe!
posted by urbanlenny at 8:32 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer. Helps a ton. Eye primers and face primers tend to be vastly different, since the skin is different and you're using different products for each part, so you may not find a product that works as both a foundation primer and an eye primer.

I hated the Garnier BB cream; it felt unbearably greasy on my skin and made my face shiny (and my skin is often dry). It might work for you; if not, there's an oil-free version that sidesteps the greasiness.

I currently use Missha BB cream, which is one of the Asian brands. It's pricey, but the Missha site sometimes has crazy promotions - I got mine for under $10. I wouldn't say it's changed my life, but it's a good all-in-one product.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:38 AM on November 28, 2012

For the eye, I recommend Etude House Proof 10 Primer. It is significantly cheaper than Urban Decay Primer Potion, and I like it more-- it's a tiny bit more moist, so the bottle doesn't dry out unlike UDPP. It can be purchased on Ebay for less than $10 including shipping.

Since you're copying the work of a professional, I must ask, how are your brushes? Most people don't realize that brushes make a HUGE difference in makeup application. If you didn't already, go back and ask to see what brushes were used, and then buy copies at a drugstore. E.L.F., Ecotools, and Sonia Kashuk are typically well-rated and available at Target, or try MAC.
posted by acidic at 9:20 AM on November 28, 2012

I use the Smashbox Photofinish Primer on my face and swear by the Photofinish Lid Primer. For me it is just as effective as the Urban Decay eye primer has been described above. I've sweated, cried, and stayed up way to late while wearing the lid primer-my makeup never budged.

I too am in the market for a new moisturizer-so I'll be watching this post for suggestions. I've been using Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with SPF 15 since it was Oil of Olay. It is a good everyday moisturizer, but my makeup doesn't "stick" when I apply it after using this moisturizer.
posted by JennyJupiter at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2012

I use and love the Olay mentioned by Jenny Jupiter. I put it on when I first get up and wash my face. By the time I have coffee and get dressed, it has been fully absorbed and I have no problem with my makeup not "sticking".
posted by michellenoel at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2012

For the eye primer, are you using the Laura Mercier eye canvas? Because regular eye primers annoy me, so I ended up using Laura mercier's eye basics. It lasts forever and doesn't feel tacky.
posted by smalls at 11:31 AM on November 28, 2012

After trying the Monistat, which is only ok, I sprung for the L'Oreal primer. It has helped a lot. Even with incredible moisturizing, my face was feeling horribly dry with makeup on, and adding the primer has helped so much. I also get a better finish that lasts longer.

I prefer creams to liquids, which is why I chose the L'Oreal over the other ones.

I also second the person who mentioned having good brushes. For durability and overall quality, synthetic brushes are great. Love the Eco-Tools powder brushes, which are nicely cheap. Sprung big for the foundation brush, a Lancome Foundation #2. Perfect for applying MAC Studio Tech or Mineralize cream.
posted by monopas at 12:48 PM on November 28, 2012

The weird thing about primers is that they are all pretty much the same thing, but somehow tiny differences really matter. I'm not a fan of the Monistat because it makes my face feel plastic covered. I think the UD primer eyeshadow is pretty good, but I've been most happy with Tarte's Clean Slate Creaseless primer. However, I find what makes the biggest difference to the smoothness of my eyelids is regular use of an eye cream at night, and then the same thing diluted (I apply to wet eyelids) under primer. Blot eyelids with tissue just before eyeshadow to help prevent migrating eyeshadow ending up in the crease. I've also been using Tarte's Poreless Face Primer, and sometimes L'Oreal Studio Secrets Perfecting Base (which is thick, like spackle). Eye primers tend to be more expensive, but a good one makes a big difference. You can return pretty much anything to Sephora, and if you have one nearby you can ask for samples.

Generally, a very low or no-oil moisturizer is recommended around the eyes to prevent millia. I keep flogging Skinactives here, but their products give huge bang for the buck, without added fragrance or fillers. Their eye cream has lasted me nearly a year. It moisturizes without adding grease, and has a ton of other good stuff like peptides, chrysin, caffeine, and vitamin A.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:43 PM on November 28, 2012

Response by poster: Fantastic answers, folks. I'm confident something in here will do the trick. Thank you so much.

acidic and monopas, good point about the brushes. I went out and bought an eyeliner brush (not a name brand) at the drugstore the other night just to see if things would go any better (they didn't). I may have to go up a notch on the brushes even after I find the right primer.

Sadder but wiser executive summary: The makeover I got was one of those free (as in the first taste is free) deals at the department store. If I had it to do over again I would probably ask the artist if they could walk ME through doing the steps myself. I will probably try to contact the artist who did my makeover to see if she can give me some extra pointers; hey, it'll help repeat business for the brand.
posted by Currer Belfry at 5:50 AM on November 29, 2012

I actually hated the Garnier BB cream and would not recommend it. But that's not what you're looking for anyway - you asked for a moisturizer and/or primer, right? I use Alba Organics Hawaiian moisturizer and for days that I use primer, I either use Bare Minerals or Sephora brand. They both work under mineral and liquid foundations.

If you don't want to go back to the makeup counter, just search youtube for application tutorials, you'll find a ton of stuff!! YouTube is how I learned how to do the makeup for my wedding after doing essentially the same thing as you and buying products at Sephora, and it turned out really nicely.

Oh, also, you don't need the fancy branded brushes. EcoTools and e.l.f both have really good brushes for super cheap.
posted by echo0720 at 6:13 PM on November 29, 2012

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