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What's In A Primer Anyway?

Living in Barbados and dealing with the heat and humidity is a struggle. It seems like it's getting hotter every year. If you're one of those people that wear to work makeup everyday more props to yuh.

With Crop Over recently ending, a lot of us were out and about partying up a storm. For us makeup enthusiasts that also meant employing all the tricks of the trade to ensure that those special beats last. We gotta be picture perfect for the paparazzi all event long. During that time one set of questions #TeamModen received repeatedly was about setting sprays. The other big query was about primers.

Here I've already raved about two primers, Hourglass Veil Mineral and Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector. We've also told you numerous times that we use Phillips Milk of Magnesia as an oil controlling method. But what about all those primers that we see in Collins, Cave Shepherd and the supermarket? Well lewwe see now...

The idea for this post was sparked a while ago, when I first saw NYX Pore Filler and Shine Killer in Exotica Makeup and Extensions. When I checked the packaging for the ingredients I discovered they were basically the same. 


Pore Filler ingredients: Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isododecane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol. MAY CONTAIN / PEUT CONTENIR (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499).

Shine Killer ingredients: Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.
Earlier this year NYX launched their Angel Veil - Skin Perfecting Primer. I've seen people on YouTube say that this is a cost effective alternative to the Hourglass one. Here are those ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane , Polysilicone-1, Cyclohexasiloxane,Glyceryl Stearate, Nylon-12, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Laureth-12, Alumina, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

What seemed like eons later Maybelline launched their Baby Skin. This entered the market as the cheapest "pore eraser".

Maybelline Baby Skin Primer - www.modenmakeup.com
posted on our Facebook page July 4, 2014

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Stearyl Heptanoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Silica Silylate, Propylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Prunus Cerasus Extract / Bitter Cherry Extract. May Contain: CI 73360 / Red 30, CI 77492 / Iron Oxides.

Parent company L'Oreal had already put out their counterpart under the Revitalift line:

L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur - www.modenmakeup.com

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Isododecane, F.I.L #D162192/2.

They also released a "light infusing" primer in the Magic Lumi family:

L'Oreal Magic Lumi - www.modenmakeup.com

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Isododecane, Alcohol Denat., Bis-PEG--14/14 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Hydrostearate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Magnesium Sulfate, Diphenyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Acrylates Copolymer, Methylparaben, Nylon-12. May Contain/Peut Contenir: CI 77163/Bismuth Oxychloride.

The Body Shop has a Pore Minimiser in their Tea Tree line which claims to "instantly mattify".

The Body Shop Tea Tree products - www.modenmakeup.com
posted on our Facebook page March 5, 2014

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau (Solvent/Diluent), Glycerin (Humectant), Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Silica (Absorbent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), Isododecane (Solvent), Talc (Absorbent/Bulking Agent), Pentylene Glycol (Solvent), Sodium Polyacrylate (Film Former/Viscosity Increasing Agent), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil (Emollient), Caprylyl Glycol (Skin Conditioning Agent), Glyceryl Stearate Citrate (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil/Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil (Natural Additive), Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil (Skin Conditioning Agent), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Epilobium Fleischeri Extract (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Leptospermum Petersonii Oil (Fragrance Ingredient), Tocopherol (Antioxidant).

To round it all off they're the Rimmel London primers that you can find locally in Collins and iMart.

Amazon image

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau; Cyclopentasiloxane; Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate; Propylene Glycol; Phenyl Trimethicone; Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate; Dimethicone; Polyethylene; Talc; Dimethicone PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer; Magnesium Sulfate; Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer; Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer; Phenoxyethanol; Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone; Lecithin; Parfum/Fragrance; Silica Dimethyl Silylate; Methylparaben; Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Powder; Tocopheryl Acetate; Butylparaben; Ethylparaben; Isobutylparaben; Propylparaben; Silica; Dipropylene Glycol; Tocopherol; Triethoxycaprylylsilane; BHT; Hexyl Cinnamal; Limonene; Butylphenyl Methylpropional; Benzyl Salicylate; Linalool; Geraniol; Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone; Citronellol; [May Contain/Peut Contenir +/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica (CI 77019), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Ultramarines (CI 77007)]

ulta.com image 

Ingredients: Aqua (Water) , Cyclopentasiloxane , Propylene Glycol , Talc , Dimethicone , Phenyl Trimethicone , Dimethicone Crosspolymer , Vinyl Dimethicone , Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer , Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate , PEG 10 Dimethicone , PEG 10/15 crosspolymer , Magnesium Sulfate , Phenoxyethanol , Caprylyl Glycol , Fragrance , Tocopheryl Acetate , Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone , Lecithin , Punica Granatum Fruit Juice , Vitis Vinifera Juice (Grape) , Ethylhexyl Palmitate , Glycerin , Retinyl Palmitate , Sorbic Acid , Butylphenyl Methylpropional , Dipropylene Glycol , Ascorbyl Glucoside , Hexyl Cinnamal , Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde , Tocopherol , Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone , Silica , Dimethyl Silylate , BHT , Butylene Glycol , Sapphire Powder , Palmaria Palmate Extract , Sodium Hyaluronate , Hexylene Glycol.

Rimmel London vs. Maybelline primer ingredients - www.modenmakeup.com
Rimmel London vs. Maybelline

You can decipher which products are very close to which. 

The reason I thought to highlight these ingredients is because these products vary in price. The Maybelline Baby Skin is the cheapest at $13.45BDS and the Miracle Blur the most ridiculous at $53.60BDS (Collins prices). I recently got both of these products so look out for separate reviews :)

Some things to note:

Silica is an emollients and is used to soften and moisturize the skin. "Perhaps the most common forms of silicone are cyclopentasiloxane and cyclohexasiloxane. Other forms include various types of dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone" (excerpt from Paula's Choice.com).
Glycerin and Propylene Glycol are humectants and draw water into the outer layer of skin.

In my experience with silicone based primers, firstly the Smashbox Photo Finish then the NYX Shine Killer, you have to use a very light layer. These primers are great for giving the skin a smooth surface for foundation application but too much turns into a hot mess quickly; especially on oily skin. Special attention should also be taken to match the bases of your primer and foundation, i.e. water-to water and silicone-to-silicone. I found that the Smashbox primer clogged my pores, while the one from The Body Shop one did absolutely nothing. More cosmetic companies - example NYX and Cover FX - are getting smart and adding salicylic acid to their primers. More things for us to buy!

Phewwwww. That was a lot to digest. Moral of the story: if all you're after is a skin smoother go for the cheapest one because the ingredients in these things hardly vary. If you're looking for oil control I truly believe that it's a combination of primer, foundation, setting powder and setting spray (all in as light layers as possible) that will assist the longevity of your look. If you're pressing me for a product recommendation I'd still go with the Hourglass. But most of all, be careful with how often you use any primer (that isn't straight up skincare) because they can cause clogged pores and acne/pimples.

If I left anything out please feel free to ask in the comments. 

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