Splurge Or Save: Makeup Primers

Posted on January 4, 2012 by in Beauty, Featured, Splurge Or Save

Welcome to our newest feature: Splurge or Save. All of us have certain items that we love, regardless of the cost. A certain brand of moisturizer. That uber-expensive mascara. On the other hand, we all have other items that we just don’t care to spend one penny more on than we have to. Splurge or Save will highlight different categories of items and give you our recommendation for brands that you might want to spend a bit more on and others that can save you a few dollars.

Makeup primers go on the skin after your moisturizer and before your foundation. They allow foundation to go on more smoothly, minimize fine lines, hold down shine and help keep makeup fresh and in place all day. I think they’re the best thing to happen to makeup since… perhaps ever.

What makes primers work is dimethicone, a silicone-based polymer that is often used as a lubricant and conditioning agent.  No matter what brand of primer you use, odds are dimethicone is in the mix.

There are many brands of makeup primers available, so no matter what your budget, you can find one that works for you. Here are my three picks:

Splurge: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer


Smashbox Photo Finish Primer – $36 for 1 oz. at Sephora
For me, this is the grande dame of makeup primers and the first I ever used. Although it’s pricey,  one ounce will last you a while.  It does what it says. It’s noteworthy that Smashbox cosmetics  grew out of a professional photo studio, so they are considered professional-grade.



Save A Little: Bare Escentual's Prime Time

Save A Little

BareEscentuals BareVitamins Prime Time – $22 for 1 oz. at Sephora
I am a huge fan of BareEscenutals’ entire line (especially the foundation), so this mineral-based primer was a natural try for me. I find it to be just as good as the Smashbox, but quite a bit less expensive.



Save A Lot: Monistat's Chafing Relief Gel

Save A Lot

Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Gel – $6.79 for 1.5 oz at Drugstore.com
I know what you’re thinking – yeast infection medicine?! On my face?! Well, no. While it’s made by the company that brings you yeast infection treatments, this Monistat product is made especially to help reduce chafing. As such, it contains dimethicone. And is under $10 for over an ounce. Seriously, ladies, if you closed your eyes , you’d never know the difference between this and the Smashbox stuff.


After using all three off and on, I’ve settled on the Monistat. For this item, the splurge is not worth it to
me. I’d rather spend the extra money on a great lip gloss.

Of course, you may not.

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Posted on January 4, 2012 by in Beauty, Featured, Splurge Or Save


20 Responses to “Splurge Or Save: Makeup Primers”
  1. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Smashbox Photo Finish: The best primer ever. It’s the only primer I will use on my face. :)

    • Megan G.No Gravatar says:

      It is a great primer, but I can’t tell the difference between that and the Monistat, so I choose not to pay the difference. But I completely understand. If feel the same way about Hope In A Jar.

  2. I really only use primer for my eye make up. That’s what always comes off first on me. Now if they’d just make a primer for roller derby so I didn’t look like a streaky sweaty mess…. THAT’S something I’d pay big $$ for!

  3. VickyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve used the Monistat for about a year now and I can’t tell the difference between it and the expensive stuff. It is just funny to tell people that you use it on your face, as they give you a look of horror. But it works and works well.

  4. LisaNo Gravatar says:

    I have tried makeup primers and haven’t noticed a difference in how well my makeup stays on, with the exception of eye primers. I love those.

  5. LyndaNo Gravatar says:

    I love the BE primer. I wanted to try the Monistat stuff after a friend recommended it, but I didn’t know which product it was. Though, some days I forget the primer, and wonder just what it does for me.

    I do enjoy the BE eye primers, and just started using it as a base for my eyeliner a well.

    • Megan G.No Gravatar says:

      Love the BE eyeshadow primer! A good primer should help your makeup stay in place longer and look fresher longer. They’re especially helpful if you have dry or oily skin.

  6. Cathy MatzenNo Gravatar says:

    One of my resolutions this year to improve on my make-up skills and increase my very basic make-up stash. Primers are something I want to try out. My routine’s pretty basic and want to add a bit more to it. Although I hope my skin wouldn’t react harshly to it.

    • Megan G.No Gravatar says:

      It would be worth a try, I think. If you buy the primer at Sephora, you can return it if it irritates your skin. If it does, I believe there are other primers with different ingredients, but I haven’t tried any. Good luck!

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