In which I bring good news and even better news.
I've come to a realization lately that I tend to do better with silicone-based primers. They're far less likely to make me break out than the vast majority of non-silicone primers. The latter tend to give me a wicked case of clogged pores. That's why the newish Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum fits so nicely in my routine: it's obviously a makeup primer, but it's also loaded with 28 key ingredients, which include 14 essential oils, 10 lipid-rich plant oils, and four vitamins. Basically: it's also skincare.
Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum does the priming job very well. It's bit slipper than most other silicone-based primers and some days requires a couple of minutes to set (depending on the skin and its condition) before I can apply foundation and/or concealer, but it sinks in nicely and feels great. Every foundation I tested goes on smoothly and lasts all day long. It's obviously moisturizing and pampering, so this kind of product is a wonderful choice for anyone who responds well to silicone and needs a moisturizing skincare-grade primer.
Now, for the even better news: While Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum is priced at a whopping $65 for 1 oz, this is not the only option available. Paula Begoun of Paula's Choice fame has long been urging her customers to use her serums as a primer under makeup. Way back then I had doubts about this idea, but looking at the ingredients for a couple of her products made me realize she's got a point. Paula's Choice offers two serums for this purpose: RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (blue tube) which contains various antioxidants and vitamin C (a proven brightener), and Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum w/ Retinol (the burgundy tube) which is recommended for normal to very dry skin. It's a very good and effective product especially when I need an extra boost to start my day. Both of these serums act like any other silicone primer, helping foundation go on smoothly and last (also, such primers require far less product to cover up the face). These two Paula's Choice serums are priced at $25.95 each (1 oz).
Now, the caveat is that while all three products have the same main ingredients, they're not identical. Sometimes it's a single component in your makeup or skincare that makes a huge difference in the way a product works for your particular skin, and/or gives you a nasty reaction. Here are the full ingredient lists for Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum and the two Paula's Choice ones. If you have a known issue with any of these, then obviously avoid. If not, pick one to try and go from there (you can even order samples from Paula's website). I'm a huge advocate of primers as I believe that if you already take the time to do makeup, you might as well give it a good base that will last for as long as you need it and make you look polished. These are excellent primers with some extra benefits.
Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum:
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Dimethiconol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ceramide 3, Sphingolipids, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Oil, Rose Hips Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sweet Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) Oil, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Oil, Olive (Olea Europaea) Oil, Hazelnut (Corylus Americana) Oil, Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil, Kukui (Aleurites Moluccana) Nut Oil, Cherry (Prunus Avium) Pit Oil, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Octyldodecanol, Dioctyl Succinate, Peg-8, Tridecyl Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Lithospermum Officinale Root Extract, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Citric Acid, Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) Oil, Geranium (Geranium Maculatum) Oil, Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Roseum) Oil, Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Oil, Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllus) Oil, Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Peel Oil, Petitgrain (Citrus Reticulata) Oil, Amyris (Amyris Balsamifera) Oil, Benzoin Siam Absolute, Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Leaf Oil, Bois De Rose (Aniba Rosaeodora) Oil, Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis) Leaf Oil, Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odorata) Oil.Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum :
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone (silicone slip agents/suspending agents), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 (cell-communicating ingredient), Ceramide 3 (skin-repairing ingredient), Tocotrienols, Tocopherols (vitamin E/antioxidants), Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10/antioxidant), Thioctic Acid (alpha lipoic acid/antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Ferulic Acid, Caffeic Acid (antioxidants), Beta-Glucan (anti-irritant), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), ), Epigallocatechin Gallate (green tea-derived antioxidant), Ergothioneine (mushroom-derived antioxidant), Glutathione (fruit-derived antioxidant), Xanthophyll (antioxidant pigment), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract (anti-inflammatory agent), Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract (antioxidants), Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil (emollient), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).
Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum w/ Retinol:
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone (silicone slip agents), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (thickener), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil (plant oil/antioxidant), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Retinol (antioxidant/cell-communicating ingredient), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Astaxanthin (Haematococcus Pluvialis) Extract, Tocotrienols (antioxidants), Adenosine (cell-communicating ingredient), Tetrahydromethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane (curcumin-derived antioxidants), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidants/anti-irritants), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi Leaf Extract (non-volatile plant extract), Stearyl Methicone (silicone skin-conditioning agent), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Seed Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil (plant oils/antioxidants), SD-Alcohol 40 (solvent).Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum ($65) at Sephora, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. The sample used for this review was part of a gift bag at a press event.
Paula's Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($25.95 each) is available from paulaschoice.com.