James Charles, born the month and year Livin’ La Vida Loca was a smash hit, says you don’t need to use primer. I’m sure James Charles does not need primer, but we do. I know it just seems like an extra step, but primer has many uses: it can perfect, correct, and prep skin for makeup, decrease makeup transfer (rubbing off on people’s clothes when you hug them), extend the wear of makeup, and discourage clogged pores by creating a barrier between skin and foundation (remember that clogged pores now mean large pores later). Primer can improve the look of your skin so less foundation is used, saving money in the long game. Primer can “blur” your skin, making fine lines and pores less noticeable. It also color corrects, offsetting sallowness. I’m going to pit e.l.f.’s Prep and Blur Stick ($$) against Lancome’s La Base Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer ($$$$) to see if price plays a role in the performance of these products.
Lancome La Base Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer
I’ve used La Base Pro for years and love it. It feels unbelievably silky to the skin and makeup glides down your face like it’s on a magic carpet ride. No smell to speak of, no sticky residue on the fingers. My foundation doesn’t flake or fade in patches or sweat off when wearing this primer, yet is still removed easily with a makeup removing wipe. The primer also does not move around under the subsequent products or effect the application of them. According to the Lancome website there are only two ingredients; while not the most mild-sounding ingredients (cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone crosspolymer), silicone is not listed, which is a problematic ingredient for some. I don’t know what kind of witchery Lancome is pulling to achieve this kind of texture without using silicone, but I wouldn’t go to their labs after dark. La Base Pro is a champion and worth every penny.
e.l.f. Prep and Blur Stick
But sometimes you just don’t have big bucks for primer. That’s where e.l.f. steps in. Their Prep and Blur Stick is refreshingly fantastic! No smell, no residue, great foundation performance, application, and wear. This formula did not feel as silky as La Base upon first applying. The instructions are to swipe the stick straight onto the face in small, circular motions, then rub in with fingers. My fingers felt as if they were skipping across my face like a rock on a pond’s surface, but I could also feel the product melt into my skin seconds later. An added bonus is that the stick is oh-so-slightly tinted so you could wear it alone if you wanted a bit of correction/coverage without a lot of makeup. The e.l.f. website lists all kinds of atrocious-sounding ingredients in this stick; they’re also cruelty-free and vegan: you win some, you lose some.
I’ve been using both primers, every other day, for a couple of weeks and can’t discern a difference in the appearance of my skin or the performance of my makeup. Today I wore the e.l.f. stick on the left side of my face and the Lancome La Base on my right side. Both sides looked the same. I think the e.l.f. is worth the price difference, it may feel less smooth upon application but it works just as well.
And The Winner Is: e.l.f Prep and Blur Stick!