Well gosh, I just love makeup. Ever since my Mom sometimes let me play with hers in her bathroom when I was a little girl – total heaven. I remember when I did ballet and Mom would put a little lipstick on me before a recital – so fun!

Yeah, I do feel more put together and polished when I have at least a little makeup on. I’m not so high maintenance that I can’t step outside without it for a quick hop to the store on a lazy weekend, but in general I like to take a few minutes to clean up before stepping outside or going to work. I admire those women who can just casually put their hair in a ponytail or baseball hat and just rock a natural beauty without a stitch of makeup. That’s just not my style at all.
So here are a few things I love to play around with. This is truly a journey…a whimsical journey with no real set plan other than experimenting and having fun in the process.  

Now, when it comes to makeup primers, I am a changed woman. For years I thought primer was a total, complete ripoff – why would there be a need to prepare skin for foundation beyond, say, a little moisturizer? I’ve even heard/read that wearing a primer is good because it “protects your skin from your foundation” or “creates a barrier from your foundation.” Ummm…so does that mean there’s something WRONG with wearing foundation? Seriously, how stupid does that sound?

But over the years my skin texture has changed a bit. It’s both drier in some places as well as still oily like it was in my teens, and it is definitely not as taut as it used to be. Gotta love the combo of time and gravity.

So, I picked up a sample of Smashbox primer at Sephora on a whim and I’ve gotta say it DOES make a difference. A good primer will dry pretty much immediately after you apply it to your face and will even out its surface, so you can start your foundation right away.

A few primers I’ve tried and liked:

Smashbox. This primer comes in the original, clear formula as well as an oil-free type which looks white but goes on sheer.  There also are a couple of color corrector types: green to counteract redness and lavender for sallow skin. Both of these are extremely sheer. I’ve used the green-tinted one over the ol’ chubby pink cheeks and it does help tone them down somewhat. Department stores or Sephora.

Makeup For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer. This one comes in a small pump and in a range of shades from clear to various color-correcting tints, similar to Smashbox. I found it a little bit stickier than the Smashbox, but still really liked it. I tried it in the sheer blue “illuminating” shade but ran out of it a couple months ago, which is why it didn’t make the picture.  Find it at Sephora.

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. A unique primer in a jar. Yes, this one is actually a firm cream and while it may seem a little odd that it could work as a primer, it does do a great job smoothing out the skin’s surface and it dries instantly. The one drawback is that it might not be as ‘clean’ in the longrun as a pump dispenser would be, as your fingers will keep touching the product unless you use a small spatula each time. Department stores or Sephora.

Stila Hydrating primer with SPF 15. I do like products with SPF because every little bit helps prevent long-term sun damage. Stila’s primer is in a silver tube and I do like it on days my skin feels extra dry. This one takes a few minutes to really settle into the skin so I usually finish getting dressed or fix my hair while I’m waiting.  And it’s worth it.  Stilacosmetics.com or Sephora.

Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel sheer illuminating base. This was a big splurge at $45 for 1 oz…I read about it on a makeup forum and I caved. I do like the texture a lot – it’s another primer that looks pure white in the container but goes on sheer and smooth. Good thing I liked it given the price tag!  I used it under one of my liquid foundations I’m not overly jazzed about and this primer DID help the foundation last longer into the late afternoon.

To be continued…more on foundations, loose powders and more to follow!