Face primers: Shiseido and Cover FX

I’m no expert on face primers.  I don’t have issues with foundations lasting on my skin, and I don’t have skin texture concerns that primers often address (large pore, uneven skin, excessive oiliness).  Up until a few years ago, I never used a face primer but I’ve since incorporated it into my skin routine. I mainly use face primers as another layer of protection against the elements.
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Today I’ll review 2 primers that I own, and they’re probably not the more popular brands that are often reviewed online (Smashbox, Benefit, Hourglass) but they’re good for what need.

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Shiseido Refining Makeup Primer ($35 for 30ml) is a pretty tame primer – it doesn’t necessarily fill in pores or control oil, but it does provide a nice canvas for the application of makeup on top.  It’s not overly silicone-y in texture – it feels like a light lotion and has no scent.  It has a pinky beige tone which has a brightening effect (it does not leave a pink cast once blended).  As with most primers, a little bit of product is all that’s required. I dot this on my cheeks, forehead, nose and chin and blend.  I really like this and have repurchased it multiple times.  A tube will last me around 6 months.
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Of interesting note: this primer is sold in Canada without any SPF claims because Shiseido opted not to have it certified in Canada, however it contains exactly the same ingredients as the US version (the active sunscreen ingredients are a mixture of chemical (octinoxate) and mineral (titanium dioxide) and claims an SPF of 21.

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Cover FX SPF 30 Protection Primer ($38 for 30ml) is a recent discovery.  And by discovery, I mean that I literally discovered this tube in my closet inside a shopping bag underneath a pile of towels.  I think my friend gave this to me – I do not recall ever purchasing this.  The expiry date on this tube is Nov 2015 so it’s still fresh.  It contains a concoction of chemical sunscreens as its SPF which isn’t my favourite, but as an extra protection underneath my mineral sunscreen, I don’t mind too much.
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This is a clear silicone-y product, typical of primers that fill in pores and blur lines and it does both quite well (it’s nearly invisible when applied so I had to circle where I applied it to the back of my hand).  It also does seem to help to keep my t-zone from getting as shiny as early.  It does have a sunscreen type of smell which is typical of avobenzone.  I like how this primer looks but I don’t think it’s good for my skin – I noticed that on the days I used this, I developed a few red dots on my face.  I can’t 100% attribute it to this primer since it is also allergy season, so anything goes with my face!  But I will likely reserve this primer for days when I need my foundation to last a long time. I’d likely not buy this once I am finished the tube.  I have a cosmetics pouch full of sample sized primers I need to try – the top of my list is the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer, of which I have a couple of gwp jars.
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Even though both of these primers contain sunscreen, I would not consider them to have sufficient coverage to be used as my sole sun protection.  The tiny amount of primer needed to function as primers render them useless as sunscreens.  I always apply a separate sunscreen on my face regardless if my moisturizer, primer or foundation contain sunscreen.  The order in which I apply my skincare, pre-makeup is as follows:

  1. hydrating mist
  2. hydrating serum
  3. moisturizer
  4. primer
  5. sunscreen

It may sound like I wear a lot of layers – and I suppose I do – but I allow each step to absorb before applying the next layer – they don’t look cakey once all blended.

Do you use a face primer regularly? What’s your favourite?

27 thoughts on “Face primers: Shiseido and Cover FX

  1. The Shiseido primer sounds great! My favorite primer that I’ve used is the Benefit Porefessional one but I only have a small size of it so it’s about to run out lol. I am going to try one by Mirabella that I got from a subscription box soon. 🙂 xo

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    1. I think I have a sample of that Benefit one – I need to try it. I’ve heard good things about it.
      Ooh one of my favourite lipgloss is made by Mirabella, it’s such a difficult brand to get a hold of – they only sell at select salons or online. I hope you like their primer!

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    1. I’d say I wear sunscreen 95% of the days, unless I’m literally indoors (at home) the entire day. Winter here with all the snow is pretty bad for reflecting UV rays, and even overcast days can cause burns! A couple of areas I need to be more diligent about applying sunscreen are: undereye area (I forget! I apply my eye cream and then forget to apply eye sunscreen on top) and on my hands. I’m more apt to wear sunscreen than primer – many of my sunscreens act as primers.

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  2. I only wear a primer if I plan to use foundation, which isn’t often. Currently using Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More, but might switch over to Benefit’s The Porefessional once I’m finished with it.

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    1. Don’t hate me but I did NOT like the Hourglass one! It made my skin look WORSE. I had a deluxe sample of it that I got in some box and get it to a friend.
      Oooh a bronze one! That reminds me I have a bronze one from Smashbox I think. Need to bust that out now that it’s “summer” time (sorta, it’s still cool here).

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  3. I think I have a sample of that Benefit primer – need to try it. Lots of people rave about it! On weekends I normally don’t wear foundations so sometimes a primer + sunscreen is all I use – it makes the skin look more even toned.

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  4. I love, love, love Cover FX SPF 30 primer! It’s a staple in my daily routine. I need to always wear spf since I’m prone to sunspots and freckles, Irish girl here. Anyways I hope it’s never discontinued or I will have a huge case of the sadz.

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  5. I’m such in need of an eye sunscreen, which one do you use?
    It’s so bizarre because one month I will prime my face every single day and the following month nothing !!!
    xo’s

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    1. I’m like that with primers too, a lot of my sunscreens do double duty as primer for me.
      I like the Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 32 PA+++ (contains a mixture of chemical Octinoxate and physical sunscreen Zinc Oxide), as well as Clarins Sun Eye Contour Care Ultra Protection SPF 30 which only contain Titanium Dioxide. Neither of them contain sunscreen for full spectrum of UVA protection but it’s been impossible to find an eye sunscreen that contain either zinc oxide or avobenzone. For now, they’re both sufficient. I know some people say you don’t need sunscreen for under eyes since we wear sunglasses, but it’s better to have more protection, I think!

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  6. I just bought a sample of the Cover FX matte primer with acne, help and so far I am enjoying it! Though I noticed it was 16$ for .5oz and 38$ for 1 oz….So it’s actually 6$ cheaper to buy two samples rather than the full size! I don’t know if it’s the same for their other primers, but if you buy another Cover FX primer it could be something to look into!

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