On a recent trip to Mecca Cosmetica, I decided it was finally time to get serious about primer. In an ideal world, one's foundation would be good enough to last the whole day. But I've come to accept that sometimes, you just need a bit of help. I wasted no time heading straight for the best (or at least the one I've heard the most raves about): Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. The full 30ml size is an eye-popping $79, so I opted for the 10ml travel size at a more modest $25.
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer has a light, silky consistency that's easily spread over the face. With SPF 15, it's the colour of sunscreen and absolutely leaves a white cast. The first time I tried it, I was slightly taken aback at how geisha-like my reflection looked in the bathroom mirror. Perhaps I just used too much, but this product definitely interacts with your foundation and makes it lighter than usual.
Does it work in the way you'd hope a good primer would? Yes. It noticeably makes my foundation last longer and valiantly keeps the oil at bay. Examining my T-zone in the middle of the day, I saw individual microscopic beads of oil on my nose (TMI, I know) where a puddle of shine would normally be. It's almost as if the primer was working overtime to try to shut down oil production, but some of the more stubborn secretions still managed to surface. I find that when I have this on, there isn't as much need to blot with a tissue. By the end of the day, my foundation's still mostly intact, as opposed to mostly slipped off and gone. Especially important when a) my skin has been in need of higher coverage lately with a lot of spottiness from blemish scarring b) I'm more liberal with the moisturiser in the mornings due to the colder weather and spending my days in a dehydrating air-conditioned office.
The primer reminds me of NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base if it were more liquid, serum-like and had SPF injected into it. It seems to work in a similar way to the NARS, in that it almost dries out the skin (sucking up excess water/oils) and makes it more of a non-slippery, matte surface upon which any product layered on top better adheres. To its credit, it doesn't leave my skin feeling or looking dry, and foundation still applies smoothly over the primer. I even ditch the powder when I use it, confident that the primer will be sufficient. It's not a product I'd incorporate into my everyday routine as it's more of an extra, skin-perfecting step that daily life doesn't really call for, but when I want my makeup to last or when an occasion calls for it, I know what I'll be reaching for. Just be mindful of the white cast.