Powder as Primer: Yes, you read that right.

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I have combination skin, but for whatever reason, my skin occasionally decides to be oilier than Saudi Arabia. Skin care products don’t seem to make a difference. Baking seems to help a little, but not much. Primer (or lack thereof) doesn’t see to help much. I have few different primers in my arsenal, but my two most expensive ones (both from Benefit) do more for me when I wear them OVER my foundation. (I use one for mattifying and one for brightening.)

And then I discovered this stuff…

e.l.f. Prime & Stay Finishing Powder

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This was originally purchased as a random new item from e.l.f. to try out and review, and I’ll admit I sort of had no idea what to do with it when I got it. It’s okay as a finishing powder, but I was curious about the “primer” portion of the description, mainly because everything I know about makeup tells me that I’m putting on my makeup in the wrong order if I do this. Primer goes first, then foundation and concealer, then powder. Right? Every woman knows this.

I’m here to tell you that I’ve apparently been doing things wrong all these years. This stuff… It works miracles, and it really hasn’t been given the attention it deserves. I went back and forth on how to use this, so I eventually decided that I should apply it as if I were going to go out without makeup. I went through my morning skincare routing and got my moisturizer game in order. Then I applied this with a dense powder brush (not the big, fluffy kind). There’s actually a new one from e.l.f. that works perfectly for this. A foundation brush also works. Then I let it set for a few minutes. The best way I can describe what happened next is to say that as the product was warmed up on my skin the powder residue seemed to melt away, leaving behind that smooth, soft focus finish.

Every foundation I’ve applied over it has lasted longer and needed less blotting, with or without baking. I’ve used Tarte, Lancome, Make Up Forever, Maybelline, e.l.f., and L’Oreal. I’ve used concealers by e.l.f., Maybelline, Tarte, and Sephora. EVERYTHING has stayed put for hours longer than I thought it would, and this little $2 product has quickly become my baby.

And then it went out of stock, and I couldn’t find a link to it on e.l.f.’s website without searching Google, which tells me that it’s likely this has been discontinued. I’ve been Googling and trying to find something similar, and meanwhile I’ve hit pan.

Now, I’ve never seen another product like this, but knowing e.l.f., it’s probably a dupe of something more expensive out there. So off I flew earlier today to hit up a few makeup counters. I think I confused the hell out of the poor salesperson at Sephora. When I told her I’d been putting powder on under my foundation and a mattifying or brightening primer over it, she looked at me like I’d just tried to take a bite out of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar display. I can’t say I’d blame her. I thought the same thing until I’d tried this stuff.

“Ma’am, you put your powder on OVER your foundation to set your makeup. Your primer goes under your foundation. Have you tried a primer?”

“Yes, and the ones I like tend to work a little better for me on top of my foundation. That Smashbox abomination that everyone else seems to love makes my makeup melt off faster. But this IS a primer– just in powder form. And I use another powder to set my makeup after I put on foundation.”

“Which powder are you using.”

“I have five. Two loose and three pressed. It just depends on what look I’m going for. The two loose are used for baking. The three pressed are a translucent, a translucent HD, and a mattifying.”

“And you’re putting those UNDER your foundation?”

“No, I use this stuff under, which is a powder primer, then my foundation and concealer, then a brightening or mattifying primer if I want, then powder.”

[Insert another look like I’m wearing my underwear on my head here.]

So yes, I get that it sounds like the strangest thing in the world, but it really does work, and I’m completely hooked. Thankfully, one of the other associates there knew about the technique and pointed me toward a similar product by Too Faced. They didn’t have it in stock, unfortunately, so I’ll have to wait until it’s delivered to do a full review on it. As best I could tell from the sample, though, it looks like I’ve found my new go-to.

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2 thoughts on “Powder as Primer: Yes, you read that right.

    1. This is worn UNDER foundation, which is why it’s a little different, and it tends to melt into your moisturizer as you let it set, so it’s not a powdery look at all.

      All that said, I can’t seem to get my hands on any more of it, so I’ll have to see how the other two work out. I’m just about out of my e.l.f., but the Too Faced should be here tomorrow.

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