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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Prime Time

As today is the 150th anniversary of the London underground, what better time than to write about the undergroundings of my makeup: primers! Which, like the Tube itself, should be efficient and unobtrusive in smoothing one's way, but which at their worst are often irritating, clogging, frankly sweaty and full of strange and overpowering stenches....

Okay, okay, we will drop the metaphor. for now....

The Products

left to right:
Suqqu Makeup Base Creamy (£33 for 15ml, ingredients) is the most moisturising, with a feather-light gel-cream texture. It's hideously expensive for a tiny eye-cream-sized pot, and has recently been discontinued, so I now reserve mine for special events in winter -- a pea-sized amount miraculously smoothes over flakes as well as handling the basic pore- and line-blurring and skintone-evening which are my other bottom-line requirements for primers. (With my dry skin, I don't have problems with lasting power or oxidisation.) The pale, neutral pink tint is a great brightener for prone-to-dullness winter skin, and barely registers as a colour even when I'm at my palest.

Shu Uemura Under Base Cream Pink (£29 for 30ml) Currently being auditioned as a future replacement for the Suqqu primer. The tint is slightly warmer/peachier and the texture has a more conventional light siliconey slip, unlike Suqqu's almost water-light cream [which I can't describe adequately because it's so different to most of what's out there, but if you've tried their Creamy Glow lipsticks, you'll know what I mean], and this isn't quite as moisturising, but it's the best substitute I've found so far. If you've any recommendations, please leave me a comment!
Shu Uemura Under Base Cream Pink ingredients

Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse Tsuya (Peach) and Brightening (Pink/Purple) (each £29 for 50ml) are both part of Shu's range of fun aerosol-dispensed mousse bases, which come in several other priming shades as well as three 'foundation/BB' shades catering to NC15-NC25. The ingredients differ for each shade, but in general the mousses are lightweight and meant to create a lastingly flawless satin-matte base, with good sun protection (SPF30/PA++) for oily skins in summer heat/humidity.

The Tsuya (Peach) mousse is an evolution of this line, a skincare/makeup hybrid (incorporating Shu's Tsuya Skin serum), marketed at mature normal/combination skin. Its combined alcohol and silica content sadly proved too drying for me. Shame, as the light apricot shade was fantastic at knocking out redness and gave my skin a fabulously healthy 'bloom' which usually requires a lot of careful bronzer and blusher blending to achieve. And the light peach scent was a nice dose of psychological sunniness too.
Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse Tsuya (Peach) ingredients

The Brightening (Pink/Purple) version shares actives with Shu's Whitefficient skincare range and is aimed instead at dry skin: the most moisturising of the mousses and actively glowy (without shimmer), with an unusual pale lilac tint to correct the sallowness, uneven tone, and overall 'dullness' which Japanese skincare wisdom conventionally links to dehydration and aims to counter with these 'brightening' products. Unlike the Tsuya mousse, this has a light floral scent.
Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse Pink/Purple ingredients
At the Selfridges Shu masterclass last May, I was advised to use a ball closer to the size of a pea than the walnut advised on the Shu site, patting it on with a small flat brush from the centre of the face outwards (they used a #12 Synthetic). Which was fantastic advice -- the patting motions meant that pores really did vanish before my eyes and the tiny amount used prevented any ashiness (on darker skintones) or Violet Beauregarde cast (on paler ones). It takes a bit of practice to master the milisecond-press needed to dispense a pea rather than golfball, but well worth it. This does contain alcohol quite far down in the ingredients list, and on my very dry skin, is best reserved for warmer temperatures/climates; even so, it leaves me a softly luminous satin finish rather than an all-out glow. In winter, it is too matte/drying, and I mix the lavender-tinted Suki CC cream 02 Brightening into my foundation to get some of the similar red- and yellow- tone correcting benefits. (More on the Suki later, in a post dedicated to base mixers.)



Swatches
left to right: Suki, Shu Pink/Purple, Shu Peach, Shu Pink, Suqqu
semi-blended
fully blended
As you can see, they all blend invisibly into my skin, even the worryingly orange Shu Tsuya peach and pigmented Suki lavender. This is why I won't be posting facial before-and-afters -- the differences -- so immediately obvious in reality, which fuels my addiction to priming not just before but above and often instead of foundation -- are beyond my photography skills at the moment.

For now I will transparently circle back to the anniversary of the Underground, and leave you with this cast pic from the upcoming BBC Radio 4 play of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere:
.... James McAvoy to head! Benedict Cumberbatch as The Angel Islington! Anthony Head as Croup! Sophie Okonedo as Hunter! And that's just a partial cast pic! More details here.

34 comments:

  1. Awesome post Kate! I have a thing for face primers, I love trying different ones and seeing their benefits. My current favorite is one from Youngblood.

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    1. <3 A Youngblood counter has recently popped up near me but I find the selection overwhelming. Must beeline for the primer now :)

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  2. I am one paragraph in and commenting to say that YOU HAVE THE BEST METAPHORS EVER.

    okay back to the post now

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    1. And, having read it, so interesting! I learn so much from you.

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  3. Oh, Neverwhere, one of favorite Neil Gaiman stories!

    As for primers, I have yet to find anything better than Rouge Bunny Rouge's Metamorphoses. I'm going to try the "patting in" trick. I even have the Shu brush for it. :)

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    1. I do like Metamorphoses even though it is v. much not geared to my skintone. Shu is even better for texture and comes in macaron colours = stole my heart.

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  4. Have you tried Clarins Beauty Flash balm? The Suqqu ingredients reminds me of Clarins Beauty Flash balm (hop over to Sephora.com for ingredient list). It is quite similar, sans mineral oil of Suqqu, so I think Clarins' one may be less emollient. That is just a wild guess because Suqqu is the stuff of Neverland around here :-)

    Just curious, do you put the primer after the sunscreen then? I found some primers ball up after I apply sunscreen but I never, ever go out without any sunscreen on.

    Wait, a BBC Radio play you said? Aka, another series to listen to besides Dr. Who (which is quite addictive and hard to abandon as such)? I hope it's available via the web so we on this side of the Atlantic can also hear it.

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    1. D'oh! I do like Beauty Flash Balm and try to keep a sample around -- as you suspected it's less moisturising than Suqqu but it does give crazy plump bouncy skin.

      All my makeup, primer included, goes on after my bazillionty layers of skincare including sunscreens :) It's definitely true that some formulas don't play well with others but maybe because I favour creamy textures in both skincare and mu, I don't usually experience balling up issues (more common with light silicone milk/gel type things I think?)

      Nevewhere is quite the cult classic so I'm sure will make it online :) If you're in the mood for cheese there was a 90s TV adaptation too, with charming low-budget effects :D

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  5. So excited about Neverwhere! I love the book, Neil Gaiman and London (not necessarily in that order).

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    1. NG has defected but you should still visit <3

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  6. Talk about a dream casting!

    And those mousse things are intriguing me...

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    1. I actually attempted to make you samples of the mousses! They.....deflated into uglee puddles:(

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  7. word to the tiny ball of shu mousse, it looks much better. I loved Neverwhere here's hoping the play will be good x

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    1. WURD.
      And the only fly in the ointment is casting Natalie Dormer as Door and shunting Romola Garai off as Julia? Jessica? (The boring posh girlfriend.)

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  8. Great post! Have been thinking about the Tsuya one quite a bit and it's really interesting to read your view! Thanks.

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    1. It does smell gorgeous, like an olfactory version of your profile pic :D

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  9. Makeup is so interesting. I love seeing how these different shades can do such different things while not looking obvious on the skin at all. I want that lavender Suki one just because it's such a pretty color--who even cares if it would work for my skin tone (which it most likely would NOT)!! :P

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    1. I love geeking out over base makeup -- closest to magic makeup gets :)

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  10. Lovely! I've been searching for reviews and swatches of the Shu bases for a while, so I'm quite happy to have found some!

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    1. I'm glad it was helpful! These are underrated IMO :D

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  11. Hi Kate, have you tried the Addiction Primer? It is the best I have ever used, especially on my eyelids. It has the staying power of NARS lid primer but the texture is much more elegant/light/hydrating. It's also wonderful on the whole face; I apply it all over for a bit of moisture (I'm oily) and then conceal problem areas. Looks like I'm not wearing anything and stays all day. :)

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    1. I tried a tiny sample and REALLY liked it! :D Thanks for reminding me -- I must try and score a full size some day.

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  12. Happy New Year Kate!

    Revlon does a good siliconey primer, a cheaper version of Laura Mercier's oil-free. Doesnt break my acne-prone skin.

    Shiseido The Makeup Primer a good brightening primer, its creamy and non-drying.

    Kate, for some reason Shu Uemura's mousses seem to leave a white cast on my face :( Perhaps I need a good brush to blend it in? But I do want to give it another go.

    x
    Rena

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    1. Happy new Year! :)
      Drugstore + accessible = win! I will check those out :)

      I think the Shu mousses are pigmented enough that not all shades will work on all skintones -- I can't wear any of the beige/pink/BB shades for example, as they are too dark. It could also be the high mineral sunscreen content that leaves a white cast, especially on more tanned skintones.

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  13. I'm always shocked at the number of people on MUB who do not profess a love for face primer; I love it, probably bc I rarely, if ever, wear foundation. I, too, have ended up using my brightening mousse more than the Tsuya, which seems a bit more persnickety in texture. I'll have to try applying both with a brush now!

    -charmy

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    1. PREACH.
      Texture aside, I am curious which tint you find more flattering, o pink pixie.

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    2. Of the Shu mousses, incandescent puhrpahl, of course. I use Koh Gen Do's green primer often, too, and I like that effect as well. As one might surmise, I have to be so careful with anything yellow/peach/orange/beige skinwise, and I don't love adding pink.

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  14. I just started my love for primers. Thanks for the recommendations, I think I would love to try one of those Shu Uemura (the Tsuya peach/pink)

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  15. I was going to try the Suqqu one but I didn't realize it was so TINY! And now d/c. =( Urgh. What about the Shu SP or is that more of a TM for you? The sample you sent made me fall in LOVE with it and I will be getting a full-size during Shu's next sale. *squishes*

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  16. Makeup effects virtually imperceivable to the non-initiated, subtle variations of texture, finish and tone, and Neverwhere with an exciting-looking cast - did you compose this post *just* to appeal to me???

    Primers I love: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (for texture issues & lasting time), Hourglass Veil (for summer and for intense lasting power, only over non-flaky, happy skin), Shu Stage Performer (especially sans foundation), Shiseido Color Correcting Stick (sparingly, for redness). SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair for when nothing else will do.

    I always play with the Shu Mousses when I'm at a counter …but they seem drying, so I tend to restrain myself. I'll look closer at the Brightening one next time I see it. Maybe they'll release that Under Base Cream in a color that's NOT pink.

    I'm excited to hear about the Suki - that looks like just the thing to mix with Siberia!

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  17. you totally set down a Primer trend as after your post I've seen many other beautybloggers discus it (eg Grace from Londonmakeupbeauty). And that made me reach for the synthetic brush again to prime in the primer.
    Totally going to check out Shu too, thanks babe for this magnificent post ♥

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  18. I love Neil Gaiman and had no idea the BBC was recording one of his plays. Anthony Head is my hero! Loved that little tidbit at the end!

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