Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fix Your Face: NYX HD Studio Photogenic Primer Review (with photos and bonus Star Trek: TNG reference)

Let me start by telling you where I'm coming from when I'm looking for face makeup: I like sheer-medium coverage, because I hate to see makeup on my skin from two feet away. I'd rather have a little unevenness than be able to see the texture of the makeup. This is just a personal preference. I almost never notice if other women are wearing foundation unless I deliberately make an effort to look, so don't take it as a judgement on your own preference. Other than some redness around my nose, purple-blue circles under my eyes, and the occasional zit, I have pretty even skin, so I'm lucky. Those few areas are easy enough to cover with concealer, and then I can use something fairly sheer to smooth everything else out. So this is what I'm looking for in face makeup and, accordingly, in a primer, because I don't want it to cause my makeup to be more noticeable.

I also have a small primer obsession. Mostly, I'm obsessed with eyelid/shadow primers - in fact, I've been planning a comparison post on them for some time now, but I keep deciding that I should buy just one more to add to my collection. It's going to be big. But I am a big fan of using Monistat Anti-Chafing gel under my makeup, so I've been curious about other products that are actually primarily intended as primers. Enter NYX HD Studio Photogenic Primer, which I got from HauteLook (invite link) for about $7 (regular price is $15). Here's how NYX describes this product: "this silky makeup primer fills in pores, minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and mattifies the complexion for a seamless finish. It also ensures the durability of your makeup, which will last for hours under even the harshest lighting."

It comes in a pump bottle, which is good for the stability of the product, though sometimes makes it hard to control how much get get each time. Here's how it looks straight out of the bottle:
A fairly thin, though not runny, lotion-like texture.
This primer has a lotion-like texture, but it is not moisturizing. It is slow to set or dry after you apply it, so that it can cause your brush to drag or stick a little bit. It's not bad, but it's noticeable. It also smells like soap, which is a little odd.

It only comes in one shade, which is a semi-opaque white. Even when you spread it on your skin in a thin layer, it remains whitish. This means that you cannot use this primer on its own, like you might with a clear, silicone-based primer (like the Monistat) to just mattify and smoothe your skin's texture. You need to apply makeup everywhere on top of it, or you're going to look white and sickly. I assume this would be especially true the darker your skin, but even with my already ghostly complexion, I could notice it. Check out the photos below. The white color also highlights flakiness, so it's not going to be very good if you don't regularly exfoliate and moisturize. I do both, and still showed flakes that I didn't even know were there. What it does well is mattify and blur pores and lines. So, okay, something good!
My bare cheek right next to my nose.
With NYX HD primer only. You can see the whitish cast when compared to the previous photo.
The first time I used it, I wore it under purminerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation. I did not like it. The primer was too sticky for the powder, and it didn't look natural. It caused powder to collect in pores and lines and looked cakey. Ugh.
With NYX HD primer and purMinerals 4-in-1 Pressed Powder makeup.
Do not like! Lines, pores, and flakiness are highlighted.
Okay, well, I've had trouble getting that powder foundation to work in general, so I thought I'd try it with my regular tinted moisturizer (from Sephora: see here). I still didn't fucking like it. Putting liquid makeup on top seemed to undo all the mattifying effects, which was really the only thing this shit had going for it to begin with. In fact, it caused the makeup to settle into pores and lines worse than usual and highlighted pores, etc., which is the opposite of what it's supposed to do. It wasn't that noticeable from a distance, but it certainly didn't make my skin look any smoother.
With NYX HD primer and Sephora Collection Tinted Moisturizer, set with
Maybelline Mineral Veil translucent powder.Pores, lines, and hairs are more
prominent than usual.
It really make my skin look rougher than it normally does up close.
My skin does not ordinarily look like the surface of the fucking moon.
The primer seems to make sheer coverage makeup into fuller coverage, so that might be a good use for it, if that's something you're looking for. For me, it made my tinted moisturizer too obvious, and I felt like fucking Data.

It does help to lock makeup in place, though, immediately. Unfortunately, however, under 5 hours later on my somewhat oily skin, things were sliding around and streaking and not looking pretty. My makeup was thick and cakey in some places and totally gone in others. That doesn't normally happen with this tinted moisturizer - if it wears off, it does so pretty evenly.

I don't like it for everyday wear, and I wouldn't recommend it for that, because it doesn't work well with sheer makeup or for creating a natural look, which is what I am going for (and this would be especially true the darker your skin is, because you need to cover up the whitish residue it leaves). It might be good if you usually wear full-coverage, matte foundation, or for an event where you are wearing more makeup than usual, so it doesn't matter if it is visible up close - i.e. when you are likely to have your photo taken. It is marketed, per the name, specifically for photos. However, it fails to make your makeup last "for hours" if you have the slightest bit of oiliness, so don't rely on this for your wedding. I would suggest that if you are interested in this product, wait for it to appear for half price on HauteLook (invite link) or on sale somewhere else - I don't think it's worth $15 for something with such limited use.

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