Primers & Skin Perfectors: Revlon Photoready, Olay Wrinkle Relax, No7 Airbrush, Benefit Porefessional

Although primers have been available for years, it’s really only in the last two that I’d say they have become mainstream.  Most women know what they are; many own one and others wouldn’t consider applying foundation without them. 


A primer literally primes the skin for foundation by creating a smoother surface that helps foundation adhere and makes it last longer.  Primers are already becoming more sophisticated and the ones I’m writing about today do all of the above as well as minimising the appearance of pores and fine lines while making the skin appear younger. For anyone over a certain age, this is a bonus; for those of us who have been round the block several times, it’s a godsend! 

Three of these products are recent releases and I thought an overview of each might help you decide which is the one for you.

Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer

Revlon Photo Ready Primer

This (slightly) pink tinted primer helps soften skin and diffuse light to minimise imperfections and is designed to be worn alone or under makeup.  As with all Revlon PhotoReady™ products, its primers “utilise photochromatic pigments that bend, reflect and diffuse light to help skin appear flawless in any light – from harsh indoor fluorescent to full outdoor sunlight.” 


This creamy primer is slightly pearlised and is easily and hygienically dispensed with the pump bottle. 


I have applied it straight across the lower section of my hand - as you can see above, a slightly powdery pale cast appears before it’s fully blended.


Once fully blended, you can clearly see that the skin on the lower part of my hand looks smoother, finer and more even toned, almost as though in soft focus. The freckles look paler than those that aren’t covered.

Verdict: This primer performs as well as some I’ve tried at 3 times the price and you get a generous amount for your money.  I felt that it almost grip my foundation as I applied it - as if it adhered to it - and definitely increased the longevity.  Although it does have some luminosity, I also found it quite mattifying, possibly due to my dry skin.  Personally I’d save this one for nights out when matte + long lasting is particularly important, though I think it would work well for normal or oily/combination skins as an everyday primer and is definitely good value for money.

Revlon Photoready Eye Primer & Brightener

Revlon Photoready Eye Primer081080

Revlon has also launched an Eye Primer & Brightener as part of its Photoready range, which has become a staple for me.  As you can see it’s quite peachy-pink toned, but don’t be put off by this - it works brilliantly to counteract dark circles and seems to add more luminosity than the face version.

084  Sunlight085 Natural light

The Eye Primer & Brightener is dispensed by twisting the base of the tube so that it oozes out through the brush. It’s difficult to get the perfect amount, as is often the case with this kind of dispenser, but doesn’t dry out if you keep the lid on - so any excess can be used next time.

I have been using this under my eye and all over the lid - as well as adding brightness it holds my eye makeup brilliantly, with no need for a separate primer and unless it’s a particularly bad day, I don’t need an additional concealer around my eyes. Normally I’d use a primer, concealer and highlighter; this does all 3 jobs in one. Both Revlon products are Oil, Fragrance, Talc & Paraben-Free.

Perfecting Primer £11.99, Eye & Brightening Primer £9.99 from Boots or Superdrug.


Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Relaxing Complex

Olay wrinkle relaxing complex

{While this is more than a primer, (ie not a primer at all!) I tend to use it in place of one and included it here as it achieves some of the same effects.}  This is quite an exceptional product and once again Olay seems to have achieved impressive results at a reasonable price using sophisticated ingredients. 

In studies ‘162 women aged between 30 and 65 agreed
that Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Relaxing Complex:
“smoothed out the appearance of wrinkles”, left skin
feeling “velvety smooth” and “saturated the skin
with moisture”’.

In a nutshell, this product provides an instant fix giving the appearance of softer skin, in a similar way to the other primers. The difference is that it also works hard to achieve long term improvements.  I don’t want to delve into the science bit too much, so in brief it contains…

- Peptide – helps skin repair by increasing collagen
- Optical micro-fillers – gives immediate, visual reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
- Olay Intense Moisturisers – hydrate and plump skin
- Niacinamide – helps reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone
- Vitamin E and Pro-Vitamin B5 – help fortify and protect skin surface
- Peptamide Y6 – a bio-peptide that helps improve skin’s elasticity


I love the silver & red packaging and the texture is similar to a serum, which sinks into the skin immediately and is very moisturising… to the extent that I sometimes skip moisturiser when using it.


Verdict: The instant effect isn’t quite as dramatic as that with the Revlon, but it’s definitely there, so if you don’t wear makeup this will still improve the appearance of your skintone.  Because it’s so moisturising, it doesn’t have the same matte finish either, and foundation goes on best with a brush, whereas I found my fingers worked best over the Revlon.  I was advised to apply it quite lightly and not rub it in too much.

As you can probably gather, I’m really impressed with this product - it suits my skin and makes it feel soft, holds my makeup well and has become a firm part of my routine - a definite keeper.

Olay Wrinkle Relax RRP £29.99 is currently on offer at Boots for £24.99


No7 Airbrush Away Primer

No 7 Airbrush Primer067

Anyone who follows me on Twitter has heard me raving about this product already… I have to confess I didn’t have high expectations of No7 skincare, which is probably why I was so excited to be proved wrong! 

Verdict: Designed to ‘magic away signs of ageing’ with light diffusing particles, this really does put the skin into soft focus and improve the appearance of pores and fine lines.


The tube looks teeny in real life, but it does contain 30ml and the flip lid makes for easy and accurate dispensing. I’d describe the texture as a gel cream, which sinks in quickly, feels moisturising and leaves no residue.  Makeup applies beautifully over the top.


The effect hasn’t shown up particularly well in this pic, but it really does work well!  If you’re unsure, go try it yourself at a counter before buying. The price also surprised me a lot - it’s £19.50 at Boots, which I find expensive for No7 - but hey, it works!


Benefit Porefessional

While the above products are recent releases, this one has been around for a while, so I thought it would be useful to include as a reference point.

Benefit Porefessional 

The main objective of this product is all in the name: to minimize the appearance of pores, a high priority for many, including me!


This is a peachy gel cream and only a tiny amount is required… don’t be tempted to pack it on like polyfilla if you want your foundation to work on top of it or it will crumble off in little flakes!


Verdict: It instantly reduces the appearance of pores, but didn’t make my makeup last any longer - though to be fair, I’m sure not it’s meant to!  I also found that it emphasised fine lines a bit, so would either restrict it to the T-zone or younger skins. I didn’t dislike this product and have heard many rave about it - I just didn’t reach for it as much as the others, which I felt suited my skin better.

Benefit Porefessional is currently £21.15 at Debenhams where it was a 2012 Award Winner

I hope this has been helpful - do you use a primer and if so, which works best for you?

Olay & Revlon were samples

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