Tried and tested: Primers, facial tints and hair sprays

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB! Coconut Priming Moisturiser

Primers, facial tints and hair sprays are put to the test by Rachel Marie Walsh.



Amazing Cosmetics Illuminating Rose Primer, €33.95 at


Amazing Cosmetics is a high-coverage range originally formulated for film and TV. This flaw-blurring primer is reportedly a favourite of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. It is very rosy, which counteracts signs of fatigue. There are bronze and pearlescent alternatives. The formula contains a couple of pigmentation-lightening extracts for daily care but is really all about a bright, super-smooth finish. To this end, it is also quite rich in plant fats so best suits normal-to-dry skin.

Clarins SOS Primer, €30


Clarins SOS Primer is new this month and comes in six colour-corrective shades. Not a fresh concept, I know, but Clarins does not so much follow trends as wait till one grows roots of steel to act. The correction shades are standards: pearl for radiance, pink to fight shadows, green to offset redness, etc. The formula is unfortunately high in perfume, which is not a great ingredient to apply to bare skin daily, especially around the eyes.


First Aid Beauty Hello FAB! Coconut Priming Moisturiser, €24.60 at


First Aid Beauty offers a variety of comforting cleansing and treatment options for atopic skin. This member of their small makeup offering is a great preparation for sensitive and dry types. The formula is packed with replenishing emollients, so leaves skin soft and plumped while allowing foundation to glide over rough patches. Antioxidant oils help improve texture daily. This moisturiser has a lotion-like feel and a slightly pink tint that leaves the complexion radiant. Combination dry-oily types should give this a miss, as it will not regulate excess sebum.

Stila Cosmetics One Step Primer, €31.60


Silicones can be drying, so Stila’s given One Step a half-water base and loaded it with antioxidant plant extracts for daily conditioning. This primer is best for normal or slightly dry skin as it has no shine control. It is quite light, so unsuited for evening-up large pores.

Facial tint


Liz Earle Colour Sheer Skin Tint SPF15, €29.75


Liz Earle recently updated this tint’s formula for the (much) better. The formula is full of antioxidant oils — avocado, borage, soybean, Vitamin E— and irritant-free. It blends beautifully and comes in three subtle shades. The nicest part is the finish: Fresh, dewy and not at all makeup-like. It is best not to rely on this product for UV protection as you have to apply lots of the sheer lotion to get any and SPF15 is very low anyway.

La Mer The Reparative Skintint SPF30, €95


‘Skintint’ suggests barely-there makeup but this one has a whopping 99 ingredients. The texture is quite light, though, which makes me think there is either quite little of each or a lot of some and teeny-tiny amounts of the others (the top-listed ingredients are water and UV filters). The coverage is light-to-medium and you will have to apply a generous amount to take advantage of the SPF30. The finish is luminous which, combined with natural colour, is very flattering. Your face feels immediately colder upon application. This is skin reacting to eucalyptus and spearmint oils. Mint oils, as a family, are potential irritants with sensitising fragrance components.

Maybelline x Gigi Hadid Tinted Primer Light Medium East Coast, €14.99


Part of the Maybelline x Gigi Hadid East Coast Glam collection, this is a sheer tint that smoothes and brightens skin. It works alone or as a neutralising base. The finish is radiant and the colour is more than a tint. The formula is irritant-free and has a couple of anti-inflammatories — pomegranate, lecithin — so skin is calm as well as superficially corrected.

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Triple Protection Skin Tint SPF30, €33.60


This medium-coverage tint has a ‘superfood complex’ — a range of antioxidant plant extracts sandwiched between UV filters, silicones and colour pigments. This is an excellent daytime protectant for normal to dry and sensitive skin. It fights UV and free radical damage while giving skin a uniform glow. The liquid comes in four natural-look shades. The lightest (called ‘Fair’) is quite warm, so medium tones should go for ‘Light’ rather than ‘Medium.’

Hair spray

L’Oreal Elnett Infinite Satin Extra Strength Hair Spray, €9.99


Elnett, perhaps L’Oréal’s most reliable haircare product, combines with shine spray in this pretty style preserver. The formula is non-greasy but veils hair in light-reflective silicones. It is very flexible, you can use loads without altering hair’s texture or feel. This is great because the ‘extra strength’ promise is dependent on top-ups.


Aussie Miracle Hairspray Shine and Hold, €6.99


This is the same concept as the above but both smells and holds better. I like the radiant finish and you can brush the spray out at day’s end. The formula also contains natural extracts for mild conditioning.

BigSexy Hair Spray and Play Hairspray, €7.45 at


This spray is formulated for volume, hold and shine. The sheen is not as distinctive as I’d like, the Aussie above is glossier. Spray and Play builds instant density with wheat protein, though this feels quite gunky. The formula does keep hair in place without re-application.

MoroccanOil Luminous Hairspray, €20.70


Argan oil and a little shimmer pigment give this spray its glow. It gives great hold and smells wonderful. It does not brush out easily, so prepare to wake up with hair horns if you don’t shampoo before bed.


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