Taking advantage of the offers in Boots...
I was in the giant branch of Boots in Piccadilly Circus (one of only two reasons to brave the tourist trap of Piccadilly, the other being the amazing six-storied Waterstones bookshop dreamland) looking for a primer. I had a couple of weddings coming up and really didn't want my lovely makeup sliding off my face two hours in. Powder can only do so much, and more often than not it goes clumpy when applied over-zealously onto a hot, red, sweaty face. I was after Smashbox's Hydrate primer - it would be perfect for my skin, contained relatively few ingredients, and had rave reviews, but at £28, I just couldn't justify it, not with the money I'd inevitably need to spend on train tickets, drinks, and (most likely) something to help my hangover the next day.
After umming and aahing over what must have been about ten different primers, I eventually settled for the Rimmel's Fix and Perfect Pro primer (£6.99), thinking that 'fix' was what I needed in a primer, and if it managed to 'perfect', well I'd be twice as pleased. I think I chose it because it just seemed like a good all-round primer. I chose shade 002, the non-tinted shade. It's only £4.99, I thought, if I hate it it won't be a huge loss. It was on 3 for 2 anyway.
Claiming to smooth, resurface, brighten, mattify and protect, I was doubtful that a budget product could do all that. I just wanted something that kept my makeup where I put it. But it hugely surpassed my expectations...
The light, creamy gel formula feels lovely and refreshing on the skin, making it feel... not tighter, but more toned. My skin looks and feels fresher after I applied it, and it absorbed any oil or sweat without drying out or irritating my sensitive skin.
Best of all, my makeup stayed put all day and night - through walking two miles to the church in midday heat because there were no taxis available, to dancing like crazy, to standing at a smoking barbecue 'rescuing' slices of halloumi cheese, to talking and laughing and eating loads of food and drinking lots of Pimms.
Above all, this is really lovely as a pre-makeup skin refresher. My skin just feels nicer whenever I wear it - there's a noticeable difference. I'd absolutely recommend this as a budget option for dry and combination skins (particularly if they feel like they're melting in anything hotter than 20'c.)
Since my skin isn't oily, I'm not sure how it performs on oily skin. From the reviews I've read on the Boots website it seems to manage oiliness very well though, but oilier skinned may want to opt for Rimmel's Stay Matte primer (£5.99) or l'Oreal's Infallible Mattifying primer (£7.99), which I was also very impressed with but thought it might be a little too drying for me.
Fix and Perfect doesn't minimise the look of pores, so if that's what you're after this might not be right. I've found that my pores looked smaller as my skin became drier, anyway. For minimising pores I used Clinique's amazing Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector religiously as a teenager and I'm convinced its the reason I didn't feel the need to wear foundation until my 20's. Sadly its been discontinued and replaced with the newer Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector, which has a thicker texture that I'm not fond of.
As for its five functions, this promer performs well in almost every category: my skin feels a little smoother with it on. More importantly, my makeup applies smoothly on top of it. I hesitate to agree that it resurfaces skin, but it does refresh the skin really well. My skin looks brighter and fresher. It consistently mattifies without drying-out or dulling my skin. However, I can't see how it protects skin - there's no SPF in it so it doesn't protect from sunburn.
I have two issues with it: one, its strong floral scent, and two, it's long list of ingredients. The scent is bearable when the product performs well for a low price. I was worried that my skin might react to it, but it seems fine.
I don't use primer day-to-day (I find my foundation stays on fine as long as I've moisturised beforehand), but it's reassuring to know that for events, hot days, long work shifts, or just when I want to be sure that my face doesn't gobble up my foundation faster than I can eat a packet of kettle chips, there's this.
Thanks for reading!