People may think I’m a MAC hater because I don’t rate their foundations (AT ALL), but honestly, I’m not. I am just as much a MAC addict as anyone else. I love their pressed powders, highlighters, eye shadows and most especially, their lipsticks. So I’d be a hypocrite if I told people to stop using MAC altogether. However, I do think people view MAC as this the holy grail of makeup. It’s gotten a little better now with so many Instagram MUA’s talking about newer, more high end, or more obscure brands, but for girls just starting out in makeup, MAC is almost always the first stop, and it can take them a lot of time to come off that MAC high. I’ve spoken about getting away from their foundations enough, so now it’s time to talk about alternatives to the MAC Prep+ Prime range.
1.MAC Natural Radiance Primer:
What it claims to do: ‘LIGHTWEIGHT, PERFECTS SKIN, IMPROVES RADIANCE’
What it does: I’ve tried quite a few primers to counter act the oil in my skin and mostly to help my foundation stay on. Primer is meant to smooth out the pores of the skin, but since the re-emergence of setting sprays, primers have become used in other ways, with different primers coming with their own various special perks. Some have highlighting properties, others smooth pores and others have SPF, but it really all depends on what kind of products you are using along side it, your skin type and most importantly what you want to look like.
A lot of people like the MAC primer. When I first started using the MAC prep+prime I liked the little yellow sparkling tint it had to it (there’s one with a peachy tint as well for those with neutral tones). It isn’t a glow but it’s a lovely tint. But the consistency of it isn’t brilliant. It’s creamy and just feels like a moisturiser, it doesn’t smooth over the pores, highlight, have SPF or do anything to keep your make up in place. It’s just pretty.
Alternatives: My Favourites
Benefit, Poreless Primer
This primer was so raved about that I had to give it a go. The texture was very much like the first primer I ever used which was GOSH, back when I was about 18 and just starting out in makeup. It got that funny matte gel texture that is common in primers because it’s meant to give the skin that smooth matte base for makeup application and smooth over pores.
For the most part, I didn’t see that this makeup kept my foundation on any longer than the MAC primer, bearing in mind all of my foundations are matte and long wearing anyway. It does minimise pores around the t-zone, but I don’t like the feel of the primer on my skin as it makes my makeup feel too heavy, which, I suppose, if your foundation is really dewy, is a good thing, but personally, I found it dull, dry and just ordinary. But if you want smooth pores this would be the way to go.
Charlotte Tilbury: Wonder Glow
Now, this primer I bought it on a whim, but I have never regretted it. Since the new trend of using liquid highlighters came in, I’ve been looking for nice liquid highlighters with a gold tone. For some reason, is not as easy as you’d think. But some times its just hassle to use primer and highlighter and foundation all togethe and it just results in too thick a product on the face. So when I found this highlighting primer I jumped on it. The colour is so perfect because it’s a very neutral gold colour so it goes will most skin tones, it’s not too gold and it’s not too silver. The bottle says anti-blur technology and this is so accurate, it literally blurs any imperfections you have so it can be under makeup, but can also be used on its own as it begins covering all on its own and gives a natural dewy look. It has a luminosity which comes through even after your foundation is on to give you a healthy glow and smooth out the pores beneath to make for a really beautiful base, without making the skin feel dry or making it too greasy. The downside to this one is that it is just shy of 40 quid, but sometimes the money is really worth it.
- Gosh, Lumi Drops
- Lo’real, Liquid Illuminator
- Smashbox, Photofinish Primer
- Lo’real, Infalliable Mattifying Primer
2.MAC Fix+ Spray
What it claims to do: ‘HYDRATING, REFRESHING, FINISHES MAKEUP’
What it does: I really wouldn’t use the word ‘fixing’ for this spray. For oily/combo skin it really does not set makeup that well. It gives your makeup a glowy look which is brilliant if you have dry skin and dry cakey makeup, because it loosens the dry, matte look of makeup, but if your skin is already oily it’s only going to make it slide off. It is very good for mixing with foundation and concealer to loosen them and make them cover more area while blending. So for this purpose it’s amazing but for setting your makeup afterwards, there are better alternatives
Alternatives: My Favourites
Urban Decay, All Nighter
Sets makeup for over eight hours. Non- drying with a glowing effect that makes makeup look very natural without sliding. The price isn’t brilliant at £21, but considering it actually fixes makeup more than MAC’s one, it’s worth the price increase.
Lo’real, Infallible Fixing Mist:
I’ve spoken about this one before and it really is worth talking about again. Being a liquidated powder, when it sprays it sets all of your makeup with powder and makes it extra matta absolutely immovable. And at only £8.99 you really can’t ask for a more perfect setting spray.
- MUA, Pro Base Mattifying Fixing Mist
- Smashbox, Primer Water
- NYX Setting Spray
- Freedom Makeup, Pro Studio Priming Water
3.MAC Prep+ Prime setting powders
What it claims to do: ‘SETS MAKEUP, REDUCES SHINE, FOR ALL SKIN TONES’
What it does: This has probably been the worst of the entire range. it doesn’t do a single thing for me. It doesn’t set makeup and it definitely does not reduce shine. And honestly, there are so many good translucent powders out there better for reducing shine, so I’d say experiement a bit, but I will only name the ones I know and use.
Alternatives: My Favourites
NO.7, Translucent Powder:
I would assume it is also good for setting foundation but I’ve never tried it for that, so I can’t vouch for that but I was pleasantly surprised by this one when I discovered it four years ago. It’s really good for blotting throughout the day and doesn’t make makeup look cakey over time. I carry this one with me everywhere and it works wonders for my T zone and lasts quite a while. And it’s only £11.50 at Boots
YSL, Souffle D’eclat Translucent Loose Powder
Again, I’ve written about this one before, but it really is a much better alternative to the MAC loose powder. It lasts all day, doesn’t crease and gives the face a luminous effect and bakes amazingly, smoothing over everything to make you skin look air brushed. I wouldn’t recommend it for touch ups though, simply because I feel like it would dry the face out too much over the course of the day and because it’s messy. It’s brilliant for use once thought. Set your make up with it at the beginning and it will last you all day.
- Laura Mercier, Translucent Powder
- IMAN, Translucent Powder
- Fashion Fair, Sugar Powder
- Revolution, Banana Powder
4.MAC Extend Eyebase
what it’s supposed to do: ‘LONG-WEARING, CREASE-PROOF, FADE-PROOF’
what it actually does: Nothing. My eyeshadow did not last all day, and it creased.
Alternatives, My Favourites:
Too Faced, Shadow Insurance:
Very good product, the standard eye shadow primer price, £16 so no comment there, but it really is perfect and it stops creasing under the eye as well.
I liked this one because it comes in different colours, the only downside I found with this one is that it has TOO much staying power. I personally found this hard because it made my the skin around my eyes so dry that makeup began to drag and it didn’t glide on the way I wanted it to.
- Urban Decay, Primer Potion
- E.L.F, Shadow Lock Primer
- MUA, Pro Base Eye Primer
So feel free to pick and choose, mix and match, with the names on this list and any of your own alternatives, but whatever you do, don’t be afraid to branch out past MAC. They’re good, but the makeup world is so vast, there’s bigger and better out there, you just need to be willing to look.