There are a lot of really good, really affordable beauty products out there. However, not all of them can say they boast over 27,000 reviews online, but e.l.f.’s Poreless Putty Primer can.
The innovative makeup primer launched back in late 2018 but is hotter than ever, thanks to a meteoric rise on TikTok. But as a self-proclaimed beauty sleuth (and full-time journalist), I was highly skeptical of the buzzy product at first. I have very oily skin — the kind that even the most grippy, mattifying primers concede to. As such, I was cautiously optimistic that a hydrating priming balm would work for me. (Best case scenario: I look dewy all day long. Worst case: My face becomes a Slip-‘N-Slide.) But casting these fears aside, I took the plunge and decided to test it out myself.
e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer, $8.50
E.l.f’s primer is translucent pale pink in the jar but goes on invisible once you blend it out. I found the texture of e.l.f’s product very velvety and hydrating. (It contains squalane, a favorite ingredient for quenching parched skin.) I’m sure this is a game-changer if your foundation or concealer has the tendency to settle into lines or enhance dry patches.
One callout on the packaging: It’s not particularly friendly for long-nailed folks, so I recommend using a tiny spatula (like ones that sometimes are included with moisturizer) to scoop out the product. This is probably a good thing to do even if you have short nails since it can minimize bacteria transferring from hands into the jar.
“It makes my pores disappear — literally.”
I applied a small amount onto my cheeks, forehead, and nose, and blended it out with my fingers. (According to BeautyTok, you can also use a sponge to buff it into skin.) While it definitely didn’t mattify my skin completely, I did love the subtle blurring effect it gave. It felt really hydrating and comfortable on, and it definitely served its purpose as a base for foundation. Unless I’m doing my makeup for a special occasion, I usually skip primer altogether. That said, I definitely noticed a smoother application with the primer on compared to bare skin. Some matte concealers and foundations can be a bit severe (even on my oily skin), so having a hydrating base really helped achieve a more flawless, natural finish. As for the “poreless” claim, I can’t say it dramatically changed the texture of my face, but then again, I don’t really have enlarged pores or wrinkles to begin with. (Many reviewers noted that this product was not only incredible for rendering pores invisible but also helped minimize the appearance of fine lines and crepey skin.)
“Okay, I used this and when I tell you I looked like I was a walking filter…” begins one Amazon reviewer. “I took several pictures and videos without a flash, filter, or anything and it looked amazing. A little goes a long way and I loved how I looked with this product on.”
All in all, I was impressed at the quality of e.l.f.’s primer for the price point. (It’s currently $8.50 on Amazon and $10 at Ulta.) While I probably won’t need to repurchase for quite some time since a little goes a long way, I’d be curious to try the Matte Putty Primer as well since that one might be perfect for a shine-free finish. A putty primer for every makeup mood? I’m here for it.
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