I have a love-hate relationship with makeup primers. Having both oily yet dehydrated skin means I’m a hard-to-please beauty editor in this category. I’m prone to an oily shine come the afternoon, but in other areas my skin looks parched. Heavy putty primers lend a flawless result on first application, but end up looking cakey on my T-zone by the end of the day—not to mention leaving my skin with breakouts—while highlighting areas of dehydration. Lightweight formulas, on the other hand feel nice, but don’t seem to do an awful lot for the look nor the longevity of my makeup—other than add an extra unnecessary step into my routine.
And the most annoying part of my holy grail primer search has been spending a small fortune on them over the years. Especially so with the more expensive makeup brands out there that have turned out to be not so great as they claim.
So when E.l.f. launched its Power Grip Primer, I was naturally sceptical. But its since become one of the only primers I now reach for on a daily basis. And the best part? It’s only £10, and it lasts for ages. Scroll ahead for my full review.
E.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer Review
Power Grip Primer
E.l.f. Cosmetics’ Power Grip Primer has become internet famous, with the £10 makeup primer taking off on TikTok.
The Power Grip Primer is a clear, gel-based formula, making it hydrating, cooling and light on the skin—no risk of clogging pores here. The addition of hyaluronic acid helps to quench skin with moisture to plump the skin before makeup application. Its biggest accolade is that it promises to cling onto any makeup that you apply on top, and I can attest that it really does.
It leaves a tacky finish to the skin, making it like velcro for foundation. Don’t let that put you off though. You need to wait 30 seconds for it to really settle into the skin before applying makeup, but it’s not heavy or thick. It sinks into the skin and delivers a visible plumpness, bounce and moisture, which is exactly what you want from a primer. E.l.f.’s website says it best: “Grippy. Sticky. No Icky”.
It’s also fragrance-free, making it ideal for sensitive skin types, as well as being vegan and cruelty free. As someone who has oily skin and breakout prone skin that is also prone to dehydration, this works very well on combination skin, but works equally well on oily or dry skin too. However, it does give a dewy finish, so if you prefer something more mattifying, you may prefer the Liquid Poreless Putty Primer instead.
How To Apply It
One pump is enough to cover your entire face, and because of the tacky finish, you definitely don’t need to go overboard on application here. The pump dispenses the perfect amount of product so none is wasted, and you can smooth it onto your skin with your fingertips. It will feeling tacky to the touch at first, but after around 30 seconds, it subsides while retaining enough ‘grip’ to cling onto any makeup you’re applying on top.
The Initial Application
This was after applying the E.l.f. Cosmetics’ Camo Hydrating CC Cream on top, and my skin is visibly more plumped and dewy than if I hadn’t have used the Power Grip Primer. It wears so well throughout the day. While I’ll never be able to control the afternoon shine I have with my skin type, it plays really well with any makeup I apply on top. There is no congealing, separating or patchiness when I use this primer. Thanks to the hydrating formula, it also helps my skin stay looking plumped throughout the day and keeps my makeup looking fresh.
How It Wears Throughout The Day
I’ll admit, on this particular day in the Who What Wear UK office I really put the primer through its paces. I applied it at 6am and after commuting in on a busy train I spent a sweaty couple of hours in our hot beauty cupboard during the day, and here is how it was looking at around 4pm. While my natural oiliness had quite literally shone through here, my base makeup had stayed in place for over 10 hours later, and I wasn’t left with any dry patches or makeup separation that other primers often disappoint me with.
This primer does exactly what it says it will, and at £10 for 24ml, I’m seriously impressed at how long-lasting this formula is, both in terms of how well it makes my makeup last, and how a little goes a long way. It’s like superglue for makeup, and because its so affordable, I don’t feel guilty about reaching for this daily to ensure my makeup stays put as well as it can. It performs so well that I really notice a difference on the days when I forget to apply it before foundation or skin tints. Because it works so well across many skin types too, I’m inclined to recommend it to everyone.
Shop More E.l.f. Cosmetics Favourites
Power Grip Primer
This primer has gone TikTok viral for a reason—it’s like velcro for your makeup and leaves kin plumped and dewy.
Power Grip Primer + 4% Niacinamide
The primer also comes in a niacinamide formula, which helps to brighten the skin and even the complexion as your wear it.
Hydrating Camo CC Cream
I keep getting asked what I’m wearing on my skin when I’m on Zoom calls when I use this CC cream.
Halo Glow Liquid Filter
The primer-highlighter-skin tint hybrid that rivals its expensive counterparts, and leaves the skin with a sheer glow.
16HR Camo Concealer
My friend traded in her expensive concealer for this one, which she says she prefers and is a fraction of the price of her £20+ one.
Halo Glow Blush Beauty Wand
I’m always asking assistant social media editor Annie Wheatland-Clinch what blusher she is wearing because it always look amazing, and it’s this glowing blusher.
Glow Reviver Lip Oil
Everyone is going wild for these lip oils, which leave lips hydrated and glossy and come in so many wearable shades.
Poreless Putty Primer
For a poreless effect, this primer has your back. It leaves a velvety soft finish that blurs pores and fine lines with a silky matte result.
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