BEAUTY THERAPY: Why I prefer to skip the primer

The following statement may set the cat among the make-up pigeons: I’ve never got on with primer. Applied after your skincare routine, it is supposed to be a base for make-up to go on smoother and last longer. But when I start adding the layers, I look like a child playing dress-up.

It all gets too obvious, too cakey, too made-up. I tend to prefer the au naturel side of cosmetics – an approach that becomes more about necessity than choice as you grow older (too many lines for products to nestle in and risk drawing attention to). But I do have a few alternative inbetweeners, as I like to call them – products that can either be the final step in your skincare routine and give you a fresh-faced look, or can act as a good base for make-up.

There is, of course, my much-loved Dr Barbara Sturm Glow Drops (£105, As I’ve written about this before I won’t drone on but, essentially, it’s a deeply moisturising serum with a pearly finish which leaves skin looking tip-top. If I’m going make-up free this is my last skincare step. If I’m applying a BB cream or some such, it adds luminosity. As it is also stonkingly expensive, if you’d like to try it first you can always check out the sample selector on when you’re buying something else – there are usually nine to 12 samples to choose from and if your luck’s in, you may find what you’ve been wanting to trial.

I also like Becca Skin Love Glow Elixir (£34, It’s officially a priming serum and although I need to apply moisturiser on top, if your skin isn’t dry, there’s no need to. It’s a fairy-dust green colour and, in the jar, it looks as though it might be too shimmery. When used, though, it delivers what its name suggests and gives skin an extra pep before foundation or your preferred coverage.

Lastly, there’s Ren Perfect Canvas (, £50). It is also available in a special edition that comes with stickers by British illustrator Lauren Johnstone to decorate your plain white bottle with (sounds like a potential recipe for wet and curled-up edges to me but I’ll try not to be a killjoy). This silicone-free serum is applied after moisturiser and gives a matt surface for make-up. I am a fan.

With all of these products, you only need a few drops so even if you feel they’re expensive you can eke out the contents and make them last for ages.

Goodies that keep giving

If you’re about to buy a beauty staple, why not opt for a brand that is donating proceeds to charity for Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Here are three of my favourites…

Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour Shampoo and Conditioner
This range was specifically created for anyone going through cancer treatment so it is gentle enough to use on their scalp. It’s also good for anyone prone to redness or irritation in that area. The brand donates 50p for every 250ml bottle sold to the Look Good Feel Better charity throughout the year, not just during October. Shampoo, £19, and Conditioner, £22,

Aveda Hand Relief
This classic is always a winner – nourishing but not greasy. This month the packaging has been tinged with pink and the brand will donate around £4 from the sale of each of the limited editions to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. £23,

GHD x Lulu Guinness
The designer has covered a GHD gold styler with kisses in this special limited edition. Just as cute is the heat-resistant pouch it comes in: it’s metallic pink with a lip-shaped kiss fastener. This version has the upgraded dual zone technology with two heat sensors; £10 from every purchase will go to Breast Cancer Now. £139,

Feature by Edwina Ings-Chambers