To everyone who asks for makeup primer recommendations, I always say “I’m sorry, I don’t use a primer” And then I realised quite recently while reorganizing my base drawers, that that’s not quite true.
I don’t use a primer… primer (you know, products called primers) but I do use other products that aren’t called primers, but also work as primers. Are we confused? Good.
I currently have 2 that I have belatedly realised work well as primers for me, but I wanted to show you this Clarins Beauty Flash Balm because I realised that this has been something I’ve used over the past 8 years at least, without ever mentioning it! How remiss I have been :D
First of all, the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm isn’t a makeup product. This is actually filed under their skincare range, as a pick-me-up product for the skin. The product is supposed to rejuvenate tired, stressed skin by eliminating skin fatigue in a flash (hence the name) and boosting skin radiance, while tightening the skin. While all that is great in a skincare product, the unintended side effect is that is makes a pretty impressive foundation primer!
Now, about the name. When I see the word “balm”, I think of a semi-solid textured product with an oily texture. By contrast, the Beauty Flash Balm is non-oily and in fact, feels rather like a cream. It squeezes out a peach coloured cream and spreads quite easily on skin. More about this below.
Because the primary intention is for this to be a pick-me-up for your skin, you can use it one of two ways, which is also detailed on the back of the tube.
- Spread a thin layer on skin after all your skincare, in a patting motion. DO NOT RUB. Follow up with foundation if you like.
- Use as a mask by applying a thick layer of product on skin, leave on for 15 minutes and then wash off.
I’ve tried it both ways, and I have to say that it does do a pretty decent job at reenergizing tired skin, when used as a mask. It sort of makes your skin feel all tight, and look smoother and better. But I feel like this is a little temporary. It’s like caffeine – gives you that first kick in the morning, but if you’re really tired, it doesn’t keep you going all day long.
So, this a nice mask to slap on just before you head out for an important event, when you have to put a good face forward. Before a big date, or before an important dinner or party, or maybe even as you wake up in the morning after a poor night’s sleep, and bemoan how lacklustre your skin looks. This helps give your skin the kick of energy it needs. Then, you can come back and crash and attend to its REAL needs over time.
But what I do instead, is use this more as a primer, because it does a pretty decent job at keeping a base on for longer and looking better.
There is a bit of a trick to using this however.
- Squeeze out some product, and apply with fingers on skin (I apply after my whole skincare routine and after sunscreen) in short, patting motions. Work quickly as the product dries on skin quickly. DO NOT RUB. If you do, it’ll pill and it’s very unpleasant.
- Follow up by applying your base makeup i.e. foundation, BB Cream, CC Cream or whatever else you want to use. Again, do not rub or it will cause the Beauty Flash Balm to pill and it’s just unpleasant overall. For this purpose, I feel that using a brush to apply your base makes it easier.
- If you don’t want this hassle, squirt some Beauty Flash Balm into a pump of your foundation, blend and apply to skin. Makes it last so much longer!
The important thing here is not to rub this product onto your skin. The way the product dries on your skin causes it to pill (little balls of product, like sand) and it’s irritating. If you get over this little hitch, then I find that the Beauty Flash Balm makes for a beautiful primer.
It allows my foundation or bases to stay on longer without fading or oiling up or slipping, and it looks smoother as well. The other thing I like about using this is because this is meant to be a skincare product, so I feel like it’s better for my skin than if I were to use a makeup primer, that might not have as many skincare benefits. I don’t know, it’s probably psychological LOL! :D
I do find it a wee bit drying if you use it too regularly, so I tend to use this only if I want to put on a good face. I tend to not use it with foundations that are drier (because I have drier skin) but for bases that are more emollient, I like the effect it gives. With foundations that feel drier, I use something else, that I’ll share in time to come ;)
The Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is a product that has been around for ages. I first tried it because I came across it on a forum, and because it was a cult product back in the day. I don’t hear a lot about it anymore, but I believe that good makeup artists still keep it in their beauty kit for emergencies. It’s one of those makeup artists’ secrets you know – it’s not a flash in the pan, but a beauty flash for your skin! :D
While I’m not crazy about the scent, it really does perk up the skin, and for some reason, when I use this as my base/primer, I feel like it leaves my skin looking better after I remove it. I figure this might be because it’s acting as a “mask” for most of the day, and that’s fine with me!
IN A NUTSHELL
The Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is a cult product that functions both as makeup and skincare. The cream textured balm is very lightweight on skin and does what it says – perk up your skin and renergizes it with a pick-me-up. It also serves as a very decent makeup primer, helping foundation stay on longer without slipping or oiling up, and helping it look fresh. I have been using this off and on for years, and it lasts a long time if you don’t use it too often. There is a scent I’m not a fan of, but I forgive it because it does a pretty decent job otherwise.
PROS: Perks tired skin up so it looks fresher, smoother and more rested quickly, Makes a good makeup base, Does double duty as skincare and makeup and can be used as a treatment mask
CONS: There is a learning curve on how to apply the product for best results, Scented
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone whose tired skin could do with a pick-me-up, Anyone who wants a makeup primer that has skincare benefits
PRICE: RM150 | US$47 for 50ml (Sometimes available in smaller sizes in value sets)
AVAILABILITY: Clarins counters, spa and boutique, Sephora
If you’re interested, here are the ingredients for the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm:-
Aqua/Water/Eau, Propylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Bisabolol, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum/Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Coumarin, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Eugenol, Limonene, Isoeugenol, Ci 15985/Yellow 6E.
Have you used this cult and MUA secret product before? Are you a fan?
I discovered this many years ago, and I’ve used up 1 or 2 tubes over the years. I do like getting a smaller sized tube in one of those value buy sets that Clarins has now and then. I feel like the smaller tubes make more sense and are more portable. This truly is a cult product! Have you discovered this? :)