Review: Benefit Stay Flawless Primer


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A couple of weeks ago I went along to the launch night of Benefit's newest primer, Stay Flawless, in Edinburgh (have a look at my Facebook page for some more photos from the event!) and have been testing it out since then. It's a solid primer which comes in the form of a stick for easy application, and aims to keep makeup in place for 15 hours. Benefit's Head Makeup & Trend Artist and Brow Expert, Lisa, was on hand to give us a demonstration of the product and explained that the best way to apply it was in circular motions to activate the "makeup magnet" which would help your foundation to stick to your face and keep you looking flawless all day. As always, it was such a lovely event (those Benefit girls are a nice bunch, aren't they?) and Lisa said I had nice eyebrows so that pretty much made my day!

Along with the Stay Flawless Primer, we also got some of the Hello Flawless Foundation* to test it out with, plus a Foundation Brush* for application. Now, I must admit I'm not a big fan of foundation brushes - I much prefer to apply foundation with my fingers - but I do love Hello Flawless! I bought some last summer (review here) and my main complaint was that it was a tiny bit too dark for me - but as it turns out I hadn't actually bought the lightest shade, what an idiot! I originally bought Ivory Believe in Me, but this time round I was colour matched to Ivory I'm Pure 4 Sure. Slightly confusing as they're both called Ivory, and Believe in Me appears first on the website, so I think I just assumed it was the lightest one. Aaaanyway, I'm really glad I've discovered this as Pure 4 Sure is the perfect match for my skin and it has made me love this foundation even more.

I thought I would do a little experiment to put Stay Flawless to the test, and have put it up against The Porefessional, which is another favourite of mine (review here - I actually like it much more than this review might suggest, perhaps it's time to start doing re-reviews of some old products?). The Porefessional is great at creating a smooth, even base and minimising the appearance of pores, but it's not the longest lasting primer in the world. Stay Flawless, on the other hand, claims to keep makeup in place for up to 15 hours. So, on the right side of my face (with fringe) I've applied Stay Flawless and on the left (no fringe) I've applied The Porefessional to see how they compare when worn with Hello Flawless foundation. I apologise in advance for all the photos of my face!

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10 AM: After 1 Hour
This is what my freshly applied makeup looks like (hello dressing gown). Both sides look pretty much the same, and both primers have done a good job of creating a blank canvas to apply foundation on top of. The Porefessional is super easy to apply, but I'd say Stay Flawless takes a tiny bit more effort. You have to be careful not to apply too much otherwise the product will go a bit sticky and kind of ball up a bit - sort of like when you get glue on your hands and you rub your fingers to get it off, and it kind of collects together? I don't think I'm explaining it very well! To prevent that from happening, just make sure you're not too overenthusiastic with application, and tap/blend it in lightly with your fingers to make sure it settles in to your skin.

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1 PM: After 4 Hours
Having spent the morning doing work in the flat, having lunch and putting away my grocery shopping, my makeup is looking pretty much identical to when I applied it. Both primers are holding up well and there's no sign of slipping or fading from my foundation.

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5 PM: After 8 Hours
I've now been wearing my makeup for a full "working day" and it still looks pretty fresh and flawless. During the afternoon, I went to the library and did some work there for a few hours but even their ridiculously warm building (seriously, someone needs to turn off the central heating!) hasn't affected my foundation. It's difficult to see in the photo, but on The Porefessional side there is a little bit of wearing off where my nose meets my face (errrm? is there a word for this?), but apart from that both primers seem to be doing their job pretty well.

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7 PM: After 10 Hours
I've now finished making dinner and am getting ready to head out to the pub for a couple of drinks. I've applied some lipstick (Illamasqua Scandal), but haven't touched my base makeup at all. I have fairly normal skin, but do have a slightly oily T-zone and you can see that both my forehead and nose are starting to look a little bit shiny. Nothing too drastic though, and the rest of my face still looks fine.

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11 PM: After 14 Hours
I'm now home from the pub and my foundation is starting to look a bit worse for wear. My lipstick has totally worn off, but my foundation is still doing pretty well considering I applied it 14 hours ago! I also think there's quite a noticeable difference between the two sides now. The Porefessional on the left is looking really quite shiny now, but Stay Flawless is still quite matte. It definitely doesn't look as fresh as when I first applied it, but it's certainly holding up much better than The Porefessional.

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12 AM: After 15 Hours
Hair up, jim jams on, nearly time for bed! It has now been a whole 15 hours since I applied my makeup, and whilst it's not looking perfect, Stay Flawless has done a good job of keeping my makeup in place and keeping shine at bay. It hasn't done quite so well in the T-zone area, so it might not be ideal if you have particularly oily skin, but it has definitely fared better than The Porefessional in terms of staying power. Even if it doesn't last you the whole 15 hours I think it would certainly keep your makeup in place for longer than other primers which weren't designed to be so long lasting. I don't have particularly bad pores so I found Stay Flawless gave enough of a smoothing effect to skim over everything and create a nice base, but if you have problematic pores you might want to give The Porefessional a go instead.

Overall, I really like Stay Flawless as it has done pretty darn well at keeping my foundation in place for 15 hours. It's not a miracle worker, and if I wasn't doing an experiment for reviewing purposes, I would probably have done one or two sly repowderings throughout the day. But, to be honest, I really didn't expect it to last anywhere near 15 hours so I'm pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I think a lot of products with "lasts X hours" claims have just picked a random number for the sake of it, but 15 hours seems about right for Stay Flawless - Benefit have obviously done their research! I think there's definitely still room for both of these primers in my makeup bag as they do different jobs and would be useful for different occasions; if I know I'm going to be busy and be out of the house all day, I'll definitely be reaching for Stay Flawless.

So, Stay Flawless versus The Porefessional: which one would you choose?

Gillian x


  1. Lovely!!! I have heard some great reviews about Benefir Stay Flawless Primer !!! Looked great on you xoxo

  2. Wow, you can really see the difference between the two sides! You look gorgeous, and I love your lipstick too! This is one of the best reviews of a product I've ever seen. SO useful, and so informative.

  3. Thankyou for this review, it's possibly one of the best I've read because we actually get to see a range of photos proving how the product works!

  4. I love this whole review! I can't wait till this becomes available in Manila! :)

    PS Scandal looks good on you!


  5. This is such a great review with the different wear times :D Thank you so much for it. I'm quite keen to try this actually as I have normal/dry skin so this might work really well on me.


  6. I really liked this review! And it's great seeing it compared to another primer so you can actually see the difference throughout the day. I definitely want to try this!

  7. Absolutely, hands-down the BEST beauty review I've seen in a really long time! Will have a play with it next time I'm at a counter, great for non-Porefessional fans (like me!) x

  8. I loved this post! Great to actually see the difference rather than just read about it. I really like Benefit but I don't actually own any of their primers ( how bad of me). I keep meaning to pick some up but I think I know what'll be my first one after reading this review! Xox

  9. I really love this review, it's so helpful! I've tried Porefessional and I thought it was quite good, so the Stay Flawless primer seems amazing!

    Beauty and Lifestyle Blog


  10. SUCH a good review! great to see pics of how well it performs throughout the day! my face usually looks like your final pic by lunchtime though so prob think my t-zone would be too much for this foundation/primer. it's really worked on your skin though, cant believe how long it lasted without a touch up!

  11. Wow, you were really committed to documenting the wear of the primer/ foundation! Great Post!

  12. This is such an inventive idea! It's nice to actually be able to see how well products last on other girls! After seeing this I really need to invest in Stay Flawless! I also use Porefessional but it does wear off my T-Zone which can be annoying if I don't have time to touch up.

    Jayde xo

  13. Wow! I'm very impressed with how the products held up. You makeup still looked very fresh after 8 hours which is very impressive. I might have to save up for the primer.


  14. that's pretty good I mean you still look great at the end of the day! Well impressive!


  15. I love the effort of this post, to highlight the contrast between the two primers. And it's helped me a great deal as I've been intrigued by Stay Flawless from the get go. I prefer it's matte look by a mile! And yesyesyes you should definitely re-review old reviewed products, how awesome would that shape up?!

  16. Great review, really shows how well the product works =)

  17. thank you for such a thorough and informative review! Absolutely top standard.

    I'm gonna have to buy Stay Flawless now when I run out of Porefessional xo

  18. I like Hello Flawless because it has SPF! :D
    ~Pauline @ Benefit cosmetic Philippines


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