The Gloss Report: 5 hair primers reviewed

29 July 2015
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The Gloss Report: 5 hair primers reviewed

Just like their skincare cousin, the aim of the game when it comes to hair primers is to prolong the effect of the hard work that goes on after. Used on wet hair (either alone or before you apply your normal styling product), these primers create a barrier between your hair and nasties such as dirt, humidity and oil that can play havoc with your style. So did these products save our hair or are they just an unnecessary additional step? Click through to find out…

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Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Prime Light

Price: £18

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Feedback: “For the list of impressive results this hair primer boasts (moisture, shine, smoothness, protection, manageability and definition), I’d say roughly only half were true. Sprayed onto towel-dried hair it certainly did help to smooth and detangle, transforming my typically matted mane into something considerably smoother - It also did leave a slight glossy finish. However, even though designed for fine hair my locks were left particularly limp, heavy and ever-so-slightly greasy after using. When blowdried certain parts of my hair that contained more of the product were also left looking a little caked and crispy. Essentially, this spritz performs as a glorified hair detangler, which I think at £18 is rather a steep price to pay.”

Reviewer: KR

Score: 4/10

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Living Proof Prime Style Extender

Price: £18

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Feedback: “I take a kind of perverse pride in how unmanageable my hair can be. It’s ridiculously thick and not only is it curly, it contains multitudes of different textures. Blow drying it is a battle of wills and often leaves my hair fluffy and frizzy, and I rarely have the time to torture it into obedience by styling with my precious GHDs. Living Proof’s promise that their Style Extender would make my styling efforts last twice as long was pretty intriguing, but I was very skeptical with the concept of applying it from root to tip. There’s no point in locking a look in for days if said look involves greasy roots.

I took the plunge and saw all my worries melt away quite literally before my eyes. My mane became docile and manageable, and when I brandished my blow dryer it meekly fell in silky smooth waves. My hair felt light and product-free, despite generous all-over application. Days later my hair remained un-frizzed by tempestuous summer storms. The primer even claims to repel oil and dirt, allowing you to go the full Kim K approved 5 days between washes (something I’ve been doing long before said selfie master made it cool, may I add). Living Proof has tamed the wild beast that is my hair, and I am eternally grateful.”

Reviewer: IB

Score: 10/10

4 / 6

Bumble & Bumble Primer

Price: £17.50

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Feedback: “When it comes to my hair I am very much of the ‘wash and go’ mindset and I’ve found in the past that styling products are more hassle than they're worth, and blow drying should be left to the professionals. If any brand was going to change my mind though it would be Bumble & Bumble. I love their shampoo and conditioner and am big fan of their rainbow packaging but as much as I desperately wanted to like this styling product it sadly didn’t deliver.

Whilst I found the delicious smelling spray a joy to spritz through my hair and it definitely helped with detangling, it was its lightweight claim I had a problem with. When my hair first dried I noticed no problem, my hair was a little shinier and straighter (so far, so good), but by lunch it felt flat and even a tad greasy. Maybe if I had blow dried and styled my hair I would have seen more or an impressive effect but for me it will be back to my tried and tested no fuss approach.”

Reviewer: EB

Score: 3/10

5 / 6

KMS California Style Boost Primer

Price: £15.50

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Feedback: “It seems we’re primed for almost everything these days- flawless foundation, long lasting eyeshadow, lifeproof lipstick and melt-resistant mascara. That old ‘be prepared’ motto has very much extended into our daily beauty routine, with mixed results. Some primers work invisible wonders and anchor everything in place all day, thus allowing you to get on with your day, while other less impressive performers seem to simply involve more time, more faff and less money overall. I was curious as to what camp a hair primer might fall into...

Smoothed through wet hair prior to other styling products, this crackly mousse is designed to protect hair from heat damage and apparently makes your style last up to three times as long as it normally would. It felt cool to apply which is a nice bonus for the scalp come summertime (WHAT SUMMERTIME?!) and distributed through the hair evenly, although watch out when spraying the product into your hand as mine burned a bit- definitely do so from a bit of a distance! Perhaps due to the fact that Style Boost is a mousse I did notice a bit more volume and movement than usual, and less frizz, although I wouldn’t say that my style held longer per se- it just looked better to start with, which is an achievement in itself. It without a doubt needs to used alongside a serum, hair oil or glossing spray, otherwise hair could look quite dry and crispy, but blended with other hair products, it gives hair oomph and guts. For a hefty £15.50 however, it’s definitely not an essential, and I can’t help thinking that a modern-age mousse would do the same thing, albeit perhaps without the heat protection.”

Reviewer: AH

Score: 6/10

6 / 6

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer

Price: £16.30

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Feedback: "Do we really need another primer? I wasn’t so sure to begin with. I always use some sort of heat protectant before drying my hair and so was curious to see what else this would bring to the table.

In addition to protecting against heat, this particular product claims to reduce drying time and extend the life of your blowdry too. As a heat protectant, this was a great addition to my haircare line-up. It was lightweight and non-greasy and absorbed well into my towel-dried hair. As for the reduction in drying time though, I wasn’t as convinced - my mammoth hairdrying sessions were still pretty long. However, I was impressed by the end result - it gave my finished style a more polished finish without compromising on volume. So would I use it again? Yes I would, but more so for its qualities as a heat protectant rather than a blowdry booster."

Reviewer: AM

Score: 6.5/10