I was so hesitant to test this product. It wasn’t because I don’t like Ole Henriksen products (I do) and it wasn’t because I’m a bit meh when it comes to primers (I am) but the actual issue was in the name – I hate banana. So for any fellow banana-hating beauty lovers out there, rest assured, this doesn’t actually smell of banana – despite the bright orange packaging. Pleasantly fruity scent, yes, but bananas – no.
Most often the reason I am unenthusiastic about primers is they either feel unpleasant on the skin at application (think film-like), or dry out the skin during wear (cracking foundation anyone?). I therefore tend to reach for primers that promise to either hydrate, or illuminate. I like to think of them almost as an extension of my skincare, aiding with moisture and glow, rather than in preserving my foundation until the end of time. Favourites that come to mind include Smashbox’s Primerizer, VB x Estee Lauder’s Morning Aura, Becca’s Backlight Priming Filter, and Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow.
There’s definitely a pattern amongst my favourites for a light, cream-like texture as opposed to gels and slippery fluid primers. The Banana Bright Face Primer fits into this collection perfectly, while bringing it’s own little unique spin. If you’re a fan of original banana powders that were (and still are) used to brighten and illuminate the skin – especially under the eyes – this primer is like a cream primer version of that powder. It’s a lightly golden-peach lotion that brings radiance without any noticeable shimmer. It also contains vitamin C to aid with lightening and brightening of dark spots or uneven skin tone, however I’m very skeptical that the quantities included would be up to the job.
For the most part, this primer is about the glow. It’s a beautiful subtle glow that can actually be worn alone – sans foundation – and I guarantee you will not look like the Tin Man. It’s less glowy than Becca’s, less creamy than VB x Estee’s, and less shimmery than Charlotte Tilbury’s – but not as hydrating as the Smashbox Primerizer. Banana Bright comes into it’s own on no-makeup days when you just want to look fresh faced and bright. You’re still going to want to apply your moisturiser first, but this primer has such a lovely texture that it’s a joy to use. It’s really, really nice. With it’s very subtle peach tone, it does a little complexion correcting but doesn’t feel heavy, sticky, or film-y. The horrifyingly expensive Morning Aura is still something I miss in my beauty collection and while this primer doesn’t completely fill it’s shoes (it’s just not as rich and creamy), it’s what I’m reaching for day to day. The squeezey tube, while not particularly luxe, is practical and travel friendly – and definitely stands out in my makeup bag.
Being more subtle in glow, it’s not the one I reach for when I know I’ll be applying a full face of foundation over the top – it simply would be wasted and I’m not sure the glow really shines through. But beneath a sheer coverage base like MAC Face & Body or Chantecaille’s Future Skin, this primer adds a gorgeous, natural illumination to the face.
Find Ole Henriksen at Sephora