Watch Out Pores: Here Comes NARS Pro-Prime Skin Smoothing Face Prep

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

NARS pro prime review

I was out fashion hunting at the mall yesterday afternoon, rutting around for a respectable pair of jeans (more on that in a few), when I bumped into a gal with skin that looked smoother than a porcelain doll.


My curiosity got the better of me; I politely asked for her secret, to which she replied, “I don’t really do anything.”


Just kidding! πŸ™‚ Kinda…

With the otherworldly size of the pores of my face, sometimes I forget that there really are (lucky) people out there who simply never have to worry about their skin — no big-@ss pores or annoying fine lines.

For the rest of us, there’s NARS Pro-Prime Skin Smoothing Face Prep ($30 for a .26-oz jar).

One of two new summer primers from NARS, it’s an invisible, lightweight product designed to be layered beneath foundation or patted on top of makeup for spot treatments (by reducing shine) and to smooth the appearance of fine lines, pores and rough patches on the face.

When I set out to test Pro-Prime last weekend, I wanted to like it with ever fiber (and oversized pore) of my being!

The first time it touched my skin, I thought, “WHOA!” Can it really be this soft?? It’s like Fred Astaire (probably due to the silicones it contains), and it brought to mind Benefit’s The Porefessional, which, I might add, didn’t severely rock my boat.

NARS pro prime review

I put it on and then stared deeply at myself in the mirror. Hmm… The pores on my cheeks and the fine lines around my mouth did look noticeably softer and less prominent.

Could it be?

Was I witnessing a miracle?

Well, maybe not a miracle. It doesn’t completely eliminate lines, pores or rough spots, but it does make them look less obvious — kinda like a soft-focus/powderpuff lens.

For a road test, I prepped the left side of my face with NARS Pro-Prime under my makeup but kept the right side primer free.

Eight hours later, the foundation, powder and blush on the Pro-Prime side still looked fresh with rich colors; the primer-free side didn’t (generally looked washed out and tired).

I’m a little worried, though. I hope Pro-Prime doesn’t give me breakouts. Some products that contain silicones do. So far it hasn’t, but I’ll keep you posted.

It’s also quite expensive considering the size of the jar, but it’s not intended for use as an all-over face product, which means not having to use a lot.

I probably won’t always have time to apply it every morning, either, but it’s nice to have a little something extra around for special occasions. If you’ve got fine lines and patches o’ pores that you’d like to de-emphasize, Pro-Prime might be worth a peek. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B+/A-

You might like NARS Pro-Prime Skin Smoothing Face Prep ifÒ€¦

  • You’re on the market for a product to spot treat pores and fine lines
  • You don’t mind using products that contain silicones
  • You’re comfortable with the price ($30)
  • You like a polished makeup look

A denim epiphany

The other day it hit me: all of my jeans either 1) have holes in them, 2) are frayed at the bottom or 3) make my muffin top look like something sold in the bakery at Costco.

These days I almost never buy clothes from places more pricey than Marshall’s, but I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to splurge on a new pair of jeans.

I went to Nordstrom and asked a sales associate for a recommendation, and she pulled out a pair of J Brand skinny jeans in a cut called 811 ($158, ouch!). It has a higher rise on the waist, shorter inseam in the leg and comes in a lightweight stretch denim fabric.

When I slipped ’em on, it was like fashion nirvana. The right length, snug fit (but not too snug), and I think they make me look like I’ve lost 10 5 pounds. πŸ™‚


The sales associate said they’ve been flying off the shelves, which was all the encouragement I needed to pull the trigger.

The price just about killed me, but I’m hell bent on wearing them out!

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 56 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Natasha says:

    For myself and clients I have been loving NARS face primer (w/ SPF), but I think I just may have to put this on the ol’ shopping list to give it a shot! I think I would try this one over the Benefit one, which one do you prefer?

    And I don’t wear anything but Joe’s, so I hear you on the price tags of some of those designer labels… but I always tell myself I’m worth the splurge πŸ˜‰
    .-= Natasha’s last blog post… Fusion Beauty LipFusion XL =-.

  2. Diana says:

    This NARS product sounds awesome! I may have to try it out – those massive pores around my nose could use a bit of help πŸ™‚

    As for the jeans, I’d say my favourite pair are the Citizens of Humanity Avedon jeggings. They fit so well, and are BEYOND comfy. Although I paid $225 for them, they have been worth every penny, and are cheaper than my other (also incredibly wonderful) Current/ Elliott skinnies, which are $275. I’m so into the CoH jeggings that I’m going to buy another pair – they’re that great!

    • Karen says:

      Wow! Those pants sound like a minor miracle. I guess they better be for that price though, right?

      A big yay for miracle jeans!!

      • Diana says:

        They are beyond fantastic. The thing about designer jeans is that they really are worth the price, at least from my experience. My family nags me about spending so much on jeans, but as you said, they are certainly miraculous. There’s no going back!

  3. Mariah says:

    Wow! So the Nars product = Barbra Walters Lens filter? Heck yeah! I may have to try it on my nose! (No one likes pores!)

    And I know what you mean about the jeans! I am sooo poor right now, but I had a gift certificate to an outlet mall, and I’ve lost 40 lbs over the last year, so I splurged on my first 2 pairs of skinny jeans!! Oh they are gorgeous! They’re from Gap!

    Miraculously, the Super Skinny are more comfortable than the regular Skinny, because they have stretchy in them!

  4. Kelly says:

    Oh Karen, once you start with the designer jeans you can never go back, lol! My favs are Rock & Republic, though two of my pairs are too tight fir me at the moment. Ahem.
    .-= Kelly’s last blog post… BB Couture Cantina Collection Swatches & Review =-.

    • Karen says:

      Ha ha, I can barely fit a leg into an old pair of Joe’s I bought eons ago on sale. Too bad I didn’t buy a pair with stretch in ’em, doh!!

  5. Michelle says:

    I might have to try this. I am forever looking for something to minimize my pores. I find myself looking in the mirror wondering if my pores were always this big — is it because I am over 35?? Who knows!
    My fave jeans are Big Star jeans from the Buckle. I love them — they have whiskerig around the thighs (has a slimming effect) == I hate it when jeans make you look like you have saddle bags.

  6. Gloria says:

    I just played with this yesterday, and I think most of these concentrated primers work more noticeable once you apply foundation on top of it. It’s more like a clear glue that smooths OVER the pores, but it’s clear so you can still see the pores underneath. It’s just a bit more fuzzy, like you’ve used the blur tool in Photoshop.

    Btw Karen, have you played with the Burn it Blue cream eyeshadow duo??? AMAZING and GORGEOUS!!! It’s also really pretty when you layer other colors on top of it
    .-= Gloria’s last blog post… Brands to Love – and I’m Back!!! =-.

  7. Jamie Lynn Palmer says:

    I am still so true to my Dr. Brandt No More Pores Primer. It’s the only thing that acutally makes the large pores on my cheek disappear. I’ve recently suggested it to a friend with acne scarring, and she’s hooked too! On the jeans front, personally I’m kind of sad that the wide leg trend came and went. They were SOOOO comfy!

  8. Caitlin says:

    OMG I love J Brands! I bought my first pair a few years ago when no one had ever heard of them and I’m hooked! I love how simple and incredibly flattering they are! Can’t go wrong with dark denim!

  9. Elle says:

    Hey there- long time reader, but this is my first time commenting! I’ve found Cosmedicine’s Medi-Matte is all I really need as a primer, since my major problem is oil control and not pores so much. However, I did test a whole bottle of Allison Rafaelle’s Acne Response primer, and it was wonderful. Soft, easy to apply and blend, and my boyfriend (who has crater-pores) tried it and it really did seem to smooth out most of his issues.

    As for jeans- the Lane Bryant right fit Trouser jeans in blue 3 tall. I’m 5’11”, plus I have a small waist and wide hips, so typically-cut jeans never, ever fit me. I also have thighs wider than my hips, which makes fitting jeans difficult. The trouser jeans are wide enough to disguise those particular insecurities, not to mention they don’t fall down, gap, give me muffin top, or wrinkle at the crotch. So good!

  10. Marce says:

    I’ve been thinking of getting myself a face primer for some time now, but I’m afraid of it breaking me out! A friend has Smashbox’s, would you recommend that? Actually, what primer do you recommend for oily skin?
    Ooo my favourite pair of jeans are by Levi’s, they’re SO comfortable! And look great! And cost an arm and a part of my leg but the price is worth it, they look as nice as they did when I bought them. Most of my jeans are by Levi’s, I have one from when I was 14 and it’s in great condition still! Pity I’m not, I don’t really fit in them anymore πŸ˜€
    .-= Marce’s last blog post… SATC Series – Samantha =-.

    • Gloria says:

      For oily skin, I really like Clear Prep from Cover FX. It contains 1.0% Salicylic Acid, which helps treat any existing break outs while preventing new ones from being formed. Plus it works beautifully as a primer.

      Smashbox’s primer tends to be too slick for my personal liking. Another primer I like is Tarte’s Clean Slate. That one mattifies super well; the effect is instantenous.

      -Fellow oily-prone skill Sephora cast member. =)
      .-= Gloria’s last blog post… Rant Rant Γ’β‚¬β€œ Haters Can Suck It! =-.

  11. Jane Daly says:

    I am afraid of silicones…have broken out with every primer containing ‘cones I’ve tried…suggestions readers?

    I adore JBrands, but I do find the waist a little square & have issues with them falling down. Your model looks a little more tucked in the waist- I should check out. My fave jeans comfort wise are my Joe’s Chelsea skinnies. As comfortable as yoga pants! My Hudson Alex skinnies as comfy as leggings…Kelly is right, once you start, you’ll never go back!

  12. Michou says:

    I find that the L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base works really well and for $10, it’s a steal for the effect it has on the huge pores I have on and around my nose.

    Congrats on the jeans. At four foot ten inches, I have a HORRID time finding jeans, especially combined with my big ol’ Puerto Rican booty. πŸ˜›

    • Instant Karma (formerly L) says:

      OMG, I’m the tall version of you! I’m 5’11” with a booty. Finding jeans is SO HARD AJSFHSJAKH

      If you’re willing to go the premium denim route (and get them hemmed up at the tailor), check out Joe’s Jeans Honey fit. They often have them for something like half off at sample sale sites like Gilt, Rue La La and Haute Look.

  13. LOLL I never spend more than $10 on my jeans, which is why none of them are terribly flattering and I prefer to wear skirts/shorts/dresses/leggings. Essentially anything except for jeans. Maybe I should splurge on one pair…I do end up having to wear jeans a lot. Splurge for me on a pair of jeans would be like 50 bucks or something. Yours look really good though, I must say I am tempted. mm I think I need a primer for the fine lines under my eyes. They’re making my Time Balm look ‘too pigmented’ which is a shame because it’s such a good concealer
    .-= makeup morsels’s last blog post… Back From Trip + Haul Confession =-.

  14. Elle says:

    I just bought the L’Oreal base…seem to love it so far πŸ™‚

    …and yeah, sorry, I’m with you on the “bitch” part. Anytime I get a compliment about anything, I’m more than happy to share whatever it is with the person. But that’s just me. πŸ™‚

    I’m still loving my cheapie Rocawear jeans I score on my TJ Maxx shopping trips. I also like Levi’s. I tried Lucky jeans but after a bad incident with a sales person I realized they weren’t that great anyway. πŸ™‚

  15. Ashley says:

    I don’t understand how girls my age can spend almost $100 to $400 on a pair of jeans. My most expensive jeans were $40 & they’re supposed to be Victoria Beckham brand jeans? They aren’t my best jeans or favorite pair but my cheapest pair of jeans were $16.99 from the Ross and I’ve had them for 5 years! I think the most I’ll dish out for a pair of jeans is $80 at Urban Outfitters, they have these amazing pair of cigarette leg skinny jeans by Mavi & I want them baaaad.

  16. Arianne says:

    Giiiiiiiiiiirl, I’m all too familiar with chub rub. That’s the only reason I buy new jeans: because everything has holes in the thigh area. It’s so annoying!

    There’s a jean company from Quebec called Second Clothing that makes these stretchy denim called “Yoga Jeans.” I swear by them. It’s not like those “jeggings” — they look like real jeans, except you can squat and lunge in those bad boys. πŸ˜›
    .-= Arianne’s last blog post… Summer Smoky Eye: Golden Greens. =-.

  17. snoopysteph says:

    I’ve always loved jeans from Express & Gap. I bought a couple of “high end” jeans a few years back and regret those impulse buys. No way could I spend more than $80 on jeans…unless I have that “ahhhhhhh!” moment with a designer pair someday.

    I have dry skin and really like Korres and Tarte primers. It’s really hard to find a primer that doesn’t dry out my skin even more (or cause me to break out).

  18. Courtney says:

    I love your blog! Awesome info. Right now with the weather getting warmer, I use Tarte’s Clean Slate. It’s lightweight and perfect for summer. I just might have to check out this NARS primer. Sounds like something I might be looking for in the winter months.

    As for jeans, I really love Seven For All Mankind. If you go to the Premium Outlets they have awesome prices at the Saks and Barney’s Outlets. I found a pair that was regular $300 and got it for $110. Still a little steep, but totally worth the price.

  19. Sheila z says:

    Hi from NYC– curious if you’ve tried the new thick loreal primer and how that measures up?

  20. Esz says:

    I’m really looking for a good primer that wont break me out – Also have large pores and fairly oily skin that is prone to congestion. Any ideas? I know Smashbox gets lots of raves but there really isn’t anywhere here in Aus where I can get a sample, and shelling out $55AUD on a product that only *might* be good is not an option right now.

    As for the jeans – I have the J Brand 10″ skinnies and being a shortie, they actually fit in the leg length. So comfy too and make my butt look awesome hehe πŸ˜€
    .-= Esz’s last blog post… Small hiatus =-.

  21. gio says:

    I have large pores around my nose and I’m always looking for something that makes them less noticeable. This sounds awesome and although I’m not digging the price, I may give it a go. Thanks for the review.
    .-= gio’s last blog post… Wanted! Bourjois Coup De Theatre Mascara & Bourjois Kohl & Contour Eye Pencils =-.

  22. Nina says:

    The pants look awesome. I always say jeans are an investment (for me esp because I only wear them in the winter)…. I dont really have a fave pair yet, my body type makes buying jeans and pants a struggle – im short (5’1″) and i have a behind. Challenging.

    The primer… is a bit too expensive for me. My pores arent really noticeable so I might pass. For now. Who knows what will happen a few years down the line. Its good to know a product like this exists!

  23. Stephanie says:

    I have big pores on my legs, not so much my face, I with I could make the pores on my legs smaller!
    .-= Stephanie’s last blog post… Artisty Cosmetics =-.

  24. Wendy says:

    I actually love the new denim leggings (“jeggings”, I guess? But they don’t fit like classic jeggings) from Charlotte Russe. I’ve gotten away from their clothing but a display in the window caught my eye, so I went in and tried a pair on. I actually got to go down a size because they fit so nicely, and my fiance was fascinated by the curves! I couldn’t believe they were so stretchy and yet didn’t look like it. They actually look like jeans.
    The ultimate test… do they still fit after the dryer? Yep! Perfectly. I think they were $29.99.

  25. Emily says:

    I’d never thought of using a primer under my foundation; I’ve always just assumed primer was only for eyelids/shadows. Huh, I’ll have to give it a go.

    JC Penney has always been the go to store for jeans for me and my sister. They’re cheap (usually $25 and under) and we can now waltz right in, grab our size off the shelf (if they have it in stock) and checkout. They last forever too! My sister roughhouses with our dog a lot and they’ve stood up to her wear and tear.

  26. Scientific Housewife says:

    Sounds like a great product. I have never spent over $50 for jeans but those are nice.

  27. Sarah says:

    I have a pair of J Brand jeans, but honestly, I kind of prefer my Ann Taylor jeans. They’re super comfortable, and stretchy. Most importantly, they’re also pretty cheap.

  28. Steph says:

    You need to post a picture of half your face with the primer, and half without! I want to see the evidence of minimized pores!

  29. Rosemary says:

    My favorite pair of jeans are from Bebe. I purchased them about 3 years ago and paid about $150, but they were the best jeans I’ve ever owned. The jean was/is so soft and they are the perfect length. I wore them so much, I put a hole right under the pocket on the right cheek. So if I try to wear them, I have to wear an extremely long shirt to cover the hole and that’s not a style I’m a fan of. I’ve been trying to get them fixed and patch them myself, but I think they’re a goner. :.( I’ve been to Bebe to look for another pair and can’t find it. There’s a jean hole in my heart that will never be repaired…….

  30. Instant Karma (formerly L) says:

    Oh God, I feel you on the jeans pricing! I’m REALLY leggy (5’11” with a 36″ inseam), so it’s hard for me to find pants that fit. I’ve thus resigned myself to buying expensive pants. Unfortunately, though, thanks to premium denim being so soft and flattering, I now own too many pairs. Yeah, uh, I’ve put an indefinite moratorium on jeans purchasing, lol.

    If you’re curious about other brands, I know that the ones I like carry shorter inseams. My favorite is Habitual: their jeans actually fit my hips and butt (which are big compared to my waist), and they frequently have sales on Gilt. I like J Brand, too, though! Joe’s Jeans (which I know you mentioned in an earlier comment) are good, and so are Stitch’s, 7 for All Mankind, and Rock & Republic.

    They’re all super pricy, but I’ve seen every single one of these brands on sale for at least half off on Gilt, Rue La La, Haute Look and Billion Dollar Babes (but sadly BDB doesn’t allow returns while the others do, so you should be positive about cut before you order). I’ve tried on a bunch of jeans, noting which brands and cuts work best for me (I’ve found that R&R and Stitch’s to a lesser extent can vary a lot in the hip area while the others are more consistent) and then I’ve just searched for sales online. W00t for finding decently priced premium denim! πŸ˜€

  31. Chrissy says:

    Yup, I have me a favorite pair of jeans… that sell for $59, and I usually pick ’em up for $30-40 on sale! I shudder at the thought of spending that much on a pair! I hope you love ’em though!

  32. leslie says:

    Hey Karen!

    Have you tried Loreal studio secret primer? I’d seen it on another blog and thought i ‘d try it. I had a coupon and only paid $8.99 for it. I NEVER wear primer. It seems good for the price. My skin is soft and i noticed ididn’t have touch up my face with blot powder! Which is good!

  33. INO says:

    i looks like the clarins primer..can you do a comparison?thanks

  34. Trude says:

    Yes please keep us posted on any breakouts! (As weird as that may sound…anyways.) I have the biggest pores this side of the Mississippi and would love to find a product that truly helps minimize them. In the meantime, I’m using Aveda’s Enbrightenment serum to help fade scarring and generally improve the texture of my skin and Korres’ primer to keep oil at bay. πŸ™‚
    .-= Trude’s last blog post… Rest Peacefully, Farmor =-.

  35. happybadfish says:

    I used to only buy jeans if they were 40$ or less. Oddly enough, I had about 13 pairs of 40$ jeans. But then it occurred to me, I wear jeans almost everyday, why not have a pair I really like? I never quite felt like I looked good in jeans, mostly they made my butt look flat.

    Then I tried on an expensive pair while waiting for a friend in the change room. I have 3 pairs of jeans I wear. A pair of black Guess skinny jeans, a pair of skinny 7’s with gold clasps on the butt, and a pair of R&R that I bought off Haute Look. So, about 400$ worth of jeans, and I’m set. My butt looks good, and I feel good.

  36. CC says:

    I will have to check out said primer as I have fine lines around my eyes and large pores on my cheeks… ick.

    As for jeans, I loath pant shopping!!!! I have such a hard time finding pants that fit. So, I’m retro and still love me some Silvers. They are the only ones that fit my 5’10” self with 33″ inseam with booty! I’ve tried to love some others like Mavi’s (waist stretches out), Jacob skinnys (low crotch going on), Lucky’s (ok but stretch out by next day), etc… I always regret buying cheap jeans or jeans on sale like at Winners b/c they just aren’t right.

    And jeans are a total investment PLUS you had a gift card! So, good purchase !

    • Instant Karma (formerly L) says:

      As a fellow tall girl with a butt (5’11” with a 36″ inseam), I highly suggest Habitual’s Glory jeans (they come in skinny, straight and bootcut/flare cuts) and Joe’s Jeans Honey fit (they come in skinny and bootcut/flare cuts). Habitual’s inseams range from something like 32″-36″ and Joe’s Honey fit is a 34″ (lol I wear the skinnies under boots). The Honey fit in particular is designed to suit people with smaller waists in comparison to their hip measurement — and to accommodate some serious booty. They’re premium denim, and range from $150-200 USD (which really isn’t important to differentiate, though, since the Canadian dollar is worth something like 97 American cents, lol, but I figured I’d be clear). Anyway, you can find both brands online for half off (especially on sample sale websites), so once you know your size, you’re set.

  37. I love the packaging and would love to try this product, but I’m also worried about the silicones it contains. I’ve tried Smashbox primer (the orange/salmon one) but it broke me out completely. πŸ™

  38. Kat says:

    Thanks for the tip I’ll definitely check out this new primer.

  39. Stephanie says:

    I have super oily skin and big pores around my nose and cheeks and I absolutely LOVE Clinique’s Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector. All you have to do is swipe it on under or over makeup and it makes your skin baby butt soft and smooth… and it’s only $17.50. I’d love to try the NARS one but it’s way to pricey, especially when I have something just like it for cheaper πŸ™‚

  40. Candice S. says:

    From the photo, it looks similar to Clarins’ Instant smooth perfecting touch primer.

  41. Luna says:

    I love J Brand jeans πŸ™‚
    They’re super dark wash/indigo color is a their signature, same goes for their bright gold-yellowly stiching. I own about three pairs of the same exact jeans and two pairs of their curvy cut and a black pair with zippers on the ankle area and a pair of faux-cargo style.. I forgot their name but apparently they’re realllllyyyyy popular.
    I love the 811. They’re a staple. A complete CLASSIC.
    and as for the price, I believe that it is completely worth it. This usually (sometimes) goes for most denim for me because (and this applies to some cosmetics like skincare or foundations, etc, etc) they’re higher quality. They’re more durable and they do not deteriorate easily. Unlike Forever21 denim.
    I usually buy my denim at Barney’s, Barney’s Co-op, Nordstroms, Bergdof Goodman, sometimes Neiman, sometimes South Moon and Under. And a bunch of high end boutiques..
    While I splurge on certain things like denim, I totally do not spend alot on other things like trendy jewlery or nail polish. It really really really depends on what the product is and who it is buy and the quality.

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