Monday, 18 February 2013

Boots No7 Shine Free Make-Up Base (review)

Boots No7 Shine Free Make-Up Base
With a desire to use as many natural products as possible – or at least cut down on the amount of questionable ingredients – there are two areas where I regularly compromise: hair dye and make-up. This make-up base, despite containing cucumber, witch hazel, watermelon and sage extracts, is mostly made up of stuff I list in the Ingredients You Might Like to Avoid post, but with skin as oily as mine I try not to think about it. Afterall, make-up is designed to sit on the skin rather than be absorbed through it, but that's pretty a flimsy excuse at the best of times!

Because of these concerns the efficacy of this primer is critical (as is my sense of vanity overriding my sense of eco-health) and thankfully the promises made on the packaging are reassuring. “All day matte...” is exactly what I was looking for; it's oil-free while light reflecting particles “help disguise fine lines and flaws” and Biopol – whatever concoction that is – helps “minimise blemishes … without blocking pores”. It also helps to “soothe and cool” with the aforementioned natural ingredients and is hypo-allergenic. 

And it works; hooray! This really does keep shine from spoiling my look for a while. Not all day, nothing can manage that, but it's long lasting enough to get me through a friend's wedding recently, for example. Powder touch-ups are required, of course - I love Lily Lolo's Mineral Finishing Powder in Flawless Matte - but this is a small price to pay for maintaining a less greasy, more together look. Nothing says 'unkempt' like an oil-slick across your face.

The creamy formula is quite thick and needs careful blending to avoid white splodges on your face where you haven't worked it in properly. Try not to rub as it'll start flaking. It is a soft and smooth formula, but use it sparingly; if you use too much you'll look like a plastic doll. I find application to the t-zone suffices, as that's most people's problem area (forehead, nose and chin). You can apply it all over your face to make an excellent base for powder (or other make-up products as you see fit). I often skip foundation altogether, as I prefer a more natural look and with this make-up base you can. It's invisible if you've not overdone it, and gives you a smooth and flaw-free complexion.

Fine lines and wrinkles really are smoothed over and while the look is matte, there are enough light reflecting particles to make it look natural (again, I emphasise a light application!). I would say for me the lasting time in non-stressful, not-too-hot environments is about 6 hours. Sweating melts it away too easily, unfortunately. At least it doesn't block pores; I never gets blemishes when using it but I wouldn't want to fall asleep with it on as it doesn't really let skin 'breathe'.

If you wish to use foundation, you might not require this make-up base, as there are lots of mattifying foundations on the market. But for those of you like me who like a lighter, more natural look it's ideal as both an oil slick problem solver, and an invisible all-over base to smooth and refine your skin without looking overdone. Other reviews from dry-skinned people have complained that it's not moisturising, and I would agree – it isn't – but surely if you have dry skin you're not going to worry about about looking shiny as much as the rest of us!


Boots has renamed this product as No7 Beautifully Matte Shine Free Make-Up Base.

Mattifies skin effectively
Chock full of horrible ingredients
Helps to disguise minor flaws like fine lines
Not very moisturising; dry skin-types avoid!
Looks invisible if you don't overdo it

Doesn't give you spots, but don't risk sleeping with it on!


Brand: Boots No7


Size: 40 ml
Price: £10.50 (£26.25/100 ml)

Manufactured: n/a

Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Stearic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Alcohol Denat., Dimethicone, Montmorillonite, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Tiethanolamine, Cyclohexasiloxane, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Mica, Methylparaben, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccaride, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Allantoin, Sodium C8-16 Isoalkylsuccinyl Lactoglobulin Sulfonate, Triclosan, BHT, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Fructose, Glucose, Cucumis Sativus, Hamamelism Virginiana, Citrullus Vulgaris, Salvia Officinalis, Sorbitol


  1. Really good review. I am going to see if I can find this in boots and give it a go.

  2. Thanks, Liz! This is the best of the three primers I've used so far (the others being from Benefit and Avon) so it gets my vote!