August 12, 2016

NYX Soft Focus Primer Review

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

NYX Soft Focus Primer3

NYX Soft Focus Primer ($10) is a product I knew nothing about. This is a silky primer balm much like my beloved Mally Beauty Poreless Face Defender which can be used to create a flawless, soft focus on skin.

I personally love primer balms so, recently when I came across NYX Soft Focus Primer at Harmons I was not only surprised but very eager to try it out.

Here’s my review!

NYX Soft Focus Primer5

Facial balm primers have becoming increasingly popular in the budget world. The first time I tried a solid primer was when I got Mally Beauty Poreless Face Defender in a QVC Today’s Special Value Set. It was game changing for me and even as a dry skin users I appreciated how polished, perfected, and flawless it made me look. It has been, since trying it in 2011, a very important part of my makeup routine. Many have replicated it but few have replaced it’s formula in my routine.

There have been a number of budget friendly options that have popped up since like Covergirl Tru Magic Skin Perfector Mattifier and Avon MagiX Essential Face Mattifier just to name a few.

NYX technically never gives directions about how to use their primer balm. Mally’s formula can be used before or after makeup but typically I apply it after makeup as it works best this way. NYX’s version doesn’t have directions so, I used it both ways to test it out for this review.

This comes in a dual-compartment compact with a rubber sponge in the well below the balm and the balm itself with a mirror above. One of the key factors of this review focuses on the smaller size of 0.21 oz compared to 0.46 of Mally’s version. I’m mentioning this because NYX’s formula isn’t nearly as dense as Mally’s formula which means I hit pan the very first time I swiped my sponge through it. This soft texture combined with the smaller size (there’s more compact and packaging here than actual balm) makes for a rather crummy experience.

NYX Soft Focus Primer

NYX Soft Focus Primer8

If you’ve never used a primer balm allow me to briefly explain the formula. This is like have your favorite silicone primer melted down, poured into a compact, and left to solidify. Comparing it to Mally and Covergirl’s formula you’ll find that the texture is a lot softer and creamier which I think is part of its down fall. I find it pills on me horribly and rolls off in tiny little chunks when I use it before my foundation and makeup. When I apply it on top of foundation and makeup it ends up going on rather patchy and I have to gently pat and smooth it out. It’s just a rather messy application which I was particularly impressed with. It also feels rather slick on my skin where as Mally’s formula is very lightweight. I wouldn’t say it extended the wear of my makeup by any means. Those with finer lines and visible pores will likely notice it does smooth out these areas and blur their appearance however, I think Mally’s formula does the better job of this as it softens and smooths skin to a point that it looks photoshopped where as NYX’s formula seems to add shine and gives my complexion a “made up” appearance.

NYX Soft Focus Primer definitely gets a miss from me. This formula clumps up, pills, and gives skin a very made up appearance not to mention you’re likely going to hit pan on it instantly on the first application and likely use it all up within a month or less due to the smaller size and softer formula.

This one was a sad dud for me and made me appreciate my Mally Face Defender all the more.

Skip it!

But if you must try it, it’s available at as well as

Tried it?

Do share!


I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Dee

    For a minute there I thought you had found a lower priced dupe for Mally’s! That’s ok, I will continue using hers. It’s the best and worth the price.

  • Natalia

    Have you ever tried Benefit’s Dr Feel Good? It’s also a primer balm.

  • Kate

    Thank you for that review, I saw that at Harmon to and was wondering about it.

  • Tammy

    I have this it is just OK.. But, I have found that a real techniques foundation (the flat small one) will put on a thin layer much better than that sponge..which I ditched.. I do not plan on repurchasing it either.. But, waste not want not.. so to speak..

    • Tammy

      edit.. real techniques foundation BRUSH.. is better than the sponge.. LOL..

  • danadoo

    Boo, i was really hoping that nyx would get it right! I have always been somewhat mystified and curious about the Mally Face Defender, and Muse, I have total faith in your reviews and I know you love the stuff..I will definitely be trying it soon!

  • Lisa C

    Oh how I was hoping for a Mally dupe! Oh well, guess I’ll be sticking with Mally. I actually like to use it as a primer, I haven’t tried it after makeup. But I keep hoping she brings back that great sale she had when it was 2for1. Btw, have you seen the LM Iconics collection? Dying here!!!

  • Alys

    Wow… it always shocks me when a product comes out that is total garbage. Like what person working at that company thought it was actually good? Weird.

  • Lorraine. E.R

    *sigh* Please, if you ever find a good cheap dupe for face defender let me know!? I’m desperate! Lol.
    I love blurring/mattifying balms but my skin is very oily so the problem I have is with the ones that feel greasy. So far a lot of them tend towards greasiness & it’s a matter of drawing a line on how much is too much & just counterproductive for oily skin.
    So far in the realm of blurring primers (not solid ones but all of them) the ones I like are – L’orΓ©al Miracle Blur and Becca pore primer -the least greasy, most thick and best one but too pricey, & Benefit pore fessional
    The ones that are too greasy for me – Maybelline Baby skin, urban decay pore perfecting primer, L’orΓ©al studio secrets perfecting primer base.

    Maybe that list will help someone else.

    • Isabella Muse

      absolutely. Covergirl’s is nice but NOT quite as good as Mally! Mally’s is often on sale for 50% off at Ulta during 21 days of beauty, etc…! So maybe just get the original when it is on sale πŸ˜€