The new Nivea Express Hydration Primer is, quite possibly, the best budget make up/skincare product (under £5!) that I have come across. It comes in two variations: one for drier skin and one for normal/combination skin types (which I've been testing out). I love the smell of Nivea products - it is mild, fresh and soothing - and I love the texture of this primer. It is a gel that smooths over my skin and absorbs pretty much instantly. It is an excellent base for any foundation in my collection, but it is also a great moisturiser and provides plenty of hydration. It dries semi matte, definitely makes my foundation last a lot longer and is, overall, a really simple but effective product.
You can get the Nivea primers from Superdrug and they retail at just £4.99 - an absolute bargain for such an amazing product!
The Inika Pure Primer is my newest 'primer discovery' but it has become my go to on days when it's freezing and windy outside. It contains macadamia oil, shea butter, avocado and apricot - that's quite a few fab ingredients! - and feels very moisturising and soothing. I feel like Pure Primer actually protects my skin from the harsh weather and does good things to my skin (i.e replenishes it). I probably wouldn't reach for this in summer when my skin's a lot oilier, but, for winter, this is an excellent primer with excellent hydrating properties. In fact, this feels more like a moisturiser than a primer, but I'm not complaining - this is exactly what my dehydrated skin needs right now.
You can find the Inika products at John Lewis stores and here. This primer retails at £29.50.
The NARS Multi Protect Primer SPF30 is another fab protecting and skin calming product. It is quite lightweight, sinks in very fast and feels more like a mattifying primer at first. But... this is, surprisingly, very good at making sure my skin is even toned, protected and comfortable. It provides just enough hydration (though I wouldn't skin my moisturiser with this) and is - again, surprisingly - very effective at calming any redness. NARS Multi Protect Primer is less heavy and rich than the Inika one, but it is very similar when it comes to how well it performs. I would say, if your skin is on the drier side, then best opt for Inika, but if it's normal/combination, then NARS is the way to go. One thing's for sure: it is an excellent product for anyone with sensitive skin.
The Multi protect Primer is available from NARS counters nationwide and retails at £24.
The bottom line is: if you can't afford Inika or NARS, then the Nivea Express Hydration primer is an excellent alternative. But, hey, if you want to spoil yourself, then you can safely opt for any (or all!) of the three.