Foundation primers aren't exactly necessary, but a good one can help you get longer wear—and a better looking result—from your makeup. While Dior's DiorSkin Forever & Ever Wear Extreme Perfection & Hold Makeup Base SPF 20 (what a name!) has so many of the qualities that make a primer great, it earns an average rating due to a few of its ingredients.
DiorSkin Forever & Ever comes in easy-to-use packaging: A plastic container with a needle-nose tip that allows you to dispense the product in drops. The primer itself is fluid and white, but dries to an invisible finish. Dry time is incredibly short, so you can apply makeup immediately.
This sets to a smooth, satin finish that creates a beautiful canvas for foundation, making application easier and increasing wear time by a few hours. Also excellent: This provides another layer of sun protection (assuming you're already wearing sunscreen as part of your skincare routine) with broad-spectrum SPF 20.
However, part of what gives this product its excellent aesthetics is also a drawback: It contains a high amount of drying alcohol. (See More Info for why alcohol can be a problem in skincare and makeup). This also contains some fragrance ingredients that, when combined with the alcohol, make this an option we don't recommend for sensitive skin.
For a list of options that work just as well without potential problems, see our list of Best Foundation Primers.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Alcohol helps ingredients like retinol and vitamin C penetrate skin more effectively, but it does so by breaking down the skin's barrier—destroying the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012 and Journal of Hospital Infection, 2003).
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skincare products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. Exposure to alcohol also causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive and aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure were dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
The essential first step to a high-perfection complexion, the FOREVER & EVER WEAR makeup base enhances foundation application and improves hold.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 4%, Titanium Dioxide 4.38%. Inactive: Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua (Water), Isododecane, Alcohol, Diphenyl Dimethicone/Vinyl Diphenyl Dimethicone/Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Mica, Aluminum Hydroxide, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Isononyl Isononanoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Carbonate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Parfum (Fragrance), Algin, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Linalool, BHT, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Xanthan Gum, Serine, Sodium Stearate, Citronellol, Atelocollagen, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol. May Contain: Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.
Strengths:Nearly all of the SPF-related products offer sufficient UVA protection; a few extraordinary foundations and mascaras; a good liquid concealer; an excellent powder eyeshadow set; some good lipsticks and eyeliners.
Weaknesses: Expensive; lackluster moisturizers and serums that contain more fragrance and preservatives than elegant ingredients; irritating toners and self-tanners; ordinary masks; lack of products to address the needs of those with blemishes or skin discolorations; some foundations with SPF ratings that are too low; mostly average makeup brushes.
If you're looking for a clear-cut case of style winning out over substance, here it is. The Dior name is synonymous with couture fashion and countless other lifestyle accoutrements, but they continue to falter when it comes to establishing a first-rate collection of skin-care products. Of course, the company believes their products are the crème de la crème and if we're judging on aesthetics alone, we see what they mean. However, what's inside the gorgeous components is what counts for your skin, and Dior's formulas leave a lot to be desired. On one hand, it's great that all of their sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; on the other, all of their moisturizers either leave skin wanting more or contain problematic ingredients with no skin-redeeming qualities.
Fragrance is huge for Dior, and a visit to their counter attests to this, as fragrances line the counter right beside the skin-care tester unit. It would be better for skin if the two categories were kept separate, but in most cases the amount of fragrance added to Dior's skin-care products is greater than the token amounts of state-of-the-art ingredients (and the effectiveness of most of those is further diminished by jar packaging). If you wouldn't put perfume on your face, think twice about applying it in the form of an expensive skin-care product.
On the plus side, there are a few very good products to consider if you don't mind spending the extra money. If you're a fan of Dior's fashions and want to experiment with their cosmetic products, you'll find that their makeup outshines the skin care and has improved in ways that keep the panache while making genuine improvements. Despite all manner of claims to the contrary (everything from purifying pores to lifting skin to the point that sagging is a thing of the past), the most attractive part of Dior's formulas is how they're dressed, not how they perform.
For more information about Dior, call (212) 931-2200 or visit www.dior.com.
Always fashion-forward, Dior's makeup is more well-designed and attractive than ever, offering standout products in almost every category. The most notable change over the past several years has been Dior's improved foundation formulas and shades. It's now the exception rather than the rule to find overtly peach, pink, or rose-toned shades among Dior's many complexion-enhancing options. Even better, Dior has recently introduced foundations to compensate for its previous too-low SPF efforts, with formulas available in SPF 15, 20 and 25, a couple of which even include UVA-protecting ingredients. Such a move shows that while Dior may still struggle with an overall lackluster skin care line, they are at least working to meet dermatologist-recommended benchmarks for sun protection.
You will also be very impressed with Dior's powder blush, eyeshadows (though their shiny finish is not the best for Baby Boomer eyes), the DiorSkin concealer, brow gel, and most of the mascaras. If you're a fan of lip gloss and are willing to tolerate a double-digit price, you'll be in cosmetics heaven wading through all the lip-shining options here. On the flip side, neither the standard pencils nor most of the lipsticks are worth the money. With any designer-based line built on artifice, price is more than a matter of dollars. It's indicative of a company’s image and remains a prestige factor that often speaks louder than the products themselves. Dior is guilty of maximizing its assets to play up its image, but with their makeup line the good news for you is that, for the most part, they really pay attention to what’s inside all the luxe containers, too.
One more note: Dior’s makeup tester units are much more accessible and user-friendly than for previous editions of this book. We also found their counter staff to be more accommodating and definitely less condescending than several other European-bred lines.
Note: Dior is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Dior does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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