Foundation Primer Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 30/PA+++
This foundation primer differs from most others because it also offers broad-spectrum sun protection. The active ingredients include stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA (think anti-aging) screening while the fragrance-free formula minimizes the risk of irritation.
The lightweight, silky lotion texture works well under makeup, and is easy to spread. It sets to a soft matte finish that also enlivens skin with a subtle, natural glow. This missed our top rating because the formula, despite its nice texture and finish, isn't all that exciting. The sun protection is nice (but this must be applied liberally, so be sure not to scrimp if this is your sole source of SPF) but the amount of antioxidant vitamins is low, and the formula lacks repairing and cell-communicating ingredients. With those additions, this primer with sunscreen would be a worthwhile addition to consider. As is, it's worthy of a "GOOD" rating but you can do better with a well-formulated daytime moisturizer with sunscreen.
Last, despite the claim, this primer doesn't contain anything that can truly help makeup last longer or remain color-true all day—at least no more than any other lightweight SPF-rated product with a soft matte finish!
Note: See More Info for an explanation of the PA+++ designation.
- Fragrance-free formula.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Silky texture and soft matte finish work well under makeup.
- Formula lacks a good range of anti-aging ingredients beyond sun protection.
PA followed by plus signs (PA+++, for example) is a designation used in Japan for rating the UVA protection of a sunscreen. The SPF number is about the sun's UVB rays; there are very few countries that have a UVA rating reference. Three plus symbols after the "PA" indicate the highest level of UVA protection, which can be as low as PA+, which means some UVA protection.
The PA standard is not accepted or used in other countries, but some products have begun to include it on their labeling. The concept is interesting, but ultimately the SPF rating and the active ingredients matter far more because the method of assessing UVA protection is not widely accepted, primarily because it is very difficult to get agreement from scientists on what tests to use and what they mean.
Prime the skin for makeup application, creating a smooth surface between skincare and makeup so skin texture looks smooth and makeup lasts and lasts. With the added benefits of UVB/UVA protection, this product creates the perfect canvas for makeup application.
Laura Mercier At-A-Glance
Strengths: Many fragrance-free products; top-notch water-soluble cleansers; some extraordinary foundation and powder products; great powder blush, cream blush, and powder eyeshadows; a couple impressive mascaras; mostly great shimmer products; praiseworthy makeup brushes.
Weaknesses: Expensive; some of the products with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas.
Mercier did a reasonably good job of crafting a skin-care line to complement her formidable collection of makeup (color is definitely Mercier's strong suit). From her above-average cleansers to some intriguing serums, it is clear that the skin care wasn't just an afterthought. Mercier is the only independent makeup artistry line we know of whose skin-care products actually have an impressive array of state-of-the-art ingredients. Of course, not everything is a slam-dunk, but following the reviews below will lead you to some wonderful products, assuming the higher-than-normal prices don't offset your decision to shop this line for your skin-care needs. And it's nice that the line has toned down its claims about emu oil, because it was never that miraculous to begin with - it's just one of many emollient oils that can help dry skin look and feel better.
For more information about Laura Mercier, call (888) 637-2437 or visit www.lauramercier.com.
Laura Mercier Makeup
What sets Mercier's well-organized makeup line apart from the rest is her trademark "flawless face." Mercier believes that perfecting the complexion is the most important step to makeup application, and her line presents some incredible options for doing just that. An added plus is that Mercier's counter staff really have their act together when it comes to makeup application know-how, while the sales pressure is low key. We wish the tester units were more spacious and efficiently labeled, but this isn't an overwhelming line to navigate.
Most of Mercier's foundations are in many ways a step above the rest. Although none of the main foundations offer sun protection, there are formidable options for all skin types, and the pigmentation in each is rich, so a little goes a long way. Other areas where Laura Mercier's makeup really excels are the loose powders, cream blush, mascara, brushes, and shimmer products. It is all too easy and very tempting to put together an entire makeup wardrobe from the Mercier selection, but keep in mind that there are a fair number of standard to lackluster products that simply aren't worth the expense, despite Mercier's considerable makeup artistry expertise.
Mercier's handiwork routinely graces the covers of major fashion magazines, and for the most part her work speaks for itself and epitomizes this line's Flawless Face philosophy. Mercier herself regularly makes special appearances at her counters, and my guess is that sitting in her chair would be an experience to remember!
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.