Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer
Make Up For Ever claims Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer transforms "dehydrated skin into a supple, healthy, plump surface for a flawless makeup all day long." We hate to burst their bubble, but in actual use, you're not actually going to see "plumper" skin; however, we agree that this primer offers some nice perks for dehydrated skin and sets a smooth canvas for makeup application. It's a good, though not flawless, formula.
Housed in a plastic squeeze tube, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer dispenses as a luxuriously lightweight serum/lotion hybrid that glides on like silk and leaves skin feeling soft. The formula quickly absorbs—no greasy residue—yet feels mildly hydrating (a happy medium for combination skin). More to love, the silicones in the formula help create a smooth surface for effortless blending during makeup application.
As for superstar ingredients, this isn't a potent anti-aging formula worth boasting about, but at least there are a few beneficial ingredients in the mix. However, we do have to point out that the fragrance in the formula poses a potential risk of irritation. Between the dissipating scent and minimal concentration of fragrance (as evidenced by the ingredient list), we aren't overly concerned, but the formula would have been a safer bet for all skin types (especially sensitive) without it. (See More Info to learn how fragrance can impair skin.)
In the end, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer earns our praise from aesthetical standpoint for its skin-smoothing properties and lightly hydrating formula—a nice balance for combination skin…we just wish the formula had less fragrance (as in none, because that's truly the best approach for skin).
- Luxuriously lightweight serum/lotion hybrid texture leaves skin feeling soft.
- Absorbs imperceptibly yet feels mildly hydrating (a happy medium for combination skin).
- Creates an ultra-smooth canvas for makeup.
- Fragranced formula poses a potential risk of irritation.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
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).
Make Up For Ever At-A-Glance
Strengths: Wonderful foundations; impressive options (and shade ranges) for powders, powder blush, and powder eyeshadow; some extraordinary lip glosses and lipstick/lip color options (and again, the shade ranges are remarkable); a few formidable mascaras; good shimmer options.
Weaknesses:Can be expensive; a few formulas contain needlessly high amounts of fragrance.
This Paris-based makeup collection traces its roots to theatrical and fashion makeup, building on the concept that a professional makeup artist not only desires, but also needs, every conceivable color and texture to create the broadest range of looks. Since 1984, Make Up For Ever creators Dany Sanz and Jacques Waneph have been doing their best to meet these criteria. Through the years, this line has gone from offering a tremendous array of colors in their own European boutiques to a more streamlined, "everyday" collection of products in select department stores and (primarily) Sephora, whose parent company, LVMH, has owned Make Up For Ever since 1999.
The color line presents an intriguing blend of classic, workable shades positioned next to some truly unique hues and finishes that only those involved with theater or the most flamboyant "anything goes" makeup artist (or diva) would covet. A major plus for this line is that many of the colors are densely pigmented, working beautifully on medium to deep skin tones. The drawback is that fair and lighter skin tones may find their choices more limited in a few areas of the brands ranges. However, for those who want it all when it comes to possible shades, this line more than delivers what it takes to please.
An interesting aspect of this line is that, category to category, there are mostly exceptional choices, with products that we found to be averagecertainly falling short of what we know Make Up For Ever to be capable of. However, if you are cautious of those few pitfalls (fortunately, there are an abundance of testers to experiment with at Sephora or the brands standalone boutiques) you will undoubtedly be pleased with those products that Make Up For Ever does best.
For more information on Make Up For Ever, call (877) 757-5175 or visit www.makeupforever.com.
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.