Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer
Rather than spot correct imperfections, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer is intended to serve as an all-over color-corrector for your complexion. According to Make Up For Ever, its tinted hue neutralizes imperfections and adds immediate radiance. While we wish it were that simple, like a magic wand for imperfections, it's not. In fact, this primer's formula raises more than one red flag…
Housed in a plastic squeeze tube, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer has a lotion-like consistency that quickly absorbs into skin, no greasy finish. The result? You're left with a complexion tinted in a specific hue, which varies by shade per Make Up For Ever's categorization: "Cool Pink" for yellow-fair skin; "Blue" for yellow-red fair skin; "Peach" for fair skin; "Yellow" for tanned skin; "Caramel" for dark skin; and Mauve for yellow dark skin.
How "color-correcting" you'll find any of these tints to be varies by your particular skin tone and the shade you chose—just keep in mind that you'll still need follow up with foundation (otherwise, it looks very unnatural). As for adding radiance, we didn't experience any sort of luminosity with the shades we tested—instead, it dried down to more of a matte finish, best suited for normal to oily or combination skin.
The real issue we take with Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer's formula is the high amount of alcohol it contains. When you combine that with the fragrance that's also in the formula, you have the perfect recipe for irritation and pro-aging skin damage (see More Info for the full scoop). That's the last thing skin needs, not to mention there are plenty of color-correcting products that leave out these troublesome ingredients.
In the end, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer presents more problems than it fixes. For superior options, discover which primers get our top rating here instead.
- None of note.
- Alcohol + fragrance in the formula put skin at risk for pro-aging irritation.
- Does not enhance radiance as claimed.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants (including high amounts of alcohol), especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients. 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).
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.