The Smoother Universal Perfecting Primer + Finisher
The Smoother Universal Perfecting Primer isn't in the same league as Lauder's other foundation primers. In fact, it feels like a step backward, although it's not a totally terrible option.
Best for normal to dry skin, the thick formula is dispensed from an opaque squeeze tube. Looking and feeling very much like a traditional foundation primer, the translucent, gel-cream formula smooths over skin, imparting instant silkiness and a very smooth surface that aids makeup application.
So far, so good, but where this falters is its inclusion of fragrance that tends to linger. Lauder's other primers omit the fragrance, and we wish this one did, too because fragrance is never skincare; rather, it's a skin problem. See More Info to find out how it can hurt your skin.
True to claim, the texture and subtle radiant finish of this primer helps soften (in Lauder's words, "diffuse") the look of imperfections, including fine lines and large pores. That's nice, but it's a benefit many other primers provide—and without the fragrance—including those from Lauder's sister brand, Clinique.
This does contain a couple of good moisturizing ingredients, including apricot oil, but it lacks a range of other beneficial ingredients that today's best primers tend to include, sometimes in abundance. In short, The Smoother Universal Perfecting Primer makes good on its smoothing and diffusing claims, but that's not enough to make it worth serious consideration, not when you can choose from today's Best Foundation Primers.
- Easy-to-apply formula smooths skin texture.
- Provides light hydration.
- Diffuses the look of minor imperfections.
- Contains fragrance that poses a risk of irritation.
- Lacks an impressive mix of beneficial ingredients today's best primers include.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Estee Lauder At-A-Glance
The history of Estee Lauder goes back to 1946, when the woman who created the brand (and for whom it is named) began selling creams and lotions made by her chemist uncle. From its humble beginnings, Estee Lauder has grown to become a multibillion-dollar company whose products are sold all over the world and advertised in just about every fashion and women's lifestyle magazine available.
The biggest compliment we can pay to the venerable Estee Lauder line is that their moisturizers and serums can largely be described as state-of-the-art. Though fragrance is often intrusive, but when it comes to formulary excellence culminating in products that give skin what it needs to function optimally, they are tough to beat.
When it comes to makeup, by and large the brand also exceeds expectations. Though there are some under-performing products (you can read more about them in our individual reviews), Lauder has a number of excellent options, most notably its lip colors.
For more information about Estee Lauder, call (877) 311-3883 or visit www.esteelauder.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.