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First Aid Beauty

Ultra Repair Hydrating Hyaluronic Primer

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 28.00
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Given its name, you might think First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Hydrating Hyaluronic Primer was rich in skin-replenishing hyaluronic acid. Unfortunately, the formula contains more preservative (phenoxyethanol) and mineral pigments than hyaluronic acid (used here in its salt form sodium hyaluronate). That’s not the only issue this primer has, but we’ll switch gears and discuss the positives before explaining why we ultimately don’t recommend this.

Ultra Repair Hydrating Hyaluronic Primer is packaged in an opaque squeeze tube that helps keep its light- and air-sensitive antioxidant ingredients, including the various plant extracts, stable during use. The silky texture suits all skin types, being easy to apply and setting to a velvety-soft finish that softly illuminates skin.

Being a primer, this should enhance makeup application and wear, which it does to a noticeable degree. In that sense, you won’t be left wondering why you bothered.

What we’re bothered by--and so will your skin be even if don’t see any issues--is the amount of fragrance this contains. The strong floral scent from the rose and sandalwood lingers even after this primer has set, and this much fragrance isn’t ideal for use (especially around the eyes or mouth). Given First Aid Beauty generally avoids putting fragrance in their products, we’re surprised to see it (and so much of it) here. Check out the More Info section for the full story.

As great as this performs, we can’t abide by the significant issue fragrance presents. Check out the fragrance-free options on our list of best foundation primers.

Pros:
  • Easy to apply, silky formula works beautifully under makeup.
  • Velvet finish softly illuminates skin.
  • Treats skin to some notable soothing ingredients.
  • Packaged to keep its light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable.
Cons:
  • Lingering fragrant formula poses a strong risk of irritating skin.
  • Contains more preservative and brightening pigment than hyaluronic acid.

More Info:

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

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

This multi-tasking hydrating primer is formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, a powerful humectant that boosts skin’s moisture content and helps skin appear smoother and plumper. Colloidal Oatmeal helps to calm and soothe and light-diffusing Micro-Pearls amplify skin’s natural radiance. Wear alone for a natural healthy-looking finish or under makeup to help it appear fresh throughout the day. Allergy-tested, free of artificial fragrance, safe for sensitive skin and provides a clean layer between skin and makeup to help protect skin from irritants.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Lauroyl Lysine, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mica (CI 77019), Phenoxyethanol, Isohexadecane, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Polysorbate 80, C12-14 Pareth-12, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydroxycinnamate, Disodium EDTA, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract, Colloidal Oatmeal, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tin Oxide (CI 77861), Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Rose Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.

First Aid Beauty At-A-Glance

Strengths: Several fragrance-free products; relatively reasonable pricing; sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection; wonderful fragrance-free body wash.

Weaknesses: AHA pads contain a low amount of glycolic and lactic acids; some products contain fragrant plant extracts; every product contains feverfew extract, which has benefits, but also can be an irritant; jar packaging; for a line meant for sensitive skin, their use of common irritants is disappointing.

With a name like First Aid Beauty (FAB for short), it's obvious this line is meant to rescue your skin from distress, and, indeed, these products are targeted toward those who have sensitive, easily irritated skin, but who still want an elegant, department-store flair. Ironically, FAB falls short on both ends of the spectrum.

Despite the company's claims of providing "therapeutic action" for "tough skin conditions," some of the products contain irritating ingredients that are extremely problematic for any skin type, especially for those with sensitive or compromised skin. It was disappointing to see known irritants like sulfur, balsam resin, and witch hazel in products claiming to calm your skin and reduce redness. "What were they thinking?" was a question that came up more than once while reviewing this line!

On the bright side, First Aid Beauty does have a very good fragrance-free body wash. There are also a few products that omit the fragrance, which is a definite must for sensitive skin, although, in fact, all skin types do best with fragrance-free products. Unfortunately, the fragrance-free formulas in this line come up short on important ingredients, like antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.

It is best to avoid their Ultra Repair Cream, the SPF 30 sunscreen, Detox Eye Roller, Blemish Eraser, and the Anti-Redness Serum because they all contain enough irritating ingredients to make conditions like acne, redness, and sensitivity worse.

For more information about First Aid Beauty, visit your local Sephora or Ulta or call (800) 322-3619 or visit www.firstaidbeauty.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.

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