The marriage of CoverGirl and Olay (both brands owned by consumer products juggernaut Procter & Gamble) has generated lots of products, including this serum/primer. Actually, the name “serum primer” is a bit redundant because almost all primers are serums and almost all serums can be primers, but what’s in a name anyway; what counts is how this works.
Beneficial ingredients are present in this CoverGirl/Olay product, but not to the same extent as in the “regular” serums from Olay and in primers from some other brands. This has the requisite silky texture and enough titanium dioxide to lend a cosmetic brightening effect, along with a rather matte dry finish, making it best for normal to oily/combination skin.
The skin-firming claims are couched in cosmetic language, saying that it “appears” to make skin look firm, although it doesn’t really make it more firm. This typical hedge is understandable because the ingredients in here can’t firm skin. Surprisingly, the really beneficial ingredients are present in smaller amounts than what Olay includes in their Regenerist serums.
This fragrance-free primer works well under makeup, facilitating application by smoothing the skin’s texture, and the matte finish helps keep excess shine in check. Oddly, this also contains the sunscreen ingredient ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, in addition to the titanium dioxide, so you’d think that CoverGirl/Olay would’ve taken the extra step to determine this product’s SPF rating. We asked them about that and their response was that ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate “has emollient properties that strongly influence both how the product feels on application and the product’s dry-down profile on skin.” The answer doesn’t make sense: Why use a sunscreen ingredient that has poor emollient properties in comparison with other emollient ingredients? Without question, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate can influence a product’s texture, but not in a good way. This problem is one of the difficulties in formulating an elegant-feeling sunscreen.
This is worth a try, the price is hard to pass up, and if you have normal to oily/combination you may be truly pleased with the results, but your skin will not be any firmer than it was when you started.
Introducing the three-minute facelift effect*. Start with Simply Ageless Serum Primer. Olay Regenerist complex helps boost elasticity and smooth skin's appearance for a finish that looks instantly firmed.
Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Diethylhexyl Carbonate, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Peg/ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Allantoin, Methicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Palmitoyl Pentapeptode-4, PEG-100 Stearate
Strengths: Inexpensive and widely available; a hugely improved selection of foundations, several with reliable sunscreen; good concealers; enviable pressed powders; some fantastic Lash Blast mascaras; mostly great eyelining options; a vast selection of lip color options, from the long-wearing Outlast to sheer lip glosses to the wholly impressive Lip Perfection lipstick; several great options in the Queen Collection.
Weaknesses: The older foundations are seriously lacking; the newer Advanced Radiance foundation has great texture but disappointing SPF rating; powder blush and eyeshadows; terrible makeup brushes; all of the "Clean" products contain irritating ingredients.
Since 1961, CoverGirl has been slowly building a portfolio of cosmetics that today is about as all-encompassing as a makeup line can be. Originating from the same "medicated" ingredients found in Noxzema Skin Cream (which was never medicated in the least, but seriously irritating for skin), the debut products are still available, albeit with slight modifications. The good news is that for the past several years CoverGirl has consistently updated their line with some very impressive products, especially their foundations, concealers, and vastly improved pressed powders. They also offer some excellent eye and lip pencils, lipsticks and lip gloss, and one of the all-time best long-wearing lip paints, Outlast.
What's puzzling is that although many of CoverGirl's latest products are progressive, they tend to hang on to the lackluster-to-poor options, including abysmal powder blush and eyeshadows and their long-standing, very irritating Clean Makeup. These items may be part of CoverGirl's humble beginnings, but you certainly don't see parent company Proctor & Gamble adding eucalyptus oil and menthol to their Olay products or to products of any of the other cosmetics companies they own. If those ingredients were so important, why not use them everywhere? Needless to say, the great products outnumber the disappointments, and the prices make it easy for those on a budget to be beautiful and enjoy some state-of-the-art products, provided they shop wisely.
CoverGirl's Web site is extremely easy to navigate, and presents a wealth of product information, along with practical (if somewhat cutesy) tips and tricks for successful makeup application and for finding the shades that work best for you. CoverGirl's consumer relations department is consistently helpful if you have any questions or concerns. For example, if one of your favorite items was discontinued, you might want to know what replaced it, and they will let you know. Such service and customer concern is yet another powerful reason to believe CoverGirl really has its (class) act together.
For more information about CoverGirl, owned by Coty, call (800) 426-8374 or visit the Web site at www.covergirl.com.
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