Make Up For Ever claims Step 1 Skin Equalizer Nourishing Primer moisturizes dry skin and facilitates a smooth canvas for makeup application, but it's fragranced formula isn't a slam-dunk…especially if you have sensitive skin (more on that in a minute).
Dispensed via a squeeze tube, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Nourishing Primer has a silky cream texture that absorbs nicely into skin, leaving it hydrated. It has a slightly dewy (but not greasy) finish, but unfortunately, things go awry from there.
Whatever "nourishing" properties this primer offers are contradicted by the inclusion of potentially irritating fragrance ingredients. While it may smell nice, fragrance can impair skin's ability to heal itself and have other negative repercussions (see More Info for the full scoop).
As for Make Up For Ever's claim that the "Vegetal Complex" revives skin, we're not exactly sure which ingredients on the list support that claim (we reached out to Make Up For Ever but haven't heard back). What we can tell you is that from an anti-aging perspective, this formula isn't anything to get excited about; however, it does contain some standard yet beneficial ingredients for dry skin, such as glycerin, propanediol, and squalane.
In the end, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Nourishing Primer earns our praise for dry skin from an aesthetic standpoint, but its fragranced formula isn't as nourishing as Make Up For Ever would like you to believe. If anything, the formula is essentially a moisturizer, so if you're already using one in your routine, you don't need to add this primer in disguise! Simply put, we wouldn't recommend this over the options on our Best Primers list.
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 average—certainly 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 brand’s 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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