Make Up For Ever claims Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer "instantly neutralizes and evens out red tones for flawless foundation coverage." We found this claim overstated because of the way this primer sheers out. The sheerness upon blending meant this isn't very effective at camouflaging noticeable redness. More importantly, the combination of alcohol and fragrance in the formula can potentially make redness worse via an inflammatory response. Our verdict? This primer is so not worth it.
Housed in a plastic squeeze tube, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer has a lotion-like consistency that spreads evenly across skin. The consistency is nice for covering larger areas of redness, but if you're trying to spot cover smaller discolorations, such as a post-acne mark, the texture doesn't offer as much precise control or tenacity as we'd like. It also doesn't build very well if you're trying to reach more coverage than the initially sheer application.
Despite Make Up For Ever's claim that this primer has a hydrating formula, it doesn't in the least. It dries down a matte finish, partly due to the high amount of alcohol, which has the potential to irritate skin (see More Info).
All things considered, Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer's formula puts skin at risk for more redness than you started with. Enough said. For color correctors and concealers that do help reduce the look of redness, see our Best Products section for that category.
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skincare products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). 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).
REDNESS CORRECTING PRIMER instantly neutralizes and evens out red tones for flawless foundation coverage. Green Spectraflex® pigments color correct redness and boost radiance while moisturizing agents provide hydration. Skin tone is evened out for a flawless makeup all day long.
Aqua (Water), Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Alcohol, Silica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alumina, Mica, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Aluminium Hydroxide, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dimethicone, Parfum (Fragrance), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), PEG-10 Dimethicone, CI 77007 (Ultramarines), Silica Silylate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propylene Carbonate, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, BHT, Methicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene.
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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