Thursday, February 7, 2013

Primer Pragmatics: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

It's always a bit difficult to review a cult classic without hurting anyone's feelings, you know? In case you've never heard this story, Laura Mercier released her original Foundation Primer in 1995 as an industry's first, and has since added four more varieties to the range: the Mineral, Radiance, Hydrating and Oil-Free primers. If you're further interested in the story of how this product came about and Laura Mercier as a person, there's a really good interview with her on Into The Gloss that you can read here (click!).
Anyway, my second review in the Primer Pragmatics series is going to focus on the original version of her Foundation Primer ($32 for 1.75 oz.). The Foundation Primer is a vitamin-infused, water-based product that is supposed to create smooth canvas for base application while shielding the skin from the elements. If like me, your adventure with make-up primers started with the likes of Smashbox Photo Finish, you'd be very much surprised by the texture and feel of the Laura Mercier primer. As far as I can tell, there are absolutely no silicones in the formula; instead, it feels like a lightweight, watery gel on the skin without the siliconey slip that I was very much expecting to experience. It's a good thing though - Smashbox never worked for me, making me a shiny mess in a matter of two hours, and my skin felt like it might suffocate any minute.
I find that due to the thin consistency, I only need a very small amount to cover my entire face. The primer sinks in fairly quickly, leaving a soft satin finish behind; not completely dry/matte like the Murad Skin Perfecting Primer Matte Finish discussed previously but not dewy either, just very skin-like. Although it's not silicone-based, it still somehow manages to fill in and conceal any textural issues on the skin, like dry patches, enlarged pores, fine lines thus providing a blank canvas for the foundation.
In terms of prolonging the actual wear of the foundation, I find that it gives me an extra two to three hours of shine-free skin but it's not the most mattifying product under the sun, nor it is meant to be. It also seems to stop the foundation from breaking down on my more dehydrated areas. I really enjoy wearing it under lighter coverage, more dewy foundations (like Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum) as I find the finish smoother and more long-lasting. If you'd like to see how it works on my skin, I've used it in my last Valentine's Day post.

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised by the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, so much so that I would really like to try the Oil-Free version now, especially that it's also supposed to relieve surface dehydration around active breakouts while matiffying the skin at the same time. Have you tried any of the Laura Mercier primers? Which one is your favorite?

11 comments:

  1. I don't like Smashbox's version, either. I don't usually bother with primers, but you've made this one sound different and therefore appealing!

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    1. Laura Mercier very often offers this primer as a Gift With Purchase, maybe you could get it that way to see if you like it? Also, I need to DM you on Twitter, darling :)

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  2. If you liked this original one, you need to try her Radiance primer. It is amazing! I even use it just as a cheekbone highlight...it is incredibly subtle. Works so well with my more matte foundations, making my face less flat x

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    1. I tried the Radiance a couple times and wasn't a huge fan, probably because I have plenty of natural 'glow' and don't need anymore added to my skin. It must be amazing on drier skins though!

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  3. I HATE the Smashbox primers. And despite oily skin and all, I really like this LM primer. I've used up full tubes in the past (regular and oil-free) and multiple samples. Glad you like it!

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    1. Thanks for gifting it to me, I really enjoy it, Liz!

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  4. Hello Rocaille, i've been reading your blog yesterday and I had to drop a comment saying that i'm a new fan of your blog!

    your review made me have the urge to pluck out my LM primer to test it seriously on the face - but i'm not sure whether mine has gone bad or not (you see, a huge stash makes one forget about everything XD and sometime later the items get 'revealed' like new discoveries...) so i'm curious, how does your LM primer smell like?

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    1. Welcome, Jenni, I'm so happy you enjoy my blog! :)

      My LM primer has a very faint herbal/medicinal scent to it but pretty much almost undetectable... Hopefully yours hasn't gone bad!

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  5. i don't like smashbox either! Cool haha. I have deluxe samples of this and the radiance primer, so I'll definitely have to get around to trying them soon! :)

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  6. I agree with everyone--I have never tried Smashbox's primer but I have used silicone-heavy primers and even Monestat, which everyone swears up and down is a dupe of the Smashbox and I hated it all. I agree with you on the suffocating point--it feels so heavy and gross on the skin. I also find that silicone-heavy primers make me even oilier faster most of the time, too. I have heard a lot of good things about Laura Mercier's primers but I guess I just assumed it would be really silicone-y too, like most everything else I've tried. Now I am REALLY curious about the Oil-Free version. A little hydration and smoothing effect w/out too much slip sounds VERY intriguing!! :D

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  7. I recently got a sample of the Smashbox primer and can't stand it. It did nothing for my skin :( I've also tried Primed and Poreless by Too Faced and didn't like it either. I tend to break out when I use a primer with silicone in it. I was debating trying out the Becca Matte primer but this may on my list instead.
    With that said I recently tried two of Laura Mercier's foundations, oil free and tinted moisturizer, and wasn't a fan. The TM was the better product of the two with nearly the same amount of coverage. It may be good for a light makeup day if I use a primer underneath but not everyday use.

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