Monday, April 8, 2013

Sephora Anti-Shine Foundation Primer & Lancome La Base Pro

Two primers, two sets of very similar claims, two very different price points. So which one is best?

Well, putting aside the differences in price, the answer is neither. Based on my experience, these two products perform identically. I wore both of these primers multiple times, usually under foundation and powder, but also occasionally on their own, and did both full-face tests and split-face tests (wearing one product on one half of my face and the other on the other half). Test after test, face after face, the results were the same.

And what were those results? Well, first let’s look at what these primers are supposed to do. According to Sephora, the Anti-shine Foundation primer will, “Keep a matte complexion for eight hours with this velvety smooth primer, specially formulated to mattify instantly while absorbing excess sebum. “ Lancôme, meanwhile, promises that its La Base Pro will, “Makeup glides on effortlessly and color stays truer and more vibrant for that right-off-the-runway, air-brushed look that lasts until you take it off. “

While Sephora doesn't get into the details of how its product works, Lancôme says that its product uses,”…exclusive Elasto-Smooth™ technology refines skin’s texture and diffuses light to visibly reduce imperfections with a satiny-soft finish.”

Altogether, those are some might strong claims but many of them are actually true. Both primers did a great job at prepping my skin for makeup and once that makeup was on, it was indeed truer-looking and, in the case of eyeshadow, more vivid. These primers also left my skin smoother, matter and with a satiny-soft finish. The end results didn't quite look airbrushed, but they did look pretty close.

Unfortunately, the Sephora primer did not last for eight hours while the Lancôme one didn't last until I was ready to wash it off. Instead, both primers stayed strong until somewhere between the third and fourth hour of wear and then shine started to steadily creep back in (so no, the Sephora product didn't absorb excess oil).

So while both primers started off great, even above great, they ended like most primers I've tried: In a shiny pool of melting makeup.

But for all of their similarities, these two products do have a trio of noticeable differences between these two products. The first two are minor:  The Sephora one is white (though it goes on colourless) and has a slightly thicker texture than the clear Lancôme product, which has a thinner, slippier texture.

But the third difference is a big one. The Sephora primer costs just over $20 while the Lancôme one is double the price.

Actually, there is a fourth difference and that’s the packaging. While both products come in stand-up pump tubes, the Lancôme container is a little nicer looking. But twice-the-price better-looking? No, not in my opinion.

Would I buy either of these products:
No. While the initial results are fantastic, I'm not interested in a primer that can’t make it to at least the six hour mark (preferably longer of course).

Should you buy either of these products: If you have dry-to-normal skin, you might be able to get away with the Sephora primer but skip the Lancôme one. There’s no point paying over $40 for a product when you can get a very similar version for half the price.

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