April 27, 2015

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Smoothing Primer

Press samples.
GWP at Sephora.
Contains affiliate link.

My first experience with primer was the classic Smashbox formula, and it turned me off primers for a loooong time. The thick texture and super slippy silicone texture felt strangely creepy and medical-grade (the product equivalent of Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers *shudders*). Despite the way it disappeared once applied, my skin somehow still felt smothered. I've found others since then that I do love, and that are much more suited to my needs, but I'm still leery.

I also tried the old Make Up For Ever primers, and while they definitely had a more palatable texture - lotion-like rather than slippy - I can't remember being particularly blown away. I generally love MUFE as a brand, though, so I was hopeful about the recently relaunched version and jumped on the chance to test run a couple.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Smoothing Primer

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Smoothing Primer

The major advantage and selling point for the Step 1 Skin Equalizer (43$ CAD) series is that the range addresses a variety of needs. Rather than billing one primer as a one-size-fits-all solution, MUFE has ten different options on the table - there's something here, theoretically, for every skin type, texture and tone. Better yet, they can be combined for optimal performance. (They suggest combining the redness correcting or radiance boosting primers before the mattifying or smoothing ones, and the  hydrating and smoothing before the correcting or radiance ones. My skin is a crazy topographical map right now, so I apply what I need in specific areas rather than layering them, but it's all up to you, which is the beauty of this concept.)

I've only tested three - the Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, and Smoothing Primer -  so I can't speak to how the texture of each primer varies, but these feel rather similar to each other.

The Radiant Primer Yellow and Redness Correcting have an identical texture: lightweight and a bit creamy, but with that disappears-into-the-skin finish that is the hallmark of a sophisticated silicone formulation. The Smoothing Primer feels a bit thicker, and reminds me of the Benefit Professional - which makes sense, since it needs to have a bit more weight to smooth down those pores and rough edges. It does a similar disappearing act, however, and bypasses that gross, overly slippy feel of the Smashbox type primers.

I would say the colour correcting is fairly subtle. (It's primer, not concealer.) The Redness Correcting does indeed tone down the redness, as does the Radiant Primer Yellow, to some degree. I do prefer the latter, however, as it also boosts the warmth in my skin, whereas the green tinge of the former emphasizes the olive tones. With foundation overtop, it's not a huge deal, and if you really prefer to negate the redness and aren't prone to looking sallow, the Redness Correcting Primer will probably be your pick.

The Smoothing Primer does reduce the appearance of my pores, and helps to minimize the texture of skin around blemishes. It's not quite photoshop, but it definitely helps to create a more even base for my foundation. It also mattifies slightly, though it doesn't control oil much better than any other primer I've tried.

What I especially like about all these primers is how smooth and soft my skin feels after applying them - not tight or flaky, like some primers can leave it feeling. All of them are excellent for getting foundation to apply super evenly, and it nudges up the time-frame for flake-free, shine-free wear.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Smoothing Primer
Smoothing Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Redness Correcting Primer
And since it's hard to talk about the effects of a primer without showing some results, here's the stuff, on my face.

On the left, my bare skin, with some moisturizer that was applied about 45 minutes before the picture. I've been having some kind of skin reaction to skincare samples I was testing (waaaaayyyyy too many at once, hence The Red Spot of Rage).

In the middle, I have the Smoothing Primer applied to my nose, forehead and my inner cheek area. You can see the mattifying effect, and the way the pores are less obvious. The slight texture in my undereye area is also softened. I used the Radiant Primer Yellow on my cheeks, jaw and chin, and some of the redness is attenuated.

On the right, I've applied one layer of foundation (MUFE Mat Velvet, with a tiny drop of Ellis Faas to cut through the matte finish somewhat), with a bit more dabbed over the TRSoR. As you can see, the application is really smooth and even.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Smoothing Primer

And the full makeup...

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer - Redness Correcting Primer, Radiant Primer Yellow, Smoothing Primer

Are any of you trying these new primers out? What do you think? I'm quite tempted to give the Mattifying and Hydrating ones a go, down the line. In case you're thinking about making a Sephora order soon, you can choose between four deluxe sized samples with the code MUFESKIN (with a 35$ CAD minimum purchase, I believe).

(Items provided by the brand, aside from the GWP sample from a Sephora order. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)


  1. Wow, that yellow primer is awesome! You could even use it alone without makeup on bare skin days. (I said the same thing to Tracy about the green one on her review.) Hope your skin heals up quickly!

    I went through 1.5 tubes of that Smashbox before I realized it was kind of yucky. I don't use primers anymore and don't miss them to be honest.

    1. Thank you, it's getting better - more Mildly Miffed than Enraged. ;)

      I think primers are in the nice-to-have category. I don't think they're strictly necessary, but for that extra level of perfecting, a good one is worth the extra step.

  2. I got a sample of the baby blue one from the MUFE store, even though the sales associate said it was meant for people with paler skin than me (I wasn't sure what she was talking about, as I'm the palest shade they make in foundation and concealer right now). I did really like the lightweight texture and slight smoothing properties, but the tint didn't do much to help with redness (which she said it was supposed to do...), and it unfortunately did nothing for foundation longevity. I've recently heard though that primers are not meant to help with the wear of your base at all, so I don't even know what to think anymore -_-

    1. That is such a bizarre comment for her to make - both about the type being wrong for you and the blue being able to counteract redness. It really needs to be a yellow or green to knock redness out. I love it when SAs are clueless. :/

      I don't find that many primers (bar a few truly exceptional products, like the Becca mattifying one) help to control oil, so if your foundation wear is most affected by oil breakthrough, primers won't do that much. I think what a good primer will do, in combination with well hydrated skin, is keep your makeup from being affected as much by the changes in your skin during the day. I think they help more with things like foundation looking dry, patchy, worn away over time, as long as you hydrate well and don't have major oily breakthrough. I definitely see better wear (and a smoother application) when I use a good primer, but it's a question of a couple of hours, not like perfect wear from 4am (when I apply) to 9pm (when I wash it off).

  3. omg! what is that on your eyelids? looks gorgeous on you! please tell what eyeshadow and shade you are wearing? thank you :)


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