Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50
1 fl. oz. for $31
Last Updated:08.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 once earned our highest rating, but its most recent reformulation turned out to be a downgrade. Why? While it still provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection and some beneficial ingredients, those are now combined with potentially irritating, fragrant ingredients that can actually pro-age skin.

That's a shame considering the blend of antioxidant-rich plant extracts and beneficial kukui oil that this has to offer (and more to love, the opaque squeeze tube packaging helps keep them stable). The formula also has anti-inflammatory properties to help calm skin, but then things go awry…

What soothing benefit Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 could have had is largely negated by a handful of fragrant irritants in the formula. Although the scent isn't overpowering, it's particularly concerning that this contains a problematic component of lavender oil, linalool. (See More Info to find out why linalool is bad news for skin.)

Though linalool is present in a small amount here, the fact that it is combined with other fragrance ingredients (lavender flower water) emphasizes its risk for provoking inflammation and free-radical damage in skin.

Otherwise, this daytime moisturizer has a thin, breathable lotion texture that absorbs comfortably into skin. It isn't overly emollient nor is it too drying—just somewhere nicely in between for those with normal to combination/dry skin.

FYI: The formula does have a slight sheen from the inclusion of mica, and though it's subtle, it's something those with oily skin should avoid if they want a truly shine-free complexion.

In the end, Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50's combination of good and bad ingredients amount to a gamble for skin. Instead, look to our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen for skin-friendly options.

  • Provides broad-spectrum protection.
  • Feels breathable on skin, not thick or heavy.
  • Contains antioxidant-rich plant extracts and kukui oil.
  • Contains fragrant irritants, including linalool, that put skin at risk.
More Info:

In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application of as little a concentration as 0.25% causes cell death (Cell Proliferation, June 2004). This study was conducted on endothelial cells, which are cells that line blood pathways in the body and play a critical role in the inflammatory process of skin.

As linalool and linalyl acetate are both rapidly absorbed by skin and can be detected within blood cells in less than 20 minutes, endothelial cells are an ideal choice for such a test (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1992). The results of this research also demonstrated that lavender has a damaging effect on fibroblasts, which are cells that produce collagen.

The fragrance constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, oxidize when exposed to air, and in this process their potential for causing an allergic reaction is increased (Contact Dermatitis, 2008).

If you're wondering why lavender oil doesn't appear to be problematic for you, it's because research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).

This antioxidant-enriched lotion provides a luxurious texture while meeting all of your needs to protect skin from broad spectrum UVA/UVB rays. Absorbs into skin instantly, is comfortable, yet breathable. Non-oily formula. When worn under makeup it generates a soft-focus effect.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (5%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (2.7%), Oxybenzone (3%). Other: Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Methyl Trimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Peg-100 Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Dipentaerythrityl Tri-Polyhydroxystearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Algae Extract, Caffeine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbitol, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Ergothioneine, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Vp/Eicosene Copolymer, Saccharide Isomerate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Linalool, Limonene, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Mica
Brand Overview

M.A.C. Cosmetics At-A-Glance

What more can one say for this long-standing makeup line whose products have spoken eloquently for themselves for years? In many ways, M.A.C. Cosmetics is a pivotal line not only for makeup artists but also for any in-the-know cosmetics consumer. Although M.A.C. has several singularly outstanding products, they generally excel by virtue of the range of choices offered. The color selection for everything from lipsticks to foundations is exceptional. Most of the makeup brushes are beautiful, full, and soft, as well as properly sized to fit the contours of the face and eyes.

When it comes to skincare you may be tempted to dismiss the small assortment M.A.C. offers and skip right to their makeup with its well-earned positive reputation. But doing so would mean missing a handful of beautifully formulated products that are worth trying. By no means is M.A.C.'s skin-care line one-stop shopping (at least not if you have blemishes, skin discolorations, or require more than a couple options per category), but you'll find more than just the color products impressive here, and the prices aren't unreasonable either!

M.A.C.'s salespeople are often trained makeup artists, too. This is especially true in the freestanding M.A.C. boutiques, where the staff tends to be true makeup artists.

Note: M.A.C. sets itself apart from other beauty brands by staying ahead of the curve by launching a seemingly-constant rotation of impressive limited edition products, usually with fashion-forward themes. Though it's impossible to review every limited edition product, many of M.A.C.'s are as impressive as those in their permanent collection.

Strengths: Some impressive moisturizers; praiseworthy foundations in a mostly gorgeous range of shades; good concealers; several great powder-based products including blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow in various finishes; dizzying array of lipstick shades in mostly sumptuous formulas; several very good mascaras (regular and waterproof); top-notch makeup brushes; many of the Prep + Prime products work as claimed.

Weaknesses:A few products with high levels of potential skin irritants.

For more information about M.A.C. Cosmetics call (800) 588-0070 or visit www.maccosmetics.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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too bad it changed

I, too, bought this on the high rating on the previous formulation and bought it without realizing it changed. I haven't had any issues with it, but with the updated review, I won't repurchase. I'll give it three all around cause I've not had a reaction.

Reviewed by
Dione N

The formula has changed! I bought this product because of high rating on this web site. Currently I have dermatitis on my skin because of this cream! I checked the list of ingredients on the box, and now it contains lavender and linalool!!! Please could you upload the review on this product

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello there!  We reached out to MAC for an update on the reformulation and will have this review updated in the next few weeks.  Thanks for the heads up!  :)

My Daily primer

Great for dry skin .

Reviewed by
Great for dry skin

I love this product. Hopefully they wont discontinue, like all the good things.

Reviewed by
Sensitive Skin Beware!

I rarely write reviews, but my allergic reaction was so severe, I had to say something. I recently bought this product and after two applications, I developed a horrific case of contact dermatitis! If you have sensitive skin, beware of the oxybenzone in this product. I am sticking with Paula's RESIST moisturizers with SPF 25 and 30, since her products contain safe and effective zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide. Based on my allergic reaction, I am surprised this product got a "Best" rating.

Reviewed by
It works for me

I have oily too sensitive skin. I am 31 but still have acne problems due to a hormonal problem which cannot be treated. I had to choose between either using facial loose powder and see my skin get worse or going around with a shiny face. Some years ago, I saw many good reviews on the MAC webpage and decided to give a try and I just loved it! No shiny face at all! I´m the living proof of its oil control effect. Without it, my skin is as oily as usual.

Reviewed by
It May Not Keep You Matte But It's great under makeup

I don't agree that this is a poor product. Not all primers have to make your skin matte to be primers. I have dry skin and I use this or Clinique 50 underneath my foundation. I love this product.

Reviewed by
gladys v.
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