Prep + Prime Beauty Balm Compact SPF 30
Category:Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen > Cream Foundation w/ Suncreen
Last Updated:12.31.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Although this product is sold as a "beauty balm" (also referred to as BB cream), it really should be categorized as a cream foundation with broad-spectrum sunscreen, which is what it is. This foundation comes in a mirrored compact, along with a well-made sponge applicator.

Applying this product with a sponge ensures smooth, even coverage. Although this foundation is too sheer to cover dark spots or an uneven skin tone, it achieves a very natural demi-matte finish that lends a noticeably soft, hydrated appearance to the skin. It is a very good option for normal to slightly dry skin not prone to breakouts. The texture is rich, but this easily blends into skin for a natural, hydrated look. There are currently nine shades available, including some good options for very fair to medium dark skin.

If applied liberally—as all sunscreen should be—this foundation provides enough broad-spectrum sun protection to be used alone as your sole source of sunscreen, but don't forget you'll still need a regular moisturizer with sunscreen for your neck, and, if exposed to daylight, your décolletage.

Although this came close to earning our top rating, it missed the mark due to its inclusion of the fragrant plant extract Santalum album (also known as Indian sandalwood). The amount is likely too low to be cause for concern, but in combination with the synthetic sunscreen actives it could be an issue for those with sensitive skin.

Note: The sponge is separated from the foundation by a removable plastic insert—after using the sponge, we suggest that you keep the plastic insert in place between the used sponge and the product for hygienic purposes.

  • Very natural demi-matte finish.
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Includes a variety of antioxidants.
  • Gives skin a noticeably soft, hydrated appearance.
  • Contains a fragrant plant extract.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5.00%), Titanium Dioxide (9.8%), Zinc Oxide (6.3%) Inactive Ingredients: Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Polyethylene, Butyloctyl Salicylate, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Beeswax, Phenyl Trimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Silica, Polybutene, Alumina, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Santalum Album Seed Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalene, Cetyl Dimethicone, Phytosterols, Tocotrienols, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Triethyl Citrate, Caprylyl Methicone , Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacryladipate-2, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Nylon-12, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Synthetic Beeswax, Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Lauric Acid, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Dipentaerythrityl Tri-Polyhyroxystearate, Dipentaerythrityl Dioxide

Brand Overview

M.A.C. At-A-Glance

Strengths: Some impressive moisturizers; excellent Lip Conditioner (lip balm); praiseworthy foundations in a mostly gorgeous range of shades; good concealers; several great powder-based products including blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow in various finishes; noteworthy Fluidline and Technakohl Liner; dizzying array of lipstick shades in mostly sumptuous formulas; impressive Pro Longwear Lipcolour; several very good mascaras (regular and waterproof); top-notch makeup brushes; most of the Prep + Prime products work as claimed.

Weaknesses: A few products with uncomfortably high levels of known or potential skin irritants; some superfluous specialty products; several average pressed and loose powders; the Lustre and Velvet eyeshadows disappoint.

When it comes to skin care 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!

Note:M.A.C. is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although M.A.C. does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about M.A.C., owned by Estee Lauder, call (800) 588-0070 or visit www.maccosmetics.com.

M.A.C. Makeup

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. 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. Also, most of the makeup brushes are beautiful, full, and soft, as well as properly sized to fit the contours of the face and eyes. It is typically a pleasure to shop this line, though we wish the tester units (especially for blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick) were arranged by formula and finish rather than by color.

M.A.C.'s salespeople are sometimes trained as makeup artists, too, though being part of the Estee Lauder corporation means they have pressure to meet sales quotas (and no gifts-with-purchase to serve as an enticement). For this reason, you may prefer shopping at one of M.A.C.'s freestanding or Pro stores. The sales pressure is all but absent, the staff tends to be true makeup artists rather than only salespeople, and the stores routinely offer makeup how-to classes, which are both fun and informative.

M.A.C. has launched several state-of-the-art products in recent years. The prime additions are several improved foundations and concealers, superior loose and pressed powders, a couple of mascaras that compete nicely with those from lash-enhancing leader Lancome, buttery-smooth powder blushes, and the very popular (and deservedly so) Pro Longwear Lipcolour. Couple this with their long-standing products that have always performed well and offered neutral shades (Studio Fix, anyone?) and M.A.C. is a force to be reckoned with in the world of department-store makeup. The only disappointment of note is that several of their liquid foundations with sunscreen still lack sufficient UVA protection. Why is it that Lauder-owned Clinique and Prescriptives continually get this critical step right, while Lauder's namesake line, Bobbi Brown, and M.A.C. tend to falter? It's especially upsetting in M.A.C.'s case because the affected foundations otherwise have exemplary textures and a vast palette of neutral shades for fair to dark skin tones. Other than this important point, you really can't go wrong shopping this line, whether you're new to the world of makeup or a seasoned pro.

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.

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
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M. A. C. Recently relaunched their beauty balms with a more extensive range of shades to accommodate those with darker skin tones. For the most flawless application of product I would recommend using a brush such as a Real Techniques expert face brush. For reference, I have combination skin which is prone to the occasional blemish and is also sensitive to irritating ingredients. My skin is happy with this product and I would highly recommend it to those who are looking for a BB with light cover.

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