Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50
1 fl. oz. for $30
Category:Makeup > Sensitive Skin Products > Foundation Primer
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

NOTE: As of Summer 2015, we were informed by our readers that there has been a reformulation of this product. We appreciate your patience while we take the time to thoroughly update this review!

Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 has been reformulated and now contains a different mix of active sunscreen ingredients. Gone is the in-part zinc oxide sunscreen (part of what made the previous formula so great for oily skin), replaced by an in-part avobenzone sunscreen. That's a big change in terms of texture and finish, but this still provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection.

The base formula is less silky and more moisturizing, with enough plant oil to make this iffy for those with combination or oily skin. The thin lotion dispenses easily from the tube (don't squeeze too hard, though) and leaves a satin finish that feels moist, making this best for normal to dry skin. This does not control oil breakthrough as claimed; in fact, the mica this contains makes skin look shiny (OK, radiant) which isn't what most with oily skin will want.

Unlike the original formula, the current version includes a series of antioxidants, each of which has solid research attesting to its benefit for skin. This also contains some good repairing ingredients and doesn't have a heavy, slick, sunscreen-y feel, so it works well under makeup, which is a big selling point for Prep +Prime.

Overall, this is an impressive, fragrance-free product that's worth a look—but not if you have oily skin or want a daytime moisturizer to keep skin matte.

  • Provides broad-spectrum protection.
  • Works well under makeup.
  • Feels smooth and hydrating, not thick or heavy.
  • Contains some very good antioxidants and repairing ingredients.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Cannot control oil as claimed.

A skin-protecting cream with SPF 50/PA++. Applies under makeup to prime the skin for the sun. Featherweight, fast-absorbing, oil-free, invisible. Will not affect the look, texture or long-wear integrity of your makeup. Specially formulated with oil-absorbing powder, helps prevent oil breakthrough. Provides high-level broad spectrum sun protection. Worn daily, helps guard the skin against discoloration, premature aging, dryness and other effects of sun exposure.


Active: Avobenxone 3%, Homosalate 5%, Octisalate 5%, Oxybenzone 3% Other: Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Methyl Trimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Polyester-8, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, PEG-100 Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Glycol Stearate, Dipentaerythrityl Tri-polyhydroxystearate, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Vitus Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract, Curcuma Longa (Tumeric) Root Extract, Yeast Extract, Whey Protein, Caprylic, Capric Triglyceride, Caffeine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acetyl Glucosamine, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, C30-38 Olefin/Isopropyl Maleate/MA Copolymer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Mica

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
Summary of Member Comments
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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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