Prep + Prime Fortified Skin Enhancer SPF 35 (Discontinued)
1 fl. oz. for $30
Category:Makeup > Sensitive Skin Products > Foundation Primer
Last Updated:12.05.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes

A tinted foundation primer with sunscreen, this is a fairly unusual product with a mixed bag of pros and cons.

Starting with the pros this has a lightweight, slightly creamy texture that blends easily and sets to a soft matte finish that also imparts a subtle, healthy glow on skin. The sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection thanks to the inclusion of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, among other actives, and, unlike most foundation primers, this contains an assortment of soothing and repairing ingredients.

In the negatives column is the fact that this shouldn’t be used as your sole source of sun protection. Why? Because most people aren’t going to apply this liberally enough to achieve the amount of sun protection stated on the label because applying it liberally causes it to look and feel heavy on your skin, magnifying large pores and shiny areas.

The shades offer mixed results, too, with Adjust being the only flesh-toned option (best for light to light-medium skin tones). The remaining shades include soft yellow, pale pink, and soft peach, all of which are designed as color-correcting options to wear beneath your foundation. The problem is that the color-correcting shades tend to turn your foundation a strange color unless you apply this primer sparingly (but, as mentioned above, that means sun protection will be compromised).

On balance, this product deserves its good rating based on the overall formula and its somewhat unique attributes. If you decide to test this, make sure you combine it with a moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater to ensure you’re getting adequate sun protection. This Prep + Prime product is best for normal to combination skin, but be aware that its finish can make oily areas appear shinier within a couple of hours (be sure to finish with powder).

  • Lightweight, creamy texture blends easily and blurs minor imperfections.
  • Soft matte finish looks natural and leaves a subtle, healthy glow.
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection with a soft tint.
  • If applied liberally enough to get the amount of sun protection stated on the label, this can look too thick, exaggerate large pores, and make shiny areas look worse.
  • All but one of the shades are color-correcting options that are trickier to work with in terms of getting your foundation to look normal.

More Info

Note that this formula is almost identical to that of Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30. Clinique’s option offers more coverage and has a thicker feel, likely due to the larger amount of titanium dioxide. The M.A.C. version (both are Estee Lauder–owned companies) feels much lighter and is easier to apply.


Active: Octinoxate (7.4%), Octisalate (4%), Zinc Oxide (3.5%), Oxybenzone (2.5%), Titanium Dioxide (1.1%) Other: Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caffeine, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Urea, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Glycerin, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Cholesterol, Trehalose, Sodium PCA, Oryzanol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sucrose, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Polyquaternium-51, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica, Alumina, Linoleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Blue 1 Lake, Chromium Hydroxide Green, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Yellow 5 Lake.

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 since the previous edition of this book. 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 Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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