Review: Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer

By Voxy  

I am not sure whether at this point the best movie-scene metaphor for (what I devoutly hope is) the end of my quest for a facial primer would be the finale of Chariots of Fire, with the slow-motion running towards victory and the sense that the outcome has been, if not divinely ordained, then at least divinely sanctioned, or the Mt. Doom scene from The Return of the King, in which Frodo, filthy, exhausted, wild-eyed, and slightly insane, manages to save the world by giving up and losing a fight, and also losing a finger in the process.

Hmm. Tough call. I’m going with Frodo, though I still have all my fingers.

While I would not describe my quest for a great facial primer as “epic” (except in my own mind), you all know that in general I have been unimpressed with every primer I’ve tried, to the point at which I was, in Frodo-like fashion, ready to give up on the quest, having been driven mad by the lure of the magic products — oh, forget the damn metaphor: I wanted primers to work for me and they didn’t. The End.

But I do love Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance eyelid primer (reviewed here), and when I saw that they had come out with a facial primer, I couldn’t resist one last attempt. If they could make an eyelid primer that worked for me, then maybe there was an outside chance that their facial primer would also work?

Well, cue the Vangelis music: Primed and Poreless is a winner for me. I have stopped short of lifting the bottle to my shoulders and carrying it on a victory lap around the house, but that’s only because the neighbors would see me.

Like lots and lots and lots of other primers, Primed and Poreless is a sheer, silicone-based product that goes on after moisturizer and before foundation. My complaint with other primers has been that I really don’t notice a difference in my appearance between when I’m wearing them and when I’m not. None of the ones I’ve tried have done things that primers are supposed to do: even skin tone, reduce visible pore size, make makeup last longer and stay in place better, keep skin from getting oily, etc. And I’ve tried most of the major players in the primer game, products that thousands of other people rave about, so I figured it was probably just me.

Primed and Poreless is the first primer I’ve tried that really does improve the appearance of everything that goes on over it. It comes out of the tube a light beige color, but when applied the color vanishes and I can’t tell it’s on there. It improves the appearance of both liquid and powder foundation, and the pores on the sides of my nose are a lot less obvious. Although it is mostly silicone, I can put it on top of a silicone-containing moisturizer without getting that annoying sloughing and pilling that can happen when you combine silicone products, and at the end of the day it is much easier to remove than my Dior, Make Up For Ever, Dr. Brandt, or Smashbox primers, all of which seem to add a water-resistant layer to my skin that takes an extra washing to remove. Primed and Poreless comes off using my regular cleansing routine.

Too Faced says it contains retinol, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for any serious anti-aging effects.

If you already have a primer that you love, then there’s no real need to change, but if you are still hunting around to find one that actually works for you and is not a needless extra step in your makeup routine with no visible benefit, I highly recommend that you give this one a try.


Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer: $30

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair to good. We’ll see how long the tube lasts.

Purchase again? Probably, unless (miracle of miracles) something even better comes along! But this is definitely going to have a place in my makeup bag for some time.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

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  1. avatar elsie
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    When I was looking for this in the Sephora last week, the clerk also recommended a different brand of primer that had a color corrector (I bought this one based on your recommendation.), but I’m wondering if you’ve looked into color correcting (such as redness correction) primers at all to see if they work.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted July 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Do you remember the other brand? I’m wondering if it was Smashbox or Make Up For Ever — both have a line of color-correcting primers.

      The caveat here is that I have never bought one of these myself. However, I have not heard that they’re really very successful, especially the greenish ones that are supposed to counter facial redness. But that is just hearsay and reading reviews. Did the sales associate give you a sample of the color correcting one? She should have.

      If you want to experiment with one, L’Oreal has come out with one as part of their Studio Secrets line, which should be available at Target (and probably elsewhere, but I know it’s at Target, and with testers, no less). It’s one of the Studio Secrets Professional Color-Correcting Primers and it’s simply called Anti-Redness Primer. Might be worth a test.

      Oh — and let me know how you like the TF!


  2. avatar baz
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink | Reply

    So, I’ve always wondered about primers. They say they even skin tone and reduce pore size so it sounds as though it would make your own skin more attractive without the need to add makeup or foundation on top.

    Is that the case?
    I’ve only recently (and reluctantly) started wearing foundation and still tend to go without non-teaching days.
    Would this primer be something I could wear alone or is it really pointless to wear alone?


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:21 am | Permalink | Reply

      Well, it depends on the look you want. It does help to even out small variations in skin tone and make pores less visible all by itself. But it is so sheer it is essentially colorless, so it won’t help even out red patches or cover blemishes or scars. I do notice some improvement just from this product alone. But because I have dry skin and use fairly emollient moisturizers, there’s no day I leave the house without at least some kind of setting powder or light mineral foundation, so I will always be putting a little something on top of it.

      It will help de-shine you, though, if you have oily patches. But it has virtually no pigment, so don’t expect coverage from it. I will say that by itself it makes my skin look better than any other primer I’ve tried.

      Just a thought — you might be able to wear less foundation if you use a primer.


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