Archive for the 'primer' Category

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Color Correcting Primers

April 7, 2010

I’ve been waiting for L’Oreal’s Studio Secrets collection to be brought stateside ever since I heard about its launch in the UK, and while it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting the entire collection, I’m more than happy to settle for these Professional Color Correcting Primers.  Available in three shades – green to counteract redness, pink to illuminate and add warmth to light complexions, and apricot to lend a radiant, healthy glow to medium/dark skintones – these primers are infused with moisturizing agents to ensure smooth, even foundation application.

Check out more details and photos after the jump!

L’Oreal’s Studio Secrets Professional Color Correcting Primers not only come packaged in sleek tubes reminiscent of Make Up For Ever’s HD Primers, but they’re also contain SPF 15 to provide sun protection on a daily basis.  The pink and apricot shades contain mother-of-pearl particles to provide you with a radiant complexion and I’m really hoping for great things.  I’d usually go for the anti-redness, but I’m dying to see just how prominent the mother-of-pearl is in the anti-dull ones, so should I be lucky enough to happen upon these at one of my local drugstores (just checked Walgrees today with no luck) I’ll be picking up the pink.

Have you tried these?  Got your eye on them?  Share in the comments!

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Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Primer Review & Swatches

April 6, 2010
TARINA TARANTINO Pearl Glow Primer ($32 for 1 oz.)

Since spotting Nicci Nix’s seriously glowing complexion on American Idol, I’ve been a little obsessed with achieving that perfectly dewy, glowy look without looking greasy or like I have gigantor pores (which sadly I actually do), and to that end I’ve been playing around with a million different primers and highlighters that have promised me that healthy, luminescent glow.  So how does the TARINA TARANTINO Pearl Glow Primer stack up?  Click on after the jump for the review!

The Science: Pearl Glow Primer contains actual pearl powder, which from what I’ve heard is not only ideal for giving skin that glowly look, but is also pretty great for softening your complexion and reducing skin pigmentation.  Yay for a multi-tasking product! 

The Review: I’ve actually been using the Pearl Glow Primer in two different ways: (1) as a primer, and (2) as a highlighter, either blended right into my foundation or patted on top, and so of course you’ll be getting a review of how the product performs in both respects.

As a primer Pearl Glow is decent – it doesn’t rock my world and make me do a happy dance in the morning, but it does absorb quickly without leaving behind that somewhat greasy, slick feel so prevalent in primers heavy on the silicones (it has a sort of light moisturizer feel to it) .  So why wasn’t it love for me?  Well here’s the thing – if you’ve got nearly perfect skin and don’t wear foundation, Pearl Glow applied over your usual skincare regimen will give you the most beautiful, luminescent, glowing looking skin without any of the strange multi-hued shine that a lot of luminzers can give, but if you’re like me and need to apply a good amount of foundation over your primer, the luminosity pretty much disappears under it all.  Why bother with a luminizing primer that disappears when you use it as primer?

As for how it looks and wears, I will say that it really helps my foundation shades to stay true all day long which I’m thrilled with, and it does a pretty good job of controlling my oilies all day long.  So all in all it makes a solid primer, I guess I’m just a little disappointed that I don’t get more luminosity out of it. 

Swatches below!

But while I do have my complaints about this as a primer, as a luminizer it’s really second to none.  Every other luminizer I’ve ever tried has emphasized my pores and given me a sort of odd pink luminescent glow that’s not very flattering on my skintone, but Pearl Glow somehow manages to give all the glow without any of the accompanying weirdness.  I like to mix a pump of it into my foundation pre-application, then to top it all off by patting small dots onto the tops of my cheekbones, along the bridge of my nose and just a tiny bit on my forehead (basically all the sports the sun would naturally reflect off of). 

If you’re in the market for a fantastic luminizing product that will give you a beautiful, youthful look, Pearl Glow is your product, but if you’re still on the hunt for that perfect primer I’ve got some better suggestions coming your way sometime soon so stay tuned!

Ingredients: Water, Octyldodecanol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Glycerin, Alumina, Manganese Dioxide, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Sodium Hydroxide, Pearl Powder, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)

I obsessively checked the Sephora stores to see if the Tarina Tarantino line had launched and when I saw this I snatched it up – I mean if I don’t spoil myself, who’s going to spoil me, right? 😉

Tarina Tarantino Mini Haul

March 10, 2010
 You all all know that I’m a huge sucker for anything and everything pink, so when the Sephora-exclusive Tarina Tarantino line launched at Sephora a few weeks back I had to haul an item or two to review for the blog.  I swatched away at the store, and while I wasn’t too wowed by the liners (smudgy) and shadows (a little boring), I did happen to fall in love with the TARINA TARANTINO Pearl Glow Primer ($32), a quick-to-absorb, lightweight primer that contains actual pearl powder to give your complexion a luminscent glow, and the TARINA TARANTINO Dollskin Cheek Feather ($25).  The Dollskin Cheek blushes were all beautifully pigmented, finely milled powders that for me were the stars of the line, along with the primer.  
More photos after the jump!

If you’ve already got a Tarina Tarantino counter near you (and you’ve seen the Sephora employees dressed up in horrible hot pink wigs that look nothing like the glorious one featured on the model above) definitely run to check out the line.  I’m seriously tempted to go back for the Dollskin blushes in Charm and Parasol (the shimmer is multi-dimensional and really lust-worthy) and to maybe get a backup of the primer I love it so much.  I’ll be reviewing both for you soon!

Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Complexion Primer Potion Review & Swatches

July 23, 2009
Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion – Pore Perfecting ($30)
Smooth on a little Complexion Primer Potion – Pore Perfecting before foundation (or alone!) to minimize the look of pores and fine lines. The velvety formula simmers down to a soft-matte finish—without the greasy, heavy feel sometimes associated with foundation primers. The result is flawless skin with an airbrushed look and feel. Foundation will go on smoothly, evenly, and won’t fade away. Ideal for oilier skin, but dry complexions who want pore perfection will love it, too! The convenient squeeze tube includes a twist-up dispenser (like school glue!) for easy portion control.


I’m loving the whole ‘Lab Sample’ thing Sephora’s been doing as of late ~ it’s always fun to have the opportunity to test out new products before they officially launch, and it prevents me from spending money on a product I don’t like and then having to return it. My latest lab sample was Urban Decay’s recently released Pore Perfecting Complexion Primer Potion which I was expecting to be holy grail material. So was it?

A pea-sized dollop of the Pore Perfecting Primer ~ enough for your whole face.

In short, no. I don’t hate it, but I don’t entirely love it either. My main issue with the Pore Perfecting Primer is its texture. I find it rather ironic that the people at Urban Decay chose to use the words ‘school glue’ in their product description, as to me that’s kind of what the product feels like. Squeeze out a dollop of this product and you’ve got a really thick white substance in your hand that isn’t really the most spreadable.

A little goes a long way so I usually squeeze out a small, pea-sized amount, rub it between my hands to thin it out and warm it up a little and then proceed to apply all over my face, focusing on the areas that have enlarged pores. The sensation of the product against my skin isn’t entirely unpleasant, but it is a little heavy and I can definitely tell that it’s there ~ it’s got the same siliconey feel as Smashbox’s PhotoFinish but a little heavier, and minus the weird greasy slipperiness.

Partially blended ~ see how thick it is?

Every morning I look in the mirror after applying this primer, and then my foundation on top, and think “Wow my skin looks amazing,” and it really does for the first three hours or so. My skin looks smooth, even, nearly poreless and as close to flawless as it’s probably ever going to get.

After a little more blending…

However after those first few hours my face is a mess. Most of the foundation simply disappears, and what’s left behind is this really greasy feeling that I can’t shake for the rest of the day. The Complexion Primer Potion does make my foundation fade more evenly, but it also makes it fade more quickly than it normally would without primer. It also seems to mix in weird ways with the oils that my skin produces, so that my skin looks less oily but it feels 100x oilier than normal.


And fully blended in!

I could forgive the thickness and heaviness of this primer if it were longer-wearing, and if my face looked as good during the middle of the day as it did at the beginning, I could even deal with the greasy feeling it leaves on my skin. I’m surprised and more than a little disappointed that I didn’t love this, as I know that others have been raving over it and professing that they’ve found their end-all-be-all primer.


List of Ingredients

Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion, and I’m only one little person with very oily skin and excessively large pores! There are a ton of people out there who absolutely adore this product so if you’re curious, do try it out for yourself, it might just be perfect for you. I think that this could have been great if my complexion were just a little less oily.

RATING: 3/5

I’ll be ordering Urban Decay’s Brightening Complexion Primer Potion soon – let’s hope I have better luck with this one!

What New Products Are You Experimenting With?

June 4, 2009

One of the main reasons that I blog, other than the fact that it allows me to interact with some amazing individuals like you my readers, is that it gives me an excuse to play with new products all the time. Thanks to all the Armani samples Nicole sent me, I was like a kid in a candystore this morning!


So I started off with Armani’s Light master Primer ($55), which was nothing like what I was expecting. It has the consistency of a light liquid luminizer, and is supposed to create a mirror-like veil for the skin by reflecting light just so.


Next came Armani’s new Lasting Silk UV Foundation SPF 20 in Shade 2 ($58) which I’ve seriously been dying to get my hands on. The SPF in this has been micronised in such a way that it won’t reflect back during flash photography (meaning no Edward Cullen-esque white face), and it touts a revolutionary new water-based foundation provides 14-hour luminous matte coverage without the coverage feel.

This is my first day using this so I can’t say much about it, but I am loving the way my skin looks today. I was able to achieve a flawless complexion with minimal foundation and my pores aren’t as prominent as they have been as of late. And best of all, I feel like I’m not wearing any makeup.


I topped the foundation off with Armani’s Micro-Fil Loose Powder in Shade 0 ($48) to matify everything and keep the oilies at bay. I didn’t have adequate time to really feel this out, but the powder seems to have a gorgeous, super-finely milled feel to it and looks great on.


And of course I had to wear my new La Mer The Lip Balm ($45)! Anybody who knows me knows that I can’t resist La Mer. I’m loving the minty taste and how soft, supple and plump my lips are looking.

So what new products have been been testing out lately?

Kanebo Sensai Smoothing Water Make-Up Base Review and Swatches

December 16, 2008
Kanebo Sensai Smoothing Water Make-Up Base ($45)


Sensai’s Smoothing Water Make-up Base is a precious silk and water infusion. I did a little blurb on it in this post so I’ll just paste what I’d initially posted there:

“The Sensai “Saho” technique of skincare and makeup begins by creating a delicate veil of moisture with the Smoothing Water Makeup Base, which contains Fuji Sensui water (extracted from Japan’s most sacred mountain, Mt. Fuji) and precious Koishimaru Silk Extract, which was once reserved solely for the Imperial Family of Japan.

The formulation contains Pure Moist Smoother (a special ingredient prepared from cellulose) which once applied spreads rapidly over the skin, wrapping the surface in a tight membrane. This creates a smooth, taut, invisible veil that leaves the skin firmer, smoother, and more elastic. 30 minutes after application of the Smoothing Water Makeup Base the moisture content in the tested area rose by more than 400%!!”


The Smoothing Water Make-Up Base comes in a beautiful frosted glass pump bottle which I’m quite fond of. I know many people complain about the weight of glass bottles and their lack of portability, but since I’m a homebody and not much of a jet-setter, I enjoy having pretty glass bottle with which to adorn my vanity.

The primer itself actually reminds me quite a bit of my new favorite Peter Thomas Roth serum–they’re both packaged in glass bottles, both watery in terms consistency, and both intensely hydrating. I’ve become a huge fan of both of these watery yet deeply hydrating products lately–the runny consistency makes them easy to spread over your face with absolutely no tugging which means you’re not fostering potential wrinkles, and they do the job better than most other products I’ve tried.

I’ve found that with Sensai’s Smoothing Water Make-Up Base, I get the best results by squirting 2-2.5 pumps of this stuff (it’s a lot I know!) into my hand, spreading a nice layer of the stuff onto my face, then walking away from the vanity for a few minutes to let this dry. I usually brush my hair, pick out my outfit, smooth in some leave-in-conditioner and I’m ready to put on the rest of my face. The Smoothing Water Make-Up Base leaves your skin looking hydrated, beautifully smooth, and just radiantly healthy. And foundation glides on like a dream! You don’t get quite the same slip that silicone-based primers give, but I’m not complaining because this feels a million times better on my skin.

One pump of primer. The consistency is a little thicker than the PTR serum, but not by much. Almost like a slightly gelatinous water.

Spread out and rapidly drying.

Top half almost dry, bottom half all set. See the dewy, almost glass-like finish you get?

I wouldn’t recommend this for those of you with very oily complexions as this is meant to be deeply hydrating, but if you have normal to dry skin, this may be perfect for you. I love the dewy glow that this gives my complexion throughout the day, and even if I don’t plan on wearing foundation I like to wear the Smoothing Make-Up Base to give my complexion a fresh, glowing look that lasts throughout the day. If you’re on the market for a new primer that’s a little different from the rest, definitely give Sensai’s latest a try! I picked mine up at Saks Fifth Avenue, but you shouldn’t have too tough a time finding a Kanebo counter near you.

RATING: 4.5/5

Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer in #1 Green: Review and Swatches

November 13, 2008
Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Microperfecting Primer in #1 Green ($32)
What it is:
A lightweight, oil-free complexion corrector that enhances the skin’s texture and primes the skin for makeup application.

What it does: HD Microperfecting Primer deeply nourishes, moisturizes, and softens the skin, creating a glowing effect. Creates a protective layer on the skin allowing foundation to glide on easily and last longer.

Make Up For Ever’s HD Microperfecting Primer comes in a range of 7 shades that run the gamut from pink and mauve to green and blue and is an all around great primer for the price. Your 1.01 oz of primer comes packaged in an attractive double-walled slim plastic tube that takes up little space on your already cramped vanity yet really packs a punch.

Shade 1 (green) minimizes redness and is supposedly ideal for those with rosacea. I’ve become accustomed to green primers being a pretty shade of mint green, so was surprised to see the rather unappealing shade of darker swamp green that this primer came in. But hey it works so who am I to complain?

I shot a wider surface area than usual so you can see the difference in redness before and after.

Redness Minimized? Well here’s the thing. Have you ever found a green color-correcting product that 100% fixed your redness? I thought not and this is no exception. The green HD primer gets rid of I’d say 20-30% of your redness on its own, but the real magic happens when you apply foundation over this. I usually apply foundation all over my face and then go back to my cheeks and apply 1-3 more layers of foundation to mask the redness (depending on the day/foundation), but using the HD primer I didn’t feel the need to go back at all.

The Good: I purchased Make Up Forever’s HD primer primarily because it sounded like it was pretty great for my skin. Check out the list of active ingredients!

Active Ingredients:
-Argatensyl: Immediately smoothes and enhances the skin’s surface.
-Silica micro balls & Elastomer silicone: Give a soft finish to the skin.
-D-Panthenol & Glycerin: Provide optimal skin hydration. (+60%)
– Phycosaccharide: Creates a shield that protects from external aggressions and brings stability to the makeup.

When I wear this my skin feels balanced and looks wonderfully smooth. Unlike most primers I’ve tried, the HD primer really creates a beautiful canvas for my foundation to glide over and I really do see a difference. Plus it’s light, fast absorbing, non-irritating and hasn’t broken me out!


The Not So Great: I actually just exchanged the green for the blue because based on MUFE’s primer shade suggestions (on their site here) the blue just seems better suited for my skintone. Well that and the fact that I was convinced that the green left just the tiniest hint of a greenish cast to my complexion. But I’m still not certain whether or not this was my imagination. Check out the photo down below and tell me if it looks green please!

One other complaint I’ve heard from people is with regards to the scent. It took me a few minutes to place the scent, but it smells exactly like Pert Plus! I actually quite like the scent as it stirs up fond childhood memories, but I do no many aren’t too crazy about it.

And one last little quibble–this isn’t really the ideal primer for controlling excess oilies. While MUFE’s HD Primer does help my foundation color to stay truer longer, I’d say that it does very little in the controlling-oil department–but that’s what a good powder is for!

Redness smoothed away! And see the difference in texture?

The Verdict: This is one of my favorite primers at the moment and I can quite possibly see myself repurchasing (in a different shade), which would be a primer first!

RATING: 4.5/5



Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Trisiloxane, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteth-10, Laureth-4, Ethylglycerin, Panthenol, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 60, Parfum (Fragrance), Argania Spinosa Extract (Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract), C12-14 Pareth-12, Hydrolyzed Algin, Dodecene, Sorbitan Isostearate, Isostearyl Alcohol, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Tromethamine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool. [CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)].
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Etude House Speedy Total Mineral Base Review

October 29, 2008
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Unfortunately there are no swatches or product shots of this one, since I had a few samples of Etude House’s Speedy Total Mineral Base from back when my cousin was kind of enough to buy me their Pore Erasing Peach Base which are now long gone. But I still felt the need to review it as I’ve been thinking about it often lately and it really was great stuff!

What it does: Etude House’s Speedy Total Mineral Base is basically supposed to be your sun protection, primer, concealer, and foundation all in one handy little product. It’s made with deep sea water complexes and mineral powder and contains SPF 41, making it an all-around great product. The texture was light and easily blendable and didn’t have that greasy sunblock feel that I dislike so much, and provided enough coverage (similar to a light foundation or a tinted moisturizer) that I didn’t feel the need to wear foundation.

The bad: It doesn’t really do much in the way of oil-absorbing, and so I needed to set this with a loose powder, but other than that the Speedy Total Mineral Base was pretty great. It’s cheap (in Korea), effective, and easily portable. But for those of you who aren’t the wide-ranging shades of super pale or pale (LOL), this probably won’t work for you since it only comes in two shades.

But of course the tragedy is that this isn’t available in the US and my only route is to purchase through ebay, where it’s ridiculously marked up *sigh*. I guess I can live without it, but I want it! I may just need to wait until my next Korea trip though since I can’t even remember what shade I was in this, not that there’s all that much guessing involved with the two shades it comes in.
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Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel as Primer Review and a Little DIY

September 22, 2008
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Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel (~$7)

For those of you who’ve never heard of using Monistat Chafing Gel as a face primer, don’t go running for the hills at the thought of putting something from Monistat on your face! If you like silicone-based primers like Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer, this is a great option for you at a fraction of the price. It even contains the same active ingredient, Dimethicone.

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A little blob is all you need to cover your entire face.

The Good: As silicone-based primers go, this is definitely one of the best. It smooths on beautifully, gives your complexion a smooth as silk finish, and helps to keep you matte all day. Plus it’s cheap cheap cheap and comes in a handy, easy to travel-with squeeze tube! This did a better job at keeping me matte than the Smashbox did, and at about 1/5 of the price it’s definitely worth it.

I disgress but I always think it’s funny that the back of the tube says, “This product is not intended to treat yeast infections.” =P

The Bad: Like any other silicone-based primer, this may clog your pores and therefore cause breakouts if you’re not good about thoroughly cleansing at the end of every day.

The Ugly: Yes you’ll need to go to your local drugstore, walk down the “feminine care” aisle and pick up a Monistat product. But is it really any worse than going on a tampon run? I think not! So muster up that courage and go try this out!

Now for my little DIY installment: My favorite way to use my Monistant Chafing Gel is mixed in with my foundation of choice to create a siliconey foundation ala By Terry’s Light-Expert, Armani’s Face Fabric, etc. The consistency is heavenly, and your foundation will glide on with zero drag against your skin–you really need to try this!


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Step 1: Squirt a little blob of the Monistant Chafing Gel onto the back of your hand.

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Step 2: Add some foundation and luminizer (I had a small pump of my Beauty Credit Pearl Shine) on top of the Monistat.

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Step 3: Mix everything together and apply to your face. See how the thin foundation from above now has that wonderful soft and plush silicone texture to it?

And in three easy steps you’ve got a foundation that not only feels amazing going on, but also absorbs oils and helps to keep you matte and fresh-faced all day!

Related Posts:
Check out my review of Beauty Credit’s Q10 Pearl Shine Make Up Base for a great and affordable luminizing primer.

Click on the word “primer” below to check out my other primer reviews!

Beauty Credit Lovely Q10 Pearl Shine Make Up Base: Review and Swatches

September 10, 2008
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Beauty Credit Lovely Q10 Pearl Shine Makeup Up Base ($14)

All the photos in this post can be clicked to be enlarged, so have fun!

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If you’re feeling too lazy to click on the photo to enlarge the text: “The shine base has hologram pearl that makes your rough skin more even and brightening by excellent light reflection. And Coenzyme Q10 keeps the skin firm and volumized while various herb extracts keep your skin revitalized and hydrated all day long.”

LOL at the Engrish! No in all seriousness it’s pretty good, since I was actually able to understand this one!

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Isn’t it pretty?

What do I love about this primer? Well to begin with, the price! Korean brands are often hard to find in the US, and even if you do manage to find a retailer, the prices are usually hiked up so that they’re double or triple retail–meaning what may have been cheap at one point in Korea isn’t cheap for you! Thankfully, there’s a little store by me that stocks Beauty Credit at pretty much the original prices =D

Beauty Credit’s range of primers includes a green shade, lavender shade, and this pearl shade. I decided to go with the Pearl Shine because I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed that I can’t resist shimmer! The Pearl Shine Makeup Base is a pale peach shade that contains a multitude of golden microshimmer suspended throughout it. The shimmer is fine enough that it’s not noticeable unless the light hits you just so, but it’s really beautiful. I love this primer because it makes my skin feel soft, and lightens and brightens my complexion enough that on a good day I can go without foundation.

My favorite way to use this, however, is not as a base but as a luminizer mixed into my foundation. A squirt or two of the Pearl Shine base mixed into my favorite foundation is glowing perfection!

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Can you see the hints of shimmer?

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Click to enlarge and check out the shimmer (especially on the right half).
I know it looks eerily white in this photo, but I promise it’s not! It’s more of a peach shade.

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Half my hand has Pearl Shine Base on it, the other doesn’t–can you guess which half does? =P

Related Posts:
See my review of Etude House’s Pore-Erasing Peach base here to read about another great and affordable Korean primer.

Check out one of my favorite primers here!