Beauty Test Drive: Philosophy “The Present” Clear Makeup

I’m of the ilk that believes any and all makeup is ill-advised without the use of primer. On my fairly oily skin, I can’t go a day without applying a good primer before my foundation or tinted moisturizer, lest I lose my carefully applied face by midday. I’ve tried quite a few, including the highly regarded Smashbox version, and found them underwhelming. What I really need is something that’s like a colorless foundation, the lovechild of a moisturizer and spackle, that will hide pores without clogging them, smooth my skin and fine lines, and most importantly, keep my makeup on all day. Philosophy is mostly known for its (amazing) skincare, so this souped-up primer is a natural extension. It makes my skin look and feel basically airbrushed from when I put it on in the morning until I take my makeup off at night. It’s mattifying enough that I can skip powder, yet it’s a natural, glowy semi-matte that never looks caky or oxidizes.

Price/Availability: $28 at Sephora

Packaging: An easy-to-use tube with a flip-top. The product sometimes separates a little so it’s important to shake before using. I believe that the price is right, even a bit of a steal, for the amount of product you get and how little you need to use for each application.

Formula: Creamy, a bit gummy, and pleasantly scented with lavender oil. I would think that anyone, from the driest skin type to oiliest or most acne-prone, can use this product. It claims to prevent breakouts, lock in hydration, and protect the skin from environmental contaminants. Apparently, you can also apply this at night to seal in your treatment products and moisturizers. It contains natural antibacterial benefits (thanks to the lavender oil) and is formulated without sulfates or synthetics.

Wear Time: At least 12 hours.

Overall: This is the most effective primer I’ve ever used, and it includes added skincare benefits. It’s a really unique formula that has almost nothing in common with its primer counterparts. It really holds onto makeup, and works so beautifully that I use significantly less makeup than I would using a different primer. The best way I can describe it is that it makes your skin appear perfect without a change in color or tone. Sometimes while wearing this I’ve even been possessed to forgo foundation or tint. It’s also worth noting that this product needs to set on the face for at least a full 2 minutes before other face makeup is applied.

Grade: 5/5 — I highly recommend this product.