Make up forever primer

Hello gorgeous gals,

Today’s review is on primer from Make Up for Ever – from their Step 1 range. The range has about 10 options to choose from. A few of them have already been reviewed on IMBB. This review is on the Green one which is meant for redness correction. Let’s find out more about it.

What it is: A makeup primer that assists with balancing the skin’s texture and tone for smoother, more even, and longer-lasting makeup wear.

What it does: Prep skin for your makeup routine with Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primers, and address your skin concerns with this innovative makeup primer. Perfect for balancing skin and achieving an ideal makeup result, it’s lightweight and creamy, leaving a more evenly-toned appearance, and increases foundation’s hold. This primer for all skintones leaves makeup looking fresh for hours while it hydrates, firms, and smooths the look of the skin.

What else you need to know: Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer is available in 10 formulas to target every texture and tone concern:

• Mattifying Primer reduces shine for oily skin.
• Smoothing Primer evens the skin’s texture.
• Hydrating Primer preps normal skin and restores balance.
• Nourishing Primer moisturizes and comforts.
• Redness Correcting Primer neutralizes.

• Radiant Primer Blue adds radiance to light skin.
• Radiant Primer Pink adds radiance to light to medium skin.
• Radiant Primer Yellow adds radiance to light to medium skin.
• Radiant Primer Peach adds radiance to medium to tan skin.
• Radiant Primer Caramel adds radiance to dark skin.
If you’re not sure where to start, try the Smoothing and Hydrating Primers.
“Like painters, who need a perfectly smooth, even-colored, and flawless canvas, makeup artists require even-toned and smooth skin for an optimal and professional makeup result.”—DanySanz, MAKE UP FOR EVER Founder and Creative Director. MAKE UP FOR EVER’S exclusive Equalizer Technology features Acti Tensor 3D, Hyaluronic Acid, and Regeactive, which help to hydrate, firm, and smooth the skin to create the perfect makeup canvas.

Suggested Usage:
-Before applying makeup to skin, dab a quarter size amount with fingertips or sponge in a downward motion.
-Customize your results by mixing texture and tone formulas.
-Combine redness correcting or radiant primers before mattifying or smoothing, or you hydrating or smoothing primers can be combined before redness correcting or radiant primers.
-Finish with your favorite foundation.

Price: $37 for 30ml

My Experience with Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer:

The primer comes packaged in a small tube with an extremely thin nozzle which really helps control the amount of product being dispensed out. It’s got a screw-on cap. A flip top would have been nice too. But packaging is functional, no leakage, no mess – so no complaints. It comes packed in a black cardboard box with all details like ingredients mentioned on top.

When I bought this product, my friend’s first comment to me was – do you even have red patches? Yeah – with all the “colour-correction” products being hyped and pushed by Sephora, she thought I was totally getting into the hype of it. But unfortunately for me, that was not the case. I recently noticed that I seem to have developed slight pink/red patches on my cheeks – initially I was not sure if it was an aftermath of exposure to sun or signs of ageing. Now, with a month or more since might last vacation and me having gotten rid of most of my tan, these patches have lingered on. A medium coverage foundation does cover it up adequately. However, since I like going with light coverage on normal days, I thought of giving this primer a try.

I tried this in the store. Post application, I wasn’t very sure about it. You know how store lights are. Anyways, I asked hubby, he said the side with this on looked better. So, I guess I rolled with it.

The product has a very thin consistency and is green in colour. Once applied, it pretty much melts into the skin with no discernible product on top. If you look at the ingredient list – with water and silicones as base – this is not surprising. Post application, the pinkness of the skin reduces substantially.The days the redness is a little darker, I find that this does not take away the redness completely. So, what I do on such days is that I apply this on the patch but do not blend it in all the way. The slight layering gives a bit more coverage. However, if you want to really build it up, that’s not going to happen. The product does not really allow you to create layers and add to the coverage. If your red patches are fairly dark and obvious – even through the foundation, then this will not suffice. If you plan to use it for spot correction of reddish blemishes – like the ones left behind by acne – again, this will not work. Basically, you have to remember that this is a primer and not really a concealer/corrector. Basically, it’s not as pigmented as a concealer/corrector. So, if your concern is red pigmentation due to rosacea, acne blemishes, birth mark, etc – this is not going to work.

So, what does this really work on – it works on slight pinkish/reddish patches on your skin, which could anyways be covered up by using a bit of concealer (not necessarily a green concealer/corrector). Anything darker on your skin, you would need an actual green concealer/corrector.

Also, I find another cause for concern with this product. Generally, the light red patches on the cheeks could be caused due to dehydration of the skin. They started for me while I was on vacation and not following my skin care routine, plus there was exposure to sun. In such scenarios, I use a hydration mask for a couple of days in a row and get good result. Considering that this product is supposed to work on such patches, the fact that it has alcohol listed as an ingredient – seems counter productive. It will just accentuate the dryness of the skin. To sum this up for you:

Pros of Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer:

• Excellent packaging.
• Works decently well on slight pink/red discolouration of skin – due to dehydration or exposure to sun.
• Easy to apply – blends in seamlessly.

Cons of Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer:

• Will not work to correct actual redness of the skin – not enough pigmentation.
• Considering the main con, the price point is beyond funny.

IMBB Rating: 2/5

This product will work on correction of redness, just about as much as any normal BB cream does, to correct the dark under eye circles of person over 35+years. No, I do not recommend this. I don’t think it makes sense to use this for slight redness – which could be easily covered with a layer of concealer. Yes, this product is definitely much lighter than any concealer I have encountered. However, I feel it is too much money spent for too little effectiveness. Also, if the redness of the skin cannot be managed by a concealer, recommend you pick up an actual green corrector/concealer. I will not be repurchasing this.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Smoothing Primer
Make Up For Ever Hydrating Primer Step 1 Skin Equalizer
Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Radiant Primer in Pink
Make Up For Ever Step1 Skin Equalizer – Radiant Primer Yellow
Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows 1 – 9 Artist Shadow Palette
Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Make-Up – 32 Alabaster Beige
Make Up For Ever Artisan Brush No 100, 106, 140, 154

Overall score: 75/100

Tested November 2018

This MAKE UP FOR EVER primer has been developed to help smooth, refine and even out the skin. The product claims to instantly neutralise red tones with special pigments for a flawless make-up coverage. The formulation also contains moisturising ingredients to hydrate the skin allowing for longer staying power and seamless make-up application.

It is creamy with a green tint and has a powdered fruity citrus scent with fresh floral notes. The product is packaged in a smooth matte finish squeezy tube with a pointed applicator and a screw-on cap.


Available from:

Price when tested: £26.00

GHI Expert Verdict

Over 92% of testers loved the non-greasy formulation. It also did not make their skin feel dry after application. It was an excellent base for make-up, with testers noting that their make-up applied smoothly, looked better, and lasted longer! The product was effective against redness for both acne scarring and flushed skin. The formulation absorbed easily and only a small amount of product was needed to provide sufficient coverage. Testers loved the squeezy tube packaging and the fresh floral scent.


  • Ease of use: 4.5/5
  • Design: 5/5
  • Instructions: 4/5
  • Performance: 3.6/5

We Liked

  • Covered redness both with and without make-up
  • Applied smoothly, even on dry patches of the skin
  • The redness reducing effect lasted well throughout the day

We Didn’t Like

  • Left a slight green tint on skin that wasn’t red
  • Testers would have preferred the formulation to be a little more hydrating
  • Dried a little too quickly

All product information provided by the manufacturer is correct at time of publication.

Step 1 Skin Equalizer Smoothing Primer

Make Up For Ever At-A-Glance

Strengths: Wonderful foundations; impressive options (and shade ranges) for powders, powder blush, and powder eyeshadow; some extraordinary lip glosses and lipstick/lip color options (and again, the shade ranges are remarkable); a few formidable mascaras; good shimmer options.

Weaknesses:Can be expensive; a few formulas contain needlessly high amounts of fragrance.

This Paris-based makeup collection traces its roots to theatrical and fashion makeup, building on the concept that a professional makeup artist not only desires, but also needs, every conceivable color and texture to create the broadest range of looks. Since 1984, Make Up For Ever creators Dany Sanz and Jacques Waneph have been doing their best to meet these criteria. Through the years, this line has gone from offering a tremendous array of colors in their own European boutiques to a more streamlined, “everyday” collection of products in select department stores and (primarily) Sephora, whose parent company, LVMH, has owned Make Up For Ever since 1999.

The color line presents an intriguing blend of classic, workable shades positioned next to some truly unique hues and finishes that only those involved with theater or the most flamboyant “anything goes” makeup artist (or diva) would covet. A major plus for this line is that many of the colors are densely pigmented, working beautifully on medium to deep skin tones. The drawback is that fair and lighter skin tones may find their choices more limited in a few areas of the brands ranges. However, for those who want it all when it comes to possible shades, this line more than delivers what it takes to please.

An interesting aspect of this line is that, category to category, there are mostly exceptional choices, with products that we found to be averagecertainly falling short of what we know Make Up For Ever to be capable of. However, if you are cautious of those few pitfalls (fortunately, there are an abundance of testers to experiment with at Sephora or the brands standalone boutiques) you will undoubtedly be pleased with those products that Make Up For Ever does best.

For more information on Make Up For Ever, call (877) 757-5175 or visit

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primers

In the realm of the effortless morning routine, primers hold high court. The whole “blurring imperfections before you even get to makeup’ is certainly a sell. In keeping with the trend, Make Up For Ever released 10 primers all with the same goal in mind (to be pore-perfecting and hydrating with hyaluronic acid)—but suited for various skin types. It feels sort of like a Choose Your Own Adventure approach to one makeup launch, so that’s fun. Let’s unpack:

The Step 1 Skin Equalizers are divided into two houses. There’s five of them that can give you oil-controlled, poreless, hydrated, dewy, or redness-neutralized skin as a base. And there’s the other five for your skin tone, which fall on a spectrum from the palest (Pink) to the richest (Caramel) of skin colors. Then you can get creative: A combination of the Redness Correcting green tube and the Blue tone primer takes care of blotchiness. Or perhaps you’re oily, in which case you might want to mess around with the gray-bottled Mattifying primer mixed in with one of the tinted options for a nice change from the problematic chalky primers that don’t tend to work for darker skin tones. And one more combo for the road: try Smoothing to fill in pores, with a bit of Hydrating to restore balance if acne is a problem. Buy one at a time; buy all of them; mix and match; guaranteed endless fun. Just finish off with a dusting of light powder if you need it, but otherwise, you’re good to go.

Photographed by Tom Newton.

“Can you recommend a good primer?”

If I had a dollar for every time I got this question over the years as a beauty editor, well, I might be blogging this poolside with an umbrella drink in hand. Or at least be able to get a very nice pair of sunglasses.

Anyway, the answer is yes. Yes, I finally CAN recommend a good primer. Actually, I can recommend 10 of them.

The new Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizers.

You see, Make Up For Ever has just introduced its new Step 1 Skin Equalizers, a.k.a. the ultimate line of primers. I say “ultimate” because they basically thought of every possible skin concern we could have, and then made a primer that addresses it.

But let’s back up a bit first. You understand the case for using primer, yes? The right one will perfect your skin’s texture and tone, which in turn helps you get more professional and longer-lasting makeup results. Priming takes some of the pressure off your foundation to do all the heavy-lifting—heck, you’ll probably even find you need less foundation if you do a priming step first.

I know why many of us sometimes skip it, though. Some primers have a weird “slip”, and feel like they’re clogging your pores. Others get gummy, or look way too shimmery, and many just plain don’t work.

Not so with the Step 1 Skin Equalizers. (Not that I am surprised—as you know, I’ve been a devoted Make Up For Ever foundation- and concealer-user for years and years. They know their stuff when it comes to the complexion!) These are truly next-gen primers, formulated with hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, a vegetal sugar called Regeactive to boost cellular renewal, and Acti-tensor 3D, an imperfection-blurring technology.

There are 10 primers in the range—five formulas to target texture concerns, five formulas to target tone concerns—and you can mix and match to customize them as needed.

Primers for Texture Concerns

Here’s the texture group:

These Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizers target texture concerns.

This is what each one will do:

  • Mattifying Primer: Controls unwanted shine, fights excess oil and minimizes pore size. You might be surprised to find out this one is formulated with silica, not silicone!
  • Smoothing Primer: Fills in and blurs imperfections such as wrinkles, fine lines and pores for a smoother, more even texture.
  • Hydrating Primer: Moisturizes dehydrated skin to create a supple, plump surface.
  • Nourishing Primer: Replenishes moisturize and restores elasticity in dry, dehydrated skin. This one is richer and creamier than the Hydrating Primer.
  • Redness Correcting Primer: Neutralizes and evens out red tones with colour-correcting pigments.

Here’s what they look like on the skin:

Swatches of the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer texture formulas.

As you can see, there’s nothing oily about these. The Hydrating and Nourishing Primers are creamy but lightweight, while the Smoothing one is a bit thicker, to fill in imperfections. Don’t be scared of how green the Redness Correcting Primer is! Smoothed out and worn under makeup, it’s quite subtle but camouflages the red really well. And the Mattifying one has the best texture of any oil-controlling primers I’ve tried.

Primers for Tone Concerns

The other five primers in the line, the Radiant Primers, help colour-correct any tone issues for the look of perfected bare skin. They also deliver radiance and hydration to help skin look less dull:

These Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizers target tone concerns.

Here’s the lowdown on the colours:

  • Cool Pink: Adds radiance to fair skin with yellow undertones.
  • Blue: Adds radiance to fair skin with pink undertones. If you have a very fair complexion, you can also add it to your liquid foundation to help lighten it by cutting out any orange tones.
  • Peach: Adds radiance to tanned skin.
  • Yellow: Adds radiance to light to medium skin with pink undertones.
  • Caramel: Adds radiance to dark skin. If you find your foundation looks a little too light, dry or ashy, wear this underneath or stippled on top (or mix them together) to bring the warmth back to a deeper complexion.

This is what they look like on the skin:

Swatches of the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer tone formulas.

Fun, right? Depending on your skin tone and the look you’re after, you could use these all over the face, or as a spot highlight on the high planes of the face, where light would naturally hit.

How To Use the Step 1 Skin Equalizers

1: Start with clean, moisturized skin. If you’re using the Hydrating or Nourishing Primer, then apply one of those first. Squeeze out about a quarter-sized amount and smooth it all over your skin, using a downward motion with fingertips or a sponge.

2: Tone correction should be your first step if you’re not using a Hydrating or Nourishing Primer. Or, if you did use one of the moisturizing primers, then can you do this tone step on top. This is where to use either the green Redness Correcting Primer, or any of the Radiant Primers: Cool Pink, Blue, Peach, Yellow or Caramel. Again, use a quarter-sized amount for your entire face, smoothing it on in downward motions with fingers or sponge.

3: If you’re using the Mattifying Primer or Smoothing Primer, they should go on last, after moisture and/or tone correction, and always before foundation.

4: An optional final touch is to use your Radiant Primer as a spot highlight, if desired.

So how did I fare with these?

Before and after the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizers.

This is my before and after using the Hydrating, Redness Correcting and Mattifying Primer, along with the Blue Radiant Primer as a highlight. My main skin concerns are shine control in the T-zone, redness reduction and hydration (at least under the eyes), and these primers really do exactly what they say they will. Plus, I love the luminosity created by the hint of blue pigment.

Finally, primers that achieve specific things—and feel great on the skin as well!

Where To Buy

Find the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizers at Sephora, and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Have Your Say

Have you checked out the Step 1 Skin Equalizers yet? Which ones are you most excited about?