April 10, 2008

MAC Prep & Prime Review

I had to pick up some MAC lipsticks for a swap a few weeks ago and of course being the junkie I am I couldn’t leave the counter without getting at least one item for myself!

What did I end up with? MAC Prep & Prime.

Lately I’ve sorta been on the hunt for a good primer. I don’t normally prime prior to foundation aside from the regular toner and moisturizer regime. But after reading some rave reviews about various primers I decided I should incorporate the step into my makeup routine.

What I read that turned me onto primers:

  • They make your foundation last longer.
  • They minimize the appearance of pores (I don’t have this problem as my pores are really tiny) but hey that didn’t stop me from wanting to buy a primer!
  • They are a good base for your foundation and it applies easier and smoother when a primer is used.

All this sounded like I seriously needed to start using a primer. The promise of long wearing foundation and foundation that applied easier and smoother sounded fantastic!

Who else but MAC would have a great primer right?


Not really.

I’ve been using Prep & Prime for about two weeks now and I seriously haven’t seen much of a difference in my foundation wear and tear. My foundation fails to last through the day sadly and I have to touch up at least twice with powder or a highlighting pen since I begin to look dull around the 4th hour or so of wear. Sadly, MAC Prep & Prime failed the test of making my foundation last longer.

Did my foundation go on smoother?

No. Not really.

It felt about the same going on after using Prep & Prime. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it but I thought maybe it would give my face a sort of wet moisturizing feel that would allow my foundation to glide on flawlessly. This it did not do.

The texture is pretty thick and if you look close enough it has tiny particles that pick up and reflect the light but that trick doesn’t apply when it’s on. At least for me it didn’t. Someone had mentioned on MUA that one pump will do it. Well no. I need at least two pumps to do my entire face.

It glides on rather smooth and soft in contrast with it’s thick texture. It feels wonderful really however I don’t feel like it’s moisturizing my face but then again that’s not really what it’s supposed to do anyway.

All in all it just doesn’t appear to work for me. It doesn’t make my foundation last longer and it doesn’t do a brilliant job of prepping my skin for foundation so basically it’s $22 USD of thick cream that doesn’t do much of anything.

Sadly, as much as I love MAC, this one gets a big thumb down!

Have you used it? Love it? Hate it?

Any recs for a good primer?

Tell the Muse!


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Allysia-May

    Hey honey

    I used to have MAC prep and prime and it was completely vile, i had to throw mine away.

    Have you tried Nars’ primer? Erica at Makeup bag thinks it’s pretty good. If you check her website there are some other primers as well but i think most of them aren’t sold in the UK.

  • Divine Blackness

    I’m definitely not a fan of this product. I think it is a bit pointless and is just one of those un-necessary products that us make-up consumers think we need. This broke me out and I can understand why….cleanser, moisturizer, primer, foundation AND powder. That’s so much on the skin. I’d rather deal with touch-ups than pore clogging stuff like that. But that’s just meeee!

    And I hope you feel better, love. It’s a tough job being a beauty bloggin’ editor and we all have those rough weeks. Don’t be hard on yourself. Your readers love you and ain’t goin’ nowhere.


  • Critty

    Muse, why is a gorgeous girl-in-the-know like yourself using a MAC primer? You know Smashbox is the reigning King or Queen of primers. Get thee to a Sephora and pick up the trial sized of the original Photo Finish primer, not only does fill in pores, but also the dreaded fine lines. I use it around my eye area with no problem. I also like Laura Mercier primer.

    Will it change your life? Probably not, but it does make your skin look smoother and you use less foundation.

    I hope you are feeling better soon.
    Big hugs,

  • Becky

    I used Mac prep and prime a while ago but it was not my favourite product. I didn’t notice any difference at all. Now I use the Laura Mercier primer and for me it’s the best! Not cheap but definitely worth the money.

    I hope you’ll feel better soon. I saw your mood was heartbroken yesterday. I know the feeling…big hug

  • Vanessa

    Hi Izzy! I feel you on this one! I tried it and it sucked…just because it’s MAC people think it’s the bomb.com haha…

    Miss you!

  • nilla cookie

    Hi again Muse!

    It’s too bad that the MAC high is starting to wear off! But that won’t stop either of us, will it 😉

    I’ve been using Origins A Perfect World Skin Guardian for a long, long time. I’m not sure what its claims are as far as longer lasting foundation, etc. but I enjoy it anyway and have been a loyal user for years! 🙂

  • MandyPandy

    I didn’t much care for P&P either. Too sparkly, IMO.

    I use Clarin’s Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch and like it alot, but I really only use it for going out, not for everyday. Still, it really evens out my skin’s texture and makes my slap go on more smoothly.

    I’m planning on getting Cover FX’s Skin Prep FX Treatment for daily use.

  • Adina

    Hey there!

    For primer i use perfekt skin perfecting gel. I find it does a pretty good job.

    Oh, shall i do another guest review???

  • the Muse

    Hey Allysia-May! How are you today me love?

    I’m glad I am not the only one. It’s not so much vile but it just doesn’t do much!

    sigh 🙁

    I haven’t tried the NARS primer as some of the skincare products from the line make me breakout with hives so I’ve avoided purchasing the primer 😛

    Mmm maybe I’ll email her and ask! 🙂 Thanks darlin’!

  • the Muse

    hello Divine Blackness how are you today dearie?

    So true. So true. and I must admit that I fall victim to the crime all the time. Cosmetic companies can sell me snow in the Summer honey! 😉

    lol! Terrible isn’t it?

    No break outs here thank god but I just feel like it’s not doing anything for me. 😛

    It’s true I use major product myself and it’s a bit too much at times 🙁 The drama of being a chick!

    Aw thanks so much! Beauty blogging is like having a 2nd full time job 😉

    Thank you very much divine blackness 😉 I appreciate your visiting and taking time to comment 🙂 *mwah*

  • the Muse

    hey critty 😉 I miss you around here lovie 🙂

    Smashbox broke me out *sniff* Photofinish clogs my pores up bad 🙁 I wish I could use it 🙁 I actually have a full bottle sitting on my vanity. Sigh. sniff! feel my pain?

    I’m definately leaning towards LM’s Primer as it looks very good 😉

    Thanks honey! The hugs are appreciated big time!

  • the Muse

    hiya becky!

    I was just saying LM is next on my list to try 😉 The mac definately isn’t doing much for me that’s for sure 🙁

    thank you so much Becky *big hugs* I appreciate your kindness!

  • the Muse

    ‘nes! love ya to bits and pieces 😉 I’ve emailed you not sure you got it.

    I think I’m going to try your chafting gel idea. If I use this will I end up looking as gorgeous as you? 😉

    Miss you more xoxoxoxo! I drop by a TON! Like 10 times a day 😉 hehe!

  • the Muse

    cookie hiya darlin’!

    oh lord I wish it would wear off but this small mishap won’t get me off it completely lol!

    I am ever after a mac whore till the end 😉

    Hmmm origins eh? Maybe I’ll give it a whirl. However, I doubt it’ll make me as gorgeous as you are 😉

  • the Muse

    hey mizz mandy!

    I tried Clarins but it made me break out. Someone suggested using it under my eyes and it worked but not great.

    I’ve been wanting to try cover fx for ages but I don’t wear alot of foundation so I’m sincerely in a debate with myself if I need the coverage cover fx offers ya know?

  • the Muse

    hey adina honey 🙂 how are you!

    I was looking at this..Hmmm! thanks for the rec 🙂 You know I’ll be obsessed with finding the perfect primer now right?

    Oh yes indeed it definately be time for another guest review 🙂

    send it over darlin!


  • gracie

    Hi Muse, I’m currently using P&P. It doesn’t really do anything for me. I only need 1 pump for my face though. I’m trying to finish using this bottle and it’s taking ages! It’s too bad that we don’t have the generous return policy here in SG or else I’d have returned it.

    Anyway cheer up! Hope to see more of your reviews soon! Can’t wait! Take care! 🙂

  • MandyPandy

    I’m sorry to hear that Clarins primer broke you out; that’s stinks! For me, it’s one of the few primers that hasn’t broken me out (Smashbox’s Photofinish is particularly nasty, in this respect).

    I really like using Clarins ISPT as an eyeshadow base; it doesn’t dry out my lids and keeps my eyeshadow from creasing too much.

    Yeah, I’m also wanting to try more Cover FX products, especially the lipsticks. The powder’s supposed to be rubbish though, and the foundation isn’t great for my very sensitive skin.

    Supposedly, the SkinPrep FX makes the otherwise cakey foundation go on smoothly, and from my experience it helps turn my concealer into foundation. The primer has a very good slip, and light consistency and causes my concealer to apply very sheerly and spread very easily, initially. After the primer has dried a little, I can go back and apply the concealer as I normally would. I plan to buy a full bottle of the stuff soon.

    If you still have some of that Erase Paste left, I’d suggest using it some SkinPrep; it makes a huge difference!

  • Taryn

    Muse, you have to try the chafing gel like Vanessa said. That stuff works as well as any other primer I’ve used, although it does embarrass me that I’m using that sort of product on my face. :-0

  • Nic Nic

    Prep n Prime sucks.. what a waste of money 🙁 it was all hyped wen everyone was saying how good it was! thanks for review 🙂

  • Nic Nic

    Oh btw, i use Laura Mercia oil-free tinted moisturiser as base if I want a heavier coverage… or just a very good moisturiser. I heard the Shu Uemura mousse base one is pretty good 🙂

  • Liz

    I’m with you on this one. I bought Prep’n’Prime and used it over the summer and winter. Finished it just a few weeks ago. Felt nothing, nada! What a waste of money.

    I’m using Smashbox Photofinish… love it! I don’t use foundation much, just tinted moisturiser. The Photofinish does make my skin smoother, allowing the tinted moisturiser to melt into the skin more easily. I’ve heard some people complain about break-outs, but that’s something I’ve not experienced personally (I rarely break out though). I definitely recommend the Smashbox Photofinish!

  • Askmewhats

    I’ve never tried MAC prep + prime, I just tried it over the counter, so I really can’t tell. I’ve used Smashbox Photo Finish Primer in Light and I didnt’ see any difference on my own skin, (note: I’m dry skinned all over). And when I used the photofinish primers to my friends who’s got super oily skin? It worked for them!!! But it was a bit of a hassle in application, as one wrong move would lead to bumpy foundation 🙂 I learned from it! But if the strokes are right, really smooth canvass really shows 😀

  • Piece of Cake

    I too regret spending so much on something that didn’t do anything. To this day, I still keep working at it, hoping I could unlock its secret of application. Still to no avail. What it does is creating a very smooth surface for my skin, alas doesn’t last. Can’t throw this stuff away, though. It would be like throwing my money away.

    I used to wear Shu Uemura UV base mousse, and it was great! Alas, being the clutz I was, I broke the nozzle and now it sits in the corner of my makeup desk still half full.

  • the Muse

    hey gracie how are you lovie?

    Glad I’m not the only one. I’m using two pumps. One for each side of my face. I feel like one pump doesn’t do enough.

    Actually I’m returning it today. I used it about a week and a half and feel that it’s not doing anything!

    I wish you guys had the wonderful return policy we did 🙁 sigh!

    Aw thanks sweetie! I’m back in writing form now 😉 Enjoy the latest reviews =)


  • the Muse

    hey mandy 😉

    Ugh pimple city. Reminded me of Dr Feel Good a la Benefit 😛

    I really wanted to love it. 🙁

    Maybe I need to give it a chance to adjust to my skin. I’m not sensitive by any means but if I slowly introduce my skin to something that causes break outs sometimes it’ll adjust. Does that make sense at all? Probably not as I am tired this morning lol!

    I was curious about the coverfx primer myself but the price tag sorta made me rethink do I need this?

    But it sounds promising from what you’re telling me!

    Honey erase paste went back hehe. I returned it. Definitely no good for me!

    have you tried it yet?

  • the Muse

    hey taryn! *hugs*

    I brought some yesterday lol! hehe! I’m considering doing the bum cream on my undereyes as well for the puffies 😉

    LMAO I’ll really be some case won’t I? Prep H under my eyes and chapping gel on my face. Fab just fab lol! Supermodel material here!

    next I’ll be removing my eye makeup with kotex lol!

  • the Muse

    nics! whatcha doing darling 🙂

    How are you?

    Ugh I’m so so disappointed with it 😛

    LM is on my hit list. I’m thinking it might be just right!

    Ooo Shu…I didn’t think to check Shu primers! Thanks! Running over to have a lookee!

    Happy Weekend!

  • the Muse

    hiya liz!

    I think mine is going back. Been using ’bout one or two weeks now and it’s rubbish 😛

    Wish I can get away with Photofinish but it breaks me out 😛

    It sounds like it works fabulous for you! *sniff* wish it did for me! 🙁

    I don’t use much foundation either! I wish I can get away with none actually but no such luck 😛

    Thanks for the rec lovie!

  • the Muse

    hiya askmewhats 🙂

    Don’t bother hehe!

    I’m dry too. Very dry in the winter 🙁

    I noticed that photofinish “pills” so if you aren’t blending it right you not only get bumpy foundation but also little balls of foundation and primer rolling off your face 😛

    I wish there was something a bit emollient minus that “matte” feel that photofinish and clarins has. I want something the prep my dry face not fill pores and it seems most are geared towards oily skin and large pores! grrr!

    Happy Weekend!

  • the Muse

    Hi Piece of Cake!

    How are you today!?

    LOL! Me too! I’ve been using it daily awaiting results but none to come! I’m returning it today during lunch hour 😛

    Can you try swapping it away on MUA??? I know return policy isn’t as nice as the US one 🙁

    Aw sorry honey 🙁 I know that feeling well. I’ve “broken” many a bottle that I can’t get the product out! rant rant!

    Happy Weekend!

    Stay gorgeous!

  • MandyPandy

    Nah, once a breakout, always a breakout; best to avoid such products all together. I tried to get my skin and scalp to adjust to Lush’s NEW! shampoo, only to pay the price.

    I’m definitely thinking of trying Erase Paste, though I’m skeptical as to whether I’ll find a decent color-match.

    I might head to NYC (sadly, my local Sephoras don’t carry Cover FX) soon to pick up the Skinprep, along with the Cover FX lipsticks. Hopefully I’ll also get the chance to stock up on Lush, as well ($8 S&H just seems a bit pricey for a package that doesn’t at least contain poisonous popcorn pieces and was assembled in Canada, eh).

  • the Muse

    hey mandy 😉

    Sorry for the delay in my reply. I sometimes find that if I introduce stuff slowly to my skin it’ll adapt!

    Aw I’m sorry about new! my fault as I rec’ed it ;(

    Erase Paste ended up being a bust for me sadly!

    I tried the skiprep this weekend and wasn’t feel the price tag but the product is actually really good. Where are you located? Within New York!?

    Shipping sucks yes but I prefer it as the shops are a breeding ground for disease. Everyone touching bath bombs and not buying ’em grossness 😛

  • My Anh Nguyen

    Yes I didn’t really like this product either. I agree with everything you said from above, I think the rave on MAC primer is over-rated.
    It totally didn’t work for me and for the money I paid for it, I could have got myself many cheeseburgers from Mc’Donalds.
    I’m glad we agree on this product.

    • the Muse

      hi my Anh! Awww sorry it didn’t work for you either hun! Sometimes MAC is kinda overrated in some cases le sigh!

      • My Anh Nguyen

        I want to give mine away but then I feel bad if I give something I reckon is not that great to other people hahaha It’s this weird logic of mine where I think, okay I don’t want this product because it’s crap so why am I being selfish giving it to other people?
        Most of the time I give away decent things. Therefore, my MAC primer is sitting in my draw growing molds in there ^__^
        Do you have any primer recommendation? I have combination skin, at times it on the side of oily so I need something that would really prevent shine. As well as help my foundation last longer, I use powder mineral and also liquid foundation.

        • the Muse

          Hi My Anh!

          Awww I doubt people would feel the same, some folk still wanna try something even when someone else hates it, dislikes it 😀 Just swap it away on MUA 😀

          Beauty Credit has a few nice primers that I really like maybe try those? Also I like Korres Primer….hope this helps 🙂

          • My Anh Nguyen

            Is MUA, Make Up Alley? I’ve never actually done anything on there beside browse around. Didn’t know you can actually swap things woah!
            Thanks for the information, I’ll look into it.
            Have a great day!

          • the Muse

            yup My Anh 🙂 Make Up Alley. And yes of course you can swap and chat and review products 😀 it’s a great site for makeup lovers hehe!

            You too dear!

  • Elixir

    I’m quite scared now, just bought p&p!
    We’ll see how it holds up 😛

  • shaynaJo

    hey dear, i’m so glad that u were so honest in doing ur review!
    I thought of getting this primer too because my current primer is running low already. However, I get lots of friends asking me to try this MAC Prep + Prime..> hmmmm maybe I should get to the counter and give it a try first?

    • the Muse

      hey shayna I freaking love this stuff. 😀 alot of people hate it but I liked it alot particularly for under my eyes 😀 get a little sample first before committing to a large tube 😀

      • the Muse

        oh SHOOT shayna sorry this is the wrong reply. I thought you were replying on the prep and prime tube version! It’s the wrinkle one!

        this one didn’t do much for me 🙁 I actually ended up giving it away! I’d go with a sample first before committing to a large size!