Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer ($52) is a new facial primer that the brand released a few weeks ago which acts to smooth and prep skin for makeup while extending the wear of your foundation.
I purchased this the day it launched which I believe was the first week of February and I’ve used it every single day since to give it a fair testing period. I had hopes it would turn out as well as Mally Poreless Face Defender which I use and love. The formula actually sounds a hell of a lot better than Mally’s formula in some ways as they throw around words silk powder, flawlessness, and protection against free radicals. They make it seem like you’re doing something really good for your skin not to mention they promise this will even out your skin tone and ease dullness.
It’s weird to me to see this promoted on Instagram showing shots of eyeshadow swatches with and without Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer used. I have no idea how this relates to the product. Sure, the eyeshadow swatches with this used under it look more intense but how does that apply to a product you’re using on your face!? It just seems an irrelevant and unrelated way to promote the product.
None the less, I was intrigued by this and decided to purchase it to try out.
You might be wondering why I bothered since I have dry skin and I do not have visible pores. Regardless, I still use primer to give me a smooth, flawless finish. I just tend to avoid ones with silicone as they aren’t terribly flattering on my drier skin. I suspect that like most pressed primers this would have silicone which is one reason for me to avoid it. I don’t like silicone primers but I’ve used them in the past with some success. Hell, Mally’s formula is completely loaded with silicone and it works great for me. So, it really depends.
Tatcha’s formula does in fact have dimethicone but it is surprisingly lower on the list. They actually rely on a silkier silicone agent in this formula which is cyclopentasiloxane that’s commonly found in many hair care products. It’s a slippery texture in my experience. On top of that they also have a water and glycerin base which all in all gives you a very hydrating feel. It’s also loaded with some incredible plant botanical like camellia sinensis (green tea). There’s no doubt that there are a good deal of amazing ingredients in here. However, it does have a very strong herbal lavender scent. I thought the scent was pleasant but I think it might prove irritating for sensitive users.
This arrives in gorgeous large purple metallic compact with an ombre purple and white face place. The lid completely screws off to reveal the balm which is 0.7 oz in size. It’s a very luxuriously packaged product. It comes with a small round pick which you can use to scoop the primer out of the compact.
The primer itself is a creamy balm which is light pink. It’s actually a lot like Etude House Sweet Recipe Baby Choux Base. If you’re avid Korean or Japanese makeup users you’ve technically run across products like this a plenty I’m sure. The main difference between Tatcha’s formula and those would be the higher scale of ingredients and the fact it doesn’t leave behind a whitish cast. I did think it would at first as they said it had “pink and gold pearl” which I thought meant it would have some tint to even out or brighten skin tone. It does neither and sets to a transparent finish. So, the promise of easing dullness simply wasn’t there for me. I love and use Holika Holika Miracle Real Skin Finish Premium and I thought perhaps this would produce the same effect but it does not.
They created it with a geisha’s makeup routine in mind as geisha’s use a wax called Bintsuke to create a smooth, poreless canvas for her makeup. Most of us are not applying full geisha makeup daily though. On that note, we do apply foundation daily and my hope was at the least this would create a smooth canvas for my foundation and allow it to last for a longer period of time.
The fact of the matter is if you’re applying a layer of anything between your skin and foundation it will in fact allow the makeup the wear longer. Because hey, your foundation isn’t touching your skin and is sitting on top of your primer. That’s the magic of primer or even a heavy moisturizer like Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. So, technically that means there isn’t any magic behind Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer. I can’t say it really made my foundation last longer though. I actually felt like my face was an oily mess after using it.
It does take a little bit of trial and error to figure out the perfect amount to use. My first time out of the gate I used about a pea-sized amount and that was a bit too much. A little goes a long way in my experience. I have drier skin so I’m always looking for more moisture and this provides plenty, too much in fact since I felt very oily during the day when I used it. My skin thankfully didn’t look shiny but it felt greasy. I do wonder how someone with oily skin will do with this if I felt oily as a dry skin user.
It is quite thick but absorbs easily and has a creamy yet silky texture that initially feels slippery but sets to a silky finish. I don’t have larger pores but I have visible ones on my nose and this did diffuse their appearance quite well but the effect didn’t last long since I felt like it melted off as the day progressed which also left my foundation looking less than stellar at the end of the day.
There’s so many things to love about this product. The luxurious packaging, the host of incredible ingredients, the way it applies and the way it does initially make my face look smooth and flawless. However, I don’t really love how it makes my face feel as the day progresses. I just felt oily all day and by the end of the day my foundation looked like it melted away. Honestly, if this is a product you want to explore for yourself I’d recommend checking out a variety of my past reviews in the Korean and Japanese Brand Archives because I’ve reviewed a lot of primers like this in the past which have a similar texture but actually perform considerably better and aren’t as greasy.
Oh well! As they say you win some, you lose some, and today I’m call Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer a loss.
Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer is available now at sephora.com.