After years of reading raves about Paul & Joe Foundation Primers, I finally, finally tried one, not one of the "originals" but instead the LE Sparkling one from the 2017 holiday collection, in the color 001 Pop a Champagne Cork (there's only one variation available).
All pictures taken in natural light without flash.
Why this Sparkling one and not one of the "originals"? Because it intimidates me a little bit that the original Moisturizing Foundation Primer S comes in 3 colors: 01 Dragee, 02 Miel, and 03 Creme ^.^ Yes, call me silly but the color choices makes me think there's some coverage to it and I don't want any coverage at all. There's also the Moisturizing Foundation Primer L which has only one color choice tinted with a "pearly lavender sheen"--I bought this one also and am "saving" it for the winter because it's supposedly moisturizing. So you see, I'm left with this Sparkling one that's totally clear save for the sparse gold sparkles, which actually don't show much at all. See for yourself below.
First thing that catches my eyes is the packaging. The pump glass bottle with the raised chrysanthemum is gorgeous on its own. Add in the sparkling gold primer in a clear serum base, I just want to stare at it all day ^.^ Let's just say just the bottle itself makes a lovely display, no usage necessary. But that would be even sillier, right? Of course I use it!
I'm tickled that the box labels this as a makeup base-serum, because it feels more like a serum than a base! It comes out of the pump a transparent gel serum scented with the same flowery fragrance as the rest of Paul & Joe products. I do like the scent, but as soon as it goes on I also get a whiff of alcohol. Sure enough, alcohol is second on the list of ingredients, which makes me a bit nervous whether it'll dry out my skin at the end of the day. After all, I layer this beneath my sunscreen and the sunscreen is already drying. Thankfully, I was wrong. It isn't drying at all and it doesn't turn my skin oily or greasy either. I haven't tried it during the dry and cold season but for now, it's perfect.
I also like that the instructions were clear that I only need 1 pump for each use. What it's not so clear about is whether "apply to the face" means spread it all over and leave it to set or massage it into the skin. I tried both, and when I only spread it and leave it to set, it actually balls up my sunscreen later. So I massage it into the skin instead, and not only it helps my sunscreen set faster, it keeps my face throughout the day. So glad I gave this a chance, and of course now I'm super curious about the Pearl Foundation Primer that's being release on September 1. I actually think I might pick one up ^.^
Click to zoom. See how the shimmers are so sparse they're superficial and don't really show? Once my sunscreen is on, I don't see any shimmers at all, even in direct sunlight.