I received Stila's All Day Prime & Anti-Shine balm as part of a press kit when I attended the Makeup Show in Orlando. That seems like ages ago now. It was sitting in the things-to-try pile until maybe a month and a half ago, when I finally picked it up.
Since then, I've hit pan on it. I suppose that means I've sufficiently road tested it and it's time for a review.
But first, let's check out what the product claims to do (from Stila's site):
This multi-tasking, secret weapon provides invisible coverage for a flawless complexion. Use under makeup as a primer to create an impeccable canvas for flawless makeup application, use over makeup to set and extend wear, or use in place of a pressed powder for touchups throughout the day.
This versatile, cream-to-powder formula smoothes skin imperfections, minimizes pores, evens skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and controls oil production. A silky, translucent crystal finish catches and re-emits light, diffusing imperfections for a perfectly smooth and even skin tone. Makeup glides on with ease and sets for long-lasting, high-definition results. When used in place of a powder, it absorbs excess oil, eliminates shine, and never leaves a powdery trace behind. This weightless formula is easy to apply, velvety soft and completely undetectable on the skin.
Features & Benefits
- sheer, lightweight formula with a matte/satin finish
- formulated with a unique gelling system for a creamy, rich texture that blends into a thin and invisible film
- micro-fine spherical silicone resin delivers a translucent finish with a soft focus effect
- a silicone elastomer blend gives skin a long lasting, silky smooth finish
- ideal for all skin types
- paraben and fragrance free
Sounds pretty awesome, right? I won't hold you in suspense. I'm a fan. Let's get into all the details.
The Stay All Day balm is packaged in a handy compact with a magnetic closure, nicely-sized mirror, and a hidden compartment to house the application sponge. It's sturdy and portable. And I'm impressed with the quality of the sponge. I've washed it multiple times and it's still in pristine condition.
Performance & consistency
The first thing I want to point out is how to properly use this product. I'm used to using liquid-like primers, so I'm used to swiping the product onto my skin. You don't want to do that with this balm. First, it resulted in wasted product from picking up way too much of it on the sponge. Second, it deposits too much balm onto your skin, resulting in a slick surface that made makeup shift around.
Instead, blot the sponge on to the balm, then press it gently into your skin. This made a huge difference. By pressing it into the skin, it helps fill in pores to help mask them. It also helps you use the right amount of product.
Once I started doing that, it was a game changer. I used this as a primer. (I'm not one for touch ups throughout the day. I'm just too lazy.) When applied under my makeup, I definitely noticed that it helped significantly reduce shine (immediately as well as controlling it throughout the day). It also helped my makeup apply smoothly and gave it lasting power. I could easily wear it for 8 hours without a problem, sometimes longer.
I also noticed it helped reduce redness. However, let's set expectations right. It's not a miracle worker. It only reduces, it doesn't eliminate. Regardless, I thought it was a nice perk.
This balm feels completely weightless on my skin as well. I actually have to touch my skin after I apply it to make sure I got it everywhere. It leaves that smooth, velvety feel behind -- a telltale sign that I wasn't just pressing a product-less sponge onto my face.
The consistency is balm-like with a velvety touch (just like other silicone based primers). To give you a better idea, it's like a solid version of Smashbox Photo Finish primer. I think the cream-to-powder description is a bit misleading (but in a good way) because this never actually dries down to a powder finish, something I really liked. You'll get a satin finish without the powdered look.
Cost & availability
The balm retails for $30 and has 0.29 oz of product. You can purchase it at Sephora, ULTA, Nordstrom, and directly from Stila. For the sake of comparison, Cover Girl's TruMagic Skin Perfector has 0.27 oz of product and retails for $8.99 (depending where you buy) and Benefit's Dr. Feelgood has 0.85 oz of product and retails for $31.
It's fragrance free. That is all there is to it.
For those of you who like to know, this product does have dimethicone in it, as you can see from the ingredient list.
Ingredients: Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Myristyl, Trisiloxane, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylyl Methicone, Synthetic Wax, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline wax/cera microcristallina, Dimethicone, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-DI-t-Butyl HydroxyHydrocinnamate, Laureth-4
I like this product and I'd recommend it to others. It's very similar to Benefit's Dr. Feelgood, except the consistency is slightly less creamy. (P.S. Turns out I'd used Dr. Feelgood wrong back when I had it. I wonder how much of a difference pressing it into my skin would make if I tried it again).
My only complaint is that I wish this brought more product for the $30 price tag. I hit pan on this within 4 weeks, which isn't a terrible run, but I feel like I go through it faster than other primers. I'd be curious to see how long it would last if I used it correctly from the start. There was definitely a lot of product waste from swiping the sponge on the balm in the early days. I imagine if someone were to use it as a primer and keep it on hand for touch ups, they might use it up pretty quickly.
What do you think? Would you consider using a balm primer? Have you used this already? Did you like it?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”