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I know a couple of big-name bloggers have just written about Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer, but I’ve actually had mine for about a month now. I was waiting on a full evaluation before writing about it, but I’ve hinted at it a couple of times. Unlike the people who are now rushing out to buy it because of Anna and Kate (and no shame in that), my purchase was made due the usual: Lisa Eldridge. (And, yes, I’ve made the tag. 🙂 )

I mentioned that I have been wearing my By Terry Cover-Expert basically every day, except for the few days where I feel like wearing a little less. And the Effortless Breathable Primer is what’s been less. Only, I would never call it less, because it’s so so much on its own.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer Even I some days wake up not feeling like bothering with my makeup. Only, I also don’t want to go out without makeup. What’s a girl to do?

Use the Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer, the long-named wonder. I did use it under my foundation one day, just to try, and it was just as good. But it seems like a waste, since this is such a good foundation replacement.

And apparently it’s good for my skin?

Oil-free, oxygen-rich Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer is a multi-purpose wonder! Rejuvenox keeps this perfecting primer completely ventilated and drenched in oxygen. Sheer, porcelain-smooth coverage can be worn alone for a hint of color and even-toned radiance or layered under foundation to extend the wear. Paraben Free.

The primer only comes in 3 shades, Light, Medium, and Dark, but since it’s sheer, it’s very forgiving. I wear Light. Unsurprisingly. 🙂

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer
Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer in Light

Here’s what I do know. This is what my skin starts out looking like.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

And this is what I look like with just the primer:

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer
Not so impressive, right? Just wait.

And this is the primer with a little bit of concealer and powder:

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

Let’s look at this side-by-side-by side:

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

And just for shits and giggles, let’s compare it to my final photo with the Cover-Expert:

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

Remarkable, right? To be honest, when I wear it, I never feel like I look like I’m not wearing foundation, and yet my skin doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything.

When I went in to buy my primer, the guy at the Sunday Riley counter talked to be about their loose powder. Now, I have a loose powder. But he grabbed my hand to demonstrate: put some of the primer on it then rubbed some of the powder on…and it was this blurred, subtly sparkly (though not glittery), light-reflecting loveliness.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer and Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder
With flash
Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer and Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder
Without flash

I don’t think you can really see how pretty and light reflecting it is, but trust me, it’s there!

So I bought the Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder in Translucent Light (it, too, only comes in Light, Medium, and Dark). I’m so suggestible.

Sunday Riley Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder
Sunday Riley Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder in Translucent Light

Providing a whisper-weight, natural finish, the Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder is a breakthrough for poreless and polished skin. Talc free, silky calcium-based formula is air-milled and blended with soft-focus particles, reducing excess shine and the appearance of imperfections, without settling into lines. The result – a matte, fresh complexion. Paraben free.

Sunday Riley Soft Focus Finishing Loose Powder
You can’t see the sparkly, but it’s there.

I don’t regret the purchase, because I’ve been using it with my Cover-Expert as well. It’s been my go-to powder since I purchased it.

My T-zone doesn’t stay quite as matte throughout the day as with a real foundation, but blotting papers are worth the convenience of slapping this on and leaving the house.

So what do you think? Why do I bother with foundation anymore or a tinted primer/moisturizer has its time and place? Have you ever tried this?

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14 comments on “Review: Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer”

  1. Ok, to be honest here, I think this is all a matter of semantics and marketing terms and the line between foundation and tinted primer is almost microscopically thin.

    When I first started learning about makeup and reading fashion magazines, they usually referred to foundation as "base." Meaning, a base to layer your other makeup on top of for better application on a smoothed out complexion. But the base was the foundation and you weren't putting on a base before putting on the foundation you were just putting on the foundation. So foundation/base is supposed to be really important.

    However, if this primer is tinted, and you don't feel the need to wear foundation over it, then it's basically the same thing as foundation. I also think foundation should already be the primer or have primer in it. Isn't it weird to choose to put so many layers of makeup on if you don't even have to when there are products like this one?

    I have only tried one BB cream (Garnier) and it wasn't high end, so I wouldn't expect to get a high end result, and I was only eh about it. I have since realized that what works better for me is a regular moisturizer with SPF and then a separate foundation and I'm not much interested in trying a high end BB cream. Like what you said previously, it did feel heavy on my face, and then I wound up sweating it off anyway, so it wasn't going to be a long term relationship for me with this kind of product. I tried a tinted moisturizer years ago and didn't like how easily it sweated off also, even when powdered. So after that experience and the Garnier BB one, it doesn't seem that enticing to try other versions of it. Eh, maybe one day I'll get a sample of the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. That's the one I've heard the most positive reviews of.

    But anyway, BB creams and also CC creams are all the rage now for being a moisturizer/primer/sunscreen/foundation AND concealer in one. But I think that's kind of bs. It's just marketing. More marketing terms being thrown around to generate excitement about products and confuse women into buying stuff. Because are you supposed to get a BB AND a CC cream and use them together? Or is CC cream only if you have really bad skin and you need to cover all of it with something even heavier than a BB cream? I don't know, I'm confused.

    Hope at least some of that made sense. I feel like I'm arguing cosmetic theory. Is there even such a thing? Heh heh.

    • To be fair, while the photos look like the primer covers as well as the foundation, it doesn't, quite. It looks more natural, and on a daily basis, I do like a bit more coverage than that.

      Primers are supposedly used as a base for your foundation to go on more smoothly (especially when they're silicone-based) and and to adhere to. I always wondered if they really made a difference. I know that my foundation lasted longer when I started using my Hourglass Mineral Veil, but I wasn't sure if I was dreaming it. One of the bloggers I referenced above actually did an experiment about it, here, and it seems it does make some difference.

      And primers are USUALLY used with foundation, while BB and CC creams are used alone. I can't answer your questions about them or how they're different than tinted moisturizers. I never actually thought I would be happy with something as sheer as this primer to leave the house in, so I haven't really explored the world of those (besides for not liking how the BB cream felt).

      • I'm going to be difficult and say that I sometimes use primer under BB cream, buahaha. But here's my take on Cynima's comment: I think what we're really talking about here is a difference in how makeup is applied now verus way back when. Back in the day, base = some heavy stuff you caked on your face to make it all look the same color. Now base makeup usually consists of multiple light layers (primer, foundation, concealer, whatever) which results in a more natural overall look. I mean it *is* an excuse for companies to sell you more stuff, but I do think makeup looks more natural and feels less heavy than it used to.

        Anyway, there is a noticeable difference in the with/without primer shots so it looks like it does a really good job. Coupled with the By Terry it looks really, really good.
        My recent post Memebox 4th Global Edition Review (Korean Beauty Box)

        • Way to throw a monkey wrench into it!! Ha. Oh, god, yes, thank god we don't have to have it in tubs that we scoop out and spackle onto our faces. (Although, Chantecaille still comes in a tub…) Thank god for advances in all kinds of technology!

          And, that last comparison was of the By Terry with concealer and powder to the Primer with concealer and powder, not with the By Terry over it. It's just that good on its own! But I get what you mean. 🙂

          • Excellent point and counterpoint 🙂

            I am also all in favor of simplifying the morning makeup routine. I never used to wear foundation on a regular basis because I didn't think I needed it. I still wouldn't say I absolutely need it, in fact I was in a bigger rush than usual yesterday, so I skipped foundation and just used concealer and UD eye primer and powder, and it was fine. But I do notice that when I use foundation (I tend toward the powder ones instead of the liquid ones), it makes the rest of my makeup go on more smoothly. I'm curious about trying some new ones at some point.

          • Oh yes I know 🙂

            I seriously can't wait to be able to really shop again. I want to go crazy both at Duane Reade AND Sephora!

  2. 2nd comment on this post! 🙂

    How do you apply your primer? With your fingertips? Or with a sponge or brush? I think you mentioned that you apply foundation with a brush. Do you always use a brush to put on foundation or do you ever freestyle it with your fingertips?

  3. I think the tinted primer looks great on you, as you said, perfect for those days you really don't want something heavy!

    • It's a relief having a good lazy day alternative! (Not that my foundation even takes that long, but it does skip one step. 😉 ) So good hearing from you! I'll try and respond to your email soon. 🙂 x

    • Thank you so much! Honestly, I only once actually used it under foundation. The rest of the time I just wore it on its own with concealer and powder. My blush did last as long, if that helps! 😉 x

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