Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Enhancer Base is not your average makeup primer. It takes a bit of adjustment- the first couple of times I ended up with a bit of a Kabuki face because it's pearly white, not sheer. The base targets and evens skin tone and not necessarily texture, so my guess would be that if you need a primer to fill lines or scars and provide a a smooth surface, this Cle de Peau product might not deliver. However, it does affect the foundation and finish, so there is a visible smoothing effect and at least some enhancing of your foundation performance and lasting. Not as much as most silicone primers that really cement your makeup in place, but enough to make a difference.
So what does the Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Enhancer Base actually do?
Mostly, it brightens and gives the face a subtle and an unidentified glow while reducing the appearance of discolorations, uneven skin tone and dark circles. I'd say it's like Nars Brightening Serum on steroids, or maybe with a hefty dose of Touche Eclat. I saw a significant difference when using the base on the dark circle under just one eye compared to the other one. I tried taking photos, but this is beyond my skills or my camera's capabilities, so you'll have to take my word for it. This photographing experiment has also shown a certain glare that affected the pictures. I'd strongly suggest consulting with an experienced makeup artist before you wear it for a photo shoot.
Clé de Peau suggests adding a coat or two for darker areas, and that's true. Unlike most primers, this base builds up. It can also be used over your foundation with very nice results (again, be careful if you're using it before having your engagement picture taken). I also mixed some with sheer coverage foundations (Chanel Vitalumiere) and with a tinted moisturizer. It worked every time. Used under mineral makeup, the Luminizing Base requires a very light hand and cautious when buffing the minerals. It required some practice, but once I got it, the results were great. Just make sure your skin is very (VERY) well-moisturized. At least if you're my age and trying to look alive.
Which brings us to two usage tips:
1. Despite claims, the base is not an adequate moisturizer for normal to dry skin.
2. Avoid your eyebrows, or better yet, use brow wax or something similar to protect them. It's a hassle to get the liquid out of the eyebrows, and I promise you, pearly white is not a good look for that part of the face.
Bottom line: Probably not a must-have, but used judiciously it can be a great addition to the makeup addict arsenal.
Cle de Peau Beaute Luminizing Enhancer Base ($90) is available from top department stores, including online. I bought it at my local Saks and highly recommend you get a SA/ MUA to demonstrate it before you buy. Thankfully, Cle de Peau people are among the best you can find and they seem to be extra passionate about the line.
Image: vintage Japanese cosmetics ad from oldorientmuseum.com