Primers belong to the less sexy side of makeup items. No sumptuous colors, no swatches to fawn over. Just a worker bee that (hopefully) does its job. I'm a primer fanatic, though, because the right one for your skin makes a world of difference. I keep several on rotation, but for the most part I'm loyal to Laura Mercier's wide range of options (I always have the Radiance and the SPF one on hand). But the new Shiseido Skin Glow Enhancing Primer SPF 15 had me clicking the "order" button the second I saw it. Because glow. And Shiseido.
The obvious question is a comparison to Laura Mercier's Radiance primer. After a couple of weeks using them alternately I'd say that the Laura Mercier has a more obvious glow (depending, of course, on the coverage level of your foundation) while Shiseido is more subtle in the shine department, for better and for worse. The texture feels lighter and more sheer (that's a definite plus), and the performance is on par with other leading brands under every foundation I've tried, from powder to liquid, as well as under creamy compact stuff (though any possible glow is firmly squashed when using them).
The SPF 15 thing is useless as far as I'm concerned. It's a level of protection I don't consider helpful (I use SPF 46-50). Maybe under moonlight or something. Still, as a last line of defense I guess it doesn't hurt, and I haven't had any skin issues with this primer, so it's all good.
Ingredients: Avobenzone 2.5%, Octinoxate 7.4%, Octocrylene 3.0%, Oxybenzone 1.0%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cellulose, Dimethicone, Peg-8, Sd Alcohol 40-B, Caprylyl Methicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Peg/Ppg-36/41 Dimethyl Ether, Xanthan Gum, Glycyl Glycine, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Zingiber Aromaticus Extract, Ppg-17, Triethanolamine, Barium Sulfate, Carbomer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Alcohol, Sodium Metaphosphate, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate, Bht, Alumina, Sodium Metabisulfite, Tocopherol, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.
Bottom Line: It works.
Shiseido Skin Glow Enhancing Primer SPF 15 ($30) is available at the counters and online.