It's been a hot minute since I reviewed a primer on this blog. Having dry skin, I must say I am not an avid primer user; however, when I spotted this little product - I knew I had to give it a shot. Because who doesn't want a clear sunscreen and smoothing primer in one, right?
Claims & Overview
Urban Defense Complexion Primer is one of Urban Decay's newest primers, which came out earlier this year. It is essentially a clear/transparent smoothing primer with SPF 30. The brand claims that it: allows better make-up application/ protects skin/ feels hydrating/ minimizes the look of pores.
Plus it is scent-free.
The packaging, just like anything Urban Decay, is really lovely. You get this clear, mattified plastic bottle with the brand's signature gunmetal cap and base. They also say that this product comes with an "airless pump", so you won't waste a drop, which is something I appreciate. You get 1oz/30ml of an actual product here and since the bottle is so slim, I guess you could easily travel with it too.
Texture & Ingredients
As you can probably tell from the image above, this primer has a very silicone-y texture. It feels velvety smooth, despite the fact that it looks a bit lumpy (can you see those tiny little lumps?) when you first look at it. Thankfully, once you start blending it into your skin, they disappear immediately. If you have ever worked with any other well-known clear primer (such as Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Primer for example) then you might get an idea of what Urban Defense consistency feels like. Something new, however, are this primer's "conditioning" ingredients such as: tomato, sesame seed, solanum and bisabolol extracts.
Naturally, the best way to apply this primer is with your hands. If this would be an actual sunscreen, I would probably use about two pumps all over my face and neck; however, since this is not your typical sun protection, it is better to go with less is more option.
Application tip: If you use more than needed, the product might end up pilling or balling up underneath your foundation. I suggest using a small amount (one pump is more than enough) and waiting for at least a minute or two for it to properly "sink in" before proceeding with your base. Also, when you blend your foundation on top of it, it is better to use a make-up sponge. This way you can gently "pound and pat" it into place, without disrupting layer of primer underneath.
No-No: I don't recommend using this primer with a water/oil-based foundation, as textures might clash. I typically use water-based products in my routine (given that I am dry), so I actually had to opt for a stick foundation when I was testing Urban Defense.
I find that when I use a lightweight moisturizer and somewhat drier/matte(r) make-up products on top of Urban Defense, I get nice results in terms of wear and overall look of my complexion. I am prone to texture (and have bigger pores on my nose) but frankly I don't feel like this primer makes my skin look "poreless" if you know what I mean? Once applied it does give you that even skin finish, hiding some of the texture - but I don't think it makes my pores disappear/look smaller. In my experience, when I have worn it with an oil-based foundation, I got really shiny really quick (which is rather bizarre for my Sahara skin), so please remember both of my key application tips mentioned above for ultimate wear results.
I personally think this is a great product to wear on your minimal or "no make-up" days. If you just use Urban Defense, a bit of concealer here and there, some blush, mascara and lip gloss - it is brilliant. Also a great product for those of you, who don't like traditional chemical sunscreens (due to their scent or white cast etc.). This one doesn't cause flashback and is less likely to irritate your skin. I have sensitive skin, but thankfully I have not experienced an allergic reaction or anything like that.
Is it suitable for all skin types?
The formula itself is neither hydrating nor drying. I find that it just resides there, sandwiched in-between layers, while still allowing a smoother application. Whenever I wear it I find that my skin looks a touch more dewy too, which is strange, because some people with oilier skin on sephora.com say that this primer actually keeps their skin matte and fills in their pores pretty well. My conclusion here is: (a) it truly depends on the climate of the country you live in; (b) it also depends on what skincare products you use underneath it. I suspect that women with oily/combo skin probably use it with weightless, oil-free moisturizers which is why they get this lovely satin finish. Whereas someone with dry skin (like moi) uses richer creams - hence the difference in wear/feel.
Overall I think Urban Defense is a nice little alternative to your typical white-based/tinted sunscreen, but you certainly need to know how to apply it properly, in order for it to do what it was designed to do. It is one of those products, which you will either love or avoid, depending on whether you like silicone or not; your skin type and yada yada yada. I find myself reaching out for it on days, when I don't want to wear a heavy/creamy sunblock or any foundation at all; so I gently distrubute it all over my face and neck, add minimal make-up, fini! If you are curious to try it, definitely ask for a sample first. This way you can actually try it a few times, before committing to a full-sized version. I love that this product has no scent to it and if you are a fan of silicone-y make-up - you might really like it. You can always check out more Urban Decay primers here.