MOTW: Sunscreen Primer

Please pardon the blurry picture, I have neither the steadiest hands nor convenient tripod.

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I like to revisit my sunscreens as summer months are approaching While my core skin care regime hardly changes, I do like to try on sunscreens and the variety available out there. I ordered two recently from La Roche Posay US website when they were having a promo. This look features one of them.

The idea of using sunscreen as primer is perhaps nothing new, but sadly, there are few primers that qualify as good, solid, decent sunscreens. LRP Anthelios has an anti-aging primer-sunscreen but from the reviews that I read, it performs dismally as a primer. I thought I'd share a mini-review of LRP Anthelios 40 SX that I am currently testing.

I chose the Anthelios 40 SX due to the ingredients, Mexoryl SX, which not only is a chemical sunscreen blocking UVA on its own, but also acts as a stabilizer of other chemical sunscreens. This particular product used a combo of some chemical and Titanium Dioxide as shield. The addition of TiO2 does increase the whiteness of the sunscreen, but it also evens out my skin somewhat, turning it into a good "primer," so to speak. The base vehicle is quite thick and emollient, perfect for patting on a thin layer of medium coverage foundation as Lunasol Skin Modelling. However, I found the formula a bit unforgiving, depending on how you prep your skin. Too wet and the sunscreen will ball up, too dry and the sunscreen won't spread due to lack of slip. My trick has been to use non-sillicone serum/moisturizer underneath that helps the sunscreen spread out but without balling up. A tricky situation..

One redeeming quality, I found the combo gives the Becca Beach Tint (in Lychee) a good staying power which lasts through sessions of running around in the park, around the sprinklers and such. I wish it comes in SPF 60 but I can work with daily SPF 40.

Other items used:
  • Becca Eye Tint in Baroque: a nice wash of mushroomy taupe color upon which I layer..
  • Burberry Eye Definer in Golden Brown, the pencil version of the eponymous Pale Barley
  • Burberry Eye Definer in Midnight Ash to line upper lash.
    Burberry eye pencils are along the formulation of Elizabeth Arden or Charlotte Tilbury The Classic Eye Powder Pencil: it is not the kind of soft-smudgy kohl liner but more of a hard, waxy, powdery liner. It lasts a while and gives the eyes a subtle look. Definitely not to be used on the waterline. As I grow older and lids grow droopier, I appreciate this type of eye pencil since it does not transfer as easily to other parts of the eye lids.
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Volumizing mascara sample which is surprisingly good! It is not waterproof but it does not smudge or budge. The consistency is on the wet side but it is not goopy and it does not give that tarantula effect. Since the formula is on the wet side, it does not hold curl very well, but it does not weigh down my lashes, either. Finally, have you ever noticed that some mascara crumble and flake when removed with eye makeup remover? Not this one, it dissolves entirely into a little blot of black on the cotton pad. In short, L O V E. I'm hoarding every single sample that I got from the counter.
  • Charlotte Tilbury lip gloss in Portobello Girl, on top of the Becca-tinted lips.
Wishing you all a great week ahead!

Update 7/10/2014: 

I returned the La Roche Posay sunscreen above due to dissatisfaction of the formula. As I mentioned above, the formula was too much of a hassle to work with as a makeup base. I also found out that by the end of the day, I could see sunscreen creasing around the nose and even on my fine lines. Not attractive!

The product was returned back in June 5th (fyi, I've tried this product since May 30th, when I received it, so I feel I have had a good chance to make this product work before deciding to return it), received at LRP facility on June 9th (thanks to USPS tracking) but when I called today, not only the return has not been processed, the customer service rep was most unhelpful. It is such a lot of hassle for $40 worth of product, I would not recommend this product nor shopping at La Roche Posay USA to anyone. Truly, the experience was so appalling that I feel compelled to write share it with you as a precautionary measure.

For fairness, I will update the resolution of this case right here, so stay tuned if you are interested in following.

With so many sunscreen out there to choose form, I'm sure you all can find something else. On my part, I plan to keep reviewing other sunscreens that I've used with great satisfaction.

Update 7/11/2014:

I tweeted @LaRochePosayUSA who reached out to me promptly and referring me to a specific person in customer service. It turned out that my refund was posted back in June 19th. The original agent I spoke to yesterday did not even mention this important piece of information. With apology, the new agent explained that they had retrain this agent to appropriately problem-solve refunds.

Apparently, June 19th is right on the cut-off date for statement. Yes, I admit, I should have done my due diligent of calling my credit card company, but honestly, with so many ping-pong of "Press 1 to be connected to this and that" who has the time?

I'm all about learning from experience and this is what I've learned:

  • Beware of buying products sight-unseen, especially sunscreen. With SO many options of sunscreens out there, I would go to a store front where samples are liberally given, and it not, to actually try it out in person, by myself.
  • Never return products. Take it as a responsibility and perhaps pass it on to the next person (something I preach daily but look who's talking?). Before deciding on a purchase, decide that you can and willing to take the risk and swallow the loss (In all honesty, the sunscreen I returned at LRP cost less than $40, which really does not worth the time and the hassle of returning).
  • When dealing with return, have everything in writing. It minimizes misunderstanding. Paper trails are more of a proof than "he-said-she-said" phone conversation.
  • Do your due diligence to avoid problems, even problems that are out of your control (e.g. was the original agent I spoke to actually have access to the information of previously-posted refund? was he/she adequately trained to handle returns?)

Ok. Let me turn the table to you:

  • You sent a return a month ago. 
  • You never got an email that the company has received your return/your return has been confirmed/processed. 
  • You checked your credit card online statement, and a return has not been posted. 
  • You called the customer service agent who, not only said that no return has been received, and that she could not do anything about it until she actually accepted the return, even with evidence of delivery on my part (in short, not helpful).
What would you do?

Leave your comments below. We all can learn from this. My sincere thank you to La Roche Posay for the prompt resolution of this incident.


  1. Hmmmm...speaking of eyelid problems it looks like I need to check out the Burberry eye pencils LOL!! I'm always so tempted by the Becca beach tints but can never quite pull the trigger. How do you like the CT gloss?? CT is supposed to be at the makeup show next weekend, so I'm compiling a list! Love your choices!! xo

    1. Makeup show?? What makeup show??

      To be 100% honest, CT gloss is nothing to speak of. It reminds me a lot of MAC lip glass, downright to the scent & formula, and if you have seen Charlotte's past videos/interviews, she loves MAC lip glass (not surprisingly, her powder eye pencil is a dupe of Elizabeth Arden pencil liner, downright to the ingredients.. well maybe plus/minus a few, not surprising, again since CT herself adores EA liner and mentioned it in many of her past videos). Portobello Girl is really SHEER, almost clear. If your lips are just a tad pigmented, I don't think you'll see the difference. Otherwise, it is good as a top-off gloss.

      Becca Beach Tint and Becca SSP are two of my most fave Becca products. They are def. my go-to tint blush for the summer. I've got 4 already, used up 1 (Watermelon). You should def try it next time you are at Sephora.

      Yes, do check Burberry eye pencils, many don't love them since I think their expectations are more like buttery-soft GA or such, but this is a different kind of eye pencil. So long as your expectations are in line, I think they perform superbly (not to mention the colors are fab).