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Upon reviewing base products, I become a lunatic with a magnifying mirror: at the park, the café, in the cab – I have no shame. So when I discover a product that is truly imperceivable on the skin, I gotta tell someone (and that’s where you come in!).

Sunday Riley Tinted Breathable Primer (48USD/58AUD), tinted like a tinted moisturizer with the properties of a primer. To me, tinted moisturizer + primer = bored to tears, but when Lisa Eldridge described it as a lighter alternative to foundation with additional blurring qualities, I felt my heart flutter.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

Why a cheap packaging? It’s functional and has a pump, so I’ll forgive that. Housed inside is a viscous liquid, not as runny as many new-age foundations on the market. Rather emollient but not greasy in the slightest, it has the tendency to separate so shake it up!

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

With a measly shade offering of Light/Medium/Deep, I went with #1 Light which is a deceptive name because it’s not all that light; it’s but a hair too deep for my winter NC20 skin so if you’re any paler than that… sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Light also runs quite warm, so if have distinct pinkened undertones this may pose an issue. The good news is that the pigment is so sheer that there is some flexibility with shade.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

Based on Lisa’s video I expected the Sunday Riley quasi-Primer to have more coverage so let me stress- the coverage is really, really negligible. In fact, I’m struggling to categorize this product: it’s not a foundation because it’s far too sheer, it’s not a primer as we know it and the texture doesn’t resemble any of the tinted moisturisers I’ve tried. This is making my brain hurt but here is my best blurb- it’s a complexion perfector, illuminating shadowy areas and pigmentation. If the subtle effects of Guerlain BALLZ Meteorites Perles have you all hot and excited, the perfecting properties of Sunday Riley Primer will be all up in your alley.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

Note: Surface redness around the nose and cheeks, minor pigmentation on the chin, deeper skin around the hairline and a post-surgery hollow dent where my left eye used to be (WTH?! *kicks dirt*).

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

I apply a single pump with my fingers and a dabbing motion, mainly to the center of my face. Two pumps is probably the way to go but I have some weird paranoia with base makeup that insists I use a lighter hand. The yellow undertones of the Sunday Riley Primer do a fanfreakingtastic job of counteracting most of my surface redness, pigmentation on the chin is blurred (god, I love that word) and the deeper perimeters of my face seem to better match my face.

Most people won’t stop here, in fact I imagine most of you will require greater coverage in some areas (unless you are naturally perfect, hatechu). So now you have three options.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

1) Go in with your regular foundation (Armani Lasting Silk), either all over or just certain portions of the face.
2) Go in with a concealer (Dermablend Fluid Corrective), possibly around the nose or on any blemishes.
3) Opt for an illuminating pen (Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat), for minimal coverage but added illuminating benefits.

On this particular day, I opted for the YSL Touche Eclat #1.5 and one too many coffees.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

YSL TE #1.5 has a yellow undertone so it sufficiently neutralises the stubborn broken capillaries around my nose. I also ran a little illuminating pen on the jawline; this is a handy hint for those who have a much lighter neck as it helps to diffuse the line between the face and the neck (without having to bronze up the neck or lighten the entire face).

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

So that’s pretty much how I like to wear it! Am I totally flawless and shiz? No, but it’s the best darn illusion of no-makeup makeup that I’ve encountered. The Sunday Riley Primer is, without a doubt, invisible on the skin. Not convinced? I took a macro shot of my nose prior to applying YSL Touche Eclat (honestly…the things I do for you guys).

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

If there is one place that will give away my no-foundation illusion, it’s the crevice of my nose, makeup tends to settle there in my flakes (disgusting and true). I don’t see a damned thing 😀

Let’s talk about longevity, Sunday Riley Tinted Primer lasts well on my normal skintype- as it freaking should, It’s a primer! It has little oil controlling benefits and doesn’t claim to, I blot after about 6 hours. Any concealer or foundation applied over the primer exhibits enhanced longevity and adheres very well, minimizing the amount of product required.

Sunday Riley is pioneering the whole skincare-meets-makeup scene, oxygenating and peptiding our skins. While I don’t notice any hydration benefits, it doesn’t have a drying effect nor did it break me out. SO YAY.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

If you got bored of my incessant raving about silicone based products, you’ll be happy to know that Sunday Riley Primer lacks the slippery and velvety feel that I so dearly love (but it does have cones, just less of them). It is also paraben free, oil free and SPF free.

Ideal for:

– Those of you with decent skin, who’d just like a little more help.
– My ladies and gents who are wholeheartedly committed to the no-makeup makeup look.
– Dry, normal and combination skintypes.

Skip if if:

– You are paler than NC20 (SORRY ☹)
– You prefer a full coverage, flawless complexion.
– You are particularly oil-prone or seek an entirely matte base.

Overall, this is my favourite find of 2013 and I don’t say that lightly.


Complete list of products mentioned

Face and Body Foundation
Face and Body Foundation
Touche Eclat Pen
Touche Eclat Pen
Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer
Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer
Fluid Corrective Foundation
Fluid Corrective Foundation
Liquid Foundation
Liquid Foundation
Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation
Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation
Lasting Silk
Lasting Silk
* Denotes products sent for consideration. Iā€™m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. Thanks for this. I too saw Lisa featuring it, and have since then seen it in Mecca, but was there for other things (Eve Lom cleanser) so wasn’t in a base-focussed frame of mind. I’ll definitely give this one a try next time i’m in Mecca. Thanks for your thoughts on the colour in regards to paler girls. I don’t use MAC (yet) so i dont know if i am paler than NC20, but i am definitely on the light side, so i’ll be extra scrutinous when i try it.

    1. Hey Clare šŸ™‚ I was actually surprised, it’s only $10 more in Australia (which is a nice change, products are usually double the price here in Aus!). Definitely get a sample if you can, Mecca policy is great when it comes to samples and the pots are very hygienic (I used to work there). xxkarima

  2. i saw lisa’s video and really want this. Thanks for the post – it was really helpful, and while the coverage is minimal, i think it is totally noticeable and looks great on you. I suspect it may be right up my alley! šŸ™‚

  3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I wanted this so badly! Have been playing around with it each time I’m in MECCA – but I’m about NC10 at the moment (NARS foundations in Siberia are my current match!). Bummer. BUT you just saved me $58. So not all bad. Hows the eye going btw???

    1. Hey babe! šŸ˜€
      Yeah at NC10, I think this might not translate well on your skin. If you get around NC20 during summer, revisit the idea. My eye is going okayyyy, want to hear the novel? Basically I had some unknown complication from healing and I’m the science experiment of the lunch room. It’s really strange and ugly but it doesn’t hurt so just getting on with life. Irritating because I was expecting a one month downtime, which is now looking closer to 8 months (?!). It was nice to hear from you, I hope everything is going well šŸ™‚ xx much love

    1. not that Summer is approaching (or maybe not in Melb yet….? lol)
      I’m thinking which foundation that I should get a darker shade to use….or maybe sth I can use to mix in with other lighter/winter foundation to darken for summer use…..

  4. Love love love this product! Thank you for doing a write up! I am super fair skinned (I don’t know my “MAC #” but I generally wear the palest foundation shade. I also have pink-y undertones. I apply this product with a light hand and while it certainly isn’t a perfect match I actually love it. I can send you a before and after pic of the result on my skin if that would be helpful to your readership šŸ™‚ Sometimes I put a tiny bit of By Terry tinted moisturizer on top to get a bit of a better match.

    Thanks as always for your informative review!

    1. Hey SJ! Glad to hear some other experiences! I think it’s less imperative to have a ‘perfect match’ in this product, since it’s so sheer. I’d love to see a before and after, if you’re willing! If you’d prefer, you can send it to my email karima@shamelessfripperies(dot)com.
      Thanks for stopping by šŸ™‚ xx

  5. I tried this before in the store but all I could see was shimmer… Aww, this makes me want to go and try it again. Maybe the shimmer was from previous swatching? Haha XD

  6. I can’t make up my mind about getting this or not. Your skin is just perfection (you’ll say it isn’t, but compared to mine it is anyway), I’m not sure this would do anything for me, I would still need to add foundation in some places so would it still be worth it? I don’t know.

    1. Hey Mariella šŸ˜€
      I had a similar thought process. Ultimately, I love the texture of the Sunday Riley Primer and am willing to put in a little more effort because it looks so darn natural. If you have a foundation that already looks invisible on the skin, this may be a moot point for you. x

  7. When Lisa Eldridge reviewed this I was so excited to try it! But unforunately like you said, its no good for us really pale people. My MAC shade is around NW10, and when I went in to Mecca to try the Sunday Riley Primer, it was far too orange – even when sheered right out (mind you if something has any orange pigment in it at all it seems to pull orange on my skin…). I found though that Becca Luminous Skin Colour does a pretty decent and similar job in terms of very light but imperceptible coverage, and comes in a light enough shade for us super pale people šŸ™‚

    1. Awww it’s a real bummer šŸ™ NW10 is definitely too fair for this shade range. Good to hear about Becca Luminous, I’ll check out that formula šŸ˜€ xxkarima

    1. Hey Shani šŸ™‚
      Welcome welcome! I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the blog! I’ll definitely check yours out. Light boxes are good for instances where there is little natural light but I’d pick natural light over artificial any day of the week!

  8. Bought. Returned. Then purchased again, based on this review. (A process that has never happened before for me!) And now I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff. Thanks so much for the detailed review!

  9. Wow, I am absolutely intrigued by this product! I love the way it looks on your skin, Karima.

    I have combo skin and am in need of a primer that can prolong the wear of my foundation now that it’s quite hot and humid in Sydney. I used to use a physical SS for this purpose but i find them too drying now.

    Would you recommend this or the RBR matte primer? I really like the idea of a moisturizing primer, but I’m not sure how well the Sunday Riley will hold up in summer conditions.

    1. Hey Jen!
      I find that the Sunday Riley does prolong the wear of my foundation but I have normal skin and longevity is not normally an issue for me. For oilier skins and very humid weather, I love the RBR primer but it is VERY matte so if your skin is prone to dryness/dehydration, you’ll have to moisturise well.
      Since you’re in Sydney, I recommend getting a sample of the Sunday Riley Primer from Mecca (they’re great about samples) and see if it fits your needs.
      Hope this helps šŸ™‚ xx

  10. Hi Karima!

    I finally sampled it and bought it in medium (perfect for my NC30 skin), and I have to say, this stuff is bloody AMAZING! I haven’t been this impressed with a base MU product in a while.

    You were so right about it looking undetectable on the skin. I experimented and applied a lot more than you did — I used 3 pumps for my face — just to test the the visibility of it, and it still failed to look cakey. Instead, I was able to get a light to almost-medium coverage from it and it looked very luminous, smooth and flawless. My textural imperfections were all blurred out. To increase the coverage to a solid medium (since my skin has gone crazy lately), I mixed another pump of it with half a pump of GA Designer Lift foundation. The result was a very flawless, yet natural look – even in natural and fluorescent lighting.

    I know the amount of product I used seems super excessive, but it proves just how amazingly well this product performs. I am also obsessed with scrutinizing my makeup up close, and I abhor obvious traces of foundations, but this primer was able to pass the test with panache and finesse.

    The longevity of this primer is also impressive. My skin still looks great after twelve hours of wear. Furthermore, despite the amount of product I had on my face, my skin still felt super comfortable – that stuff is truly weightless!

    Thank you so much for raving about this primer. I would not have even batted an eyelash on it if it weren’t for your review. It is truly a gem.

    1. Hey Jen!
      I am SO pleased to hear that you love it as much as I do! It’s an interesting product right? I find it very hard to categorise. Sunday Riley mixes really well with concealers and other foundations (as you’ve discovered) so keep experimenting, I keep coming up with new combinations šŸ™‚
      I, like you, hate when my foundation is visible. It’s hard to find a product that emulates the texture of skin but Sunday Riley is definitely one of those products šŸ™‚
      It is always a pleasure, thank you for reporting back <3 It really makes my day. xx

  11. Hey Karima! Have you tried this product with sunscreen? If so, did you notice any changes in the finish? Oh and I read you like Japanese sunscreens, have you tried Mecca’s own sunscreen? I like you am quite picky about sunscreens and was keen to hear your thoughts about it šŸ™‚

    1. Hey Alex,
      No, I haven’t but I imagine it would depend on the formula of the sunscreen. I have used Mecca’s sunscreen, I tend to prefer it on my body because it’s more emollient than Japanese sunscreens.
      Hope this helps!

  12. Hi Karima! Love the blog, you are a wonderful enabler. I bought this primer before reading your review, and as an nc15 it shows up quite orange on me. I have yet to mix it with my palest foundations (Nars Siberia and Missha 13) but I fear I will still look ompa-loompahy. Any ideas? If Lisa LOVES something then I feel compelled to love something…

    1. Hey Alix!
      Is it the undertone or the depth that makes it turn warm on you? If it’s the undertone, I’m afraid not much can be done šŸ™ It would be more work than it’s worth. If it’s the depth: I keep a white mixer (Face Atelier Zero Plus) in my makeup arsenal and I find it to be a lifesaver. You may consider this, since you have pale skin (allows a bit of versatility). Hope this helps šŸ™‚ xx

    1. Yes šŸ™‚ It does enhance concealer and foundation longevity. If you’re oily skinned, you may require something more heavy-duty but for most purposes, it works rather well. xx

  13. Thank you for such a detailed review upon my research! Especially with the ingredient list. Also so glad to hear it’s not another product that’s full of silicones which gives me block pores like crazy. Will snap this up on my holiday to wear ON my holiday haha… And every other day šŸ˜‰ Did I say thanks for the review? Much love <3

  14. So…I ordered this yesterday. It’s one of many lemmings inspired by your blog+videos but the only one I could get with a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. Thank you for your thorough reviews! (Sorry to post on such an old entry.)