I seriously love MAC Prep + Prime line! To me, it feels like skincare meets makeup! Everything I try, I end up loving it; the Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Base (review), the Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base (review), and of course, the Prep + Prime Lip (base) which I am reviewing today! :)
The latest addition to my Prep + Prime collection is the Prep + Prime Lip. It is basically a lip primer that comes in a convenient twist-up stick. The stick is rather long, but slim, so it won't take up too much room at all in your makeup bag. The primer itself looks like a white lip balm in the tube but it is transparent when applied on the lips. It has the familiar vanilla scent signature of MAC lip products although it is very faint and vanishes instantly upon application.
The tip of the product is slanted and small which makes for a precise application. I, however, would recommend twisting it up just enough to apply otherwise you could risk breaking off the tip.
The product was designed to be used under your lip color (lipstick, lip gloss, lip liner, lip stain, lip cream, and so on) to improve the appearance of applied lip products. Upon initial application, it feels very much like your typical lightweight lip balm. It even adds hydration, moisturizes, and keeps lips conditioned, very much the same way a lip balm does. It is very emollient and slippery in the beginning in which at this time you have to let it sit for a minute or so. Remember this is key. If you follow with your lip product right away, it will not adhere well to your lips and will move around. The color will also be sheered out considerably.
After a minute wait, the texture will dry down to a semi-matte finish and become slightly tacky and sticky, and that's when you know it's good to follow with your lip color. The tackiness allows the lip color to adhere to your lips to prolong the wear time but it does not interfere with the color, texture, consistency, or coverage of the lip color by any means.
It does well at smoothing and evening out the texture on my lips. I notice that my lipstick glides on so much smoother. I have tried it under different formulations of lip products and it seems to be compatible with all of them. I also tested it with the Tom Ford Lips & Boys lipstick in Michael (review) and witnessed an improvement in the application right away. Without the Prep + Prime Lip, Michael would go on streaky and emphasize lines and dry patches, with the Prep + Prime Lip, I didn't experience any of that at all. The finished result is always smooth and flawless. This stuff just really works!
The effect is long-lasting, too. Usually my lips would become slightly dry in the afternoon, especially now that it's winter, but Prep + Prime Lip seems to keep my lips fairly soft and smooth all day. It also extends the longevity of my lip color for another hour or two, which is a welcome bonus point (it doesn't claim to extend the wear time of lip products, just improve the appearance).
You can clearly see in the picture below that with the Prep + Prime Lip underneath, the lipstick grabs onto the skin better, evidently enhancing its color payoff and resulting in a smoother, more uniformed application.
If your lips experience dryness after a lip color application, or if you are simply looking for a way to improve the appearance and/or prolong the initial finish of your lipstick, MAC Prep + Prime Lip is definitely something worth looking into. It works as promised, is reasonably priced, and I suspect it is going to last a long time even with daily use! Some of you may be curious if this is effective enough to replace a lip balm, well, if your lips are not sensitive and in healthy condition, it probably would be enough. For me, though, I still like to condition my lips with a lip balm first (I have severely dry lips) to soften the texture just a bit, then blot it down, and apply the Prep + Prime Lip. I know it's an extra step but it doesn't take more than a minute to do. The results is always worth the extra effort in my opinion. :)