For years I've tried various primers, Bare Mineral Prime Time, E.L.F, Monistat Chafing Gel, the list goes on. I was stuck in a vicious circle, the only ones that came close to working also caused immediate cystic acne. It sucked. The Whip Hand team knew I had a miserable track record with primers. And they were kind enough to provide me with a jar to try and see if my picky icky skin could take it.
Here are the ingredients in Set the Stage Primer. I won't pretend to know what they all are, but it was the dimethicone that scared me most. In my mind "cone"= Danger..WARNING! However the Whip Hand team explained since silicone is so inert, there was a good chance it wasn't the "cones" causing the reaction. There are other ingredients including SPF agents that are more notorious for being irritants, which were purposely omitted from this formula. I had hope those were the culprits and maybe this might work for me.
Set the Stage is a thick velvety gel that dries down to a micro powder finish. And like all other Whip Hand products a little goes a long...long....long way. Only the tiniest dab will cover your entire face and leave you with a satin, smooth finish. It feels amazing on the skin. It has a delicate velvet feel and is totally weightless.
I put this on my hand to swatch and after using it for the last week, I can tell you the amount above is easily enough to cover your face several times. Seriously, you need so very little. I've used this for over a week and have only made the tiniest dent in the product that was inside the lid. I don't think I will need to touch the main bulk of the product for several weeks. I can see one jar lasting well over a year, and really if you are using this for private consumption, maybe longer.
Here you can see the primer smoothed out over my hand. The lines and texture on my hand are noticeably diminished. It does everything you want a primer to do and does it beautifully, however, this little work horse isn't done yet.
To illustrate a point, and I wish dearly I had some good photos to show, I will describe what a normal foundation experience is for me, even with "other" primers. I have a very oily T-Zone and flakiness on my cheeks and forehead. I am truly combo. It doesn't matter if I use liquid or powder foundation, even with setting powder my foundation starts to dissolve in a few hours. Then I am on damage control, blotting my brains out until I can get home to scrub it off. And that was pretty much my life, as far as foundation was concerned.
Here is what happens with Set the Stage, and honestly, it's a damn beauty miracle. I moisturize and put this on under my foundation. I then apply either a Meow Cosmetics Powder Foundation or MUFE HD Liquid Foundation. Everything applies better, looks smooth with a satin/dewy finish. With other primers, especially oil control primers, my face could look flat, almost chalky. Set the Stage left it looking natural and youthful. It wasn't shiny or oily, it was was a true satin/dewy finish. I set it with Tarte Smooth Operator Powder. So far, looking really good. Blusher on and I am out the door.
I work 10 hour days in a fairly humid environment. The first day I used Set the Stage I didn't blot....not once. I checked every few hours and I never looked oily, shiny, greasy, my foundation didn't slide, crease, separate, crack wise..nothing. I had very minimal oil breakthrough, but it never looked oily, it still looked fresh. I probably could have blotted, but I just didn't feel it was necessary. It also did not dry out my flaky parts. My face felt moisturized and fresh all day. I came home, 12 hours later and my foundation looked exactly the same. I noticed that even my blush looked the same as it did when I left 12 hours earlier. I can't think of a time where any blush I've used lasted 12 hours intact.
Now, I can't swear that the following is because of the primer, but since using this, my skin looks better. It is clearer, smoother, it looks noticeably improved. I suspect this is partially because this primer does a wonderful job of locking in moisture and protecting my skin from the chemicals and environmental irritants. Again, this is a theory based on zero scientific proof, just visual evidence.
You need it! This product lives up to the hype. I've never used a primer that even comes close to the quality, wearablity and functionality of this product. Whip Hand Cosmetics takes products you think you know, puts their own twist on it, turning it into a unique must. Set the Stage Primer is the very best example of this. Even though this was a sample provided to me buy the company, I turned right around a purchased it myself for a future giveaway. It is the definition of Holy Grail.
Where to buy: Whip Hand Cosmetics
Price: $39.00 for 1oz
If you are in the US, you never pay shipping and there is no minimum order.
This review contains sample product sent to me for consideration. All opinions are my own. For more information visit my disclosure page