Let me start this review by saying that I’ve been reading about Maybelline Baby Skin for a long time now and I’ve been dying to try it for myself. It’s been available in Asian countries for quite some time, and it’s so popular in other countries that it even has a “spin-off” version called Baby Skin Pink Transformer SPF35 (this link will take you to the Maybelline Hong Kong website). Hopefully that product will make it to the US eventually, but for now let’s focus on the original, which IS available in the United States now.
I picked this up over a month ago at CVS and I’ve been quietly testing it ever since. I’m finally ready to give you my verdict, so let’s get started.
Here are the ingredients for some higher-end primers that have been compared to Baby Skin:
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (retail: $36, 1.0 oz)
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Trisiloxane, Silica, Dimethicone/ Vinyldimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Extract, Propylene Glycol, Water (Aqua, Eau), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cola Acuminata Seed Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract.
Benefit The Porefessional (retail: $30, 0.75 oz)
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isononyl Isononanoate, Silica, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isododecane, Phenoxyethanol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Titanium Dioxide, (CI 77891), Cyclohexasiloxane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance (Parfum), Mica, Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Limonene, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Triethoxycaprylylsilane, BHT. N° 04932
And since I know that several of you use Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel in place of primer, here are the ingredients for that product as well:
Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel (retail: $7.49, 1.5 oz)
Active Ingredients: Dimethicone (1.2%)
Inactive Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trisiloxane
Comparing all four products, you can see that the biggest difference with Baby Skin is the absence of Cyclopentasiloxane (a form of silicone) which is the MAIN ingredient in all of the other products. So it’s hard to say that Baby Skin is a dead-on dupe for any of the above products, considering that the main ingredient in those products is NOT in Baby Skin. However, if I were pressed to compare it to one product in particular, I would say that it most closely resembles Smashbox Photo Finish Primer when it comes to texture and feel. Monistat is a bit thicker/heavier in texture. The Porefessional is also a bit thicker and it’s also scented as well as tinted (although the tint in The Porefessional pretty much disappears after application for me).
WHAT IT DOES: This is a basic, fragrance-free silicone-based primer designed to minimize the appearance of pores. You apply this product after moisturizer/sunscreen but before foundation. You can wear it alone or under makeup. It does not claim to make makeup stay on longer, but that is often an added benefit of silicone-based primers (for some people–not all).
WHAT IT DOES FOR ME PERSONALLY: Due to the nature of my skin (which is very oily), silicone-based primers don’t usually work for me as well as primers that are more lotion-like and not as silicone-heavy. That said, I had good results with this one, and it actually worked better for my particular skin than Benefit’s The Porefessional (more on that in a moment). I find that less is more with this product, and when I apply a very thin layer to my skin, it absolutely helps make my pores look less noticeable, and it also extends the life of my foundation by a few hours. As you can see above, it doesn’t work that well to help stop my foundation from pooling up in my pores, but that’s really only an issue with foundations that ALREADY pool up in my pores. In other words, this product doesn’t cause my foundation to pool up. Also, it does not provide me with any oil control, but it also doesn’t add any oil to my skin. But remember, I have very oily skin to begin with and I’ve been testing this during the winter, so it may be different in summertime.
HOW IT COMPARES TO OTHER PRIMERS: For me, this product most closely resembles Smashbox Photo Finish Primer in both its physical appearance (both are transparent, fragrance-free and have a thin consistency) and performance. I think the Smashbox primer works a bit better for me personally, but I think Baby Skin is the closest drugstore primer yet to Smashbox (even closer than Hard Candy Sheer Envy primer, which is another one that’s similar). In comparison to Benefit The Porefessional,, they’re quite different in appearance (The Porefessional is tinted, scented and also a bit thicker in texture). I did an experiment the other day where I applied Baby Skin to one half of my face and The Porefessional to the other half. I then applied my foundation, concealer and powder as usual. After eight hours, I asked my boyfriend to carefully look at my face and tell me which side looked better (I didn’t do any touch-ups throughout the day). He said it was obvious that the right side (the side with Baby Skin) looked better and I agreed with him after examining my face in the mirror. My skin just looked softer, smoother and more of my make-up was still intact on the Baby Skin side. As for how Baby Skin compares with Monistat Chafing Gel (also fragrance-free), I personally prefer Baby Skin, because it doesn’t feel as heavy or thick, and I find that it removes more easily with just my regular facial cleanser than Monistat does. Performance-wise, Baby Skin is similar to Monistat, but I think Baby Skin works a bit better for my particular skin.
FINAL VERDICT: Overall, this primer definitely helps minimize the appearance of my pores and, true to its claims, it really does “blur” them. It also helps create a smoother base for my foundation, while extending the wear of my foundation by a few hours. It doesn’t stop pooling with foundations that already pool up in my pores, and it also doesn’t control oil when it comes to my crazy-oily skin (but it doesn’t seem to add any oil either). If you’re already a fan of silicone-based primers and you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to Smashbox Photo Finish Primer or Benefit The Porefessional, I think you might want to consider this one. If you already love and use Monistat Chafing Relief Gel in place of primer, I’m afraid that Baby Skin probably won’t provide you with anything that you’re not already accustomed to, but I personally prefer Baby Skin to the Monistat product.