I've used eyeshadow primer for so many years that I can't quite imagine going without it. It creates a smooth surface for easier shadow application, grabs on to color, and prevents creasing--what's not to love? And for years, my go-to eyeshadow primer has been Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Despite the fact that I don't wear eyeshadow every day, I've managed to go through three or four tubes of the stuff.
Lip primer, though? It's never really appealed to me. I think it's because I favor satin and matte formulas with a lot of pigment, which tend to really stick to the lips. Also, I do the apply-blot-reapply-blot method, which makes most lip colors last longer on their own. Then Lena from Faceonomics kept posting about the Too Faced Lip Insurance on Instagram.
That prompted me to read more reviews.
And eventually, Sephora sent out their yearly "$20 off $50" code for VIBs, which made me buy it.
(Okay, okay, so the hype made me buy it. Sue me.)
The Too Faced Lip Insurance retails for $20. It comes in a green and gold plastic tube, very reminiscent of their Shadow Insurance primer. It has a soft doe foot applicator and a stopper inside that's meant to pull off excess product, but I still recommend wiping off the applicator a bit because a little goes a long way.
The Too Faced Lip Insurance primer has a very thin texture and is completely colorless. It glides on to the lips easily and dries down within 15 seconds. Now, the company claims that this primer will "promote suppleness" and "pamper lips," but that's not really the case. As you can see in this before-and-after picture, it actually makes my lips feel and look a bit dryer before I apply any product. They're also smoother to the touch.
Neither of these results are shocking. This formula contains jojoba oil and vitamin E, yes, but talc and silicones top the ingredients list. Hence, you get a formula that feels soft and powdery to the touch, but can be drying. This slight dryness is tolerable and isn't visible after lipstick application; still, it prevents me from using it every single time I apply my lipstick, since I'm definitely a bit parched at the end of the day.
Once applied, I find that the actual finish of my lipsticks isn't much affected by the primer; at the most, some formulas are slightly more matte. The above photo, featuring two layers of Besame American Beauty over the Too Faced primer, is a good example. Again, I favor matte and satin lipsticks, so people who use much glossier, creamier products may have a slightly different experience.
Too Faced claims that this primer will prevent feathering, fading, and transfer. The first two are definitely true. In the photo above, I applied the NARS Audacious lipstick in Michiyo over the primer and went about my day. The photo on the left shows how the lipstick looked right after application, while the photo on the right shows how it looked after three or four hours of regular eating and drinking. There's a bit of fading in the center of my mouth if you expand the image, and the tiniest bit of feathering around the images, but overall, the color is staying put.
Transfer resistance, though? That's not happening with this primer. I find that my lipstick still ends up on my sandwiches and cups throughout the day, and I have absolutely had a line of lipstick end up on my chin while I'm eating. This is a primer that holds on to the color from the back, sort of like velcro; it does not seal in the lipstick.
In the long run, I think this is a solid primer that I'll reach for when I won't have much time to reapply my makeup. It won't stop transfer and it can be a little drying, but the extended wear and reduced feathering balance it all out for me.
RATING: 4 out of 5
Too Faced Lip Insurance is available at Sephora.