Foundation makeup and winter skin are lifelong foes. It's kind of a cruel joke, really—the time of year most jam-packed with parties, celebrations, and get-togethers calls for a full face and sparkly eye shadow, but the dry air (and flaky skin that accompanies it) makes getting that flawless finish feel like an impossible task. The obvious solution (besides slathering yourself with moisture-trapping occlusives every night) is a killer primer. And if you're in the market for one that manages to act like something of a forcefield against dry patches, rogue bumps, and redness, you're in luck.
Hourglass just developed something of the ultimate winter primer with the introduction of the Vanish Airbrush Primer ($56). As the name would suggest, it does lend an airbrushed, impossibly smooth look to the skin to create the perfect base for face makeup—a welcome outcome year-round, but especially with dry winter skin.
But at Hourglass, overachievement seems to already be an operative word for 2022. Launching in tandem with the new primer is something of a sister product—albeit, one that comes with some longer-term benefits. The Equilibrium Instant Plumping Eye Mask ($68) is an immediately volumizing undereye treatment that fills in eye hollows for a bright-eyed effect while simultaneously smoothing lines and adding hydration even as you layer concealer atop it.
In short, this new duo is a perfect first-step pair for any look imaginable. Read on for details on the latest skin prep duo from Hourglass.
About The Products
For Carisa Janes, the founder and CEO of Hourglass Cosmetics, the challenge was to create a primer that acts like a blanket, creating a smooth, shine-deflecting canvas without feeling too heavy on the skin. Hourglass fans (me among them) are drawn to the brand for its products' lighter-than-air feel, and Janes was determined to make the new primer just as comfortable.
"I’m so excited with the result because this is truly a game-changer in ensuring my skin maintains that airbrushed finish all day," Janes shared, adding that developing this skin prep duo was an obvious extension of the brand's larger Vanish line. "The seamless finish and weightless feel of the products have become so sought after that a primer was our natural next step."
The Vanish line's reached cult status for a reason. Focused on blurring pores, spots, and lines (all while leaving behind a creamy, sunk-in finish typically associated with more natural makeup looks), it's a real best of both worlds scenario: the flawless finish of a thicker foundation with the natural finish of tinted moisturizer.
As for the eye mask, which works well as an undereye-specific primer, Janes was after some instant gratification—the likes of which she'd been unable to find in other eye masks and treatments. "I wanted to create a new formula with immediate results that focused on delivering instant hydration," she explains. "Sometimes, you want to look like you’ve just had a facial: instantly hydrated, plumped, and ready to go." That immediate shot of moisture and subsequent smoothness is a welcome one always, but the winter launch timing feels especially ideal.
To get that silky, blurred effect, the Vanish Airbrush Primer, much like the wider Vanish line, incorporates microspherical powders that obfuscate discoloration and blemishes without feeling too heavy. Marc Reagan, Global Director of Education, Artistry, and Events, tells Byrdie that those itty-bitty powder infusions are the key to the Vanish line's coveted finish. "These powders are extremely small and porous, so they feel ultra-light, breathable, and silky on the skin," he explains. "What I love most is how they work within this formula to control shine, but never leave your complexion looking flat like some mattifying products can do."
As a result, this is a primer that plays well with others. Paired with virtually any complexion-evening makeup, it yields an excellent base for layering other creams and powders.
Similar to the Vanish line extension, the Equilibrium Instant Plumping Eye Mask was born from an existing product collection within Hourglass, too. The Equilibrium line and its newest addition are both formulated with the proprietary Cell Balancing Complex. "This is used across all the Equilibrium products to support your skin’s innate renewal process for a complexion that is hydrated, radiant, and protected. It’s a groundbreaking blend of youth lipids (phospholipids and prolipids) that help to rebalance, restore, and renew the skin barrier," Reagan says.
For the brand's latest launch, that blend is combined with another Hourglass signature: the Plumping Complex. Reagan explains that the Plumping Complex's emollients plump and smooth skin for a refreshed result that usually requires a vacation. Plus, there's more than just an immediate incentive to pat the mask in, too. "While the mask is geared toward immediate effects, there are also many long-term benefits to hydrated skin—it's healthier, more balanced, and better equipped to defend itself against environmental stressors," Reagan says.
The perfect opportunity to put these products through their paces appeared in the form of a literal road test. My fiancé and I planned a road trip through the Rockies to visit family, which meant I needed makeup that would both impress and disguise my mountain-air-and-car-heater ravaged skin. It's a tall order for any product, but as a longtime Hourglass fan, I had some serious faith. Here's a shot of my skin just before we took off, in which you'll notice hyperpigmentation, hollow under-eyes, and my greatest nemesis/skincare Final Boss: melasma.
After just a few hours on the road, my bare skin started to rebel. I got red, dry, and irritated—frankly, exactly what I expected from the altitude, car heater, and the Dairy Queen chicken tenders I housed somewhere around the Texas state line. But in the morning, even after 6 a.m. wakeup call in a southern Colorado motel room, something miraculous happened. Smoothing on the primer and eyemask, my skin felt both smooth and nearly juicy to the touch—basically the exact inverse of just a few moments earlier.
My thick concealer glided on like the primer was my skin, and didn't pill up or peel even after a buffed-in layer of foundation and cream bronzer. The makeup didn't feel like it was sitting on my skin either, more like it just was my skin. I've found primers to be the single most hit-or-miss category, and this was an immediate hit. The mask's results aren't quite as stand-out, but they're definitely there—this is something I'd absolutely recommend for early mornings or days when you can just see the fatigue in your own face.
By the time I'd pulled on my grandparent-approved sweater vest, I felt like a whole new human. Even my melasma, which I've just accepted as a permanent part of my forehead at this point, was pretty obscured—a feat, take it from me. The primer helped my makeup hang around for much longer than usual, too, and the transference to my white turtleneck was zilch. All in all, I think of both products not unlike a morning coffee and some forgiving lighting: small helpers that add up to a major difference.