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Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder & “Protect” Primer Review - plus Powder Foundation Application Demo

Laura Mercier has long been a brand known for great base products, from one of the first and best known lines of foundation primers in the world, to the best-selling Secret Camouflage, one of my favorite blemish concealers ever.

Their latest products are the “Protect” SPF30 Foundation Primer, and the Smooth Finish Powder Foundation. Below is a review, tips on different ways to apply your powder foundation, as well as a quick demo of my method of getting maximum coverage!

Foundation Primer - Protect

If you’re like me and hate having to wear a separate sun screen and foundation primer, this is a really great option with SPF30 and triple-plus PA production.

If you have oily to normal skin, layering too many products just makes your makeup wear off faster. Save yourself the trouble and just use a multi-tasking product.

This primer is non-oily and fast-absorbing so it works quite well on most skin types. I also took a picture using a camera flash and there was no flash-back or chalkiness. But it relies on chemical sun filters, so if you’re the super-sensitive type that can only use physical filters, you might want to take note.

Smooth Finish Foundation Powder


Here’s a quick feature summary of Laura Mercier’s new compact foundation powder.

  • velvet finish
  • medium-high coverage
  • no sun-screen (zero flashback in flash photography; I checked!)

The great thing is the finish of this foundation powder is matte and velvety, but your skin will look luminous, not flat. It actually contains oil-based conditioners (shea butter and vitamin E) so it’s very good news for slightly dry or mature skins because it won’t emphasize lines as much as most other powder foundations. But here’s the catch; it’s not stellar at oil-control. If you have oily/combination skin, expect to see the shine breakthrough in about 1-2 hours. I’d say this would be better for normal or slightly-dry people who like a velvety finish.

If you love the finish but have oilier skin, prepare to blot every few hours.

Coverage: variable as with most powder foundations, depending how you apply it. (More on that below.)

Shade range: The shades come in yellow and pink based shades but I find even the “yellow-based” ones to be more neutral than yellow. If you use C and NC in MAC, make sure you try before buying because the range might be warmer (pinker) than you’re used to. Also remember there is minimal oxidation, but it will still darken slightly by the end of the day.

3 Alternate Ways to Apply your Two-Way Powder Foundation!

Aside from using it with a dry or damp sponge, you can get more precision and a more seamless “second-skin” finish using 3 different brushes. Just remember that this always goes ON TOP of liquid or cream concealer. Not under.


  1. A regular big face brush: This is the way to get sheerer coverage. Just dust it on like a loose powder to set liquid foundation or concealer. To get a less powdery look, use a slightly smaller flatter brush like Sephora’s flat blush brush #42.
  2. Eye buffing brush: One of my favorite tricks. Dab the powder foundation on with an eye buffing brush to add precise coverage, set concealer and mask contours over raised spots.
  3. Flat foundation brush: Med-high coverage with a slightly less powdery look can be achieved by just pressing dry powder foundation on with the flat of a foundation brush. (Demo below.)

Dry foundation brush demo!


Perfect time to do a demo since I’ve got an old spot to cover - yikes.


Tip: Use a teeny, tiny eyeliner brush to apply concealer right on blemishes and avoid spreading it beyond the actual dark areas.


Unlike a sponge or a fluffy brush, a flat foundation brush can gently deposit maximum coverage over foundation and concealer, without shifting or buffing off the coverage beneath. It also allows you to be more precise and to get into harder to reach corners.


If you need any extra coverage, go back in with an eyeshadow buffing brush and gently stipple more powder foundation right over the dark spot.

Can’t hide my blemish 100%, but it covers more, faster!

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