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The Dilemma: Are Multi-Tasking Beauty Products Failing Us?

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image via thelibertineezine.com_borrowed for Is Multi-tasking Beauty Stuff Failing Us

A recent question from a friend makes me wonder whether multi-tasking beauty products are really failing us, rather than helping. "Okay, I need some advice here," said my friend, who decided to go by the name Roxy Blue for this post. "I cleanse, I tone -- and then what? My moisturizer is tinted. Do I put it on before primer, or after?" You'd think the answer would be easy. But...

Primer is designed to form a barrier between the skin's natural oils and makeup to help makeup stay on better; it also usually smooths the surface of the skin so makeup glides on. Applied before tinted moisturizer, it should help the tint pigments stay put better. But...

Tinted moisturizer is designed to moisturize and subtly even out skintone at the same time. Putting primer on before the tinted moisturizer would get in the way of the moisturizing part. Wouldn't it? Roxy has oily skin; she needs moisturizer -- hydration -- to keep it in check. But she also needs the primer to help her makeup last longer.

Both the primer and tinted moisturizer are multi-tasking beauty products, but because of their respective job descriptions, they don't really play well together. Sheesh.

sorting out a multi-tasking muddle?

Today almost everything seems to be billed as a multi-tasker, whether it has an annoying double-consonant name or not. Multi-tasking beauty products make sliding new things in and out of our skincare and makeup routines tricky. To get what she wants -- hydration, oil control, longer wear and light coverage -- Roxy has to re-think her routine. She has the following options:

Smashbox hydrating primer

Choose a hydrating primer, such as Smashbox Photofinish Hydrating Foundation Primer ($50, This formula contains hyaluronic acid, BFF to oily as well as dry skin. Roxy can then layer her tinted moisturizer on top and hope it's enough hydration for her skin.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel_Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup

OR ditch the tinted moisturizer for a separate moisturizer, such as hyaluronic-acid-dosed Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($32,, to put on before the primer she already has (I'd go with the hydrating formula, Roxy). After primer, she can apply a light liquid foundation such as Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup ($46, to even out skin tone.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel_Philosophy Hope in a Jar BB Cream

OR ditch the primer and the tinted moisturizer for separate hydrating moisturizer to apply before BB cream (a multi-tasker with built-in primer) such as Philosophy Hope in a Jar A-toZ SPF 20 BB Cream ($38, on top. (I don't care what anyone says, BBs on their own don't have enough moisturizer to keep dry or oily skin happy.)

See how a routine with multi-tasking beauty products takes extra thought? Maybe we're asking too much of moisturizer, and makeup, too. Don't even get me started on the moisturizer+SPF or foundation+SPF issue.

the multi-tasker break-up

My dad is an electronics engineer -- he services and builds hi-fi equipment. He was never a fan of all-in-one concepts, such as the TV+DVD unit. If the DVD player breaks, you have to take the entire unit in for fixing and do without your TV in the interim. If the TV breaks, you can't use the DVD unit. Keeping them separate makes life easier in the long run, he says.

Maybe it's the same with multi-tasking beauty products.

Is anyone else besides Roxy Blue and me feeling a little multi-tasker muddled?