Philosophy’s The Present – Review

The Present

Primers are difficult for me. As you know, I have rather dry skin. But it tends to produce quite a bit of oil in my t-zone. If I buy a primer for one problem it inevitably ignores the other. This was one of my last beauty purchases before my No-Buy. I bought it around the end of December. It promises to be:

“A colorless day-and-night skin perfector that camouflages fine lines, wrinkles, and pores, and gives the skin a flawlessly airbrushed appearance.”

and a

“multitasking formula feels lightweight and functions as a foundation primer, colorless skin perfector, skin barrier protector and oil-free moisturizer.”

And it delivers for many. But did it deliver for me?

Generic Information:

At $28USD this is priced around the same as most other Department store primers and like them, much higher than drugstore stuff. Of course, being a Philosophy product it’s said to be free of Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes, Phthalates, GMOs and Tricosan. It’s also said to have antibacterial properties.

Philosophy is known for their natural products and therapeutic approach to skincare. So The Present really falls into their target category. It’s promoted as a primer, a treatment sealant, invisible makeup, moisturizer and fine line, wrinkle and pore camouflage.

For the amount you pay, you get tube of 2 oz or 56.7 g. I was worried it was a small bottle but after having used it for 3 months I know it’s more than enough. I’ve barely gotten halfway through the contents!


The packaging is your standard squeezey bottle with a wide mouth opening. You can clearly see how much product you have left. It’s minimalist and sleek. The slightly less sleek part? The wide opening does nothing to prevent the product from seeping out and crusting up the inner cap and mouth. It’s kind of gross. I compulsively clean mine every few days because I can’t stand to see it.


The Present Consistency

The Primer is creamy and rich. It’s got a nice thick consistency.It smelled strongly of lavender to me and wouldn’t you know it? It’s one of the ingredients:

water (aqua), cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, behenyl alcohol, dimethiconol, lysozyme, cetyl dimethicone, sodium citrate, peg-12 dimethicone, peg/ppg-18/18 dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, propylene glycol, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben.

I find the smell stays on my face for at least 10-15 minutes, but I have a rather sensitive nose. If you don’t pick up on the lavender, then it’ll just smell distinctly herby. So keep that in mind if such a scent doesn’t appeal to you.


It glides on nicely, probably due to the silicon in the formula.Because the formula is so thick and spreadable, you only need a dollop for your entire face. I use it after my moisturizer has set. The packaging suggests you give it at least 2 minutes to set before you apply makeup. Actually, it says you MUST do this. Have I not done it? Of course. I didn’t really think it made a huge difference. I’ve also mixed it into my foundation and found that it didn’t affect the durability of the product. So there.


Philosophy suggest that this is a multi generational product. Younger teens can use it in place of foundation because it is supposed to control oil. Older women can use it for the wrinkle, pore and fine line reducing properties. Women in between are said to benefit from its supposed oil controlling properties. It didn’t really do any of the above for me.

Before The Present

After The Present

No effect on my pores

No effect on the lines and wrinkles around my eyes.

Before The Present

After The Present

You can see in the above that The Present definitely had some initial oil reducing properties. But unfortunately, this didn’t last. I find that I get oily after about 4-5 hours whether i’m wearing it alone, under foundation or mixed into foundation.

I do feel that The Present extends the wear of my foundation by about 1-3 hours. Again, this is the same whether I wear it under or mixed into foundation. But it’s not nearly as significant an extension as say…my old Primer (ELF’s $6USD offering.)

I will say that The Present definitely FEELS nicer on my skin than other primers. But it doesn’t deliver the same results.


If my sister’s poreless, baby soft, wrinkle free skin got oily every once in a while? I’d suggest that she use this. I think this is best for very fine pores (which I know it does reduce and have seen it do so) and minor oiliness. But it doesn’t give me what I need from a primer: real oil control and longer makeup wear.

Value: 5/5

Appropriately priced for a Department Store brand and comes with so much product that even if it was more expensive, it’d be worth it.

Packaging: 3/5

Sleek and classic but messy messy messy!

Formula: 7/10

A nice, soothing, lavender-scented formula. It’s free of several additives but It does contain dimethecone and lavender oil. This is known to cause breakouts and irritation on super-sensitive skin.

Application: 9/10

Glides on easily and smoothly. Philosophy claims it needs to set but I didn’t find this was the case for me.

Results: 2/10

I was very disappointed in the results. The most I could say was that it didn’t irritate the dry or sensitive areas of my skin, that it added a few piddly hours to my foundation time and that it temporarily reduced oil.

Wear: 2/10

Not what I expected from a primer (to extend foundation wear.)

Overall: 56% (F)

I’d have to say that all but the best of skintypes can pass on this. I know this is a favored product among many but -I- can’t recommend it to anyone with a whole heart.

<3 EA

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7 Responses to Philosophy’s The Present – Review

  1. Always wondered about this stuff. Glad I passed on it. I don’t care for most primers, unless they give a bit of a glow.
    Tracy@Beauty Reflections recently posted..New At The Drugstore: Revlon Surf Nail Polish

  2. I’ve never tried something from philosophy butzi always wanted to.. I don’t dare wearing foundation! my skin is already so sensitive that I don’t want to over do it.. anyway, if sensai (kanebo) has one I will try it since all of their productswork miracles. literally!!
    ねこちゃん recently posted..Spring!

  3. sara says:

    Thanks for your honest opinion. Will stay away from it. Have you tried Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch? Have seen people raving about it :)
    sara recently posted..Rouge Bunny Rouge Colour Burst Lipstick in ‘Inscribed in Sheets’ – Review & swatches

  4. awww too bad… I usually really love philosophy products
    Maryam Maquillage recently posted..Taupe & Smokey Pour Amélie :)

  5. Thanks for your honest review. This primer is very expensive and I’ve seen it at Sephora countless times :p I don’t care much for primers at the moment but I’m sure there are more beneficial ones that will help :D
    Rainy Days & Lattes recently posted..Cantu Shea Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream

  6. Lauren says:

    Sadly this is the reason I don’t bother with primers. They make such a subtle or small difference on your skin and I’ve never really found that they make my makeup last longer. Just seems like a wasted step!
    Lauren recently posted..Lush Skincare Haul

  7. courtney says:

    So true I’m so disappointed as well it didn’t fill a pore nor a wrinkle I honestly don’t know why everyone is so crazy about this product now I’m out $30 bucks and it broke my skin out ●︿●

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