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Tone Up Primer: color-correcting marvel, or mediocre solution?

When Avon first launched the new Tone Up Primer back in October, it honestly slipped below my radar a little bit. That was the day our new Avon x The Face Shop collaboration went live, with dozens of new K Beauty products being launched all at once in the U.S. So much to be excited about!

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I really dug into the details of these new colorful primers. Once I did, I knew I had to try one out for myself. I had never seen anything like it! I decided to put Avon’s Tone Up Primer in Lavender to the test. Is this product a color-correcting marvel, or just a mediocre solution? Let’s find out!

About the product

There are a total of 4 primers in Avon’s Tone Up Primer line: Lavender, Mint, Pink, and Lumiere. According to Avon’s advertising, these primers “instantly hydrate and camouflage minor imperfections leaving skin prepped and ready for foundation.” As with any primer, they are also designed to lengthen makeup wear time to keep you looking great all day. And yes – as you’ve probably deduced, three of the four primers are color-correcting. This is HUGE.

The idea behind color-correcting primers is that people can neutralize their undertones. For example, the Lavender primer that I’m going to show you here is designed to correct yellowish undertones – AKA “sallow” skin.

Meanwhile, the Mint primer is meant for red, blotchy areas, and the Pink primer is meant to revive dull-looking skin.

UPDATE JUNE 2021: Tone Up Primer in the shade Mint will be discontinued as of Aug 3rd, 2021 (while supplies last).

UPDATE SEPT 2021: Tone Up Primer will be discontinued as of Oct 25, 2021 (while supplies last).

Three tubes of Tone Up Primer arranged in a row, against a white background

The only Tone Up Primer that is not color-correcting is Lumiere. This primer is instead meant to boost the radiance of the skin by creating an iridescent pearl finish. It’s a good choice for people who need a little brightening!

Bottle of Tone up primer in the shade Lumiere, against a white background

My experience

As I mentioned previously, the Tone Up Primer I chose to try out this time was Lavender. I created this video to help you get a visual of what this primer looks like on my skin. Make sure to take a look!

Application

The application process was easy enough. The only thing to keep in mind is that a little bit goes a long way. As you can see in the video, I squirted the product onto the back of my hand so that I can be extra careful with how much I transfer to my face.

However, I did try the product on a different day before shooting the video (I just couldn’t wait!), and I put on WAY TOO MUCH. It was my own fault, but I seriously looked like a vampire! You only need a small amount to prep the skin and reap the color-correcting benefits.

Appearance/Finish

I had mixed feelings about the appearance of the Lavender primer. Part of this is my fault, because I don’t think I assessed my face effectively when choosing which color to buy. I’ll talk more about why this is below. In regards to the end result, there were a lot of things I liked about the appearance and finish.

For example, I found it to be very successful with making my skin look even and my imperfections look blurred. It prepped my skin nicely for the makeup I put on afterwards. It was a little alarming at first, because the primer itself is thick and light-colored. Without foundation, I looked sickly pale (a result of the blue aspects of the lavender). Of course, the foundation and powder corrected this.

The parts of my skin that do have yellowish undertones appeared a bit less sallow, although the difference was subtle. To be honest, I had a hard time getting the camera angle and lighting right to capture the difference I was seeing with my eyes. It was just that subtle.

Neutralizing my undertones

As I mentioned above, I don’t think I purchased the correct color of Tone Up Primer. In the end, I think this undermined my ability to really get excited about the way I looked with the product on my face. I think this is important to say for two reasons.

  1. I wouldn’t want to give anyone the false impression that this product is ineffective simply because I chose the wrong color. It was too blue for my face, which means someone with truly sallow skin may think it’s perfect.
  2. I think it’s important to spell out WHY I chose the wrong color, because Avon’s advertising materials were not so helpful in this regard.

So, why did I choose the wrong color? Short answer: I got confused because Avon did not spell out the color-correcting properties of the Tone Up Primer in Pink.

The advertising materials for Avon’s Tone Up Primer in Pink state that it “revives and brightens skin tone, making it the choice for pale skin“. With hindsight, I realized that they must be referring to skin that has blue-ish undertones when they use the word “pale”. But this is never expressly talked about, and I personally associate the word “pale” with skin that is light in color. As a result, I went back and forth between the Lavender and Mint primers, not exactly sure which one my skin needed. I noticed that my skin had blue-green undertones, and since I had already ruled out the pink primer (oops), I figured that green undertones must be close enough to yellow to qualify as “sallow”.

Instead of making the same mistake, I encourage you imagine the color wheel when you are making your choice of Tone Up Primer. I even made this handy graphic to help people visualize the difference between the primers. I hope you find it helpful!

Diagram for color-correcting primers and the undertones they correct

Wear Time

I was very impressed with the Tone Up Primer‘s ability to lengthen the wear time of my makeup. As you can see in the video, I only put the Lavender primer on half of my face so I could really compare. When it came time to take my makeup off at the end of the night, the difference was super noticeable.

The left half of my face (with the primer) looked like it had just been applied! Meanwhile, the makeup on the right half of my face was mostly worn off, and you could see all my blemishes. What a difference!

Overall, I was impressed with the key features of Avon’s Tone Up Primer. Once I’m able to get my hands on a bottle of the Pink primer rather than the Lavender, I will most likely begin incorporating it into my full-face makeup looks.

What about you? Have you tried the Tone Up Primer yourself? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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2 Comments

  1. MARCINE E BENNETT

    I aslo went back and forth with the colour choices, and decided on the pink.
    And it is PERFECT. i am a 72 old woman with old dull skin, some redness (so was leary of pink, but wanted some radiance!) I put it on – be careful not to squirt out too much, it goes on easily and you dont need a lot. I didn’t even put foundation on! i could not believe how light it was yet coveered imperfections and coulur changes on my skin. A bit of blush and some eye make up and I am good for the day. Love it! ExACTLY what I have been looking for. ps 20 year old grandaughter using the lumiere, for radiance, not cover. She has lovely young skin, makes her feel/look fantastic.

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