Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer


With all this talk of BB creams, CC creams, primers, tinted moisturizers, and liquid foundations, the initial stages of makeup application can be somewhat overwhelming. The difference between each of the aforementioned categories can range from “actually different” to “ummm…something about SPF?” to “good marketing." Makeup is fun—obviously!—but trial and error can be a bitch, so when a something lands on your vanity that cuts steps required to make you look photo-shoot-ready in half, well, you better stock up.

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways… Ok, Elizabeth Barret Browning made those lines sound a bit more poetic, but seriously, this love letter could go on for pages (don’t worry, we'll keep it snappy). A long-running staple of Emily’s medicine cabinet, the über-sheer, slightly tinted mousse uses RejuvenOx (scary as it may sound, it’s actually a non-hazardous, colorless, odorless material used to help stimulate your skin’s natural oxygen absorption) to keep your skin breathable (hence then name) and moisturized. The I-don’t-know-how-she-does-it glow can be attributed to mica (remember that flakey iridescent mineral science teachers had in elementary school?), which illuminates your complexion without imparting a teen-queen sparkle or pearlescent effect. Though primers are inherently meant to prime for foundation, we prefer to let this satin finish multi-tasker fly solo. Available in three shades—light, medium, and deep—it may not be a steal at $48.00, but if time is money and all that, then the price is perfectly reasonable for the paraben-free product from the admirably eco-friendly line.

So, tomorrow morning (or the morning after you’ve thrown down on your new favorite primer), when that pretty mug of yours has the even tone characteristic of tinted moisturizer and a smooth-as-a-freshly-Clarisonic-ed surface, enjoy those few extra minutes Sunday Riley’s aptly titled Effortless primer will gift you. Maybe do some of those sit-ups you’ve been meaning to do since New Years.

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.

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  • mt

    All right, ITG, you may have just convinced this 32-year-old to try a base layer of makeup FOR THE FIRST TIME. (Luckily, my complexion, while not perfect, is one of my better features). Yep, foundation has always scared me with nightmares of looking "caked" like a Fox news anchor and I was always skeptical of finding something that really matched my complexion. I also remember so many girls from my high school sporting the dreaded "mask line" around the jawline because they used the wrong shade and/or hadn't blended enough. Will report back!

  • Colleen Oczkowski

    I love these reviews but a "before and after" picture would make it even better.

  • murt

    hmm I'm curious about this though the mica in it worries me.... I'll check it out though.

  • Celeste

    Yup, I'm on my second bottle :) I love it over a good moisturizer teamed with a bright lipstick or balm. It did cause a bit of shellshock when I suddenly ran out last winter. Everything else, even other tinted primers and BBs all felt so darn heavy and slimy in comparison.

  • Alexa

    I'm obsessed with Sunday Riley products and for me, this one was the gateway, I use it daily and it makes such a difference.

  • rs

    Okay, ITG, dafuq on the oxygen. I thought it was bad for skin? You're espousing the pro-oxidant nature of this product when you're probably using it in conjunction with antioxidants, what?

    • maiastras

      Oxygenation (one of the primers purported properties) is different from oxidation (what anti-oxidants are meant to prevent).

      Here are definitions from the American Heritage Medical Dictionary:

      1) ox·y·gen·a·tion (ks-j-nshn) n.

      The addition of oxygen to a chemical substance or physical system.

      2) ox·i·da·tion (ks-dshn) n.

      1. The combination of a substance with oxygen.

      2. A reaction in which the atoms in an element lose electrons and the valence of the element is correspondingly increased.

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Gosh, this sounds like perfection! Lightweight and tinted and, as the title suggests, effortless! xo


  • Ren

    Every day, I lament that this product does not have SPF. If it did, it would be utterly perfect! But I guess Sunday has a sunscreen to sell . . .

  • isaobeso

    This seems awesome! I also regret the lack of SPF, I normally wear only spf in the mornings and that's it, I actually skip foundation or any cream because of my lack of time, so if the extra time this gives me is for actually putting my spf on, then it is well though. I still wouldn't give it time for it, it would be more of a special day or something.

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  • Yelena

    I am sorry,but I don't see anything special about the product.I had it for a year.To wear it by itself you need to have a perfect skin(no discolorations,no spots,no marks). It does not give you any super glow that regular cream would not. As a primer,I have other primers which do the same job. And when you try to get it out ,the pump is spraying it all over the plays(called Barneys,they said its normal). Sorry !Not impressed!

  • Maryk

    Who is this joker?

  • Celleste

    ITG! Emily! Help! SR Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer has been discontinued (at least it is in Canada). It was my Holy Grail since it came out. I've been scrambling trying to find anything like it with no luck so far. I noticed that Emily was using Koh Gen Do's Aqua foundation before and it has similarly light ingredients with a sheer finish. Are they somewhat alike? Is the finish as smooth, angelic, and utterly perfect? Is Maifanshi a better bet? What say you?


Sunday Riley
Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer