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The Multi-Tasking Serum That Promises To Keep Your Makeup On Until Midnight

There's prepping your skin for makeup, there's the actual makeup, and now there's a serum designed to slide right in between the two.

It seems like the number of steps it takes to fully prep your skin for the day’s battles and your armour against it – makeup, even if barely there – only increases by the day. First, there were only cleansers, toners and moisturisers. Then came serums, sunblock, exfoliants, essences, primers. If we were to compare skincare routines with women, say, a decade or two ago, today’s multiple-step skin prep regimen is at least quintuple of that. Prepping one’s skin is not rocket science, but it is hardly simple. (Unless you decide to adopt the “caveman routine“, that is.)

Just when you thought that the list cannot get any longer, it does. Just several weeks ago, we came across a little something by South Korean label Blithe: the Inbetween Makeup Prep Essence. There’s prepping your skin, and there’s the makeup. This one goes right smack in between the two. Meant to act as a pre-base for your makeup, the essence claims to do three things: protect your skin, enhance the colour pay-off of your makeup and help make the cleansing process much easier. Sort of like what base coats do for your nails. The brochure I got  – went old school with this one – also said that it’ll help my makeup “last until midnight”. Interesting.

Is it skincare or is it makeup? Well, it is 90 percent the former, the 10 percent being a primer. With a mild citrus scent, Inbetween goes on and dries like a serum. It feels just slightly tacky to the touch when it dries – the finish is mostly matte with subtle, glowy sheen. The ingredient list boasts good stuff like niacinamide, ceramide, soy beans, ginseng, rice and tomato that all work together to form a barrier over your skin whilst protecting it. However, like some serums on the market, this one does contain alcohol, so those with sensitive skin may have to take extra care with this one.

I tested it out in the best way I know how – with a full face of makeup, a lot of shuttling between air-conditioned rooms and the sunny outdoors, and at least 12 hours on the clock. (I was at a theme park on both days of the test, so you can add roller coaster-generated wind to the list.) While my skin did still get oily, my makeup did not look like it was going to slide off my face. Of course, it may have something to do with my primer (Fenty Beauty) and foundation (the new one from NARS), but I felt that it did help to lock in moisture. My skin sometimes has bouts of dry itch at the sides of my face when the air gets too chilly, but I did not get any of that with this essence under my makeup.

I’ll be honest – if you were to ask me if this is a must-have, I’ll go with an “ehhhhh” that is more towards a “no”. If you already use skincare that has stuff like niacinamide and ceramide, you can give this a miss. If your current primer already works like a charm and you don’t have any problems cleansing, you can give this a miss. Blithe, however, has a pretty good record in our books, so while this isn’t completely necessary, it can be good for those who are paranoid and just want an extra something-something to prep their skin for long makeup wear, or if you just have a lot of love for serums.

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