This Is Sephora’s Best-Selling Primer & It’s So Easy To See Why

Sara Tan

As much as I love wearing makeup, the skin care-obsessed beauty editor in me cannot wait to take it off as soon as I get home. The thought of heavy foundation, cream blushes, and pigmented eyeshadows soaking into my face hour after hour quite literally makes my skin crawl. For this reason, I always try wearing a primer before applying my makeup, but I hadn't found one that I actually liked to use until Tatcha's Silk Canvas Primer came into my life.

When founder and CEO Vicky Tsai and her team were developing the product, they looked to the traditional geisha's beauty routine (as they do with every one of their products). What was the one makeup essential every geisha needed in her everyday life? Japanese wax called Bintsuke. When applied, the melted Bintsuke would create a soft, poreless canvas that would help a geisha's makeup last all day and night, while also protecting her skin from all of the makeup she wore. Because applying wax directly onto your face is uncomfortable and not particularly good for the skin, Tatcha decided to modernize the geisha staple with The Silk Canvas.

This primer, which the Tatcha team believes should be the last part of your skin care regimen and the first part of your makeup routine, is exactly that — a skin care-meets-makeup product. It nourishes and treats your skin like a moisturizer or cream, while also prepping your face and blurring imperfections like a primer. This is thanks to the silk extracts, silk powder, botanicals, and Akoya pearl extract that can be found in the multi-tasking formula.

The consistency of the primer is like a balm — velvety and smooth, perhaps like a melted wax would feel. To use it, you are instructed to scoop out a rice grain-sized amount (a little goes a long way), warm it up between your fingers, and massage it gently into your skin on your forehead, cheeks, nose, eyelids — wherever needs priming.

At first, it appears white when you apply it onto your face, but that's actually the pink and gold pearl extracts you're seeing. Once the primer is blended into your skin, the pearl (in addition to the green tea, rice, and algae ingredients) vanishes and creates a healthier, more radiant, and more even skin tone (while also helping to conceal any redness or blemishes). While the primer creates a somewhat dewy, silky appearance on your skin, it also minimizes excess shine, which is great for those with oily skin. And although it feels light and blends easily into your face, you can feel that it's there, creating a protective layer to combat pollutants and prevent any from makeup soaking into your skin and potentially clogging your pores.

Left: Before wearing The Silk Canvas; Right: After applying The Silk Canvas
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The Silk Canvas also helps your makeup go on more evenly, whether it's cream, liquid, or powder, and allows products to look more pigmented on your skin. This is especially true for eyeshadows, so not only does the primer help your eye makeup stay put, but it also makes the colors stand out even more than it normally would.

Left: Marc Jacobs eyeshadow directly on skin; Right: Marc Jacobs eyeshadow on Tatcha's Silk Canvas Primer

The Verdict

Using The Silk Canvas has given me peace of mind for those days when I'm wearing makeup for longer than 12 hours, not only because I know my makeup still looks good at the end of the day (it seriously helps your makeup last so much longer than normal) but because I know none of the product is seeping into my skin. My only wish? That it had an SPF built into it. But until they develop one with sunscreen, I'll definitely still be using this one on the regular.