Saturday, January 9, 2010

Foundation Talk

Foundation is one of the most important parts of one's makeup routine (unless of course you were blessed with perfect skin - in which case I hate you haha)

I've searched high and low, tried a myriad of different brands, formulas and techniques. Here is a short summary on what I've tried and what I enjoyed, as well as things I'd like to look into in the future...

Before I start, I will re-iterate that I have oily, acne-prone skin that breaks out hormonally 1-2 times a month on my cheeks/chin. Just when I think things are dandy, the breakouts start again so I always seem to have those pesky post-acne red marks and scars that need medium, yet buildable coverage.

Clinique Superfit (Liquid Foundation)
I used this foundation for a year and a half in high school and it was just average. Nothing good, nothing bad, just average. Packaging is nice and it didn't cause any breakouts, however it did not hold up the oils in my skin very well which is why I tried a powder foundation after I had used this up. Mind you, they have reformulated it since then, so it may provide different results now.

Would I repurchase this? - No.

MAC Studio Fix Powder (Powder Foundation)
This is the first product from MAC that I ever bought, and it's the one I have been repurchasing since then. Ironically enough I do not have it in my possession right now since I wanted to give Bare Minerals a try, but my love for this still prevails.
Offers great coverage, takes minimal effort to apply. I use a kabuki brush for a heavier coverage or a fluffy powder brush for light coverage in the summer. I set it with Fix+ spray by MAC on a MAC 187 brush to relieve from the "powdery" look. It also works well as a setting powder over liquid foundation when used with a fluffy, big brush. This is a summer essential for me.

Would I repurchase this? - Yes. I've been repurchasing this for years.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid (Liquid Foundation)
Despite the nice things I had to say about the powder counterpart, Studio Fix Fluid was a big bust for me. I hated the smell, the consistency, the way it spread across the skin. It just felt heavy and uncomfortable. I bought it once and almost used it up because I didn't want to waste it, but I hated every minute of it.

Would I repurchase this? - No.

MAC Select SPF 15 Foundation (Liquid Foundation)
Not as bad as Studio Fix Fluid, but a bit of a nightmare to blend, oxidized easily (which made it hard to get a proper colour match) and the coverage was medium. It is water-based and it did offer reasonable oil control.

Would I repurchase this? - No.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (Powder)
This product can work as a light coverage powder mineral foundation for some. For me, it just doesn't give enough coverage, so I use it as a setting powder. I really like it, very natural finish and gives a nice glow. I use it in Medium Dark and use it to frame my face. I liked it better when it came in the half matte, half shimmer but they discontinued it unfortunately.

Would I repurchase this? - Yes.

Bare Minerals Mineral Foundation - Original (Powder Foundation)
I loved this. I loved the coverage and the finish. It was perfect for summer. Unfortunately I must have some sort of allergy to one of the ingredients (I'm thinking Bismuth Oxychloride) because every time I used it it made my face itch like crazy. It didn't break me out or give me a rash or anything, it just burned and itched. I wanted it to work so bad because I really loved the results, it would have been the perfect summer foundation for me. Unfortunately it was just too uncomfortable for me.

Would I repurchase this? - No (unless they take that itchy ingredient out)

Bare Minerals Mineral Foundation - Matte (Powder Foundation)
This does not have the itchy ingredient. It requires more product to offer the same coverage as the original formula, and while the original formula gave a natural, glowy finish, with this one I just feel dull. It oxidizes and becomes a bit too pink. With Fix+ it doesn't look as cakey but it doesn't go on evenly and to be honest I prefer MAC Studio Fix Powder to this. Same effect, less hassle. It's a good foundation, I just don't love it as much as other things I've tried.

Would I repurchase this? - No

Bobbi Brown Oil-Free Compact Foundation (Cream Foundation)
How much did I hate this? Let me count the ways... haha... this just did not work for me. It says it's oil free, yet I still felt like I was putting grease on my face when using it. The coverage was medium at best and it had poor staying power. It didn't break me out at all which is probably the only good thing I have to say. I love my Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer and I thought this foundation would be a nice counterpart but it was just unimpressive. Made me feel very greasy. Also, it was expensive and I hit pan after about 3 weeks? Unacceptable.

Would I repurchase this? - No

Dior Nude Foundation (Liquid Foundation)
It's a shame that I had a shade that was too light, because I really loved this foundation. I lost the receipt and couldn't exchange it. It smells amazing, like roses. It is made up of 80% water yet it wasn't runny and it didn't irritate my skin. It went on evenly, but with this foundation you cannot use a brush. Fingers are the way to go. Offered plenty of oil control and gave good coverage. I ended up having to mix it with a darker shade of Chanel Pro Lumiere or with MAC Luster Drops to get the right match. Mixed with Pro Lumiere it was even better!

Would I repurchase this? - Yes (in a shade that matches me, this time)

Chanel Pro Lumiere Foundation (Liquid Foundation)
I still have this lurking in my bathroom, it is now too dark for me since I got it after last year's trip to Florida when I had a nice tan. The coverage was great and it didn't look caky. The only problem is that my skin was sometimes just too oily for it. After 2 hours I looked like an oil slick and it was sliding off. Mixed with Dior Nude, however, I really enjoyed it. It also worked nicely when I was having a drier skin day. It also photographed beautifully. I may repurchase this just for going out. Also, packaging was my favourite.

Would I repurchase this? - Yes... maybe...

Chanel Mat Lumiere Foundation (Liquid Foundation)
Smells of roses, just like Pro Lumiere and Dior Nude. Great packaging as well. I prefer applying it with my fingers since with a brush I find that it dries too quick and is a bit tricky to blend. Using my fingers I feel that the foundation gets that extra warmth and can spread easier on the face. This foundation has great lasting power on me and controls oil very well. It doesn't even need to be set with powder. The finish is not completely bland matte, it is more of a satin-matte finish. Doesn't photograph as nicely as Pro Lumiere and does tend to oxidize a tiny bit. It is my favourite foundation out of what I have tried so far, however.

Would I repurchase this? - Yes

NARS Sheer Glow (Liquid Foundation)
The best colour match I've had. I am "Santa Fe" in this range. Also, this foundation was the most easy to blend out of all the ones I've tried. The coverage is good - medium. I'd like a bit more coverage sometimes, but it's not too bad. Despite the name it does not have a "glowing" finish, which is good news for me. Finish is similar to Chanel Mat Lumiere - a matte satin.
I thought it broke me out at one point because I was wearing it every day, but I stopped, my skin cleared up, and I started using it again and it's been fine. Strange.
I really love this foundation but not sure how it will be in the summer with my oily skin, but mind you, it's not a foundation intended for oily skins. I still bent the rules and tried it, and I am glad that I did. It may just be my winter go-to.

Would I repurchase this? - Yes

I hope you found it useful/enjoyable to read my opinions on some of these. Feel free to share your experiences as well as any recommendations you may have for me.

In the future, I would like to try out the following:

Bobbi Brown Skin
Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk
Clinique Even Better
Make Up Forever HD
Make Up Forever Mat Velvet +
YSL Perfect Touch
Estee Lauder Double Wear Light

Have you tried any of them?


  1. no I haven't tried any of them, I don't do foundation. I'm afraid of clogging my pores. I just cover any blemishes I have. Which one would you recommend for not clogging pores?

  2. I highly recommend Estee Lauder double wear foundation! I wear it and love it, it gives an airbrush finish although it can feel quite heavy x

  3. @Obsessed
    I'd say give a light, sheer, product a try first... anything water-based won't clog pores... like MAC Face & Body or a tinted moisturizer!

  4. @Imogen

    I hear a ton of great things about Double Wear, I just might give it a try!

  5. @Sandra, hmm thanks I'll take a look at them.

  6. Love Nars Sheer Glow. Am interested in the new Estee Lauder anti-aging foundation. Coastal Scents HD is good too.
    I don't need much coverage. I use concealor only around my nose to cover redness.
    Thanks for your blog!
    Love~ Radha

  7. The bobbi brown skin foundation is lovely, I am yet to try the Nars sheerglow. I tried chanels vitalumiere and teint innocence recently in sample form and liked both. Great reviews from you! X

  8. Great post! I also hated mac studio fix fluid... what colour were you in the studio fix powder? I'm currently using the revlon liquid mineral makeup & it's ok but it always leaks!

  9. @Sarah

    I was NC35 in the Studio Fix powder, although now I'd be more of an NC30.

  10. Sweet ! That & the fix spray will have to me my next purchase! Your skin type/appearance is very similar to mine so i have high hopes :)

  11. Hi Sandra, I have exactly the same skin type as you and finding a good foundation is so hard! I have tried the Bobbi Brown skin foundation but didn't like it's too dark for me to use in winter right now but I felt the coverage was too thin (it's slightly more than a tinted moisturiser) and I didn't find I could build it up. However now I have found a super concealer it may well work better for me. I've also tried the Estee Lauder double wear light - let me tell you I loved the fact that my face was oil-free ALL day even in summer, however it is very heavy and mask-like. Not as bad as the normal double wear but I still felt like I was walking around with a face mask on or something.

    I have now found a very good concealer - MAC's Studio Finish, and I use this after moisturiser. Once I'm done concealing I only need to use a tiny bit of foundation over my face - I use a custom blend of oil-free moisturiser mixed with a tiny bit of MAC's SFF and 2 sprays of Fix +. I find this gives me a lovely finish and doesn't make me oily.

  12. @MediterraneanX
    thanks for your input! I'm starting to think that with skin as temperamental as ours, a custom blend may just be the best option. I loved the results when I was mixing Dior Nude and Chanel Pro Lumiere, sometimes I added in moisturizer depending on how my skin felt...

    I had the Studio Finish concealer before but it was in an NW shade so i could only use it under my eyes (and it was too cakey for that area), I will repurchase it in an NC shade because I hear a lot of good things about it and it's abilities to conceal acne marks!

  13. Thanks for the reviews!
    I'm now really interested in trying the Dior Nude, I am in the process of finding a good water based foundation because of my acen prone skin.Been trying the Bloom water based one but not sure if I will repurchase as there is a lot of Lavender Oil which gives it a lovely smell but it is ptentially irritating to my skin.Only thing is I just bought the MAC 109 brush for foundation and I would be sad not to start using it if I was using my fingers for Dior Nude lol!

  14. Great post! I have acne prone/oily skin as well and have been looking for a good foundation, so I'll take your review into consideration. Thank you!

  15. I know its on your list but definitely try Make Up for Ever's Mat Velvet +. I recommended it to my friends who have super oily skin and they love it! They say its awesome for oil control and covers really well but still feels nice and light on the skin. I think it sounds like a great option for oilier skin types who want a bit more coverage :) xo

  16. I LOVE Make Up Forever Mat Velvet, it has amazing coverage and feels and looks like you are not wearing foundation. My skin is very similar to yours in the sense that it is oily and acne prone. I have tried Make up Forever HD but I couldn't find a colour that suited my complection and I didn't think it gave me enough coverage.

    For reference, I am NC30-35 in MAC, 125 in the HD foundation and in the Mat Velvet I am 30 in the winter and 35 in the summer.

  17. I adore this post! Thanks for doing such a comp one! I like you am a fan of foundations and have too many - far more than I need. I love also how you said the ones you are interested in trying. For yours truly a foundation fiend - it's so interesting that there are a lot that I still haven't tried. I'd like to do a similar post in the near future - wld that be ok?

  18. ooh, this is amazing. I am on the same foundation hunt. I recently did a big review of primers because I think that they do make a big difference in terms of making your foundation last longer and not grease up. I really want to try the NARS one after I finish up the MAC Studio Sculpt and and Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich, neither of which I love at all.

  19. Thanks for sharing - great review!! ♥

  20. Hi
    great review. Am looking for liquid foundation for my super oily skin. Which one would you strongly recommend? Any drustore brand that u have tried?

    Followed u.
    I have a beauty blog. visit me too.

  21. i love dior nude. great foundation.
    i dont recommend estee lauder double wear light if you have oily acne prone skin. coverage is too light and starts melting on your face after a couple of hours.

  22. Thank you so much for the review! I've been looking for a good foundation since forever! I'm going out to buy one on saturday and I'll be sure to check out the Chanel and the Dior liquid foundations! :)

  23. I currently own clinique even better in alabaster and buff, it has a nice matte finish so i don't need powder but i like to use my maybelliene transculant powder so i don't reply ever also it covers blemishes really goo when mixed with a face cream. I also used make up forever HD I love love love this foundation! Matte finish, feels lightweight, covers imperfections, and def don't need powder ever! Just be careful picking the color bc mine is too light on me now.


15 steps, then a beauty blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.