Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Freakin' Foundation

When we last saw our heroine, she had finally discovered a liquid foundation that seemingly matched her neck, and sped off into the galaxy, thereby ending her quest.

But, instead of finding closure, our heroine's choice was too dark and not sufficiently long-lasting. She would find herself in the Millennium Falcon's—I mean, office—bathroom, her face tinged with orange and the redness of her cheeks visible. Oh, woe! 

She fished out the box and receipt for her purchase from her garbage, and went to do battle with the exgorth saleswoman to accept her return. 


She consulted the Force—um, internet—seeking reviews and recommendations for her impossible-to-match skin. After prior experiences with semi-matte and dewy foundations left her with a shiny face by midday, along with grooves around her mouth, she concluded that her new journey would consist of strictly matte finishes. 

I'm going to quit now with the third-person narrative, but after dealing with mineral makeup I just cannot find any pros to liquid foundation. With a few effortless strokes of mineral makeup, my face is pristine and glowing, whereas liquid foundation requires brushes and stippling and water-soaked sponges and buffing . . . 

Yet I hear so much about it I feel like I am not giving liquid foundation a fair chance. I drew up a list of possibilities, and I am off to make some "beauty consultants" very miserable. 

1) Clarins Ever Matte Skin Balancing Foundation. I had my fingers crossed that this would match, but no. The lightest too light, the next too dark. It smells so nice. Sob. 

2) Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Wear and Comfort Retouch-Free Divine Perfection Foundation SPF 15. It supposedly lasts for 24 hours, which means it could be a good Shabbos foundation. "Velvety matte finish"—yay! Non-comodegenic—yippee! Also tested for sensitive skin, and for all skin types. 

I went to the counter and was greeted with an amazing array of color selections, and compared it on my hand to the one tinted moisturizer that ever matched me perfectly. I dubiously selected Ivory 110, and this time, to spare myself frustration, I asked for a sample. She grumbled a bit how she'll check to see if she had any small bottles available, and grudgingly coughed up a little jar of the stuff. 

Pro 1: It is incredibly easy to apply. Using my fingers, I got a practically immediate streak-free finish, unlike other foundations that demanded buffing, stippling, and whatnot. 

Pro 2: It feels lovely on the face. I brushed my fingers against my cheek by accident, and my skin felt so soft. 

Pro 3: It is awesome with oil control. My t-zone is usually glaringly obvious at mid-day, despite the fact I put on a mattifier first; while my nose was shiny (nothing can keep that matte), my chin and forehead were perfectly matte. 

Pro 4: It lasts. How it lasts. After 12 hours, my face looked as though I had just applied it. 

Pro 5: My skin felt great after taking it off. 

It's too good to be true. Maybe it is?

Possible cons:

Con 1: Orange. I'm starting to wonder; how can it be that nearly every foundation I try ends up orange? Does it oxidize? Is my skin color too particular? Am I choosing colors badly? On the website it says that 110 Ivoire also has "C" in its name. With Lancome (unlike other brands), "C" = pink undertones. Not yellow or neutral, which is what I need. 

I went back to the counter and got a sample in 140 Ivoire N, where "N"=Neutral, but the orange was even worse. 

Con 2: The dreaded parabens. But I may cast such principles aside for this miracle of foundation. 

Con 3: While reading online reviews, one woman drew my attention to the fact that a primary ingredient is denatured alcohol, which has a rather checkered past. It can dry out the skin, which is not really my issue, but for those with dry skin types it may be too harsh. 

I decided to look around a little bit more before I commit myself, but this has an addictingly not-normal finish.


I decided to head to Sephora, but instead of buying full size bottles that I may have to return, I asked for samples of a few. Which they happily gave me. 

3) Nars Sheer Matte Foundation. I brought home samples in Gobi (which for some reason is not on the Sephora website) and Mont Blanc. The latter is for pink undertones, but for some reason it looked like a good match on my hand. 

I tried the Gobi one morning, and while it was a good color match, I was annoyed; due to my current dependance on retinoids, my skin gets distinctly red after cleansing (which dies down pretty soon) but I expect a foundation to cover everything, and this one didn't. My red cheeks were all too obvious, no matter how much I slathered on. If it doesn't offer foundation-like coverage, then why would I bother?

4) Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying Oil Free. I know, I know, I did this one already. But I took a swipe of Porcelain, which looked absolutely perfect on my hand, containing that elusive hint of yellow.

After reading a few reviews, I noted their methods of application. This stuff dries nearly instantaneously to a powder finish, meaning one has to blend quickly, and the easiest way to do that is in segments. The first try I overapplied, leaving hideous streaks all over my face; I attempted again the next day, this time taking only a little and using my fingers to buff it gently into the skin, one area at a time. 

It leaves a magnificent matte finish, but too matte for me (I never thought such a thing would happen!). I have combination skin, so some dry flakiness was made more obvious, and it really amplified my pores. I would say that this is better for oily, rather than combination, skin. It matched so prettily. I shall mourn it. 

5) Amazing Cosmetics Velvet Mineral Liquid Custom Finish Foundation SPF 15. Chock full of vitamins, it claims. But nothing remotely matched my skin and I found the consistency to be too thick.

6) Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup SPF 15
    Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10
    Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10

How is it possible that the lightest of every one was brown?   

7) Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15. Bobbi's products lean on the yellow side, so I have high-ish hopes. I was debating between Warm Ivory 1 and Sand 2, but after some squinting under their insufficient lighting I asked for a sample of the former (the latter looked quite orange on me). 

Bobbi Brown doesn't believe there is such a thing as pink undertones, so all of her foundations are yellow-based. Just what I need.  

The foundation somewhat matched (yes!) and did not appear to oxidize as the day progressed (woo!) but I made an unpleasant conclusion (after all that effort). 

I just don't like the finish liquid makeup gives me. 

For instance, right now I use the now discontinued Sephora Collection Mineral Foundation Compact in two colors, D25 and D10. My skin looks ravishing; it glows, it hums with health, it has life and zest and verve. With liquid foundation my skin looks flat and glum, with all the few milia still not yet extracted hilighted. 

Why tamper with success? 

Except I went and spent $23 on a liquid foundation brush that will now go dusty. If one digs the liquid makeup, this brush certainly applies it beautifully, and the bristles are really soft.


Anonymous said...

I love all the information I learn on your blog--make-up is fun but I don't have the patience to do the kind of research you do--who knew there was such a thing as liquid foundation brush? Or glass nail files?? Next trip to Sephora....

Tovah11 said...

Funny. I'm just getting ready to review a foundation that I bought from Estee Lauder. It had really good reviews and I am just not using it correctly or something. The color is off, but there wasn't much to choose from. I was going to send it back, but that seemed like alot of work. lol. So...i'm going to give it another chance.

I had heard that Hourglass foundatios were great.

Thanks for doing all the work for us. :)

Princess Lea said...

I figure that for all that effort I might as well spare others the aggravation. I am happy that others find it useful!

Hourglass is MADE for my skin tone but the formulas are off for my skin type! Arg!

wellspring said...

I have an Estee Lauder foundation, and I love it.
If not apply correctly it can give your face an orange finish (I find that a problem with most foundations) but, when applied correctly, it's definitely for people with fair skin too. I have very pale skin, with yellow undertones, and the foundation looks great on me. My sister is very fair with pink undertones, and the same foundation looks great on her. We both use Ecru, I think. A very neutral shade.

Princess Lea said...

1) How do you apply to prevent potential orange?

2) It was the first color I tried out but seemed so dark compared to my reference shade (an Hourglass tinted moisturizer in Shell which matches me poi-fectly.) Now I feel as though I should give it another shot.

chaya said...

i know almost nothing about makeup, especially compared your your wealth of knowledge but i can commiserate with the orange-y business that plagues you.
in general, my makeup comes from the drugstore or amazing savings (i know, it's a sin) but the one thing i splurged on is foundation: Diorskin airflash in light beige. i'm not quite sure if it qualifies as a liquid, though i was told to apply it with a liquid foundation brush (i just spray it on and rub it in with my fingers.) it's fantastic, it has that clean sheer look yet it covers all my freckles so i know it isn't.

Princess Lea said...

Ah, Dior, je te'adore. That foundation has been beckoning me. I haven't tried it yet since it doesn't have SPF, but since I layer SPF under everything it shouldn't really be a concern. The Light Beige does look perfect . . . drool.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is the right place for this question but... Can you order a perfume from and try it out and then return it if you don't like it? And the same with makeup? I can't seem to tell from the wording of their return policy...

Princess Lea said...

Sephora definitely takes back makeup. Pretty much any department store or drugstore will as well.

I believe perfume can be returned as well, providing it has only been lightly used.