Unless you do have supermodel great skin, foundation is likely to be a staple in your makeup routine – it's what will make or break your #faceoftheday. Case in point: The plethora of different foundation finishes and textures available to help you create different looks. That said, unless you are a foundation junkie (which ain't all that uncommon), most of us pledge loyalty to only a select few.
But with new releases popping up every other month, it's hard not to stray. Anyone who's strolled through Sephora can attest to that - the giant beauty retailer offers *cue gasps* over 50 brands, with more than 3,700 shades to boot. And if you're wondering, yes, shoppers are spoilt for choice. Sephora's goal is to provide foundation solutions for every concern and complexion, and that ties in with their latest beauty campaign, You Do You.
So, no matter how finicky you are with your foundation - say, you want one that has a dewy finish but full coverage, yet is able to fill in pores and has skincare benefits; or a matte finish with a lightweight texture that can be easily applied with fingers - you'll should be able to find it there. Pop into the store for a quick consultation, shade-matching session and try-on, and you might walk away with your new #favfoundie soon enough.
To narrow down your selection process, I reviewed six of the latest liquid foundation releases from Sephora. Read them below, in order of coverage provided:
1. Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation, $100
Shade range: 36
It claims to: Be a long-wearing foundation with buildable sheer to medium coverage. The formula is supposed to be silky and weightless, and skin will look filtered, with a soft-focus luminosity. There are also skincare benefits in the formula - Vita-Serum Complex to moisturise and slow down formation of wrinkles, and Diamond Core Powder Technology to smoothen and blur imperfections.
How it feels on skin: The watery, lightweight texture melts right into the skin for a soft-blur, skin-like effect. My pores did look smaller, and pock marks were less obvious. That said, the coverage is sheer - too sheer for anyone who's looking for decent coverage on blemishes and dark spots. Forget using a damp sponge to blend this out; you'll end up with close to no coverage at all.
Results: I tried hard to love the Mother's first foundation offering, but it just doesn't seem to hold up well in Singapore's humidity. Despite setting the product with loose powder, I could feel it "slipping" from my skin at about the four-hour mark, and I was consciously blotting away, despite sitting in an air-conditioned office all day.
Final verdict: You'd have to cross your fingers hard for a good skin day, every day, to really appreciate this foundation. Anything else, you'll find yourself either reaching for something with higher coverage, or using more concealer than usual.
2. Nudestix Tinted Cover, $52
Shade range: 12
It claims to: Have a "real skin" finish, thanks to buildable tinted pigments that blend into your natural skin tone instead of covering it up. Complexion looks even and lifted - and you can, and are supposed to - blend this with your fingers.
How it feels on skin: Ultra lightweight - I even forgot I had anything on. It has a cream-gel texture that blends right into your skin, for a natural matte finish. It's a sheer formula as well, but I found it could cover dark spots quite nicely (with two layers). Luminosity isn't lost on the high points of your face. I blended this out easily with my fingers, though as a personal preference I like using a brush.
Results: My skin looked fresh, like I've just gone for a facial. It's a perfect base for the no makeup-makeup look - looks like you have nothing on, but actually do, for overall even skin tone. I had to fake "perfect" skin with a creamy concealer. This formula lasted for a good 10 hours.
Final verdict: It's more a skin tint for the woman who's always on the go. The utilitarian tube + pump packaging makes it easy to simply throw it into your bag and whip it out to apply while you're OTW. Don't forget the concealer, as the formula is still rather sheer.
3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation, $68
Shade range: 48
It claims to: Give skin a fresh, radiant look with a second-skin formula. It's long-wearing, and water-resistant, and creates a soft-focus effect on skin. The formula is also a "clean" one - free from gluten, parabens, alcohol, oil, mineral oil and talc, so it's suitable even for sensitive skin. It's supposed to have medium coverage.
How it feels on skin: True to its name, the foundation did look nicely glowing on the skin - not overly greasy. The coverage is truly in the medium range; I tried two layers on my dark eye circles, and while the layers blended well with each other, I couldn't get extra coverage out of it. This foundation comes out in a creamy texture, but spreads thinly on skin.
Results: You'll look like you have makeup on, but in a good my-skin-looks-fresh way. I enjoyed blending this out with a damp beauty sponge, which added to the lit-from-within effect of the foundation. I skipped highlighter that day. The foundation, however, started sinking into pores and fine lines at around the eight-hour mark.
Final verdict: This works as a lovely everyday foundation for those who can't leave home without decent coverage on their skin.
4. Zoeva Authentik Skin Natural Luminous Foundation, $42
Shade range: 44
It claims to: Deliver a buildable, silky-smooth and all-day-long radiant finish. It evens out hte complexion while still allowing skin's natural luminosity to shine through, thanks to the nourishing effects of rosehip oil.
How it feels on skin: I was bowled over by how pretty my skin looked. Why it's amazing: the foundation has a lightweight cream texture that melts into skin - so it looks almost "invisible" - but without losing coverage. The finish was truly luminous, and my skin still looked naturally rosy.
Results: I can safely say I had a great foundation day - a friend even complimented that my skin looked good. The foundation lasted for a good 10 hours before I removed it. I found myself reaching out for it over the rest of the week (note that I have at least 50 bottles of foundation in my stash!)
Final verdict: This is a foundation that I'll gladly use over, and over, and over again. I didn't have a particularly great skin day when using it, but the foundation made it look like I did, anyway.
5. Stila Hide & Chic Fluid Foundation, $56
Shade range: 30
It claims to: Give skin a natural satin finish with full coverage. Silica-coated pigments smooth and blur skin for a healthier-looking and even-toned complexion. There's plant collagen extract to improve skin elasticity, and Irish sea moss that keeps skin hydrated.
How it feels on skin: The foundation is of a rather watery texture - super lightweight on skin, yet still delivers powerful pigment. It did set to a velvety-matte finish on my skin, despite my blending it out with a damp beauty sponge. What I like about the product: the filtered, airbrushed effect.
Results: You can't get away with the "natural" look with this foundation. Its full-coverage finish masks imperfections well - I actually skipped concealer and powder. The matte finish did emphasise the more obvious bumps on my skin, but that happens with most matte foundations, anyway. It started breaking down (skin's natural oils started peeking through) at the eight-hour mark.
Final verdict: Unless your job calls for it, this foundation, IMHO, is a tad much as an everyday foundation. It'll work great for events and nights out, though.
6. Tarte Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20, $60
Shade range: 30
It claims to: Be formulated with nourishing superbalm babassu, essential fatty acids and antioxidants for a smooth, plump finish. It's also supposed to be a full coverage foundation.
How it feels on skin: First impressions - way too thick and stiff a formula for my liking. It's hard to blend to a smooth, even finish - I found the formula caking up around the nose, and in between the brows (even when sheered out lightly after blending with a damp beauty sponge). I didn't like that the foundation felt heavy on the skin, too.
Results: Granted that the foundation + concealer formula does have great coverage on the skin, the effort it takes to blend it out smoothly leaves something to be desired. I mean, if you only had 15 minutes a day for makeup - the foundation isn't going to work in your favour. It started getting patchy at the five-hour mark.
Final verdict: I'd rather a concealer in this formula - it takes serious makeup-artist skills to perfectly blend this foundation out. One more point to note: the shade range for deeper skin tones is small, at only six shades of the 30 available.