Base Makeup

Foundation Testing with Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS and YSL

September 16, 2014

I’ve been testing out a few foundations over the past few months. I normally look for foundations with medium natural coverage (like Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet or Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation), but lately I’ve been reaching for ones with more coverage to cover imperfections and even out the skin. Four foundations I’ve been putting to the test include:
Clé de Peau Beauté Cream and Silky Cream Foundations
I’ve heard so many good things about Clé de Peau Beauté foundations but have avoided them for years because I did not want to fall in love with a $100+ foundation. Several friends along with a couple bloggers I’ve met use foundations from the line and their skin always looks phenomenal. I decided to give both the Cream and Silky Cream versions a try. I was matched to O30 which is a neutral medium shade. Both are really good, but I have a slight preference for the Cream. For reference, Joey’space has a good comparison chart to show the difference. Both foundations have a medium cream texture that is very concentrated so you only need a little to cover the entire face. They are packaged in a convenient squeeze tube which is very easy to use. I like that there is no detectable fragrance once you apply it on the face.

The Clé de Peau Beauté Cream Foundation comes with a higher SPF of 29 and has a medium to full coverage for me. It has a semi-matte and velvety finish but looks very natural on the skin. I found it blends perfectly when used with a damp Beauty Blender sponge or Chanel Foundation Brush and both make the skin look flawless. It covers quite well without looking heavy or cakey. I prefer the Cream because it has a bit more yellow in it which matches my skin better and also has a more matte finish. Lasting power is very good for my normal skin, but with the hot humid weather we’ve been having in Southern California, I’ve found nothing really holds up the entire day without touch ups. This one does get a bit shiny on the nose area with the humid weather, but on the days I’ve tested it where it was cooler, I found it held up very well without any touch ups required. Beauty Professor has all the shades in the Cream formula swatched for reference.

The Silky Cream Foundation comes with SPF 23 and also has medium coverage but has a slightly dewy finish. This one is better suited for dry skin, but I’ve found it is still suitable for my normal skin. The finish is really lovely on this but it has a slight hint of pink in it but I still find it to be a decent match for my skin tone. The Clé de Peau Beauté rep who helped me at Neiman Marcus said most people prefer this formula because it looks more natural on the skin and those with normal to dry skin find it blends easier, but her personal preference was for the Cream. The coverage on this one is also phenomenal with a natural dewy look. It’s a bit too rich for my skin right now with the super warm weather but I suspect this will be really good for fall/winter. I could have skipped this one entirely since I prefer the Cream version.

Ingredients (Silky Cream on top, Cream at bottom):

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

I’ve also been testing the NARS Radiant Cream Compact foundation. This one has been out for quite some time but I never tested it. A makeup artist applied this on me at a recent makeover event I attended. I told her I was looking for something with more coverage than the Tinted Moisturizer but not as heavy as their Sheer Glow Foundation. She suggested I use the Radiant Cream Compact and was matched to Punjab. I am typically not a fan of compact foundations because they are usually extremely heavy on my skin, but the NARS is surprisingly lightweight with a finish that has a natural glow. It’s not overly dewy and I don’t know that I would call it radiant, but it does have a soft luminous finish without looking shiny or greasy. I really like the way this applies with a damp Beauty Blender or fingers for smooth even coverage. The entire set is refillable and the mirrored compact with sponge is sold separately for $10. After testing this for almost a month now, I think I could have definitely skipped buying the compact. The sponge that comes with the foundation is a good one, but not the best for this cream foundation. I found it applied too much product and also found it to look a bit streaky. I loved how this covered smoothly and didn’t settle into fine lines or pores for me.

I’ve found lasting power to be quite good, but those with oily skin will probably need to touch up mid-day. It didn’t leave me an oil slick (like Armani Luminous Silk does) but it did look a bit too dewy by 1:30 pm in the afternoon after applying it in the morning. I really really love this one. For reference, Café Makeup has all the shades swatched.

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Water, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dipropylene Glycol,
Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Paraffin,
Nylon-12, Peg-400, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Cera Microcristallina
(Microcrystalline Wax), Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Sodium Hyaluronate,
Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Aluminum Hydroxide,
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polysilicone-2, Distearyldimonium
Chloride, Ceramide 3, Palmitic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Tin Oxide,
Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Maris
Aqua (Sea Water), Spilanthes Acmella (Spilanthes Acmella Flower
Extract), Ethylhexylglycerin, Barium Sulfate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Algae
(Algae Extract), Alumina, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Benzyl
Alcohol, [+/- (May Contain): Mica, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77491
(Iron Oxides), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides)].

YSL Fusion Ink Foundation

The last foundation I’ve tested that I wanted to share is the YSL Fusion Ink Foundation. There has been a lot of hype and excitement over this new release from YSL. I bought this at Nordstrom and my experience was slightly frustrating since the rep didn’t know how to properly match me (she wanted to give me ones with pink tones) so I ended up matching myself to B40 which turned out to be a really good match. I really wanted to love this but it did not work for my skin.

Reports and reviews have been mixed on this. Some adore it while others do not. I tested this on several occasions and fell head over heels in love with the color, texture and blendability. What I did not like was the thin runny liquid texture which made it drip all over the place when moving the tip from the bottle to the back of my hand, face or sponge. Even though it had a thin texture, I loved the way it covered my skin. It looked velvety with flawless coverage and lasted all day even in hot humid weather. The Fusion Ink foundation blended quite well and I found it easy to layer for more coverage while still looking natural like skin, but just slightly matte.
After a few weeks of testing I found it did not work well with my sensitive skin. When I applied it, the foundation stung my skin upon first application but the stinging sensation went away after it was blended. Even though it seemed to last well all day, by the time I took it off in the evening, I found my face covered with red spots and bumps. I tried this on six different occasions just to make sure it wasn’t anything else that caused the reaction. Each time I had the same redness by the end of the day. It also clogged pores and caused breakouts in my chin area which took a couple weeks to clear up. Your mileage may vary on this one. If you can get a sample to try first, I recommend it.

Ingregients: Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Isododecane, Alcohol Denat, Vinyl
Dimenthicone/Methicone, Silsequioxane, Crosspolymer, Phenyl,
Trimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Synthetic
Fluorphlogopite, Water, Propylene Carbonate, Disodium Stearoyl
Glutamate, Silica Silyate, Fragrance, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil,
Aluminum Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol. 


Swatches comparisons to a few others that I’ve had in rotation:


Overall thoughts:

I’m still a huge fan of Chanel foundations as my go-to for the best color match and formula options for my skin tone and skin type. I give the NARS Radiant Cream Compact foundation and Clé de Peau Beauté Cream Foundation a huge thumbs up. I was particularly impressed with the lightweight feel of the NARS and also really pleased with the natural dewy coverage it provided. It gives the face a natural but slightly glowy look while evening out the skin. The color Punjab is a perfect match for me.

The Clé de Peau Beauté Cream Foundation is really the best foundation I have ever tried. I really wish it wasn’t so expensive but the coverage, look and feel is truly phenomenal and there is nothing that comes close from my testing experience. I have a lot of foundation loves, but this one beats them all.

I do like the look and feel of the Clé de Peau Beauté Silky Cream but it is better suited for normal-dry skin and cooler weather. I could have skipped the Silky Cream and gone just with the Cream formula but I really didn’t know what to expect before I tested them extensively. Given the high price of the Clé de Peau foundation, I do think it’s a try before you buy kind of thing. The shade selection is on the lighter end so if you’re medium to dark you might have a hard time finding a match in the cream formulas.

The YSL Fusion Ink unfortunately was a complete fail for me. I don’t know if I’m going to return it or not, I bought mine at Nordstrom and the associate assured me I could return it without any issues if it didn’t work, but I still hate returning things. The coverage, color match, overall look and lasting power were all so good, but the formula didn’t work well with my skin type (which is super sensitive) and caused red bumps to surface everywhere.

Have you tested any of these? What were your thoughts? If you haven’t, what are your favorite foundations in rotation right now?

You Might Also Like

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for giving the ingredients, and for such an informative review.

  • Really great review, such good information about all the products

  • I went out and road tested YSL Foundation Ink and Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting the same day. I thought I was odd as I hated YSL and everyone around me was waxing lyrical. My absolute blow the budget best ever foundation was La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation. At the time it was ground breaking and made my skin look utterly flawless. $200 a pot but you know what, the La Prairie brand has stood still and there has been no innovation in their foundation in ten years despite every other brand using new technologies so it had to go. It is no longer worth it when all the other cosmetic houses have embraced so much change for half that price. First I went to Tom Ford Perfecting and now I am moving on to Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting. I went through a lot of pain with Chanel, Armani, Dior, Burberry trying to find 'the one' but Tom Ford cracked it for me and has done it again with Traceless perfecting. I'm a Chanel 10 / 20……too pale to get away with colour mismatches.

  • The NARS cream foundation looks great!
    Lots of love, xx

  • Oooh. I need to try the NARS cream foundation. I've always been a big fan, and I think the consistency looks fantastic.

    Love a detailed review, thank you xx

  • Great posting, I'm going to take a look at the Clé de Peau Cream and the NARS…foundation junkie that I am. I also love Chanel PLV, it's my go to. I've been enjoying Dior Star as well although once mid winter hits, there will not be a shade light enough to suit my skin. I'm pretty oily, and the YSL Fusion Ink is 'fine'…it's an improvement for the type of foundation that it is(for ex., GA Maestro), but I found that although my oily skin did not break the foundation down or make it move, it offers me no oil control whatsoever. Also, if I use any foundation and my Hakuhodo G5557-2mm doesn't make it look flawless, then it can't look flawless. This is the case with the YSL. I look like I have put a face on. Have you tried the Omorovicza BB Cream or the Complexion Corrector? I just picked those up and I can't believe how after applying the BB Cream with my fingers and then powdering with NARS LRP I look flawless all day long. It feels emollient yet provides oil control. I've never tried anything like it. And my skin looks better when I take it off. The Omorovicza Complexion Corrector underneath the Chanel PLV is a perfect combination, I've never looked so flawless. FYI lol…Love your blog!

    • Love Omorovicza CC cream but the BB cream is too dark, even the light version, for me. The CC cream really works well with fair complexions and quite often I use it as standalone. I tend to have a tiny bit of roseaca on my cheeks in Winter and Omorovicza handles it easily and lasts all day.

    • I love the Omorovicza BB cream as well. Like you, my skin looks better when I remove it! So nice to wear makeup that treats your skin all day. Such a large bottle too!

  • Tatiana

    Thanks for the great reviews. I tried the YSL Fusion Ink and had a similar reaction to it as well. Today I'm testing a sample of Cle de Peau Radiant Fluid Foundation. It was a little too radiant when I first applied it. But by the time I finished my eye makeup I liked the way it settled down into my skin. I think my color match might be a bit off. I have the NARS foundation as well, but rarely wear it because it seems to transfer very easily and I hate washing foundation out of my clothes.

  • wendy

    hi! i've been searching for a very good foundation for a long time now. i've been using jane iredale's amazing base for over 10 years. i never needed a primer or touching up even after a long day of work, over 9 hours. however, it's a loose powder which can be extremely messy and, as i get older i think it's time for something new. i have highly problematic skin, acne-prone, reactive, sensitive and mostly dry. it seems impossible to find a foundation that does not contain fragrance and alcohol!! if i can avoid it, i'll never put those ingredients on my face. i tried a sample of chanel's new velvet one but, the fragrance gave me a headache and, it has alcohol in it. i was reading a local dermatologist's blog linking dimethicone to many skin problems. everything has dimethicone in it or some type of silicone. bobbi brown has a new powder foundation out i wonder if it would be worthwhile to try?? i'm like the reader above, i'm very pale and there's no room for mistakes. also, i want a good spf. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! thankyou!!

    • Christina

      Another pale person here who has struggled to find the perfection foundation shade. Tom Ford's is not bad, but not a perfect match for me either because I need it quite yellow/olive and really pale.

      I did try Bobbi Brown's foundation. It's not bad! It is definitely a powder foundation look, though: very smooth, velvet, and matte finish. My husband said I looked like I had powder on but not in a bad way, but I did like the coverage it had and how it literally smoothed over all my big pores. Alas, that is the problem with powder foundations; I have yet to find one that doesn't actually look like a powder on. There is no way it can move and flex with the skin as a liquid can. I'm probably going to buy it anyway because sometimes I want that velvet ultra finished look to my skin. 🙂

      Have you tried Koh Gen Do Moisture foundation? They carry really pale colors as well!

  • I really like the look of the NARS compact as I too want something in between the tinted moisturiser and sheer glow. It does sound good, but I'm not 100% sold just yet.

    • Definitely see if you can try it before you buy. Compact creams can be really hard to work with (from my experience). I think it's something you need to have applied and see how it wears before buying.

  • I was not a fan of the NARS cream, it pretty much slid off my face after only a few hours. I was really disappointed because it was absolutely amazing when freshly applied. I've been testing a sample of that YSL one, I think it was making me break out as well, seemed to go a little patch also which is not a good look. Really loving the new Estée Lauder Perfectionist actually, it reminds me of NARS shee glow but lasts longer.

    • That's too bad about the NARS, but I've read mixed reviews so I think it is hit or miss. I am thrilled it's a hit for me because I love the way it looks and the color matches perfectly. I've never tried EL foundation but your comment makes me want to go check it out!

  • Anonymous

    YES…the YSL Fusion Ink was a rash and pimple disaster for me too and I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I get such weird expressions from people when I say I hate it that I really thought I was missing something!

    I love your blog and always take your advice on products because somehow, even though I have dry skin (that I'm now just getting under control with Koh Gen Do…which is A MA ZING), the same products seem to work for both of us.

    • Sorry it didn't work for you either! But yes I had high hopes and it was sadly a miss. I used to use the original Aqua foundation by Koh Gen Do and loved it. I haven't checked out the moisture foundation or the newly reformulated ones b/c I don't have it near me to get a color match, but it's on my list. I've loved everything I've tried from them (and one of my BFFs swears by their foundation and she also has dry skin).

    • Daria

      Can I just add how jealous I am about the return policy in the US? In our old Europe, once a product has been used it cannot be returned. Not to mention all the different brands that we don't get over here like Cle de Peau.
      Many thanks Sabrina for all your wonderful reviews and beautiful photos.

    • Christina

      Hi Sabrina,

      The new Aqua foundation has a nicer glow, like a "bright" effect, than the original formula. I liked it, but the colors just don't match me because I'm too pale. 🙂 My sister uses both the old and the new formula and prefers the new, both in color and in texture. The colors are just ever so slightly different, but it shouldn't be too noticeable!

  • Sabrina – Thank you as always for your detailed and thoughtful review. I so appreciate what you do for the cosmetics loving community! I am going to try out the CDPB Cream soon. 🙂 it sounds amazing. Two of my other faves are TF Traceless and Ellis Faas Skin Veil. Ellis Faas has such an amazing skin like finish. Both are great. I also love the sadly unavailable Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance.

    • Oooh, Ellis Faas! One I keep hearing about but keep forgetting to look at whenever I'm at Space NK (so many other good distractions there). I'll make sure to check it out when I use up a foundation 🙂

    • michelle

      Oh gosh, yes–I second Ellis Faas. Dreamy but expensive!

  • Anonymous

    You can return the YSL foundation with a clear conscience. Return the Cle de Peau as well!
    No foundation formula costs $100+ (or $60), not even when you factor in the advertising, running costs etc. Also included in the price are GWP costs, samples AND returns. And a huge margin of profit of course. If L'Oreal can sell a foundation for $15 at Target and both L'Oreal and Target make money out of the $15, think about what profit margins we are talking for the YSL foundation. (And you know, YSL Beaute is owned by L'Oreal, as is Giorgio Armani Cosmetics). Same for Cle de Peau (owned by Shiseido, which also owns NARS). Everytime you purchase a product from any of the lines you already cover the cost of your returns. Don't worry.
    Return the YSL. Exchange the Cle de Peau for the other formula if you must, but do not let them lie around unused.

    • Thank you Anonymous, I think I will definitely return the YSL. Your comments make me feel better about it.

  • Anonymous

    Aaah, you are killing me! I JUST bought the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting based on your review and now this post makes that CdP so tempting…. I was using the Chanel PLV which I love (also thanks to your review) but I'm always on the search for something potentially better.
    By the way, what's your preferred way of applying the foundations?

    • Hi Anonymous, if you just bought the TF I'd recommend sticking with that one and wait until it's near complete or wait until you get lighter and try the CdP (that is if you're slightly darker in summer months and lighter in winter). The TF is still very good and I love it still, I didn't need to get more than 2-3 foundations but I did.

      I typically use a foundation brush or sponge to apply foundations. My favorite foundation brushes are here:

      I have been alternating between MAC Oval Sponges and cheaper makeup sponges I've found at a local Japanese market, but I just discovered the Beauty Blenders and my whole outlook on sponges has changed. I'll have a review up soon on the Beauty Blenders.

    • Anonymous

      Cool, thanks! That Tom Ford cream foundation brush sounds amazing but I'm guessing it's for more thicker formulas? The Chanel PLV is probably too thin, yes? Would it work for the TF Traceless Perfecting though?
      I love your blog even though I hate what it does to my wallet. 😉

    • Hi Jean, the Tom Ford Cream Foundation brush works for the Chanel PLV and thicker formulas, it's really incredible in my opinion. It worked extremely well with the first Tom Ford Traceless Foundation as well.

      I also have the Tom Ford Foundation brush which is also really nice. Both give a very even smooth finish. If I had to pick just one, it would be the Cream Foundation Brush version, but both work equally well.

  • Thank you for this in depth review. I am a foundation junkie as I feel this is the product now that can make the most difference to how I look. My favourites are currently all in the By Terry range and I like the Tom Ford sticks for heavier coverage. Very tempted to try the Cle de Peau when I next go to America (very difficult to get over here). Susan, London

    • Oooh, By Terry is so under-rated, I've fallen in love with her Cover Expert but I haven't used it for about a month because the shade is now a bit light (due to my summer tan).

  • That Nars foundation is my go-to in winter months when I'm less oily. I agree though, the compact is absolutely not necessary and I no longer keep ine in the compact. Especially since the sponge proved to be impossible to clean after a couple of months and I threw it away. I now use an Hourglass foundation brush to apply and then finish off with fingers. Interesting is that the Barcelona shade is very yellow toned (great for me!), whereas in Sheer Glow I have to mix Stromboli with a touch of Syracuse because Barcelona is too pinky.

    • Bella, I found the different formulas to have slight differences in color as well! Punjab in Sheer Glow does not match the Matte version and is also a bit different compared to the Compact Cream.

  • sai

    Hello Sabrina, thanks for the wonderful review. The silky cream foundation is one of staple of my foundations. I think im gonna give a try on the cream foundation too! And it looks like the new Almond shade of the cdp concealer is a perfect match for O30 foundations. Currently i m using the concealer in ocher and it is a bit too dark, gonna buy the one in almond!

    Have you tried their new Radiant Fluid Foundation? im so tempted to buy this foundation!!

    • Hi Sai! Glad you liked the review. I did get a sample packet of the Radiant Fluid but also found it to be slightly pink on my skin, it does apply smoothly and looks very natural, but I prefer something with more coverage since my skin needs it. If you can get a sample at the counter I highly recommend it (two Neiman Marcus stores near me both had samples).

      Yes, the Almond is the perfect match for our skintone! I had been eyeing Ocher for so long but am glad that they came out with more shades because Ocher is definitely too dark for me.

  • The CDP Cream sounds lovely for cooler days. Too bad the YSL didn't work for you 🙁 Maybe alcohol in the ingredient is the culprit…

    • Thanks Stella! Yes, too bad it didn't work because the finish was just so amazing.

  • Viv

    Denatured alcohol is the 4th highest ingredient in the YSL, going by the list of ingredients you showed. No wonder you had a reaction – and that high a degree of alcohol in the foundation would also dry out the skin and break down collagen (from the little I know), so it isnt something one would want to have on your skin every day!

    • Thanks Viv for the input, I wonder why it works for some but irritates others.

  • Anonymous

    thanks so much for the reviews. Having super sensitive skin myself, I tend to stick to my tried and trusted clarins and estee lauder foundations. I had a bad reaction to the l'oreal eau de teinte foundation(think this goes by a different name in the us)and put it down to the high presence of alcohol denat. This was probably your problem with the ysl.

    • I've heard such good things about Clarins. I have tested a few EL foundation samples in the past but haven't found a good color match. However I keep reading about new formulas that seem to get a lot of rave reviews so I might investigate!

  • I love your in depth reviews and swatches they are so helpful for new products. I found that i loved the YSL fusion ink foundation but i've had my eye on the Nars creamy compact foundation and after your review i think i may have to try it out! thanks for the great posts 🙂

    • Thanks Brooke! Glad you found this helpful, if you haven't tried NARS foundations, I'd also recommend giving their Tinted Moisturizer a try as well, it's not a traditional tinted moisturizer so it's not too dewy or glowy and it gives decent coverage 🙂

  • This has renewed my interest in the NARS compact foundation. I'll have to give it another look when I'm out! In the meantime, I'll figure out if there's any other way to store it; I have zero interest in the sponge the compact comes with.

    • I think it's definitely worth a look, and yes, the sponge that comes with the compact is good and dense, but I think it's better for powders vs. creams.

  • I have always wanted to try the Clé de Peau line but could never bring myself to do it. Now, though I'm definitely revisiting my decision. I'll consider their bases next time I'm in need of some foundation!

    • Hi Tiff, yes, the Cle de Peau Beaute foundations are quite a splurge. I definitely recommend trying at the counter before purchasing. I have heard good things about their bases as well but am scared to look because I don't want to get hooked!

  • The other day I had some red bumps on my forehead as well. Now I am wondering if its from the Fusion Ink I tried one day last week. I thought it was from my retinol. By the way be careful with The Cle de Peau. It made me break out with cystic acne so bad I had to go to the dermatologist! It's a shame because I agree, its a stunning make up. I love the o30 as well.