Base Makeup Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation Review

February 29, 2016

Laura Mercier launched a new foundation formula earlier this year called the Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation ($48 for 30 ml/1 fl oz). I’ve been playing with this formula for a few months now, testing a few shades over different bases and trying to see how it wears compared to other glow foundation formulas and I’ve found that it is one of the most luminous foundations I’ve ever tried. The Candleglow Foundation comes in 24 shades and is described as having a sheer to medium finish with buildable coverage. I find it to be on the sheer side with a noticeably dewy finish. I love a good glow, but for me the foundation finish is a bit too dewy on its own and needs a soft powder to set. It’s dewy but not greasy looking. Unfortunately once you add any kind of powder, the dewy glow disappears which kinda defeats the purpose of the product, but you still get a natural looking finish. (I’ve been setting with the Translucent Loose Setting Powder.) The formula is described as a hydrating formula – I did find it to have a hydrating feel but it’s a very lightweight formula and doesn’t feel heavy.

Comparing it to other formulas, the new Candleglow Foundation is not quite as sheer as the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, but definitely sheerer than the Flawless Fluide and Silk Creme Oil Free Formula. The packaging of the new foundation is well designed – I think it’s the best one yet from Laura Mercier. It comes in a sleek glass bottle and a very well designed pump dispenser. It’s very sturdy and has a nice simple streamlined look which I really like for an easy to use no-fuss kind of look. For me, I need three pumps of product to have enough to apply for my whole face. I like using the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 brush with this formula, but you can use fingers or a sponge too. It glides on smoothly and evens out the skin in a very sheer natural kind of way. I couldn’t detect any scent which is a plus for those with sensitive noses.

Since the formula is on the sheer side, it makes the colors more forgiving so you don’t need a 100% exact match which is exactly what I need with this line. When it comes to Laura Mercier foundation shades, matching is always so incredibly tricky for me. I’ve made several visits to the counter to get matched for past formulas. Every single time I’ve been to a counter, I’ve been matched to a different shade. My Flawless Fluide match was Honey when I was last matched and it’s worked for quite some time. If you recall my original review, you might remember my surprise since it’s very pink in undertone. I have olive/yellow skin and Honey should be too pink, but somehow when it is blended out on my skin, it is an exact match. For the new Candleglow Foundation formula, Honey works well on my skin, but Dusk also works too. Dusk by comparison is more olive and cool-toned but it oxidizes on my skin so it adjusts to match my neck exactly. Golden worked on me a couple of months ago when I was a bit darker, but I’m losing my tan so it’s just a tad bit too dark for me. My perfect match happens when I mix all three shades, but I find myself reaching for either Honey or Dusk most. The formula is pretty forgiving. If you know what your shade is in the Flawless Fluide formula, your Candleglow shade should probably be the same.

Swatches, first set straight from the pump:

Blended out a little:

Swatch comparisons:

Above from left to right:

I would say for a natural glowy foundation/base, my favorite is still the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer because it’s not like a traditional tinted moisturizer, but has that lightweight feel. For me the NARS gives me just the right amount of natural coverage on days I only need a light base. It lasts all day without getting too dewy or greasy looking. Comparing the NARS to the Laura Mercier Candleglow, I prefer the NARS by far. The NARS wears better for my normal/combination skin. I’m in between colors, but the colors match my skintone better. The NARS also lasts longer and doesn’t get as dewy as the one from Laura Mercier.
I’ve also been testing the Armani Maestro Glow Foundation and Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation (both of which I’ll review soon). I’ll have a more detailed comparison in the following posts, but I will say right now out of all the newest glowy foundation launches this year, my favorite is the Becca, followed by Laura Mercier. The one from Armani unfortunately has been a fail for me (details soon).

If you like sheer to medium coverage with a dewy finish I think you’ll like this one. It works for my normal combination skin but I think it would be better suited for those with normal to dry skin. Overall I found it held up very well considering how dewy/glowy it was. I did get a little shiny in the Tzone by 1-2pm – but it was easy to fix with a bit of a touch up. It’s sheerer than I prefer right now because I have spots I like to cover up – but you can fix those with a spot concealer (some of my favorites in this post here). If you’re one who doesn’t like a glow because you find formulas tend to get too dewy by late afternoon, you will probably be better off checking out the Flawless Fluide formula from Laura Mercier or the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint. A huge plus for me with the new Candleglow formula is that it didn’t cause any irritation or breakouts for my super sensitive skin (many foundations clog my pores or cause tiny little bumps all over the face). You can probably experiment with different primers or bases to see how it lasts or wears. I found that primer didn’t make much of a difference in application or lasting power. It works just as well over a regular moisturizer.

Bottom line I the Laura Mercier Candleglow Foundation a solid performer – but may be too dewy in finish for some. Given the sheer coverage and the non-perfect state of my complexion, I do find I need to add something on top of certain areas to give me the coverage I need, but it’s definitely worth checking out for those who want a natural looking glow.

You can find the Laura Mercier Candleglow Foundation at all Laura Mercier counters by now. Online at Laura Mercier, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora and all other Laura Mercier retailers.
Have you checked out this formula yet? What did you think? Did you find a good match?

The Candleglow Foundations were sent courtesy of Laura Mercier for review consideration.

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  • Gauri February 29, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    LM's foundations are my FAVOURITE! Their range of colours are amazing, and I love a sheer finish!

    Gloss and Magic


  • Rachel Polansky February 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I got a sample of this at Sephora because I was wary about purchasing it… there's nothing wrong with the formula but I don't think there's anything special enough for the heftier price tag

    • Sabrina March 7, 2016 at 12:39 am

      I totally get that! Save your $$$ for something you love ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jessica Davis February 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    So happy I read this review! I was thinking of purchasing, and your review was extremely helpful! I've been LOVING the Becca Backlight Primer and I think I am more interested in trying out the Becca foundations! So far from what I have seen they have amazing coverage and a beautiful finish! I like more light to medium coverage as opposed to sheer! Thank you for this!

    • Sabrina March 7, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Thanks Jessica – glad you liked the review!

  • Eileen February 29, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Your perfect shade is a mix of all three?!? Holy-moly! LOL I'll mix two shades as I move from summer sun to winter pale, but I don't think I'd ever buy three of something in order to get the elusive "perfect" match. And, speaking of matching, I wonder if that person who matched you to Honey had previously worked at MAC. MAC has that crazy system of of working with opposites to create a neutral tone. N=neutral, C=cool, and W=warm. So, if you're light with warm undertones like I am, MAC matches you to NC shades because the theory is the natural warmth in your skin needs to be balanced by something cool. Perhaps that LM person thought your skintone needed to be "balanced" rather than matched. Of course, it could also have simply been the result of bad store lighting. But I digress . . .

    I was given a generous sample of this at Sephora and found that it did not work well for me. When I first applied it, it was too dewey for my taste as I'm currently favoring satin to satin-matte finishes. So, I applied my new Guerlain Mรฉtรฉorites (the LE one that came out this spring) which took the shine down without rendering the foundation matte. That combination looked nice, but the foundation itself was very short-lived. A few hours later, it looked like I hadn't even bothered with foundation. I have dry skin and don't touch my face a lot, so where did it go? When I removed my makeup that evening (I use Tatcha oil and remove it with a white washcloth wrung out in warm water), the cloth didn't show any foundation until I wiped my jaw area and there it was! The foundation had literally slid down my face over the course of the day (Chanel's reformulated Vitalumiรจre does the same thing). I'm sure there are women who will love this foundation but sadly, I'm not amongst them.

    • Behindthepillar February 29, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Me neither. I found it sheer from the outset and very short lasting – literally a couple of hours. Unlike others here I did not even find it gave much of a glow and it felt drying. For the price especially, a real fail all round.

    • Sabrina March 7, 2016 at 12:40 am

      Glad you got a sample to try out. Yes I don't suspect it will be for everyone, but there are lots of new formulas to pick from this year.

  • SoSuSam February 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I've tried this foundation–3 shades of it, actually. I have dry skin and use foundation to even out my skin tone and, yes, add luminosity. So I liked this foundation because I prefer sheer to medium coverage and glow. It lasts long enough for me, though I wouldn't call it long lasting. The problem I'm having is I can't find a good shade. I received a sample in Cashew, which was very slightly too light and definitely too cool. It wasn't terrible in the deep heart of winter, but wasn't ideal. Then I ordered Vanilla, which was even worse–again, far too cool. So I ordered Ivory, and it's considerably darker and waaaaay too yellow. Maybe if I mixed Vanilla and Ivory together…but I think I'm giving up. Maybe if I'm at a counter someday (I live in the middle of nowhere, so I have to purchase everything online) I'll try it again. (I also tried the new Becca, but that was noticeably shorter-lived on my skin.)

    • SoSuSam February 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Oh, I might add that my favorite foundation is the reformulated Chanel Vitalumiere–so Eileen may be right that if you like one, you'll like both! I don't find either one ends up sliding down my face to my neck. They stay put, tho the Vitalumiere lasts much longer. I use both over Hourglass's No 28 Serum Primer, which really helps foundations persist on my skin.

  • Embur February 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Have you tried to the Too Faced Born This Way foundation? I was just curious if it was similar to it or what your thoughts were. I'm trying to decide between purchasing the Laura Mercier one or the Too Faced one right now.


    Emily | embur.

    • Sabrina March 7, 2016 at 12:42 am

      Hi Embur – I haven't tried it on the face but I did swatch briefly in store. It seemed to be full coverage and not dewy at all. I decided to pass since texture didn't really seem compatible with my skintype.

  • Sara BeauTime February 29, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I can definitely write this foundation is not good for dry skin, it dried me out badly. It was not even looking luminous on me, more matte to satin finish because of my dryness. I concluded that it would be better for combination skin, lol, it seems this one is good for no one after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Jess March 1, 2016 at 5:19 am

    Great review! Well, I think this is something worth checking out. Great qualities that are really impressive. Hmmmm…worth the try!

  • Hafizah Rosni March 1, 2016 at 6:43 am

    thank you so much sharing this i have dry skin and looking new tint i thought i want to try nars one but i'll check this on sephora soon >.<

  • Christine K March 1, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Medium coverage with a dewy finish is exactly what I'm looking for! Can't wait to sample this!

  • adia March 1, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Can't wait to read your Armani review. I picked that up a couple of weeks ago and LOVE it. I also tried this LM foundation and was neither impressed or disappointed. Becca is next on my list.

  • Clever Girl Reviews March 2, 2016 at 5:41 am

    I'm pretty dry so I'll have to sample it.

    • Sabrina March 7, 2016 at 12:43 am

      Yes if you can sample first, I definitely recommend doing so.