Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush Review

Hourglass just launched a new foundation called the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($46 for .25 oz/7.2 g) which is a new product described as having the full coverage of a concealer, fluid texture like that of a liquid, and weightless feel like a powder. It’s a concentrated formula that combines foundation and concealer in one that you can build for full coverage but looks natural on the skin. Also launched with 26 shades of foundation include the Vanish Foundation Brush ($46) designed to buff and blend the new foundation formula to flawless smooth perfection. Both have launched at Sephora, Nordstrom, Hourglass Cosmetics and is currently on pre-order at Barney’s New York.

I received two shades in Ivory and Warm Ivory to test out based on the note that I currently use NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed together. When I first saw both shades and swatched them I suspected they would both be on the light side for my skintone, but Warm Ivory warms up to give an exact match for me right now. The chart above breaks down the color options and ranges. I would say the sequence of names is accurate from light to dark, but the color swatches are not. For me Warm Ivory is definitely darker than Ivory but the card makes it look like the opposite.

First a look at the foundation. These come in compact triangle-shaped twist up sticks designed for precise application. I tested both shades out and found both work well for a good match which surprised me because they looked really light compared to other foundations I use. I tried it three different ways. Here’s the before and after with Warm Ivory swiped and then buffed. In these photos I put around 3-4 swipes per side of the face and then buffed it out with the brush.

Method 1: Apply all over the face with 4 swipes per side over Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and set with NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab. The result was an oily mess within a couple of hours although I was outdoors for lunch in 85 degree weather on a hot day with mild humidity. This usually happens with all foundation sticks on my skin though if I use them all over the face.

Method 2: Apply on top of AmorePacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra Gel + Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, then set with NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab. I have not really used the Hourglass Primer a lot because I feel it’s best suited for more oily/combo skintypes compared to mine. I have accumulated quite a few minis and a friend recommended I try it for summer. She was right, it extends the wear of foundation especially in warmer weather. This combination lasted all day, even through being outdoors in the afternoon for a few hours. By evening, makeup was a tiny bit dewy on the nose, but it stayed put without any creasing, melting or budging.

Method 3: Apply a light base such as any of my regular foundations all over, I tried it with my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints. Moisturizers used on separate days included the Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (primers skipped on these days). Use the Hourglass Vanish Foundation stick like I use most of my foundation sticks along the T zone and areas I need more coverage and buff in. Then set with powder. This method also worked well in terms of lasting power.

A look at the product itself with swatches, Ivory next to Warm Ivory. In the tubes they look yellow/olive toned pre-swatching. Once you swatch they appear a bit more neutral.

Comparisons to two other foundation sticks:

  • Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation is currently my favorite stick foundation of choice. I had planned a summer base roundup and then samples of two foundation formulas arrived so I wanted to put those to the test before doing my roundup. This so far is the best full coverage foundation I’ve tried that covers dark spots but still looks natural. My shade match is 123. Initially I was matched to 128 (as seen in this story here) but I can change skin color quickly if I’m outdoors for an extended time (or lose it as well) so I alternate between the two.
    • The MUFE stick offers more coverage but has a more emollient texture (not greasy though). Product is also larger at 12.5 g.
  • Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick for many years was my go-to for foundation sticks (original review here). I’ve gone between two shades, 4 Bisque and 5 Natural. To this day I still think this is an exceptional product – but I cannot wear this all over the face. The best way for me to use this is on top of regular foundation on areas I need coverage. For my skintype which is normal combination, the all over the face method results in a very dewy mess within a couple of hours – with or without any primer. Coverage is smooth and easy to build for a flawless finish. A little goes a long way – it has a foundation makeup scent that is hard to describe almost like cardboard or paper that I’ve found in some foundations and for some reason I find really soothing. A single stick has lasted me well over a year and the product did not go bad.
    • For the TF vs Hourglass, the Tom Ford is probably better suited for normal to dry skin types, it is more dewy in finish, feels slightly thicker but not too thick, it also has more product at 15 g.

Sticks swatched side by side, note my arm is not the same shade as my face. Right now the MUFE 123 matches perfectly. Hourglass Vanish in Warm Ivory blends out to a more matte finish compared to the others.

A closer look at the twist design of the stick:

One more shade of swatches with NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in St. Moritz (darker option) and Groenland (lighter option):

A quick note on the brush. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to use. It reminds me of my Marc Jacobs The Face II Brush (full review on foundation brushes I love here) in the sense that it’s angled to match the contour of the face. The Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush is more compact, has a smaller head, but just as soft and a bit easier to move along the face because it’s slightly less dense. It’s super soft and fits in my hand perfectly. I haven’t tested it with liquid foundations but I have with the other foundation sticks – it’s amazing. I highly recommend it.

Overall thoughts:

  • The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick does indeed offer a seamless smooth finish. It’s easy to blend and does not look cakey, nor does it emphasize pores. 
  • Coverage is medium to full depending how much you layer. It does a good job at smoothing out dark spots or under eye circles, but I still prefer spot touch ups on blemishes and under eye with other concealers. (My favorites rounded up here.)
  • Lasting power will depend on your skin type and what products you use underneath. If you can normally wear foundation sticks all over the face without any issues this will probably work the same for you. I have never been able to wear a foundation stick all over the face with the exception of the MUFE Ultra HD Foundation Stick.
  • Best ways for me to wear the Hourglass Vanish Foundation stick was over the Mineral Veil Primer or over areas after applying regular foundation.
  • On color matching, I suspect based on the online stock swatches and chart that Sand might be a better match for me on my more tan days now that it’s summer, but Warm Ivory works for a very good match – no tweaking required. Even though this is a full coverage product and I do recommend finding a match as close as possible, there is a natural quality to the finish that makes it forgiving even if it’s not a 100% match. Warm Ivory swiped on my skin looks about 1-2 shades too light but as with most foundations you need to blend it out to see if it works. It matches my face to my neck well. I will check out the shades in store later this week though – if Sand is a better match I will let you know.

That wraps up my review of the latest from Hourglass. You can find both the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Hourglass Cosmetics right now. For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale there is an Hourglass GWP going on (featured in this post).

Have you tried the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick yet? It launched online last week – so if any of you have ordered or tested let me know! If not, have you tried other Hourglass Foundations? Which ones?

Both the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush provided for review consideration.

  • Wow that was a very detailed review and very helpful. Thanks xx

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for reviewing this! I was looking at the formula and not sure if it was worth the splurge. I have the MUFE stick and love it and also have the Lancome Teint Idole stick (amazing as well for a more matte look). I will definitely need to test colors in store. I was thinking warm ivory would work for me based on description and swatches, but I am a shade or two lighter than you so will need to find another option. Always love reading your reviews!

    • Hi Anonymous – I was really surprised both Ivory and Warm Ivory work for me. If you're 2 shades lighter then I think Ivory may work for you, but if you can test in store definitely do so before buying! I do recommend doing more than a patch jaw test though (as long as you're ok with the testers).

  • Is it stupid of me, I never knew that Hourglass do makeup brushes!!- I have used the maybelline foundation stick which I wasn't a fan off, I have mixed feelings about stick foundations. x
    http://flareaforte.blogspot.co.uk

  • Wonderful review and I especially like that you told us about three different application methods. That's very helpful. I use the Tom Ford stick in Pale Dune as a concealer or for those times when my rosacea is more colorful the usual 😉 Since I have very dry skin, it works perfectly for me and "if it ain't broke", I should probably leave well enough alone! LOL But, like so many other makeup loving women, I'm always interested in something new. So, thank you for such a comprehensive and beautifully photographed review.

    • Thank you Eileen – glad you liked the review! The TF is a great cover product for my red areas as well. I had to LOL about the if it ain't broke comment – yes if it's great then stick with what you love 🙂

    • pbi, Tom Ford stick in Pale Dune is discontinued so this could be a replacement when you need it.

  • I've been wondering about this stick foundation and now I'm excited to see this review! It looks and sounds very nice. Great review.

    JennyLovesBeauty♥

    • Thanks Jenny! Glad you found the review helpful.

  • Thank you for your review Sabrina! I also LOVE and currently use the MUFE Ultra HD foundation stick and we're the same color match so it's helpful to know which shade of the Hourglass worked for you. I'll be curious to read if the Sand turns out to be a better match! Honestly after reading your review I'm on the fence about picking this up…my expectations are so high and the MUFE so good…we'll see LOL I understand they'll be a Sephora VIB sale coming up in September…likely I'll wait until then.

    Happy Wednesday 🙂

    Best, Lisa

    Instagram: @LittleMama71

    • Hi Lisa – yes I will let you know by updating this post. It's so hard to tell with online stock swatch photos!

      MUFE is really quite amazing though. I don't know that I think any one can top it for my skin tone, skin type, and coverage preference!

  • That brush looks so cool!

    Beauty Candy Loves

  • Maren

    Would you say this is ideal for someone with dry skin?

    • Hi Maren – I don't know that I can speak for those with dry skin since I don't have it. It's not moisturizing – but as long as you have a good base and moisturizer as a canvas I think it should be ok.

  • Are there any worthwhile foundation sticks that do not include octinoxate? I can't use any chemical sunscreens.

    • Tom Ford and Bobbi Brown's foundation sticks do not have sunscreen. You can goggle the complete list of ingredients. I have mild rosacea and use a physical sunblock before applying makeup.

    • I forgot to say, I don't think the MUFE or the Hourgalss contain sunscreen, either. As I said, Google is your friend 🙂

    • Gail – I believe the Tom Ford Foundation stick and MUFE and Hourglass sticks are SPF – free. To date the only site I've found that lists all ingredients for most products is Sephora.com.

      Hi Eileen – thank you!

    • Anonymous

      I'm fairly sure the MUFE is SPF free. I'm not totally sure about the Hourglass as the only place I could find the ingredients listed was on Ipsy. On Ipsy, I did see octinoxate listed as an ingredient (as ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate). This doesn't make a ton of sense to me since this foundation makes no sunscreen claims, but I've seen that happen before. I'm going to hold off on ordering this until I can check ingredients in store as I'm sensitive to chemical sunscreens as well.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      When a product makes an SPF claim, there is a whole other layer of testing (expense) that must be undertaken in order to get approval. Consequently, some brands will have products that actually contain a screening agent, but because they don't make any SPF claims for it, they can avoid the hoopla associated with getting the product approved.

      You are absolutely right to wait until you can check the full ingredient list. Several months ago I bought a Becca highlighter, used it, and promptly broke out in little red bumps. I fished the package out of the trash and read the ingredient list and, low and behold, it contained a chemical sunscreen although no SPF claim was being made for it. When I took it back to Sephora and told the SA about it, she said I was not the first to return a product for that reason.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Eileen,

      Aha thank you 🙂 I had always wondered why that was 🙂 I will make it to Sephora and the Nordstrom sale tomorrow and then I will be able to check for sure. Hopefully it doesn't have chemical sunscreen- I was really looking forward to trying this one as the shade range was so wide and I often don't find a match (I'm fair).

      Thanks for the tip on the Becca highlighter, will definitely avoid!

  • I've been on the hunt for a great stick foundation and was looking at both the TF and Mufe. I'm a shade or two darker than you so I'm glad I at least know where to start looking for color matches! It's hard for me to purchase foundation in the summer because I burn easily. I try to wait for mid fall lol

  • Im not a big fan of stick foundations, probably because I have never figured out how to use them! thanks you showing three alternatives. I am excited to see the awesome shade range for this product and cant wait to go to sephora to check out. thanks Sabrina

  • Anonymous

    Great review. Thanks for comparing to the MUF stick. You are a master at capturing the perfect lighting for the swatches!

  • Dear Sabrina,
    I have been subscribed to and faithfully following your gorgeous blog for years now, and I just want to say that it is invariably lovely, thorough, tasteful, intelligent, and a total joy to read. You do an amazing job of this and are so very very appreciated. xo

  • I'm mostly excited by this launch for the shade selection. Being as white as printer paper Blanc looks like a good match!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review! I am actually wearing the Hourglass foundation stick today. I went to Sephora last week because the Make Up For Ever foundation stick was leaving me extremely shiny all day long. Every time I hugged someone, it would transfer all over their cheek/face. I was also getting cake face from it. I wanted something better and this foundation had just been released. They tested it on me and matched me. This is my second day using it and I really love it. It is matte. I used the Hourglass mineral veil primer underneath. I have dry/oily skin at certain times of the year so I was worried about it with the warmer weather, but so far, it is staying put. I have also had 0 transfer issues as it is matte and it doesn't move. The only down side that I see is the high cost for such a smaller amount of product, however, I am willing to pay for it if it helps me get rid of that shiny look. I give it a 8.5/10.

  • I've just bought this stick foundation but can't afford the brush that goes with it. Does anyone have a recommendation as to which kind of brush I should use to apply it? Thanks very much.

  • Hi dear! Which do you like better the Marc Jacobs III Buffing brush or this hourglass vanish brush? Thanks ?