Base Makeup

My Search For a New Foundation Love: Part 1

February 10, 2011

Ever since rumors surfaced that Chanel was going to discontinue their Teint Innocence Liquid foundation, I’ve received about a dozen e-mails asking me if I’ve found another holy grail replacement. Back in March of last year, I wrote about my other foundation, powder and concealer loves here. To date, my next best picks are Chanel’s Lift Lumiere and Giorgio Armani’s Lasting Silk Foundations but I am in between shades for both formulas. They are the next best thing, but not quite holy grail material.

I’ve been accumulating samples of foundations to try from other brands such as Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Bobbi Brown, Burberry, Guerlain, Laura Mercier, Le Metier and Make Up Forever to see if I could find another love. For me this is something big as I haven’t ventured to try other foundation brands for a long time. I’ve tried numerous foundations over the years (ever since my early college days) and can’t even describe how many times I’ve been let down by breakout and allergic reactions. Sometimes it would take 3 weeks for my skin to recover. I’ve been testing brands outside of Armani and Chanel while holding my breath. How have they held up for me?

First a quick overview in my skin type and what I look for in a foundation:

  • I have normal skin that is neither oily or dry, but somewhere in between
  • I am super sensitive (highly sensitive to fragranced beauty products)
  • I prefer medium coverage that’s natural
  • I look for something that will photograph well
  • My skintone is olive with yellow tones, I’m typically the 3rd shade in the line ups, my colors I’ve been matched to are Chanel Shell/Beige which is equivalent to what’s in between MAC NC30-35
  • I’ve never found a MAC foundation formula that works for my skin (all too harsh)
  • My skin is fairly quick to react

Second, my testing methods:

  • Each new foundation was tested from samples from around 3-6 days
  • After testing a foundation, regardless of how I felt (ie positive or if I had any negative results such as allergic reaction, itching or peeling) I would go back to my normal skin/foundation routine for a full 2 weeks to go back to my neutral/normal skin state
  • Samples were based on a combination of product description, makeup artist recommendations, bottle/packaging design and color selection
  • My application is either with fingers or a sponge
  • I’ve been testing for months!

In Part 1, I’ll review my thoughts on Bobbi Brown’s Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation, Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation, Chanel Mat Lumiere, Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau.

Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation SPF 15 ($45) This is an oil-free semi matte finish foundation with medium coverage. It’s supposed to be the revamp replacement of her original Oil-Free Foundation. I used to use items from her original line, but once she started adding SPF, I found my skin reacted with little bumps and red irritation. I stopped using her foundations years ago. I’ve historically been matched to Beige #3 in most of her foundations and the Natural Finish Long Lasting foundation looked promising. I got several shade samples and the best match for me was Natural Tan 4.25.

  • Pros: Loved the natural coverage, finish and wide range of colors for a good match. Coverage was medium and evened out skintone without appearing too matte.
  • Cons: After a few hours, my nose was an oil slick. I did not find it truly long-lasting all over the face. Within a few days, I had red bumps on my cheeks which I attribute to an allergic reaction.

Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundation ($52) I received samples of this on two different occasions in Shades 5 and 6. This comes in a light cream formula with a pump.

  • Pros: My best match was #5. Burberry’s foundation has one of the most beautiful finished I’ve ever tried which I’d describe as a flawless satiny glow. Finish was natural with shee to medium coverage. Long lasting with and without a powder. Evened and brightened the face. Photographed perfectly. I thought I had found my next HG foundation.
  • Cons: Within 3 days, I had developed deep under-skin bumps that felt like cystic acne. My skin broke out badly and it took a couple weeks for my skin to fully recover. If you can get a sample, I highly recommend trying it – my skin is oddly sensitive, if this works with your skin, then it’s amazingly beautiful.

Chanel Mat Lumiere Long Lasting Luminous Matte Fluid Makeup ($54) I’ve tested this on numerous occasions hoping I could get it to work with my skin.

  • Pros: Great color match in 40 Beige.
  • Cons: Hard to blend on the skin, regardless of moisturizer and primer. Just sat on my skin and felt uncomfortable.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Invisible Skin Foundation ($57) I wasn’t even remotely interested in trying anything from Guerlain’s powder/foundation line but the SA told me it was a best seller and when she offered to make me a few samples I couldn’t resist (gotta love Nordstrom for amazing customer service). I tested this in conjunction with their Meteorites Perles Primer (the pink one) and loved both so much I bought them both.

  • Pros: Super natural finish with medium coverage. You have to blend this one quickly with a sponge and work in small fast strokes. Waiting too long allowing it to dry before blending causes it to darken making it look uneven.
  • Cons: It can be hard to find an exact match – I was given two samples, 02 and 03, and picked 03 Beige Naturel since 02 Beige Clair looked slightly too powdery on my skin. I was tempted to buy both shades to custom blend myself (like I do with Chanel’s Life Lumiere and Armani’s Lasting Silk), but decided on 03 as the better pick. I wouldn’t recommend this for oily skin.

Have I found a Holy Grail replacement? I don’t mean to keep you hanging – but wait until Part 2 to find out.

*UPDATED 8:00 AM* Because many of you simply cannot wait – what’s coming next in Part 2: Laura Mercier Creme Smooth, Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge, Diorskin Nude, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Chanel Pro Lumiere, Make Up Forever Face & Body. This mini series is meant to include foundations I’ve just recently tried.

For your reference, in Part 3, I’ll include a comprehensive list of all the foundations I’ve tried and tested over the past 10 years (from my early 20’s). Many of you are suggesting brands and formulas I’ve tried before but had mixed feelings about. You might wonder, can I really remember everything I’ve tried in that time frame? Well – yes, but just for foundation. I have ridiculously sensitive skin that blows up like crazy from allergic reactions (allergic to Neosporin, most body sunscreens, some detergents etc.) so I’ve taken note of which ones took me weeks to recover. I’ve always been sensitive about how my skin looks. Most say I don’t need any foundation or powder but it’s something I feel better with.

Please take my reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone’s skin is so unique in skin type, coloring and undertones. We all have different preferences, likes and dislikes. There are many foundations I can’t use that my friends love and adore (and vice versa).

Stay tuned!

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