This post has been months in the works as I’ve been testing some of the most luxurious makeup bases, foundations and powders on the market. Finding a good makeup base has always been important to me and but it can be so tricky to find the right combination for my skin type, skin tone and has just the right amount of coverage. Each season I’ve discovered new formulas that work extremely well. A large number of you have asked for reviews on other luxury bases that have cult-status including foundations, face tints, primers and powders. I’ve been putting many of these to the test for months now to see how they’ve held up in extremely humid weather. I’ve also been able to test these in more normal climates during travels outside of Florida too.
Before I start reviewing the ones that are new to me, I will say that the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer ($85 for 1 fl oz) has been my favorite and I still think it’s one of the best ones. I’ve used it in San Diego, Dallas, New York City, San Francisco and all over Florida. The formula holds up really well on super humid days at the beach, pool, Orlando theme parks and on various trips. It has perfect buildable coverage that I can build to full without it ever looking cakey or fake. The original review + swatches here. They’re also swatched next to MAC Studio Fix Fluid foundations. I’m anywhere from NC25 to NC37.
Onto the new ones I’ve been putting to the test. Up first is the Chanel Sublimage Le Teint in 40 Beige ($135 for 1 oz). This is described as a lightweight cream foundation that you can build from light to medium coverage. It has the signature ingredients of their Sublimage skincare line which I have used before and love. Due to the high prices I haven’t repurchased their Texture Fine cream although it’s among the best I’ve tried.
The Sublimage Le Teint comes in a jar with a brush. A little goes a long way and it gives my skin a naturally radiant smooth look. Pores completely vanish and skin is smoothed in a way I’ve never seen with any other cream foundation. The only issue is that it’s not designed for normal, oily or combination skin. I was dissuaded at multiple counters from buying it because the reps said it’s only for those with dry skin. They happily made me a sample though and after using them up I ordered it online. I do find it hydrating but it’s still not too rich. It’s pure love for me, but if you have oily skin though it may be too rich for you.
Worn below is the Chanel Sublimage Le Teint 40, no concealer, set with La Mer Translucent Loose Powder, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara, Diorshow Brow Styler in Universal Brown, Tom Ford Terra Bronzer on the cheeks and Chanel Ombre Premiere in Ray.
Next is the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation with SPF15 ($225 for 1 fl oz for the foundation and .07 oz for the concealer). I featured it on my face in this post here before wearing Satin Nude. This foundation has been raved about by so many, I didn’t know if it was just hype or if it was really that good. I’ve been testing this since August and it’s truly one of the most luxurious bases I’ve tried. The foundation provides full but natural looking coverage. It does have a dewy finish that you absolutely need to set with a powder, but it lasts all day without getting oily or cakey. The concealer has a matte finish. It’s a little bit lighter in color than the liquid/cream but very opaque. This has caviar extracts infused which are designed to lift and firm the skin. I’ve used this on and off since August. I haven’t used it on a daily basis to notice any skincare benefits but they way it looks and makes my skin feel is just amazing. I’ve found that it can settle into fine lines if my skin isn’t prepped well or moisturized enough, but that can be the case with almost any base.
Worn below is the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer under the eyes and Foundation all over. I didn’t use any powder to set. Cheeks have a bit of the Tom Ford Gold Dust Bronzer, lips are NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara.
Sisley has been widely raved about from many of you and I’ve been truly impressed with everything I’ve tried from the line. I was sent the Double Tenseur Instant Long-Term Gel ($192 for 1 fl oz) which is a multi-tasking product which I’ve used as a primer but over moisturizer. It does indeed help foundation last longer but I’m not the biggest fan of gel formulas. Still this performs really well and I like the way it feels on the skin. In terms of primers I actually prefer the Instant Eclat Instant Glow Primer. ($90 for 1 fl oz) I ordered this sight unseen and it’s a sheer opal pearl liquid cream. I want to say there must be a less expensive dupe for this but the way it looks and feels on the skin is unlike others I’ve tried. I give this a huge thumbs up as a primer.
Two other items I’ve tried and loved are the Phyto-Cernes Eclat Eye Concealer in #2 ($107 for 15 ml) and the Super Soin Solaire Teinte Tinted Sunscreen Cream SPF 30 in #2 ($170 for 1.3 fl oz/40 ml). There are several different tinted creams or tinted moisturizers from Sisley. The one I tried is a tinted sunscreen which seemed perfect for me in the Florida sunshine and heat. It’s been a staple for natural looking coverage in a sunscreen. The concealer is quite peachy and opaque but it blends out to brighten the under eye and prevents me from looking tired in the morning. It lasts long and doesn’t cake or crease on me. I apply with fingers but it does come with a little brush.
Worn below is the Solaire Teinte Tinted Sunscreen Cream in 2 Golden, Phyto Cernes Eclat 2 under eyes, La Mer Loose Translucent Powder to set and NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara + Kevyn Aucoin Molton Liquid Lipstick in Rose Gold. Cheeks have a bit of Tom Ford Gold Dust Bronzer.
Swatches of the liquid foundations I use along with the ones I’ve featured in this post:
Many of you have asked about the new La Mer pressed powders. I used to be the biggest fan of their original loose powder and when they reformulated I was so upset I didn’t even want to try the new one. I finally did try The Powder ($95 for 8 g)which is translucent and it’s one of my favorites for a natural looking finish that doesn’t leave a white cast. They recently launched the Sheer Pressed Powder ($95 for 10 g) in a Translucent color and three shades. I tried both Light and Medium as I usually prefer tinted powders for the pressed format, but often times powders darken my foundation even if it looks like it’s an exact match. I can wear both, if they made more shades I would be in between but the finish is sheer enough that’s it’s forgiving. It’s an amazing setting powder and I can’t quite explain how it works, but it’s sheer, lightweight and mattes the face naturally. Even though it is sheer and I can’t detect coverage it does smooth out the skin in a natural way with a blurring effect. Even though the shade selection is very limited I recommend you still give it a try, the sheerness makes the color more forgiving. A less expensive alternative would be the MAC Next to Nothing Powder but the textures are different. I splurged on the Powder Brush ($80) – it’s really one of the most luxurious ones I’ve tried.
I have not tried the Soft Fluid Foundation or Concealer because when they launched I was not able to find a good match. I haven’t tried to look again since then – from what I recall most of the shades are not yellow enough for my skintone. Below is a color comparison of the powders. There’s a big gap between the La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder in Light and Medium. Other ones I use include the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless in #2, MAC Next to Nothing in Medium Plus and Armani Luminous Silk Compact #4.
A few of the extras rounded up below. When it comes to foundation I still find the beautyblender to be the best tool for application. It gives me smooth even coverage that I can control and is always streak-free. For powders a few of my favorite brushes.
- MAC 140s in the full size is my favorite powder brush of all time, this holiday it’s available in a mini with the Snow Ball Face Collection set
- Wayne Goss makes some of my favorite high quality brushes, I find that I reach for his brushes more than others, the Brush #11 and the Brush 00 are my favorites for powder
- Marc Jacobs The Bronzer Brush (also still available in the limited-edition white shade)
- Cle de Peau Puff
I’m usually a no-primer kind of person as I don’t like extra layers of product on my face, but here are a few that I’ve tried recently that I like, especially for humid weather. I find the best all around primers I’ve tried are from Tarte and MAC, some other ones work better with corresponding branded foundations.
- Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion has SPF 50, it can be used a sheer base, but since it has a skincare element to it, I find it works great as a primer for foundation
- MAC Prep+Prime Fix+
- Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer
- MAC Prep + Prime Skin Base
- Diorskin Forever Everwear Makeup Primer has SPF 20 and works really well with the Dior foundations
I know I’ve covered a lot in this roundup – I’ve reviewed a number of bases before but this edit has focused on ones I’d classify as high end / luxury formulas. Overall I’ve found these live up to expectations but my recommendation would depend on your personal preference for formula and your skin type. I was lucky to be able to find a good match in each formula I tried. I’ve put these to the test through extreme heat and humidity. There have been days over the summer and even until the end of September where the weather was so hot my skin started beading and dripping with sweat within 5 minutes of being outside. On those days nothing will really last well. However on days I’m indoors for the most of the time or out of the heat, I found each base lasted all day without sliding off or caking. My thoughts to sum up my testing:
- Bases with best lasting power have been the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer and Sisley Tinted Sunscreen Cream.
- Best full-coverage foundation that looks natural is Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer.
- Best for smoothing pores and giving the skin a radiant but not greasy glow is the Chanel Sublimage Le Teint, although this is probably best for normal to dry skin.
- Most natural looking is the Sisley Tinted Sunscreen Cream, but color selection is very limited.
- Best loose powder for me right now is the La Mer Loose Translucent hands down.
- Do I think the La Mer Pressed Powder is worth it? Absolutely yes, but if I were to do it over again I would have picked either Translucent or just Light. Medium would have worked for me over the summer here, but I’ve been staying out of the sun for weeks now and have lost my tan. As amazing as it is, there are less expensive alternatives I really like such as the MAC Next to Nothing, Armani Luminous Silk and Laura Mercier Candleglow.
- Would I recommend the La Mer Loose or Pressed Powder? The Loose for formula and finish, but it’s not really travel-friendly or easy to put in your purse for daytime touch ups.
- What’s the best for oily skin? I would say the two bases I’d recommend for oily skin aren’t ones I’ve featured here, I’d recommend the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint or Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion (both reviewed here).
- Is the La Prairie worth the splurge? I’m conflicted on this as it’s one of the most expensive foundations on the market and while it’s amazing in every way, I think if you just need a good base you can definitely find one for less. That being said it does have skincare ingredients and also has a concealer built in, so you do get two in one. The packaging design is well made and easy to use. It’s travel friendly and I really have no complaints.
That wraps it up for my luxury base testing. I hope you found this helpful in the event you had your eye on any of these and wanted a comprehensive review. All this being said I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money on a foundation or powder. These days there are so many options you can definitely find one that works for less. With the ones I tested I feel lucky I didn’t find any disappointments as they are extremely expensive.
If you have any questions or need additional recommendations let me know in the comments. Otherwise I’d love to hear about your current foundation, powder or primer favs. It can be luxury or at any price point. Let me know what you’ve been loving!
Press samples featured include the Sisley-Paris Double Tenseur, La Prairie Skin Caviar, Tom Ford Waterproof, MAC Next to Nothing Pressed Powder, MAC 140S brush, NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara.
P.S. I’m running weekly giveaways until the end of the year! Check out the giveaway of the week here.