Foundation Face Off

I'm clearing out my foundation drawer in line with this year's goal of reducing my makeup kit to a substantially smaller but well-edited collection. I have to admit though that as with all resolutions I am failing miserably - barely a month in, I have already purchased no less than five new makeup items, and am looking to purchase a couple more at the airport later (Edit: this got posted a bit late, and so now I can confirm that I indeed purchased a couple of beauty products at the airport).

Anyway, I thought I'd do a couple of mini reviews before some of them get discarded.

Notice how varied the bottle sizes are, and yet they all contain 1 fluid ounce of product, except for MAC Face and Body which contains a whopping 4 ounces. So this should give you an idea of how misleading product packaging could be *cough* Dior *cough*.

Anyway here is a half-assed attempt at swatches:

1. Makeup Forever Mat Velvet + (Shade: 40)
Out of all the foundations I own this is the one I struggle with the most. Every single time I apply it I end up washing my face and redoing everything. It just looks very unnatural on me and clings to dry patches I didn't even know I had. Really disappointed with this one.

2. Nars Sheer Glow (Shade: Punjab)
This is the first, and so far only, bottle of foundation I have managed to empty. Light to medium coverage, natural finish, and it photographs beautifully - what more can I ask for? Well, lasting power, for one. And a pump.

3. Bourjois 1-2-3 Perfect (Shade: 53)
Bourjois is one of the few drugstore makeup brands that makes yellow-based foundations, albeit in limited shades. This particular variant is supposed to contain color-correcting pigments (mauve, green, and yellow). I think that's just a load of bull. However, it is a pretty great full-coverage foundation. It has a semi-matte finish, and I find it's best applied with a buffing brush or a beauty blender. I prefer something lighter for everyday use, but on days when I want to look flawless this is what I whip out.

4. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (Shade: B30)
When someone asks me for foundation suggestions, this is what I always recommend. Over the last couple of years Chanel has steadily churned out some amazing products, and I think this is one of them. Vitalumiere Aqua provides medium coverage with a natural finish, and only requires your fingers for application. The packaging, although not as elegant or pretty as its other Chanel sisters, is very practical and travel-friendly. Sadly I've stopped using this because it just leans too pink compared to my other foundations. But if you're on the market for a new foundation, you must check this out.

5. MAC Pro Longwear (Shade: NC25)
For the life of me I can't remember how I came about justifying the purchase of this foundation. I've only ever used it once, hated it, put it back in the box, and placed it in the back of my makeup drawer, never to see the light of day. It's just a horrible, cakey, patchy mess.

6. Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (Shade: Intensity 2.0)
If you like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, but a touch more yellow and with more lasting power, then this is it. Admittedly it's not as natural-looking, but it remains one of my trustiest travel companions - the packaging is easy to slip into the most overstuffed bags, and I've applied this on many a moving train and it turned out fine. As an added bonus, this does not need to be set with powder, unless of course you plan to be under the blistering heat of the sun for hours.

7. Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation (Shade: 4.5)
This is the most outrageously expensive foundation I own. Bought out of sheer curiosity, thanks in large part to the internet hype, it sadly is not the miracle product I was led to believe. It does have the most interesting texture - someone described it as similar to dry oil, and I think that's about right. I've always dismissed medicine dropper-type dispensers to serve no other purpose other than to propagate the illusion that the product is some sort of scientific breakthrough, but in the case of this product I do think it's necessary - it's just going to be way too liquidy and messy with a pump. Coverage is light to medium at best, and the finish is very very natural; I find I don't need to set it with powder. It's probably as close as I will ever get to a "my skin but better" foundation. Whether that is worth the exorbitant price tag largely depends on what you want your foundation to do for you.

8. MAC Face & Body (Shade: C3)
It's an oldie but a goodie. It comes in an insanely huge bottle - four times the size of a normal foundation - and it's definitely the best bang for the buck. I'd like to think of it as MAC's version of a tinted moisturizer - sheer coverage with a bit of glow. Okay, a lot of glow, but nothing that can't be tamed by a dusting of loose powder. Application can be tricky - but I I find that the best way is to rub the product between your fingers until tacky before patting into your skin. I use this when I don't want to look made up, but would like to even things out a bit.

9. DiorSkin Nude (Shade: 21)
My latest splurge. I've been favoring really natural-looking makeup lately, and this fits the bill perfectly with the added bonus of lasting through the entire workday. I also like that it can be applied with a buffing brush, because I hate getting my hands messy every morning. I wish it came in a lighter, more practical bottle, but I have to admit it does look nice on my vanity. Definitely my favorite as of the moment, but knowing me, I'll be chasing after a different one in a month or two. But I'm hoping that doesn't happen :p

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