For a while I had been feeling that the foundation section of my makeup stash was in need of a bit of a refresh, so after decluttering some products and finishing up others earlier in the year, I made a few careful purchases here and there and thought I would show you guys what I’m working with these days.
My Skin Type
A bit of background in case you’re new here, I have very oily skin. I have to use an oil controlling primer and powder every day if I want my makeup to still be on my face at the end of the day. After spending a few years taking recommendations from people with normal to dry skin, eventually I realised that a lot of those products don’t work as well for me as they do for other people.
Some of my favourite foundations that I will always have in my stash aren’t really made with oily skin in mind, but I love the finish of them so much that I don’t mind putting in the extra effort to make them work for me. However, all my recent purchases have been of the long-wearing variety, and in my opinion they’re the cream of the crop. I’m definitely the happiest I’ve ever been with the selection of foundations I currently have and I think all six of these are beautiful products.
What I Look For
In an ideal world, my face would maintain a perfectly skin-like, slightly dewy finish at all times. The reality is that I’ll try to start out fairly matte, knowing that I’m going to progress to that lovely, fresh, healthy, glowy stage before continuing onwards into oily oblivion.
Because I don’t really like the super matte look, it can be hard to find a balance between something that looks natural, and that also lasts a full day on my face. A lot of the long-wearing foundations on the market are super full-coverage and look very obvious on the skin. I don’t want anything that’s too heavy in feel or appearance, so they’re typically not for me. I much prefer the semi-natural, “my skin but better” kind of look, which means I tend to go for a medium coverage with a satin-finish, while making sure my primer and powder are helping out in the oil-control department as well.
Similarly, I don’t really go for light coverage, ultra-dewy bases because they simply won’t stand a chance. I also don’t have time for tinted moisturisers, cushions or BB creams because they don’t have the staying power I need, and the whole one-shade-fits-all thing that most BB creams come in never works out for me (or for most people, I’m sure).
I prefer to be fairly light-handed with my foundation application because I find that when my oils start coming through, everything holds up a lot better if I’ve only applied a thin layer. The more makeup that’s on my face, the more obvious it looks when it all starts sliding around, at least in my opinion. My most hated thing is when my foundation disappears completely, or gathers up in weird patches and looks super cakey as my oils come through. So rest assured, nothing I’m talking about in this post behaves like that (at least on my skin), or I wouldn’t have bought it!
So onto the products I love, I’ve split them into two categories: The Classics have all been in my stash for a while, in fact I’ve finished and repurchased all of these at least one. They’re ones I’m in an ongoing, long-term relationship with – to use beauty blogger lingo, they’re my holy grails. While The Newcomers (believe it or not) are ones I’ve only started using recently. In my search for new foundations I tried a huge range of samples, and these are the ones that I loved enough to actually buy.
The Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation (AU) in 51 Vanille Clair is the foundation I’ve had in my collection the longest, in fact, I’ve been loyal to it since I first tried it back in 2013 and I’m now on probably my fourth bottle. It has a beautiful gel texture that melts into the skin in the most natural, undetectable way that's unlike anything else I've tried. It has a fairly dewy finish, and actually claims to have 16-hour wear, although I wouldn’t say this is a long-wearing foundation compared to others in this post. In terms of coverage I’d say this falls on the lighter side of medium.
The thing that’s different about it is that although my oils will come through, because of the gel texture it doesn’t break down or disappear, and it can be saved with a quick blot and/or powder touch-up. I do definitely have to pair this with an oil-controlling primer and powder though. My skin had been less oily throughout winter which must have lulled me into a false sense of security, because I recently threw this on with no primer & a little bit of powder to run a few errands on the weekend, and by the time I went to wash my face (about 7 hours later) it literally looked like I was wet. It definitely lasts longer when I’ve paired it with the right products though, and the finish is so natural and lovely that I feel like I'm always going to stick with it no matter what.
The main downside is the extremely limited shade range, I think there are only 5 shades in total. I have very fair skin with neutral-yellow undertones, so I find the lightest shade works really well for me, but they definitely have a lot of room for improvement in that regard. If you can find a shade match, I think if you want a dewy finish and have normal to dry skin, you would probably love this as well. I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this one so it’s really not the best possible foundation for oily skin, but if you want something extremely natural and dewy looking that won’t go patchy, this is one of the best out there. I feel like whenever I’ve gone a few months without wearing this, when I do put it on my skin again and look in the mirror, without fail I’m always reminded of why I love it and keep coming back.
While I try not to save makeup products for special occasions, and I do use this whenever I feel like it, in my mind I still think of it as my special occasion foundation because I always reach for it when I want to feel really good. The first time I tried the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (AU) in Shade 2, I immediately understood why it’s such a makeup artist favourite and why to this day it still gets so much love online.
Again, it’s not the best for oily skin, it’s not particularly long lasting on its own, but the finish is just so beautiful that it’s worth the extra effort for me. I have never put this on my face and been disappointed with how it looks. They released what I believe is supposed to be a longer wearing version called the Power Fabric Foundation, but I tried a sample of it and didn’t think it was as beautiful as Luminous Silk, so I’m sticking with the original.
It has a decent medium coverage (more than the Bourjois) and could be built up a bit more if that’s what you’re feeling. But the bottom line is that it looks very natural and beautiful on the skin – definitely a “your skin but better” kind of vibe, which is what makes it a forever favourite for me.
The third foundation that I’ve repurchased is the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (AU) in Intensity 0.5. I’ve mentioned this recently in another post so I won’t go into too much detail, but to me this is the perfect lightweight, natural looking foundation that really offers that extra boost of longevity that so many other foundations lack. I don’t know what it is about Estee Lauder’s Double Wear line, but there’s a reason it has cult status for people with oily skin.
In saying that, this is obviously the lighter version of the original formula, both in texture and coverage. I would say it has light/medium coverage that can be built up to a decent medium without sacrificing the natural finish. It also has a creamy, almost gel-like texture that feels to me like it has film-forming technology in it to help it last.
It doesn’t dry down to a powdery finish, which makes me think that people with normal skin who struggle to get their foundation to last a full day would really enjoy this as well, because it's not too mattifying. To me this is just a great all-rounder, and Estee Lauder hit upon a really unique formula here and this is exactly what I look for in a foundation.
I really resisted getting Estee Lauder's Double Wear Foundation (AU) in 1N1 Ivory Nude for the longest time. I think it has a bit of a bad reputation for looking super heavy and like you’ve got a lot of makeup on, which I try to avoid. I also assumed it was really full coverage, so I just didn’t think it would be for me. Obviously, if you apply a thick layer with a dense buffing brush (which tends to increase coverage) then that’s probably the kind of result you’re going to get. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, some people don’t care one way or the other if people can tell that they’re wearing makeup, so it really comes down to personal preference and how you choose to use the product.
When I finally got a sample and tried it out, it was nowhere near as makeupy-looking as I thought it would be. In fact, with well-prepped skin and the right application method, you can make this look really natural and lovely. For the look I like to go for, my favourite method is applying a light layer and really pushing it into the skin with a damp Beauty Blender or Real Techniques Sponge. Not only does the sponge thin out the formula and dial back a bit of the coverage, but I find that this foundation can set to a slightly powdery finish, so the dampness in the sponge helps to counteract that, and you end up with a really skin-like finish.
Like Double Wear Light, the beauty of this formula is that it really doesn’t budge. Like I said, there’s a reason these products have been around for such a long time and is easily one of the most recommended lines for oily skin. I don’t have a lot of blemishes to cover, but my cheeks are pretty pink, so if I’m having a particularly red-faced day, the extra coverage in this really knocks all that back. It’s also good if I’m doing something a bit warmer on my eyes, or know I’m going to be wearing a red lip, because that tends to make the redness in my face stand out more, which is not what I want.
Double Wear comes in a huge range of shades, but its biggest downfall is that it doesn’t come with a pump – it’s 2018 people! If you can make the light version in a squeeze tube, you can do it for the original too. I think if you have dry skin this would be more effort than it’s worth to make it work and there would be better options out there for you, but for those of us who are oily, there’s a reason why this has been around for so many years and I’m glad I finally gave it a try because it worked out far better than I thought it would.
I’m not sure how long the Lancome Tient Idole Ultra Wear Foundation (AU) has been around, but I do know that I was late to the party. I feel like this foundation really doesn’t get much buzz online, but the formula is great for oily skin. It has a thin cream texture and medium coverage that I imagine could be built up if that’s what you wanted to do.
I find that it’s barely detectable on the skin, and it lasts impressively throughout the day. Basically, it’s just what I’m looking for in a foundation, and if you want a slightly more lightweight version of the original Double Wear, this is it.
It also has a really impressive shade range. I'm typically the lightest shade in any foundation with a neutral/yellow undertone, and this is a bit too fair for me! I bought the shade 090 Ivoire which is the fairest neutral shade, but I probably should have gone with shade 100, which also has a neutral undertone. I can definitely make this work though, and it's really a product that deserves a lot more attention that it seems to get.
After not being bothered one way or the other by the Fenty Beauty range when it first launched, eventually I became interested in the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Foundation (AU) after hearing it was best suited to oily skin types.
I picked up a sample and was so impressed with it that I bought the shade 120. I would say of all the foundations I’m talking about today, this is most similar to the Lancome one, although if you have normal skin the Lancome one is probably a little more forgiving, and if you have dry sky I wouldn’t really recommend either of them.
The Fenty foundation has a very thin, liquidy formula that you can’t even feel on your face once it’s set down, so I also find that it’s really transfer-resistant. Again, they have an impressive shade range, and like Double Wear, if you’ve prepped your skin appropriately, this can look absolutely beautiful, and it lasts incredibly well too.
I was way more impressed with this product than I expected to be, and although I haven't tried anything else from the Fenty range just yet, for me they hit this one out of the park.