Saturday, 30 June 2012

Creating the Perfect Canvas: Foundation Before and Afters!

A couple of months ago I felt to the urge to hunt for a new foundation. I've been using and loving Revlon ColourStay liquid foundation for years, but still get that "grass is greener" feeling once in a while- there must be a better, more luxurious, ultra-miraculous foundation out there somewhere! 

On my quest, I was lucky enough to score a myriad of samples. Since my skin is so picky, samples are a godsend. If my face doesn't like it, I'm not stuck with an expensive, non-returnable bottle of makeup. Never a fun predicament. 

While in the process of this thrilling hunt, I thought I'd take a moment to photograph and review each of the foundations I tried, since I know reviews can be super informative for others on a foundation pursuit of their own. And what's more fun than before and afters!? 

For each foundation below, I've taken a photo of my bare skin (eek!) with a bit of moisturizer on top (Marcelle MultiDefense Oil Free Lotion). I should also note that I applied all of these foundations with my fingers rather than a brush. While some formulas may have applied more evenly with a brush, I wanted to keep my application method consistent!
My skin was experiencing a minor breakout at the time, which makes the "before" pictures somewhat cringe-worthy (at least for me); the upside, though, was that if my skin were totally clear at the time, it would be a lot more difficult to gauge the coverage these foundations have to offer. After each "before" shot is a photo of me wearing the foundation only, followed by a picture of me wearing the foundation in the context of a completed makeup look. 

I hope everyone finds these to be informative- let's get to it! 

1) Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup 

  • The Promise: "See no makeup. Feel no makeup. First-ever IntuiTone™ technology guarantees your true-to-life shade and keeps it real in every light. Fresh, flawless, radiant. Ultra light, ultra breathable, oil-free. It will change how you feel about makeup forever. In long-lasting shades for every beautiful skintone. Weightless, buildable coverage. Air-infused with every shake. Blends so perfectly for the look and feel of bare skin-only better. Lasts all day. Controls excess oil. Won't clog pores." (from

Wow- that's a mouthful! Essentially this foundation touts lightweight, undetectable coverage that is suitable for all skin types while still working to hide minor flaws.


Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup, Shade 1N1

  • Shade: 1N1 (lightest in the neutral colour range)
  • Colour Match: Perfect! Not too yellow or pink, light or dark. Became invisible on my skin.
  • Application: Smooth application, melts into skin, dewy finish. Took a while to "set" into skin, but did become less moist after several minutes.
  • Coverage: Light to moderate, buildable
  • Wear: To be honest, I didn't give this foundation a fair shake in terms of assessing its long-wear potential. I applied it a couple of hours before going to the gym, then proceeded to sweat and wash it off. My sense, however, was that this wouldn't have gone the distance on my combination-oily skin. The finish was a bit too dewy.
  • Verdict: Overall, this foundation offered natural looking coverage and the shade I was given was an excellent match for my skin tone. This might be a suitable option for someone with normal to dry near-perfect skin, but was not quite right for me!

2) Chanel Perfection Lumiere Liquid Foundation 

  • The Promise: "PERFECTION LUMIÈRE controls every detail of a perfect complexion to offer a tailor-made result... Its light, fluid texture glides on seamlessly with adjustable yet lightweight coverage for perfect results. The skin-embracing texture becomes one with the face, following its every movement. Its Perfect Skin Affinity complex ensures a second-skin effect and perfect foundation hold for 15 hours. Its universal shades are easy to wear, so that each woman can find her ideal colour. The result: “Multi-faceted” radiance, colour, comfort and matte finish. Perfect correction of all types of imperfections: redness and dark spots, complexion evenness. Optimal radiance created by the patented Perfect Light Control complex for an even, luminous complexion all day long" (from

An even bigger mouthful! For a high-end foundation with all of these promises, my expectations were quite high. I was definitely intrigued by the claim of lightweight coverage and a flawless finish. Could it be possible? 


Chanel Perfection Lumiere, Shade 10 Beige

  • Shade: Beige 10 (lightest of the neutral shades)
  • Colour Match: A touch too dark/yellow (as you can tell from the middle photo), but luckily did not oxidize further (darken or orange) over the course of the day. This might be a better shade for summer time when I'm slightly more tanned.
  • Application: Thin texture, a bit more effort to blend, dried quickly to a powdery finish.
  • Coverage: Moderate to full
  • Wear:  Left me relatively shine-free for 8 hours- no blotting! Settled into dry patches somewhat, but it didn't highlight pores or cake up
  • The Verdict: Impressed with the wear and the coverage (albeit slightly heavy-feeling), but there was nothing unique or luxurious enought about this to be worth the money (more than $50 CAD)! 

3) DiorSkin Forver Flawless Perfection Wear Makeup

  • The Promise: "A liquid foundation that provides SPF 25 protection and a flawless, second-skin finish. Infused with Dior's smart skin-shaping Skincare Essence, this formula becomes one with the skin for a flawless complexion all day long. The soft and velvety fluid melts weightlessly into the skin for an ultra-smooth, even complexion and visibly perfect skin day after day." (From

I was drawn to this Dior offering for similar reasons as the Chanel foundation above- the promise of a lightweight texture combined with long-wear and flawless coverage is like music to my ears! 


Dior Skin Forver Liquid Foundation, Shade 010 Ivory

  • Shade: 010 Ivory (the lightest colour offering)
  • Colour Match: Quite good! The photos make it appear slightly orange on my NC15-20 skin, but I did not detect this in real life.
  • Coverage: Moderate to full
  • Application: Smooth, easy to blend, velvet finish that soon dries down to semi-matte.
  • Wear: The shade didn't oxidize, but my face was quite shiny after 6 hours. Also felt rather heavy on my skin by the end of the day.
  • The Verdict: Great formula, coverage, and colour match, but not enough oil control! The eventual heavy feel was also a turn off.

4) Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

  • The Promise: "Innovative, oil-free gel foundation with refreshing, lightweight texture. Light-reflective circular pigment provides adjustable coverage. Contains 60% charged water and seaweed. Protective field prevents water evaporation, blocks environmental oxidation" (from

This was certainly the most expensive foundation that I tried (thank goodness again for samples!) and the one that surprised me most! Read on... :)

Chantecaille Future Skin in Alabaster

Under artificial light

  • Shade:  Alabaster (third lightest shade, neutral undertone)
  • Colour Match: Slightly pale on my NC15-20 skin, but setting powder and a touch of bronzer remedied this!
  • Application: Creamy liquid that melts into skin with a watery feel. More glowy than dewy; didn't take long to set.
  • Coverage: Light to moderate, buildable. Concealer definitely needed on blemishes, redness, and other discolourations
  • Wear: Started to fade and cling to dry spots slightly after 6 hours, but no shine! Faded "gracefully". (i.e., did not get blotchy or spotty, and did not oxidize throughout the course of the day).
  • The Verdict:  I kind of fell in love with this foundation. Because my skin struggles with breakouts and redness, my comfort zone has always been with fuller-coverage foundations. This is the first light-coverage base I've tried that gives my skin a healthy glow without quickly fading or a greasy finish. My sense is that it might not hold up to Toronto's hot, humid summer weather, but if I have a few dollars to spare when the colder months arrive, I might eventually pick this up!

5) Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Liquid Foundation

  • The Promise: "A shine controlling, oil-free, water-resistant, complete coverage liquid foundation. Hides imperfections, evens out skintone, and mattifies with a non-oily, perfectly powdered finish. The result is flawless and lasts for hours." (From

This foundation has been a best-seller for oily-skinned gals for quite some time, so I thought I'd finaly give it a shot! Some have touted this as a more sophisticated version of my old standby, Revlon Colourstay, which propelled me further to try this!

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Liquid Foundation #25

  • Shade: #25 (#20 would have been a more ideal match, but Sephora was out of that shade at the time)
  • Colour Match: Too pinky/grey-ish on my NC15-20 skin, which you can tell from the photos (wish I could have tried #20!). Setting powder and bronzer helped this, though!
  • Application: Thick liquid that dries down to a powdery finish- somewhere between semi-matte and matte. Sets quickly.
  • Coverage: Moderate to full; barely needed concealer over top!
  • Wear: Several hours shine-free, but gets slightly cakey and heavy by the end of the day (which may be hard to avoid with fuller-coverage foundations). 
  • The Verdict: Overall, there was a lot to like about this foundation- particularly the excellent coverage and oil control. Despite the aforementioned claims, however, this still did not surpass Revlon ColourStay in my books. The application may have been to blame (using a brush may have sheered things out a bit), but I did not appreciate how heavy and mask-like this began to feel as the hours passed.

Phew! So that was an incredibly long post! I wont extend it any further, except to say that this quest only reiterated that the grass isn't always greener- Revlon ColourStay still reigns supreme in my books. The process of testing these foundations was still fun, though, and if I win the lottery come winter (or, let's face it, just get a big enough hankering), Chantecaille Future Skin may make an appearance in my makeup bag :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. Love this post, so informative! I don't wear foundation as I always find it feels too heavy no matter how light it claims to be, but I'm hoping one day I'll find one I can tolerate :) x

    1. Thanks! Yeah, it's difficult to find a foundation that offers good coverage that isn't cakey... but I've been experimenting with various foundation brushes, trying to find one that gives natural, lightweight coverage. I'm sure I'll write a post about it if I find a great one! :)

  2. Wow, you did tried many foundations. However, I must tell you should have got a sample of Double Wear or Double Wear Light, that's the closest I've found to Colorstay in the HE range. From the ones you tested, the one that seems you give you a flawless finish is Chanel Perfection Lumiere, I know you liked Chantecaille better, but IMO Chanel fits you better. Oh, and I must thank for showing MUFE Mat Velvet, I wanted to try that one, but it looks soooooo cakey, that I don't want anymore. I think I will just stay with my ELDWL and my Shiseido brush for a lightweight application. Cheers!!!!

    1. Hi Anne- thanks for the detailed comment! I've tried EL Double Wear Light and thought it was pretty good, though the lightest shade was a *touch* too dark for me and I suspect that it broke me out :( I haven't tried the regular ELDW yet, though, so that may be next on my list! I agree that the Chanel Perfection Lumiere gave a flawless coverage and had relatively good wear and oil control. It just wasn't *that* much better than ColourStay, so I couldn't justify the price.

      I'll let you know if I ever give the ELDW a try! :)

  3. This is a great post! it must have taken some time and effort to review and photograph all of those foundations! And well done for having the confidence girl! I am actually putting the Revlon Colourstay on my wishlist now :)

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'm still surprised sometimes that I have the guts to post the makeup-free pictures. It's therapeutic somehow! And glad that I inspired you to test out ColourStay :)

  4. It's great that you could score so many samples - I'd be interested in seeing how well NARS does in the foundation department. I've also been curious to try their concealer...


    1. I've sampled both their Sheer Matte and Sheer Glow foundations- I actually wan't very impressed, but they do get rave reviews from others. I more recently got a sample of their now tinted moisturizer (wearing it today, actually) and I quite like it! :)

  5. Great post! It's nice to see you break out of your Revlon shell and do some experimentation.

    Since I've been on the BB creams, I haven't really given much thought to regular foundations because really, I think all I actually need is a tinted moisturizer in terms of coverage, and since my skin is so dry and pale. But I have been using Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup with a good degree of success. I think it's interesting that someone with my caliber of flakiness (my mom too!) can use a powder foundation at all, so I'm pretty excited about this. Have you given much thought to experimenting with mineral foundations? I'm curious if they work well for both oilier and drier skins.

    1. Thanks! That's awesome to hear that you and your mom have been having luck with the Pur Minerals powder! I've never tried the line before, but perhaps they have some good options for oilier skin too? I would like to find a good mineral foundation, especially since many of the brands that carry them are both affordable and cruelty-free. I really do like the one from Laura Mercier, but I'm kind of in between colours and I suspect that it breaks me out slightly. Perhaps it is time to find another :)

  6. You even out your discoloured skin sooo well!!!!!
    i love this post.

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  7. great post! i have skin like yours so it was really helpful. those foundations cost so much, its good to know which ones are worth it and which ones arent

  8. Great post. This really gives a good idea of the foundations. <3

    1. Thanks, Maya! So glad you found it helpful :)

  9. i would honestly hate hate hate to put photos of myself makeupless on the internet so well done and THANKYOU, it means you can actually for once see exactly for yourself how good these foundations are! such a great post, has definitely inspired me to try a few of them :)

    1. Thanks! Posting makeupless photos definitely isn't easy, but I decided to put my vanity aside in order to fully display what the foundations have to offer. So glad you enjoyed the post and that you're going test a few of them out :)

  10. Wow, what a great post! I've been meaning to try the Revlon Colorstay for some time now and I definitely love the finish. I think it has the best coverage too :) Thanks for this!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Glad you found this post helpful :)

  11. Hello and thank you for your reviews! The Estee Lauder IFM looks very nice on you! Between the Chantecaille and the Inivisible Fluid make up .... which one would you perefer? I have combination/dry skin. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for reading! Both are great foundations, but I think that the Estee Lauder option would be great for combo/dry skin if you're looking for something with natural coverage. And it's half the price of the Chantecaille! If you ever want to treat yourself to a high-end foundation, though, Chante Future Skin really is a good option. I find it wears a bit longer than the Estee Lauder IFM. Hope this helps! :)

  12. Thank you for the nice reviews. I love trying new foundations. I want to try Chantecaille Just skin and Future skin. But I can only buy the products over the net. My skintone is a nc20 (By Terry sheer expert 4 cream beige, Armani lsf 3.5-4). Do you think that the Just skin in shade 'Bliss' would be a good match? And you mention that the Future skin in 'Alabaster' is a bit too light, maybe the shade up 'Camomile' would fit?
    Thank you and have a nice day!

  13. Estee Lauders IFM looked gorgeous on you.

  14. wow what blush are you using it is so gorgeous!!!


All of your lovely comments make my day! Thanks for taking the time to share your musings, ideas, and opinions. Feel free to leave a link to your blog- I'd be happy to check it out :)