This post is rather narrow in topic. If you are not pale or if you do not like matte foundations, this is not for you. I’m going to walk you through my foundation journey.
First up is Clinique Stay Matte Oil Free Makeup ($23).
I spent years of shelling out $9 – $11 for drug store foundation, and then realizing that the “good” ones (i.e. Neutrogena) cost closer to $14, and I still wasn’t happy. They weren’t thick enough, didn’t provide enough coverage. Yes, the drugstore probably does carry thicker foundations, but I couldn’t use them for two reasons: 1) color – I’ll talk more about this below; 2) acne – If I wore makeup every day, I would break out without fail.
Since they were getting so expensive, I decided to try my hand at “luxury” products: Sephora! I actually bought this online (crazy, I know), but the store stresses me out and gives me a headache (I’m allergic to most perfumes). This one was by a brand I knew and used, and it said ‘Stay Matte’. Done and done.
It makes your skin look like velvet. Goes on smooth and thick, blends pretty well, dries to a velvety, soft finish that doesn’t flake or shine. It’s really amazing.
However, I just couldn’t find the right color. I started with 09-Neutral. It must have been the end of summer because, within a month, that turned into [almost] bronzer on me, but it was the right hue. I went up a shade to 07-Cream Chamois and that was too yellow.
I am extremely pale with pink or neutral undertones. If you have pink undertones and are not tan, do not even bother with drugstore foundation. I spent 10 years using a yellow based foundation and fixing it with a pink based powder. So stupid, and so much work. Around the time I was using the Clinique foundation, I was having very bad breakouts (from hormones, not from the foundation) and it is extremely difficult to try to cover blemishes with a foundation that doesn’t quite match.
Fed up with mismatching colors and having to correct foundation that was supposed to be the one doing the correcting, I went to get my skin analyzed by Sephora Color IQ (FREE! in stores). Turns out I’m so pale, my color doesn’t even register on the device. Only my undertones registered, so it was suggesting some dark, blush-y color. As long as you’re not ghostly white, I recommend doing it. Once you get your color code from Sephora, the website will tell you every shade irrelevant of brand that matches that code. Luckily the girl helping me was also very pale and this had happened to her, so she manually input my code and showed me some of the foundations that would work for me.
I left with NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation ($38) in Siberia. This was my first cream compact foundation. They tell you to shell out the extra $10 for the case, “so you can get the applicator” that is specially formulated not to absorb this foundation. However, the applicator actually comes with the foundation, not with the case. Don’t waste the $10.
This foundation was much more dewy than I like. It’s not bad, its just not my preference, but the color was so spot on that I LOVED it!
Then I went through it in about 3 months. For something that cost $38?! That’s just not enough product, in my opinion.
I wanted to get away from the creamy compact and back to a matte liquid (oxymoron?). Enter NARS Sheer Matte Liquid Foundation ($48 – discontinued). Way too expensive to justify, so I asked for it for Christmas. That was Christmas 2013 and I still have about 1/4 of the bottle left. Google says you can keep anything cream based for 12 – 18 months. Now, I’m even more pissed about the cream compact only lasting 3!! This foundation is discontinued and the oils are started to separate a little bit in the bottle I have, so I’m on the hunt again! That’s actually what made me think about this post.
Now that I have reminded myself how much I love Clinique’s foundation (and how affordable it is), I think I just need to find the right color. I don’t what I was thinking with the 2 colors I have. They are both in the middle of the spectrum! I’m ALWAYS one of the first 2 or 3 colors; NEVER IN THE MIDDLE. I’m an idiot. And now I have to go into Sephora and get a headache. (More likely, I’ll just guess at the color again and order online)