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Finding a Foundation

Author: Laura Humphrey

I don’t mind admitting that I am a creature of habit in a lot of areas, and my make up bag is no different. Once I find a product I love, I’m not letting it go easily. This trait can be especially frustrating when a much adored item is discontinued; Urban Decay I’m looking at you. Occasionally though, something changes, and a product I have known, and loved, just doesn’t seem to work for me anymore.

Last year the foundation I have been wearing for years and years, just suddenly stopped creating that flawless, glowy finish that I love. The colour match was still perfect, but my face was just sucking in every last drop of the foundation, and a few hours into the day I looked like I hadn’t bothered with anything at all, and let me assure you, that ain’t pretty. I was feeling pretty run down, and slapping on the make up was supposed to make me look better, not worse.

It had taken me a lot of experimenting, and a lot of money to find a perfect colour match in a foundation with a formulation I loved (woe is me with my pale, almost see through skin) so I thought it was best to stick with Nars if I could. I hotfooted it to their counter next time I was in London, where the perfectly preened assistant advised me that I should try their new (at the time) formulation, ‘All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation’. I passed over my hard earned cash and waltzed out the shop safe in the knowledge I was going to once again have luminous skin in no time.

How wrong was I? Luminous I was not. Now, this post certainly isn’t intended to bash this new formulation, I’m a serious Nars fan girl, but this was certainly not the right foundation for me. The dewy glow I dreamt of was nowhere to be seen, and if I’d missed a step in the skin care routine my dry patches were clung to and illuminated in the most horrible way. Things were going from bad to worse. At the time, my skin was parched and grey; central heating was taking it’s toll, I was sleep deprived and recovering from pneumonia. It all felt a little alien to me, and a far cry from my usually very normal skin. I hadn’t shared any of this with the assistant though, and in hindsight, I definitely should have.

So why am I sharing this story with you? Because I imagine that we all have those impulse moments when purchasing additions for our make up bags. The lure of “illumination”, “lengthening”, or “plumping” can sometimes make us completely forget about whether the product is suited to our skin type, or whether we are putting in the right ground work, so to speak. The beauties manning the make up counters can only work on the information we give them, so tell them everything, or at least do your research.

Now I know it wasn’t that Sheer Glow suddenly decided it didn’t like me anymore, it was that my skin was just tired and very, very thirsty. Focussing on fixing this, as opposed to fixing my foundation, would have been the right port of call, and by not doing so I was inadvertently sabotaging my make up. I’ve tackled the dry patches with my favourite exfoliating face mask, and this miracle Bobbi Brown oil and hydration levels are back up thanks to a heap of water. In case you were wondering, the Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc that I wore on my wedding day and loved ever since is firmly back in my make up bag, and I won’t be taking it for granted again.

Do you have any foundation tales to tell? How did you pick your current base and any lotions and potions you’ve left behind along the way?

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24 thoughts on “Finding a Foundation

  1. Laura I tried the all day weightless foundation and just couldn’t get on with it, though the shade was absolutely perfect.
    Thinking I do need to give Sheer Glow a whirl especially for the summer.

  2. Hi Laura. Like you, I’m pretty brand loyal when it comes to my make up bag basics (though I’m completely fickle with colour cosmetics). Looking for a new foundation, in particular, strikes fear into my heart! I’ve had to do it recently though, due to needing a touch more coverage for daily wear. Past experience has told me that buying the wrong foundation is a pretty expensive mistake, so now when I need a new one I stalk the beauty counters for samples. Most brands are pretty generous when it comes to letting you try stuff, and on the very rare occasion when they haven’t been able to give me a sample to take home, they offer to apply it for me so I can see it on. Now I won’t buy a base product without having tried it first.

    Incidentally, Sheer Glow is what I changed to the last time I needed to search for a new foundation. 😉

    1. Tracy that is such a brilliant tip! I don’t think I will ever venture from Sheer Glow again. Now when I think back to my double wear wearing days I shudder 😂 How are you getting on with sheet glow? Xxx

  3. I know everyone raves about Sheer Glow but I just cannot get on with it. It sticks to my dry patches and it always always breaks me out after I have worn it. I dont think it helps that the colour I have is definitely not suited to my pinky toned complexion. I am on the look out for a new foundation so will be stalking the comments. I’m thinking of taking it back to the first foundation I ever owned which I loved and was from Lancôme!

    1. Ahh Sarah I think colour matching is the hardest thing. Then you may find the right shade but not enjoy the formulation! Serious first world problems haha! I dabbled in the world of Lancôme many moons ago, why don’t you head back and get a sample to try? Xxx

  4. I’m currently in a rage thanks to L’Oreal pulling THE WHOLE of Shu Uemura from the UK. Not even concession stalls any more. Now I have to revise my whole face routine, aarghhhhhhh!!! So glad you fixed the foundation issue, it takes so long to find your ideal product I know the fear of thinking you need to change!

    1. Oh god, Annie, what a flipping nightmare! I do empathise with you, what are you going to try first? Xxx

  5. I am a crazy foundation buyer – I long to have that luminous perfect-instagram-filter base! For years I swore by YSL Fusion Ink, and Estee Lauder Double Wear / Mac Studio Finish for those days when only a heavier coverage would do. I fell for Fusion Ink because of its incredibly original texture- like a cream/liquid hybrid. Very light, but also build-able. I still like it a lot, but was hankering after a change and keen to see what newbies were on the market that I might have missed in my Fusion Ink loyalty. I dipped my toe in with Bobbi Brown Long Wear which is nice, but isn’t rocking my world, and also bought the Armani Power Fabric after it received glowing reviews by every reputable blogger I followed! The latter has a shade that matched me perfectly, and so far I get the hype. It covers, doesn’t clag, and most importantly feels nice – like skin! I also used the new foundation as an opportunity to get the new Real Techniques “Multitech” brush, and I think that has helped too. Alongside my trusty teardrop shaped Real Techniques sponge. That sponge totally revolutionised getting the perfect finish on my foundation application!

  6. I have used Nars Sheer Glow for years and love it. But for the summer I wanted something a little lighter and so have started using Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation and finding it really lovely. 🙂

    1. Ooooh Rose I love Laura Mercier products – sounds like you have struck gold. Let us know how you get on xx

  7. Loved this post!
    I am definitely a random foundation purchaser. The most dangerous place for me the is the airport departure lounge; I cannot resist the ‘duty free’ perks! My most recent impulse purchase was the Guerlain Lingerie de Peau. I really love it. It suits my pale colouring and gives me a natural ‘glow’. Well, as glowy as I’ll ever get!

    I’m going to try to be more like Laura and ask for samples before parting with the best part of £40!

    1. Laura we don’t just have names in common but our pale complexion woes too! If I am ever brace enough to venture from Sheer Glow I love the sound of this natural glow you’re raving about xxx

  8. I absolutely love Sheer Glow and I mix 2 colours. However there is a problem with production at the mo according to Space NK and everywhere is sold out of most of the shades!! No idea when this will be resolved but I’m desparate!

    1. Blimey Gemma this keeps happening!!! The same happened about a year ago, it was a little stressful. Have you tried anywhere else aside from Space NK? Xxx

      1. Indeed!! Iv searched and searched all stockists – Selfridges, JL online, Nars site, ASOS, Liberty online, all having the same issue! Hope it’s fixed soon, it really is the best! Xx

  9. I’m lucky that I have pretty good skin so I try not to wear a foundation too often. I have had Jane Iredale tinted moisturiser, in fair, in my make up bag since I got married three years ago. I did my own make up as I wanted to make sure I looked like me and I invested in a few products from my local salon. I use a light covering for everyday wear but it layers up well for a night out’s coverage.

    I hate having to find a new product so I stick to what I know too. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

    1. Claire where were you and your wise words when I switched things up?! Love love love that you did your own make up for your big day, what other products did you use? Xxx

      1. I used Benefits’s Brows A Go Go, Maybelline Falsies mascara (I love this – it really gives my eyelashes great volume in just one coat), Jane Iredale Puremoist lipstick in Rose and my bargain No17 concealer stick (£4.99) which I have used for years!

        My photographer was shocked that it only took me ten minutes to do my make up – he told me to get my make up almost done while he photographed my bridesmaids and he would photograph me doing the finishing touches. Apparently I was the quickest bride he has seen get ready.

  10. I’m a Sheer Glow user too and I do like it but at the beginning of Spring the colour was just starting to look a bit dark for me and I’m in the market for something new!
    Tempted by Armani Luminous Silk/Power Fabric/Maestro, as they all sound good or It Cosmetics CC cream, but that means risking it for a biscuit with colours as it’s from the US….???
    I also tried something my sister had from Vichy when I was at hers a bit ago which was nice and light and felt lovely on my skin…..?? I can’t remember what it was but in a green tube!
    I just want something glowy, but not sweaty that makes my skin looked like its been photoshopped but with light coverage……surely that’s not too much to ask is it?!

    1. Lisa above is raving about Armani’s Powder Fabric – sounds brilliant.
      I’m the same, I want my skin to look like I’ve been through several filters 😂😂😂

  11. I really love Pixi’s Glow Mist – it’s a spray which you can wear under or over makeup, or on it’s own and gives you the loveliest glow. I like it under my foundation as I do like a heavier coverage but still want that glow! Works really well on my dry-ish skin. Definitely agree that the skin care is as important as what you put on top, interested to read others foundation recommendations too.

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