Disclaimer: I am suuuuper picky about choosing beauty products, especially foundation. I will try a hundred samples (only kind of exaggerating) until I find the right one.
Rewind a few months: I had been wearing MAC Prolongwear foundation for the last several years. It’s a great foundation for oily-prone skin since it is both mattifying and lasting, which means it won’t look greasy or slide off your skin at the touch the way that other formulas can. However, I wanted a softer, more natural finish for summer, something not quite so harshly matte.
It took me a few trips to Macys and Sephora to nail down the best formula, but I finally found the perfect choice:
This foundation was recommended to me by one of the Sephora beauty experts, who raved that it was the perfect option for all skin types, boasting its natural finish and all-day wear. I’m not one to purchase foundation on the spot (since you really can’t tell how it will wear unless you try it for a full day), so I asked for a sample. I was genuinely impressed with its staying power. It seemed to live up to the hype, without question.
After trying multiple different formulas, this one look the best on the skin. Coming out of the bottle, it is a little bit thicker, so be warned. However, once you apply it to the skin, it does this magical pore-minimizing, smoothing thing that none of the others did. I swear it creates a young and flawless face in seconds. It also comes in cool, warm and neutral tones for fair, light, medium and dark skin tones. Because I have a lot of redness, the Sephora makeup artist suggested the neutral shade. She warned me that the warm would likely look orange and the cool wouldn’t have the neutralizing effect. Of all of the foundations I sampled, this was the best color match against my skin tone, which was another primary reason I chose this formula.
Overall, I have been really impressed with how well it covers, and how beautifully natural and dewy it appears on the skin. For anyone with combination, acne-prone or oily skin, I think this is a great option that gives full coverage, minimizes pores and neutralizes redness, while somehow still looking totally natural.
The other contenders:
1.) Dior Nude Air
I really did love the consistency of this foundation. It was incredibly lightweight, with buildable coverage. My complaints with this product were that the shades did not match my skin at all. The lightest option (Ivory) was far too light, and the next shade (Light Beige) was way too orange looking on my skin. It looked very unnatural. In addition to that, this is a mattifying formula, which I was looking to get away from. The Sephora makeup artist also warned me that, because of its matte finish, ensuring that your skin is exfoliated and moisturized is crucial with this particular foundation. Formulas like this one, she said, tend to emphasize any texture or dryness on the surface of your skin. (No thank you.)
This formula was recommended to me by a combination-skinned makeup expert. She could not say enough good about this product, and (I should add) it looked beautiful on her skin. She has super smooth skin with invisible pores, so it doesn’t take much. For me though, this formula wore similar to the Nude Air in that it did nothing to reduce pore size. Instead, I felt like it was a thicker formula that didn’t blend as well into my skin. But again, one of the major reasons I did not choose this foundation was the color selection: way too light, or way too orange.
And finally, out of desperation I think, I decided to try the Bare Minerals powder foundation that I had worn in college. Honestly, this was practically melting off my face by lunchtime and looked so caked on, really emphasizing my pores. I ended up taking a napkin and just wiping it off. This was a no-go for sure. I tried it with the primer that comes in the kit–which didn’t exist in my college days. It’s possible that I may have had a totally different experience if I didn’t use that product, but I didn’t even give it that chance. In my head, there was no way I was going to like this formula, so I ruled it out immediately.
Fast forward to today: I wake up really early for work (which just means I’m pretty tired and don’t want to spend a ton of time doing much of anything, let alone my makeup). I prefer to use a select few go-to products that I can swipe on quickly without much fuss before heading out the door. Right now, those items are:
2.) Bobbi Creamy Concealer Kit – A great consistency with nice coverage for undereye circles and imperfections. I’ve been wearing this for years, one of my favorite products.
3.) Benefit They’re Real mascara – Let me first say that I love the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara for it’s serious plumping power. I’ve never had fuller eyelashes! Sadly, I’ve also never had more mascara running down my face either. When I saw that Too Faced had created a waterproof version, I was really excited, thinking this might be the solution I was waiting for. When I tried it though, whether it was me or the new formula, it seemed to get all over the place. It was more “wet” than the original, and just seemed to get everywhere when applying. On top of that, it was (of course) very hard to remove due to the waterproof formula. I prefer not to work that hard to remove my makeup, so I decided to pass on this also.
Benefit’s They’re Real mascara has been doing the trick as far as plumping goes, and I’m happy enough with this product to stick with it. I love to throw the blue color on the tips of my lashes for added fun (why not?).
4.) Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream – Another favorite that I’ve been wearing for many years now. I had run out a few months ago and hadn’t replaced it right away. When I did though, I quickly remembered how much the fragile skin around the eyes begs for this kind of moisture. Let it dry and apply your concealer, and it creates a nice smooth finish.
5.) Anastasia Brow Pomade – Another recommended product that I’ve really been loving lately. A bold brow really finishes your look. If you don’t fill in your brows now, start. Seriously. It makes a huge difference. You won’t be sorry.
Other great options: Benefit Brow Zings Shaping Kit and Gimme Brow are both fantastic options for filling in brows. The shaping kit comes with mini tweezers and brushes, while the Gimme Brow is packaged perfectly for on-the-go (be advised though, this product dries out quickly. I found myself going through this faster than I wanted to for the price).
8.) NARS The Multiple in Orgasm – I’ve actually had this product for a while, but haven’t worn it until lately. It’s a truly wonderful summer option. Dab on your cheeks and the bow of your lip to create a summer glow with subtle highlight. You’ll look effortlessly sunkissed.
Click to shop my routine here:
Have you guys tried any of these products? And what products are you using for summer? I would love your advice or recommended products, so please feel welcome to share below!