I’ve recently been trying out some new foundations (new for me at least), and decided it was time to share my thoughts on them. Because everyone looks for different things in foundations, here’s my criteria so you know where I’m coming from:
Shade: I want a shade that suits my skin, of course. I’m NC25 in MAC, and on the yellow side of that, so often the standard shades of foundation run a little pink on me, which is OK if it gives a perfect finish but looks a little streaky otherwise. I often use Ben Nye Banana Powder to try to counteract the pink, but it’s much easier just to get it right the first time.
Application: I’ve favoured brushes and fingers over the years, but I’ve given them up in favour of an old-school damp sponge. This gives me the smoothest finish, and helps reduce the caking up that can happen around any dry patches. My favourite shape is the house shape because it’s easy to control – it acts a bit like a fat finger (I picked this tip up from a Shu Uemura makeover I did a while ago). I’m also usually in a rush in the mornings, so applying evenly with minimal effort is non-negotiable.
Coverage: My skin is pretty decent most of the time thanks to my obsessive skincare routine, so I’m OK with any level of coverage.
Finish: I have oily skin so I prefer finishes that look slightly dewy on oily skin (i.e. matte finish on everyone else). Like everyone else, I hate cakey.
Longevity: I generally apply makeup in the morning and don’t do any touchups during the day, so ideally I’d need it to last for 10 hours. I often exercise after work as well, so if it lasts through that it gets bonus points, though I don’t generally expect it to!
Packaging: I love nice packaging, but for foundation, all I need is something that isn’t a pain to use.
Scent: I’m partial to a nice scent, but I can handle one I don’t love as long as it doesn’t linger for long.
The four foundations I’m reviewing in this post are Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation and Innoxa EverLast Longwear Foundation. Here’s what I thought:
Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation
Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation (Amazon), was my first Shu Uemura product. I picked it up after getting a makeover done at a Shu counter (the one where I learned the damp fat finger sponge technique), and I’m not sure why I’ve never tried the brand before. Since it’s an Asian brand (albeit owned by giant multinational L’Oreal), the foundations in particular cater to Asian skin tones. It’s SPF 18 PA ++ if you’re curious, but I never rely on my foundation for sun protection since we don’t wear enough for real protection.
Retail Price: $70 AUD for 30 mL
Shade: There are 17 shades available. The shade 764 Medium Light Beige is perfect for my NC25 skin.
Application: Great with a damp sponge, but it’s also pretty good with the fingers which is a bonus!
Coverage: Face Architect has sheer to medium coverage which is great for making your skin look just a bit nicer on good skin days, but it’s quite buildable as well if your skin’s misbehaving.
Finish: The finish of this foundation is matte, but on oily skin it ends up looking slightly dewy – I don’t think it works so well on dry skin.
Longevity: It’s pretty good, especially for a foundation that doesn’t tout itself as longwear – at the end of the workday (10-ish hours post-application) my face starts looking a little patchy.
Packaging: Standard glass bottle with pump top. It’s easy to control how much to dispense.
Scent: Very faint generic floral scent, pretty non-existent.
I was using this in my every day routine for a solid 3 months before I started testing out other foundations, so it’s definitely working well for me! This is a holy grail foundation for lots of oily-skinned people. I’ve heard rumours that it’s been discontinued. Boo! Hopefully Shu Uemura replace it with a comparable product soon. Unfortunately, it does end up a little pricey for the coverage, but it looks fantastic on.
Ingredients: Sea Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Talc, Phenyl Trimethicone, Barium Sulfate, PEG-8, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-20, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Acetylated Glycol Stearate, Dipropylene Glycol, Algae Extract, Porphyridium/Zinc Ferment, Sorbitol, Magnesium Sulfate, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Lauroyl Lysine, Aluminum Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup
Estee Lauder Double Wear (Amazon) is a cult product that I’d never gotten around to trying until recently. I’ve had so many people tell me this is amazing, including some makeup artists, so I was ready to be either disappointed or suitably impressed. Turns out it was the latter!
Retail Price: $54 AUD for 30 mL
Shade: There are 21 shades available in Australia, 38 in the US. The first time I got matched to a Fresco that was way too pink, but the second time around I got a great match in 2N1 Desert Beige. There are a few very dark colours in this range as well.
Application: This applies very easily with a damp sponge or fingers. Brushes work well with this too.
Coverage: Medium to heavy, very buildable.
Finish: It’s quite matte. I’ve heard that some people have caking with this, but I’ve had no issues, probably because I don’t apply much. I think it would be quite drying if your skin is on the dry side.
Longevity: Estee Lauder claims that Double Wear has 24 hour staying power. I’ve never actually tried it for 24 hours, but I did wear it for a pole competition where I applied it at 3 pm, performed twice under hot stage lights, stress-sweat a ton in between, took lots of photos with other sweaty performers, kneed myself in the face a couple of times, then got home at 11 pm and took many selfies. Here’s one of them:
It still looked fantastic up close! There isn’t much settling at all, even on my oily skin. It’s a little stubborn for removal, but double cleansing with a cleansing oil or cleansing balm worked well.
Packaging: I took the product photo when I had the sample only and not the full size bottle, but the proper packaging is a glass bottle with a screw top, and no other dispenser. It’s quite easy to dispense too much through the open top of the bottle. This is the only gripe I have with this product.
Scent: It’s fragrance-free so it smells a bit solventy, but it disappears once the foundation dries down.
I think I can safely say it’s my holy grail heavier-coverage foundation. However, since my skin is generally pretty good, I don’t have much opportunity to wear it, but I’ve found myself using this as a concealer on most days, patted on with a finger. The heavy coverage means a little goes a long way and you can really stretch it with a damp sponge, and price-wise it’s not that far off a drugstore foundation.
(At the time of writing they also did 10 day samples for free at their counters, which is what my photo shows, so definitely worth trying it out for yourself!)
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Tribehenin, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Magnesium Sulfate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Methicone, Laureth-7, Xanthan Gum, Alumina, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Cellulose Gum, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Phenoxyethanol, [+/- Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)]
Bourjois Healthy Mix Anti-Fatigue Foundation
Bourjois Healthy Mix (Amazon, Priceline) has been reformulated recently. The new version comes in the square bottle in my photo, while the old formula was in a round bottle. There’s mixed opinions on the new formula, but I never tried the old version so unfortunately I can’t compare.
Retail Price: $29.00 AUD for 30 mL
Shade: 6 shades available, I used 53 Light Beige. The shade is a tiny bit too dark to be 100% ideal, but I generally can’t find a perfect match in drugstore foundations so this wasn’t too bad. I expect it’ll be better in summer when I have a bit of a tan.
Application: It’s a bit streakier than the other foundations I’ve covered in this post, but it doesn’t take too much effort to fix. It just requires a little bit of patting in with a sponge. Fingers and brush didn’t work as well.
Coverage: Sheer to medium.
Finish: Moderately dewy. Unfortunately if I use more than a very thin layer on my oily skin, it settles into the pores and bunches up over the course of the day. And because the shade match isn’t fantastic, it looks pretty obvious if you’re up close.
Longevity: If I apply a very light layer and avoid the settling problem, it does manage to last all day.
Packaging: Convenient and easy-to-use pump bottle.
Scent: It has a fruity scent that I’m really not fond of, but it fades after a while. I’ve read reviews where people loved it though, so it’s definitely a subjective preference.
Based on my experience and the reviews I’ve read online, I think this foundation is more tailored to people with dry to normal skin. Oil doesn’t seem to play well with it.
I’m actually more in love with the Healthy Mix concealer, which seems like it’s designed for oily skin. I have quite a hard time concealing my undereye area, which I’ve moaned about in previous posts, because my oil makes most concealers bunch up and gather in the fine lines and I end up looking tireder than without makeup. This one doesn’t move much at all once set with powder, which is super impressive for a drugstore concealer! Unfortunately it only comes in 3 shades. I’m using Light.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Parfum/Fragrance, Alcohol Denat., Ascorbyl Palmitate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Silica, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid, Pantolactone, Sorbic Acid, BHT, [May Contain+/-:Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica].
Innoxa Everlast Longwear Foundation
Innoxa is a brand I’ve seen around quite a lot, but I haven’t really kept up with their releases. They largely tailor to mature skin. EverLast Longwear Foundation is a brand new remake of their Long Lasting Foundation, in a much more elegant new bottle. It’s so new that it isn’t listed in the Priceline online store yet. It has longwear coverage as its main selling point, claiming 16 hours of wear.
Retail Price: $36.95 AUD for 30 mL
Shade: There are 5 shades available. I used Nude, which is a little bit too dark for my skin.
Application: This applies nicely using a damp sponge. I haven’t tried with a brush or fingers yet.
Coverage: It has medium coverage.
Finish: This foundation is quite hydrating for a longwear formula, and gives a satin finish. I found that if I tried to apply for heavier coverage, the pigment would bunch up a bit on my skin, though not as badly as the Bourjois foundation. Again, I think this might be tailored more to dry skin, which makes sense since Innoxa focuses on aging skin which tends to be drier. It might also work better if you’re patient enough to wait between layers, which I am not.
Longevity: This foundation lasted the whole day with no issues, despite not blotting it at all. I wasn’t really expecting this from a drugstore foundation, so I was pretty impressed!
Packaging: Glass bottle with a handy pump.
EverLast Longwear Foundation was a surprisingly good foundation with excellent staying power. It also doesn’t dry out your skin as much as a lot of other longwear foundations like Double Wear do, so if you have drier skin and manage to find a match, this would be worth a shot.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Stearic Acid, Di-C12-15 Alkyl Fumarate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Silica, Polyethylene, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Quaternium-15, Tocopheryl Acetate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Seed Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Lactic Acid, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Trihydroxystearin, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Atelocollagen, CI 77491 (Iron Oxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxide) CI 77499 (Iron Oxide), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77947 (Zinc Oxide).
What are your favourite foundations? Hit me up with your suggestions!
These products were provided for editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. This post also contains affiliate links – if you decide to click through and support Lab Muffin financially (at no extra cost to you), thank you! For more information, see Disclosure Policy.
11 thoughts on “Foundation reviews: Shu Uemura, Estee Lauder, Bourjois, Innoxa”
Foundation*groans*! My dilema – very oily skin, large pores, uneven texture and wrinkles (can’t even call them fine lines anymore). All the lovely foundations for 61 y/o aging skin are hydrating and dewy). My long-time love with fMUFE Matte Velvet and Hourglass Immaculate ended a few years ago – they no longer played well with my wrinkles and more textured skin. Just when I started a new affair with Lancome Nude Miracle (despite not being for oily skin), it was discontinued last year. Le sigh. I’m fair with neutral undertones yet neutral shades make my complexion sallow, even with color corrector applied underneath; so since I’m experimenting yet again. Now I’m not eliminating traditionally hydrating formulas – I’m currently working with Bobbi Brown Skin (but my 12 hr workday is a challenge with oily skin); Chanel Velvet Luminere worked for a few months then suddenly gave me polka dot pores; and I’m testing Smashbox 15 hr hydrating (with setting powder and UD DeSlick) but color match is awful (no pink undertones). This one is performing the best so trying a cool-toned setting powder and maybe even a foundation color adjuster. Oh, and I have a sensitivity to bismuth oxychloride so I can’t use a foundation with that ingredient. And with that, I’ll end this chapter of my foundation novel. I just love your site! I am a chemist by education so you hone in on exactly what I love to read!!
I have the same issues at age 57. I’m also allergic to fragrance and botanical extracts. I tried a sample of the Tarte Amazonian Clay, and it seemed to work okay. My favorite thing to do is to apply a tinted sunscreen, concealer on age spots, then a foundation powder, pressing it in with a sponge or puff. Right now I’m using NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat. That seems to give me the best look.
Oh wow, that sounds like quite a dilemma! I would completely ignore the “foundation for mature skin” labels to be honest. Do you use a setting spray? I’ve found that it can make a big difference with settling over the course of the day!
Shu Uemura Liquid Lightbulb Foundation, hands down. I could actually get a shade with yellow enough undertones, doesn’t budge in subtropical heatwaves, gives me the glow of a Korean actress without looking oily, or needing to faff about mixing things in, or using highlighter (I don’t actually own a highlighter because this works so well as an all-in-one), gives great acne coverage on bad days, and the reflective properties have allowed me to reduce my use of undereye concealer and just use a small amount of colour corrector with this over the top. It doesn’t cover them completely, but it causes the eye to skim over them in the way YSL always promised and never delivered for me. It sets and won’t shift on me, and I’m using it over oils & serums (because I’ve got dry skin) in high humidity. It’s the best I’ve ever used, far and away. I have a terrible time finding foundations that suit, so finding something that works this well on me is a minor miracle!
That sounds amazing! I’ll have to pick up a sample. Yellow foundations are so difficult to find!
I use the Double Wear for filming where I want a matte finish and heavy coverage, but it is a little too much for me for everyday use. Sadly I have yet to find a foundation that keeps me happy for everyday, which means medium coverage (I have a lot of hyperpigmentation), a matte finish and lasting for 8-10 hours…
Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking
Have you tried mixing Double Wear with something else (a moisturiser or illuminator for example) for everyday use? Then you’d get the right shade but with less coverage…
I absolutely ADORE L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte!! Not sure if it is available where you are, but it claims to have 24 hour coverage and leaves me with a comfortable, matte feel. It does extraordinarily well throughout the day, so I only need to blot my t-zone in the late afternoon. I wear Natural Beige (105) and am typically a NC 35-40 to give you a bit of comparison. I’ve had friends claim to prefer this over the Estee Lauder Double Wear and I tend to agree. It’s also buildable and while a buffing brush would work fine, a damp sponge makes it look 100000000% amazing-er 🙂
You make it sound amazing! I think we have Infallible Matte but not Pro-Matte, I’m not sure it’s the same product. Will have to investigate!
Oooh, good post. I like all the detail too, thanks! Innoxa, hmmm, I have not heard of them. Are they in North America or primarily your neck of the woods?
My goal of late has been to wear no foundation. I don’t necessarily have bad skin, but I have redness and acne scars. Some hyperpigmentation but provided I don’t get a tan it seems to say hidden. I want that no-foundation required skin that comes from an obsessive skin care routine ? You should do a post on what your skin care routine is! I don’t even know what to do to perfect my skin. I’ve started using good quality masks and moisturising better (and of course, sunscreen ALL THE TIME now lol).
Innoxa is Australian, I’m not sure it’s available elsewhere unfortunately!
I’ll have to do a skincare update! Unfortunately I’m usually testing products on my face, so it’s hard to have a proper routine!