Long Wear Foundation Experiments

Most days, I'm working in an air-conditioned home office, doing nothing more strenuous than occasionally getting up to play with the dog. The only time anyone sees me is on the occasional video conference call, so if my makeup fades a little during the day it's no big deal. I'll be doing a lot of travel this summer, though, and that's going to mean some changes to my makeup routine. Over the past few weeks, I've been auditioning foundations, including a couple from drugstore brands. Here are my findings.

Revlon ColorStay Makeup for Normal/Dry Skin in 150 Buff

It's been years since I've used a drugstore brand, at least for foundation - I've had some bad experiences with oxidizing and orange skin is not a good look on me. But I know that drugstore foundations have improved so I decided to give Colorstay a try. The shade I tried is a good color match for me. The formula is a lightweight liquid that I was able to apply with a sponge, but I think it sets too quickly and that made it really hard to blend. It also doesn't have great coverage - I had to use a lot more foundation than I normally would just to even out a little redness, and that left me feeling like I was wearing a mask.

L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover 24HR Foundation in 301 Classic Ivory

This is just fine as an everyday foundation. The formula comes out of the tube as a somewhat thick paste, so you definitely want to apply this with a brush. In spite of the thickness, it didn't set too quickly so it was easy to blend, and it had coverage that was buildable enough to even out the redness in my skin tone. What it is not is a longwear foundation. It started fading within three hours, although at least it faded evenly. That's the best I can ask from any foundation - if it fades or sweats off in a gradual way that doesn't leave patchy lines, that's fine. This foundation will probably stay in my daily rotation when I'm working from home, but I won't be taking it on my travels.

Urban Decay All-Nighter Waterproof Longwear Foundation in 0.5

When I put this on, it had all the signs of a good long wear foundation. It set quickly enough that I had to apply just a little at a time and blend carefully. The coverage was buildable but still felt light. It has a really nice, natural finish on the skin - it's one of those foundations that leaves you looking like you're not wearing anything at all.

However, it didn't really last for me. I wore it twice, once at home and once on a day out of the house running errands. About halfway through the work day, I checked in a mirror right before getting on a video call and realized that there was a some fading around my t-zone (and I had set with powder, I always do). The fading wasn't dramatic, but more than I would expect for a foundation that markets as "perfect for all-night affairs". This wouldn't last through a night of clubbing - it didn't even last through a day of sitting in front of a computer. I tried it again on the weekend, and although it faded gradually and evenly, it still didn't make it through the day of running errands in the Texas summer heat.

Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Foundation in BR10 and BR20

I got these foundation samples as part of a special promotion, I don't think you'd actually find these minis for sale out in the wild. The first one was a great shade match for me, but on the whole this formula was so disappointing. For a luxury brand, I expected so much more, and things certainly seemed promising when I opened the bottle and saw the lovely spatula included for application. But this foundation had all the worst features of a longwear for me - it set quickly so that blending was a challenge, and then it didn't last. By the midway point of the day, I had faded spots around my mouth and cheeks. I won't even be finishing the sample bottles.

MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation in N18

Of the five foundations I've tried, this is the clear winner. The shade is a great match for me, the formula has buildable coverage that never feels heavy, and it does what it says it will - stays put on my face all day long. I wore it first through a work day that ended with an after-dinner dog walk in the evening humidity and my faced still looked flawless at the end.

For a second test, I wore it to the Families Belong Together rally I attended in Austin this past Saturday. It was scorching hot out - the temperature hit 100 degrees, with 34% humidity - and my face stayed on. I was sweating so much, I was sure any foundation I had put on before leaving the house would be washed away, but when we got back home three hours later I still had a lot of coverage! I did have some fading around my mouth (where I tend to perspire the most) but it was minimal, barely noticeable. Where we're going, the daytime temperatures shouldn't rise above the mid-70's, so I think this foundation will be more than fine.

Tags:   Cosmetics   L'Oreal   MAC Cosmetics   Revlon   Urban Decay   Yves Saint Laurent