Adventures in Foundation-Fitting: Anne and Kelly’s Search for Fab Face Makeup

This past weekend, I had the long-awaited pleasure of reconnecting with my good pal and brilliant beauty blogger, Kelly Gould (of Gouldylox Reviews). And believe me — just getting together was a feat in and of itself.

shoppingWhile we only live an hour and a half away from each other, it’s been a struggle matching up our schedules. The last time we were supposed to get together, my immune system flipped me the bird and cackled to herself because I had even thought about going out and having fun. But Sunday, the evil phlegm-thrower backed down and let me leave my house for the first time in a week (no joke) so I could spend my hard earned cash on makeup and jewelry.

So shop-til-you-drop time! Our mission was two-fold: Find a new foundation for each of us, and score a stylish fall jacket for Kelly. And of course, if there were other great deals to be had — even better.

On our quest, I learned quite a few things:

  • Even some of the newest foundations from expensive brands really suck.
  • I have a severe color identification deficit disorder.
  • Kelly is a supreme color master.
  • Wearing certain makeup colors during certain months only is not normal (Note: in my head, purple/pinks are for Jan. and Feb.).
  • My facial fuzz is overgrown and needs to be weed-wacked before more foundation gets stuck to it, enhancing my wooly-bear syndrome in front of unsuspecting Sephora employees.
  • Despite having an amazing camera in my Droid X, I forget to take pictures.

estee lauder resiliance lift extremeUpon beginning our foundation-finding foray, we set out to find a color that would better match my lightening skin (and yes, I used SPF all summer!). I had been using Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme ($36.50), and I absolutely loved it, but as the intrepid beauty blogger you’ve all come to know and love, I couldn’t pass up trying out two much-hyped foundations: Lancome Teint Miracle ($37) and MAKE UP FOR EVER (MUFE) HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($40). Kelly, on the other hand, was determined to find a foundation at MAC that was a better match than the too-dark color she had been coaxed into purchasing by a well-meaning, but colorblind, sales rep.

Our first stop: the makeup mecca (Sephora). Since Kelly is a regular at the store to the point where she is Facebook friends with staff members, we were treated like royalty the moment we stepped inside. It was fantastically ridiculous, and I know what Lady Gaga must feel like (I love you all, my little makeup monsters!). Ahem. Inflated ego aside, when we explained my makeup mission, the helpful Sephora staff immediately ran into motion and challenged my face to a Foundation-Off.

In the left corner, we had Lancome Teint Miracle:

lancome teint miracle foundation

And in the right, we had MUFE HD.

MUFE HD Foundation

Both were applied to my face (one on each half), which was primed with the MUFE HD Microperfecting Primer in green to minimize any redness. It’s so funny how you can immediately tell the difference between foundations after a side-by-side comparison. You know what else is funny? Not taking pics. I’m a dope.

Visual approximation of my skin with MUFE HD
Visual approximation of my skin with MUFE HD

Both colors the Sephora team selected blended in as if they were one with my skin (very Zen). However, it was immediately apparent that the MUFE HD was a heavier coverage and dried down to a more matte finish instantly. The Lancome side was a medium coverage, though it didn’t seem to be as “cakey” heavy, so it was deemed the winner of the round, as I prefer a more natural looking finish. But did it win out overall? Unfortunately, no.

After determining the Lancome was our better bet, we removed the MUFE and applied the Lancome to the entire face, lest I look like I have a cakey, dry skin disorder on only one half of my face. Then, I decided to continue shopping while wearing it to see how it held up after time. Unfortunately, before we even left the store, I saw that it was already settling right into my forehead lines, and my dry skin was starting to look “chalky,” as Kelly so eloquently put it. Ten minutes later and the foundation was clinging to every possible dry flake (oh and my fuzzy facial hair) to the point that it looked like my skin was begging for a drink of water.

Visual approximation of my skin with Lancome Teint Miracle
Visual approximation of my skin with Lancome Teint Miracle

As you can imagine, this is not the look I’m going for.

So you know the old adage, if it ain’t broke…? Time for me to heed that advice and return to the Estee Lauder counter to pick up the right shade of their foundation, which I love to bits and pieces for its medium coverage, smmmooooth application and natural finish (I swear it’s the hyaluronic acid that makes it stand shoulders above others).

As for Kelly? Well, she wasn’t finding much luck in the MAC department (“chalky” seemed to be the problem of the day), so she decided to test out the Estee Lauder herself and left with a 10-day sample supply. I’m hoping she comments here so we can find out how she feels about it!

Alas, I’ll spare you the remaining details of our adventure, though it included a search for similar colors of  purple lip gloss (colorblind fail) and an attempt to figure out why a trench coat’s belt seemed 30 times too long (trend recognition fail). But tell me — have you ever tried a Foundation-Off? Which foundation is rocking your world right now?

  • Anne Houseman

    Hi Judy,

    I think it's one of the most important items! Some women are blessed with amazing skin and can get away with only spot concealer, so I guess it wouldn't apply to them (jealous), but for the rest of us, foundation sets the stage for your entire look, so it's essential it matches and gives a great finish. The Sephora staff applied a small amount of finishing powder (I believe Laura Mercier), but in general, I really don't like to use any powder (just bronzer and blush), as I prefer a more natural look.

    I have tried mineral foundations in the past, and a couple of them worked well (search for the articles here on CoverFX's Mineral FX and Purely Cosmetics), but I just keep getting drawn back to liquid foundations. Even oily skin can wear liquid foundations — just look for ones that are non-comedogenic (they don't clog pores).

    Let us know what you discover!

  • judy

    Do you think a good foundation is the most importan item in your makeup bag? Did you use any finishing powder with any of the foundations you tried? Also, did you attempt any of the pressed or loose powder mineral foundations? I've always been fearful of liquid foundations because my skin is oily, just thought it would make the oil worse.

  • Anne Houseman

    No way — the glowing was Bobbi? I might have to try that out too, provided the color matches me and the coverage is just the right fit for my finicky tastes! Interesting find there!

    And no. I am disabled when it comes to subtle color recall. I think "purple" instead of the nuances of the purples. But it's just in recall situations, because once they're next to each other, it's obvious. Just ask my friend Lynda, who had to deal with me "remembering" house paints! She said very diplomatically, "you see colors differently than me." Ha!

    Do a post of you in your fab new coat!!!

  • kelly

    Just today I paired my Estee trial foundation up with my Luminizing Bobbi Brown foundation and sent select pals terrifying photos of my face. As of this second, with my foundation at the end of the day, both are still visible. Both didn't settle in fine lines. One is glowing and one is matte. We'll see what wins when the final votes come in, but as of now, it's Bobbi 3, Estee 0. (Glowing is in the lead.)

    I didn't take our experience to mean that you were not good with colors. I took it to mean that I have a freakish skill for remembering colors across lines by name and texture without help. If only I could use that brain power for good, I'd be dangerous. Someone needs to send you that lipstick. It was the perfect color on you and a heavier lip formula is probably welcome in winter months!

    I love my new coat – what a great find! It's a super stylish Dereon that I picked up for just shy of $90 at Burlington. And know that I know I'm supposed to knot it and forget the buckle, the belt barely seems long enough.

    I can't wait to get together again!