i’ve never been a big fan of foundation – or, for any matter, any cosmetic that adds a new step to my morning routine. i’m pretty lazy before 8 am. but lately, it’s become clear that maybe it’s time to put aside my bias. and so, i set out to find a few options that made enough of a difference that it was worth the extra effort.
my first stop was laura mercier, whose tinted moisturizer is the stuff of beauty legends. i had a hard time believing it could live up to expectations, but i was dying to find out. so, i tested each of three formulas: original, illuminating and oil-free. the original version was good, and gave a decent amount of coverage, but i’ll admit, i wasn’t hearing violins and seeing rainbows (yes, my standard are unreasonably high – is this news?), so i moved on. i wasn’t a huge fan of the oil-free – the product just didn’t blend the way i wanted it to – but that could have been because i wasn’t a great match for any of the colors. but the illuminating! violin city! when i applied it, i honestly thought it was maybe a little too high on the shimmer (i’ve since been told by the laura mercier authorities that mixing it with your daily moisturizer alleviates that problem). but during my testing, i had people i barely knew asking if i’d been on vacation recently, commenting on the glow my skin had, and generally telling me i looked awesome. which is, after all, the point, right? sadly, both the original and that amazing illuminating moisturizer caused my overly particular skin to rebel via acne, and so i was forced to abandon ship.
but, i was not about to give up! i called my fabulous friends over at benefit to see what they had that would fit the bill, and they instantly exclaimed they had just the thing. perfect! and before i knew it, i was testing their latest powder foundation, “hello flawless.” now, because my skin tends toward the dramatically dry, powder foundations tend to be an awful idea – they make my skin look drier, they settle into wrinkles…it’s bad. but “hello flawless” did an amazing job of gliding over my skin, making it generally more even-toned and clean-looking, without any of the aforementioned side effects. in short, i looked pretty awesome! plus, the coverage is designed to be layered – so i used a brush to get light coverage all over, and then applied with a sponge to areas that needed a bit more TLC. it worked perfectly, and i haven’t needed a drop of concealer since i started using it. i have, however, needed blush and/or bronzer – the coverage is very matte and uniform, so unlike with the laura mercier, you have to put a little dimension back into your skin.
so, the results of this exhaustive testing? if you’re not terribly acne-prone and/or have a pretty good handle on your skin’s moisture balance, laura mercier’s tinted moisturizers are most definitely the way to go – particularly the illuminating formula. and for the more sensitive among us, benefit’s “hello flawless” is the miracle cure du jour. plus, both provide SPF, so they’re perfect for summer.