Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations Post


Good evening bloggers! As promised in my make-up bag post, I’m going to show you all ten foundations currently in my possession and describe them in a bit more detail. Until I did the make-up bag post I didn’t even realise how many foundations I owned, and it only makes sense that I review them here. If you’re at all interested in make-up, searching for the perfect foundation becomes a lifelong struggle. To be honest, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never have an all-occasions foundation; I’ll need different products to perform different tasks, be it full coverage for bad skin days, a light finish for everyday wear, or long-lasting properties when I’ll need to stay groomed from dawn ’til dusk. Or, at least that’s how I choose to justify my burgeoning collection!

Firstly, I did a collective swatch of my foundations. It’s pretty obvious from the array of shades I’ve got going on that it’s taken me a few years to figure out what my shade actually is. I now know that I have warm-toned skin, so yellow undertones in a foundation are ideal for me. But the trial and error process has been very informative!



As far as possible, I’ll work from left to right describing the foundations, according to the above swatch.

1. Rimmel 9-in-1 Skin Perfecting BB Cream in Light
y first foray into BB creams was, in short, a big fat disappointment. Thankfully, this BB cream didn’t break the bank so I didn’t feel too bad about retiring it after just one use. The shade is the lightest in the range, and it was too dark for me so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for pale skins. The oil control was almost non-existent (although not as dire as Garnier’s BB cream) and my open pores were practically taking over my cheeks after an hour or two. Perhaps I ought to have known better, having very oily skin, but I really can’t see this working for anyone on the oilier end of the spectrum, even with the addition of primer and setting powder.

2. Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in 135
Without a doubt, this is the ultimate in my blemish-banishing arsenal. Rich Liquid is essentially an all-face concealer, it covers everything. Illamasqua was not aiming at natural finishes or glowy complexions here, this stuff is intended to create a matte, flawless base and nothing more (apart from some mild transfer and dry patch-clinginess issues, which I doubt they intended). Being the aggrieved landlady to a plethora of spots and scars, I reach for my Rich Liquid when nothing else will do. It’s also the palest foundation in my collection and I adore the shade; it blends into my neck like a dream. Illamasqua broke my heart when they discontinued 135, and I’ve been too afraid to try any of their other shades as they have no bricks-and-mortar stores here in Ireland, so testers aren’t an option. A pity, because this was my saviour for a long time. 

3. Catrice All-Matt Plus in 010 Light Beige
First off, I think I fell for a bit of false advertising here. The one property that this foundation boasts, mattifying oil control, is dubious at best. It’s just not that mattifying. Semi-matte perhaps, but it’s really not enough for true oily skins. I’ll admit that the finish is pleasant on application, it smells oddly nicely of pollen, the coverage is a pleasing medium and the shade is quite flattering on me. I’ve been using it more often recently to give it a second chance but I just can’t forgive the fact that my face is shiny after two hours of wear, considering that the prevention of a shiny face is exactly why I chose the foundation in the first place. A drugstore foundation (this cost only €7) is never going to offer quite the same level of finesse as higher end ones, but this completely failed at its only objective. Disappointing.

4. MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NW20
I often hear of Studio Fix being the spotty girl’s Holy Grail, the answer to our sebum-related problems. With a birthday voucher in hand two years ago, I toddled into Brown Thomas in Limerick and asked to be matched to a shade in Studio Fix. As lovely as the sales girl was (a rarity for MAC, in my experience), she completely mismatched me by giving me the cool-toned NW20. Not only were the tones all wrong, the shade would have been too dark anyway. And I, in my ignorance, delightfully purchased and wore NW20 for a couple of months (even, to my shame, repurchasing), until my boyfriend asked what was wrong with my face, and then I saw it. It all made sense. I looked like an Oompa Loompa with rosacea. And even if the shade had been correct, the coverage was not at all what I was hoping for, it clung to my eyebrows and I was eventually left with stubborn dry patches that didn’t budge until I gave up on Studio Fix completely. And yet I haven’t thrown it out; I think the cost of the foundation alone just won’t let me dump it. But hey, I learned a good lesson from Studio Fix. Never, ever go near the NWs again.

5. Revlon Colorstay in 180 Sand Beige
This was my first foray into foundations that didn’t come in mousse form or a white plastic tube. My first grown-up foundation, if you will, discovered through some tentative internet research (what a pro I’ve become since!). My memories of Colorstay are a little sketchy but I remember being initially delighted to have found a foundation that covered my spots and didn’t rub off after a couple of hours. But I think I began to find it a little heavy on my skin; I think it felt a bit ‘sweaty’ after a while. These were the days before I understood the power of a good primer, so I guess that’s probably why. I haven’t tried it out in about three years, mainly because the bottle I have is looking decidedly dodgy to be putting on my face. But I do maintain that it’s probably a great introduction to mid-range foundations for young acne sufferers who need a little confidence in their complexion again.

6. L’Oréal Nude Magique Eau de Teint in 100 Porcelain
I reviewed this foundation in fully recently, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail here. As much as I like it, my skin has begun to pitch battle even more ferociously in the last couple of weeks and the light coverage offered by Nude Magique just isn’t cutting the mustard right now. I’m hoping that, if we ever see the sun again, the spots will start to subside. And if they do, I’ll definitely keep this in mind for a summer foundation when I want to feel as though I’m wearing next to nothing on my skin (Oh, Matron).

7. MAC Prolong Wear Foundation in NC35
As you can see, this is by far the darkest foundation in my collection. I bought it in Malaga Airport last summer as I had no make-up to suit my newly tanned skin after a week of sunning myself in Nerja. Looking at it now, I can’t believe I was ever that dark; the tan did not stick around for dinner. The coverage is medium and, true to its word, this stuff is longlasting, if not particularly mattifying. It’s one of those ‘performs as expected and nothing more’ foundations. And I definitely learned my lesson from the Studio Fix Fiasco and went for an NC shade instead. A much better choice, I can tell you. I’ll hang onto this, in the overly optimistic hope of a sun holiday or (more likely) for the odd occasion when I wear fake tan.

8. Nars Sheer Matte in Light 4 Deauville
Ah yes,I’m still utterly confused about this offering from Nars. I reviewed this pretty recently and I honestly still can’t make up my mind. The tester is still going strong, so thankfully I have more applications to go before a decision must be made. In light of Catrice All Matt’s false promises I’m looking on Sheer Matte in a kinder light; it is definitely better at keeping shine at bay compared to All Matte. Returning to the Sheer Matte after a brief hiatus made me realise that the coverage actually is a bit better than I had remembered. I had reservations but something is still telling me to buy this foundation. It could be just the lure of my first potential Nars purchase, but…that gorgeous, sheeny but not shiny finish… I can’t decide!!
(I’ll probably buy it)

9. Estée Lauder Double Wear in 1C1 Cool Bone
Double Wear was my first foray into high-end cosmetics and it’s been a favourite ever since. I first bought it in 1W1 Bone (below) and fell in love with the shade, coverage, and the you’ll-have-to-scrape-this-off-my-face-with-a-trowel durability. For acne prone oily skins, this is often a godsend. But once again, I fell victim to a sales assistants’ ignorance and, having learned that Brown Thomas were out of Bone that day, I was offered its cool alternative, Cool Bone. Perfect, I thought; they can’t be too far apart. How wrong I was. Might I just add that it displays how little a sales assistant knows about their products if they offer you a completely different tone to the one you specifically asked for; or is this just me? But anyway, Cool Bone was all wrong and I abandoned Double Wear for some time, as a result. What a shame.

10. Estée Lauder Double Wear in 1W1 Bone
And here is Bone in all its yellow-toned, pale glory. I finally returned to this old faithful a couple of months ago when I remembered that Double Wear wasn’t actually the sum of its Cool Bone parts. Owing to its rather spendy nature, I’m reserving Double Wear for nights out, special occasions and days where I really need all-day coverage (such as the rugby, when the weather necessitated some serious cosmetic staying power). It gives fantastic coverage, second in this regard only to Rich Liquid. The shade is perfect for my complexion, the finish isn’t as flat as one might expect and it truly does stay in place all day. I often judge the quality of a foundation by how nicely my blusher applies over it (weird I know, but oddly informative) and this passes the test. I ❤ DW 4 LYF.

So there you have it, a very intense review of all of my foundations. I hope you didn’t fall asleep halfway through! If you didn’t, let me know what you think in the comments!

Em xx


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