Note: image from Drugstore.com
Sigh. I really don't want to do this.
It's not that I suddenly dislike writing reviews, because I've got a lot of opinions and I'll probably always love stating them in loud and obnoxious ways. But I like to do reviews with a mixture of positives and negatives, pointers for using a product, who this might work best for, etc...unfortunately, I can't say too many nice things about this product. It has a very high SPF and it's not the worst foundation I've ever tried--that's about as nice as I can get.
I was really excited to try this product, partially because it was a gift from Miss Scarlet Fairweather, partially because it was advertised as a comfortable, light-coverage cream foundation with excellent UV protection. I adore MAC F&B, but it can get a bit old having to wait for my sunscreen to sink in first, then blending two foundation shades together, THEN buffing it all in to my skin for a good 5 minutes. Sometimes I just wanna rush out the door, and I figured this foundation would be the key. And hey, I really loved the Neutrogena Healthy Skin liquid foundation in Natural Ivory 20! I only stopped wearing it because it looked bad in most photographs and didn't last as long as I needed it to.
This product looks so much worse, not just in pictures, but in real life. I think the only people who could really make this foundation work would be people with inordinately perfect skin (and hey, mine ain't that bad) that isn't oily or dry and has a bit of an orange cast to it. That's it.
Quick backtrack here. I received this foundation as a gift in the shade Classic Ivory 10. My experiences with the liquid foundation suggested that shades starting with an odd number (10, 30, 50, etc) were warmer, while shades starting with an even number (20, 40, 60, etc) were cooler. Sure enough, this shade looks like a light, creamy yellow in the compact, about NC15 in MAC terms. It's actually a decent compact; it comes with a sponge and a mirror, and it's pretty sturdy.
While the mirror is handy, the sponge certainly isn't: it's the worst way to apply this foundation, especially if you use it dry. Dampening the sponge helps a bit, but not much, and you'll still end up with too much product on your face. It applies a bit better if you rub it in with your fingers, but then you'll get pretty much zippo coverage. The best way to apply this foundation--and the way that I applied it in these pictures--is with a dense flat-top brush, like the ELF Studio powder brush. It blends the foundation as much as it can be blended (more on that later) and will actually give you some coverage.
Here are pictures of my skin after applying a layer of the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact foundation with the flat-top brush. Yes, I look horrible, and it's perfectly apt, because this foundation feels horrible. It's not necessarily heavy, but it's greasy to the touch and a complete pain to blend out, as it clings to any skin that's even remotely dry and slides right off of my oilier areas. You can't really layer it for more coverage, because...well, that would take forever, first of all, but even more importantly, it cakes up easily. As you can see in these pictures, it lightens up some of my small blemishes and freckles, but it certainly doesn't cover them; you'll need a really good concealer if you plan on using this product. It also as a bit of an orange cast to it--super flattering, yeah? To make matters worse, this foundation absolutely reeks of sunscreen, even after you've applied it.
The sunscreen smell isn't exactly a surprise. After all, this IS a high SPF product, and the listed ingredients are pretty much all sunscreens. And as a sunscreen, it's not too terrible. I took a half an hour walk wearing this product and no other sunscreen and didn't burn at all...but the very slight sweat on my face made it cake up even more, and I came home looking worse than before and feeling completely disgusting.
The last straw, for me, was trying to blend powder products on top of the foundation. It's basically impossible. I used a satin-ish blush today, and dear God, the amount of buffing I had to do JUST to make it look decent! It still isn't completely blended in to my cheeks. Even setting powders end up looking horrible, because this foundation stays slightly wet and just CLINGS to any dry substance that floats within a 6-inch radius of your face. (Yes, that includes cat hair.) The amount of work I had to do to make today's super-simple look passable is unacceptable.
My face today, only looking decent after ridiculous amounts of buffing and copious quantities of concealer.
Again, this isn't the worst foundation I've ever used. You can get a bit of coverage out of it, the sunscreen in it actually works, and it didn't make my sensitive skin break out. But did it make my skin look good? No. Did it last long? No. Was it easy to use, or did it provide such a beautiful effect that it was worth the extra effort? No. This is just an unflattering, unusable product that I can only see working on an Oompa-Loompa super model. I can't wait to get it off my face and toss it in the trash, because there is no way I'm donating this awful product to my sweet cousin or drag queen sisters.