I have waffled for a few weeks on whether or not I wanted to write this review. I openly admit that I am a very critical person--I don't believe in spending money on something you won't love and get a lot of use out of--but I worry that I'm coming off as a makeup hipster. "Oh, that's just BOGL," people will say, "that blog hates everything popular." I've even been told I expect too much from my base products. But then I realized: it's a good thing to have a variety of reviews, especially if the beauty community's response is leaning overwhelmingly positive or negative and you had a different experience. And frankly, I think I gave this foundation enough chances that my personal disappointment is warranted.
The Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting foundation is a new product in the line. It is clearly designed for normal to dry skin, since it promises a glow, lacks drying alcohols, and contains some ingredients that can be beneficial for dry skin, like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and squalene. The foundation costs $44 for 1oz of product and is housed in a glass bottle with a dropper lid; the dropper is easy to control and the packaging is very elegant, but I always worry about glass bottles because I am the least graceful person on this planet.
The dropper bottle freaked me out a little, because I'm used to seeing that with serum foundations, and they never seem to work on my skin. However, this is not a serum foundation. It's a very thin, runny liquid with a soft feel to it. I found that this foundation applied quite streaky unless you buffed it in very well with a dense brush; the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush worked best for me. You can get light to medium coverage with this: a full pipette of product will give you more medium coverage (seen here in this review), while half a pipette gives you lighter coverage.
But beyond the slight streakiness problem, I immediately knew this product wasn't going to work for me with regards to shade, which broke my heart. The "Fair" shade is too dark for me and very, very pink--I'd guesstimate that it's about NW15-20 in MAC terms. Here's the proof:
My neck is in the N5-10 range, with cool yellow undertones. The difference between my jaw and my neck is very obvious.
Really, the shade range for this foundation is not that impressive overall. There are only 8 shades, and while Becca claims that most of them are "neutral," I think they look rather warm and golden.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom.
Here are swatches of several other shades in the range, obtained as a sample from Sephora. I don't see much variance between Fair and Light beyond the undertone, and the other two shades look very golden to me. Now, that makes sense for "Dark Golden," but Medium is marketed as a neutral shade. I am absolutely not a makeup artist or an expert, however, so please correct me if I'm seeing the undertones wrong.
Despite my issues with the shade range, I really wanted to test the product out and see how I felt about the formulation. (Do not let these slightly-more-flattering-than-real-life photos fool you, by the way: this stuff is definitely too orange for me.) Again, I found it a tad streaky when applied with a flat foundation brush or my fingers, but I got a smooth, even finish with the RT Expert Face Brush. The product does not feel heavy or dry on my skin. It settles in to fine lines very quickly, though, so I had to keep going in my smile lines with a q-tip. The foundation appears a tad dry at first, but softens up a bit over 15-20 minutes, as foundations are wont to do.
Here are some macro shots to show how the foundation sits on my skin when first applied (left) and after 20 minutes (right); again, don't be fooled by how light Fair seems here, because the first picture is washed out and I was 6 inches away from the flash in the second picture. I'm just trying to show texture.
And truly, as far as foundations for dry-skinned people go, this has a beautiful texture when it's first applied. It does not exaggerate dry patches, and it looks relatively skin-like while providing variable coverage. I did have to q-tip product out of my smile lines and the fine lines around my eyes, regardless of whether I used a few drops or a full pipette.
Freshly applied on left, 3 hours in the middle, six hours on the right.
So how does this wear? Well, that's a bit of a touchy subject. On the one hand, it doesn't get horribly dry or make my skin itch throughout the day. I did notice some patchiness on my more dehydrated spots (chin and between eyebrows) by the end of the day, but that's nothing compared to most foundations. It stays skin-like and glowy and soft throughout the day.
On the other hand, it gets incredibly shiny as the day progresses, and I'm saying that as somebody with dry and dehydrated skin who only gets oily on her nose and eyelids. But if you're not oily-skinned, it probably won't be much of an issue. The biggest problem is that this stuff transfers like crazy. It smeared off on the nosepads of my glasses all throughout the day (see the "blank" spots on the bridge of my nose in the second and third photos above?), and when I pressed my face to my phone or a t-shirt, foundation smeared all over it. This stunned me, because I'm so Sahara dry that most products just stick to my face. I did test this product out with a bit of powder on top, and while that helped a little with the transferring, it seemed to cake up a bit, ruining the glowy goodness.
Here is a macro shot taken after 6 hours. Again, the foundation maintains a nice glow throughout the day and looks skin-like, which should be commended. But it moves all around my face (I actually q-tipped out my smile lines again before taking this photo), and it fades off of more dehydrated patches. Take note of the sort of "chin strap" line here, where my bare skin is very obviously a different color from the foundation.
I know this post is going to get me a lot of flack, because a good number of people will have a shade match in the line and because the macro shots show that this is a decent texture when it's first applied. But I'm not really upset because the product isn't the right shade for me--I've rated plenty of foundations that are too dark for me as 4s or 5s. I'm disappointed because the shade range is limited overall, the product can apply streaky, and it transfers everywhere and slides on my face. Maybe I am too harsh on base products, but frankly, I only want to invest my money in, and recommend, the best of the best. When it comes to foundations for dry skin, I think Koh Gen Do Moisture and MAC Face & Body kick the Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting foundation's ass up and down the block.
RATING: 3 out of 5
The Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting foundation is available at Sephora.com.