As a reminder, I have dry or dry-combination skin: my undereyes are normal, and my eyelids and nose get oily, but the rest of me is like the Sahara. And for at least half of the year, my skin is also dehydrated. I tend to prefer light coverage foundations that look very natural (but I am on a quest to find my perfect-out-of-the-bottle medium-to-full coverage foundation). My skintone is very fair and relatively neutral, with some cool yellow undertones; I'd be around N5-10 on a MAC scale.
- NARS Sheer Glow foundation in Siberia. I don't actually wear this foundation: the bottle seen here was received in a less-than-ideal swap, and it was clearly expired from the moment I got it. The color is still accurate, however, so I keep it around for comparison swatches. I have tried the NARS Sheer Glow foundation in the past, and I found it to be a medium coverage demi-matte foundation that was not particularly attractive on dry skin.
- Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light. A super-sheer tint with a very liquidy, silicone-heavy formula that's designed to smooth and soften your skin without looking like makeup. It looks so natural, and it's so stupidly easy to apply, that it has become my go-to for work. The Light shade looks darker and pinker than it applies. This incredibly sheer product is going to work best for people who like No Makeup Makeup, and/or those who want to thin out a heavier base. Full review here.
- MAC Studio Face and Body foundation in White and N1. This is the OG, ride or die, life changer foundation for me, the crown jewel that every other product is compared to. Face & Body has a thin, liquidy formula that is best applied with fingers to prevent streaking. One layer provides light coverage, but you can build it up to medium coverage. The finish is natural to dewy, depending on how dry your skin is; obviously, it will look less shiny on very dry skin. I use a 50/50 mix of these two products to create an N10-ish sort of shade; 2 parts White to 1 part N1 is closer to N5. Tip post here.
- Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless foundation in Tickle the Ivory. A light-bordering-on-medium coverage foundation with a natural satin finish that is, again, stupidly easy to apply. This is the only foundation I currently own that contains SPF, but it photographs just fine. Show Some Skin has decent staying power and a relatively comfortable formula, but it can highlight the driest parts of your face and fade off of your oily bits. I tend to wear this in the warmer months, especially summer. The shade range is really broad, and Tickle the Ivory is one of the few very fair, cool yellow bases I've found that will work on dryer skin. Full review here.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom.
CONCEALERS AND POWDERS,
powders have not been swatched because...they don't really swatch well.
- Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting concealer in Radiant. This shade is very, very clearly not a regular concealer shade; it's meant to be a corrector for dark circles. I like to add a small amount of this to my NARS concealer in Chantilly to brighten up my undereyes. The formula is thin, creamy, and glowy, so it's not the best for zits, but it does bounce back light nicely. I may try a regular concealer shade of this one (since I like the formula so much), and I know my NC15-20 mother uses the Nude shade to great effect.
- Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage concealer in Fair Neutral. I like this concealer, but I don't love it. Yes, it is weightless, and it provides medium coverage without looking or feeling cakey. But I find it can look a little chalky, especially if I overdo the product. Also, Fair Neutral is an NW5-10 shade, and I find that the slight pink tones don't lend themselves to covering blemishes on my face. I think I'm going to use this tube up for light makeup days, but I won't repurchase.
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly. I'm very cautious about using the term "Holy Grail," but I've been using this product for over a year and am truly in love with it. It's a medium to full coverage concealer with a satin-matte finish. The formula is a thick liquid that covers well and stays put when dry, but is still blendable. I do find that it can be a smidge heavy on my undereyes if I overdo it, so I use tiny dots of it on my dark circles and sometimes mix in the Maybelline Dream Lumi pen for added brightness. Chantilly is one of the palest base product shades I've ever seen, and it matches my fair, cool-yellow skin perfectly.
- Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01. If you need coverage, look no further than the Sensual Skin Enhancer. This is a full coverage cream concealer with a satin finish. Sx01 is another great match for me because it's very fair and neutral-leaning-yellow. The Sensual Skin Enhancer is extremely dense and pigmented, but it's also very flexible: you can sheer it out with different primers, moisturizers, mixers, and tools to get a variety of finishes and coverage levels. This product is best for blemishes (it's a little thick for the undereyes unless you sheer it out) and does have a slight learning curve. Ye olde tip post here.
- Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Finish Powder foundation in 50 Ivory. I think this is the only powder I've ever loved. It is, technically, a foundation, and you can wear it that way; it will give you light to medium coverage with a natural matte finish. I prefer to use it as a setting and blotting powder, because it has the most beautifully soft, un-makeup-like texture I've ever experienced from a powder, and it soaks up oil without caking on my skin. Ivory is about NC10; the next shade up, Classic, will work for NW10-15 skin. Full review here.
- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Ethereal Light. This is the lightest and least shimmery shade in the Ambient Lighting Powder range. If you're fair skinned, this satin-finish powder can give your skin a beautiful soft-focus effect. I mostly use this powder when I know I'm going to be photographed.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom.
WEARING THE FOUNDATIONS