Two reviews within the span of a week? Man, what a rare moment we're having here! I'm actually functioning!
In all seriousness, this product has been hanging around on my vanity since December, and it's been photographed for almost a month, but I'm only just now getting the review up. I don't know what made me drag my feet on this one. I'd like to blame it on having two ass-kicking illnesses so close together (a sinus infection in February and the ever-delightful norovirus this past weekend), but honestly, I think I was just waffling because this product is a bit out of my comfort zone.
What was so odd about this product? Well, the Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (we're calling it the MUFE HD Stick from now on) is, as the name suggests, a stick foundation. I think the last time I used a stick foundation was when I was hanging around with theater kids and budding drag queens in high school. I've used cream foundations since, make no mistake, but actual sticks? Not so much. I don't entirely get why, considering I technically draw on smaller parts of my face with little pigment sticks all the time--that's what lipstick is.
Maybe it was the price. At 0.44oz for $43, the MUFE HD Stick is about standard for a stick foundation in terms of size, and the cost is not shocking as far as high-end products go. Stick foundations often contain less product because it doesn't take as much to get the same effect compared to a liquid foundation. That said, I'm so used to liquid foundations clocking in at a full ounce that this definitely gave me pause, logic be damned. Also, the lightest yellow shade available at Sephora was Y225, which I worried would be a bit dark for me.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom. From left to right: Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation in Y225, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01.
As you can see in the above swatch photo, yep, Y225 was too dark for me. Because it has rather strong yellow undertones, and because I stopped it at medium coverage instead of building it up to full, I don't think it's too horribly obvious in photographs. There's definitely a difference between my neck and face, though, so bear and mind. Looking at these swatches, I would say Y225 is 1-2 shades darker than the other two foundations, and the Sensual Skin Enhancer seems more neutral. Overall, I'd peg Y225 at about NC15 on a MAC scale, maybe a bit lighter when it's blended out on the skin.
By the way, somebody I follow on Instagram recently pointed out that Makeup Forever is expanding the range for this foundation; they'll be adding an even paler yellow shade as well as some more deep shades. Keep on keepin' on, MUFE.
Like I said, I wanted medium coverage from this product. I noticed that a lot of people who reviewed this foundation on YouTube used copious amounts to get full coverage, so I used about half of what they applied and blended it out with a damp Beauty Blender sponge. The above shot from my webcam shows how much I applied to my right cheek; blended out, this covered my cheek, temple, and the right half of my chin.
Again, solid medium coverage was my goal, and I think the above before-and-after photos show just that. You could apply more product for fuller coverage, but with cream formulas like this, I find that you get a bit of caking. That said, this foundation felt weightless on my skin despite being a cream formula, so maybe you could get more mileage out of two layers of it.
Blending this out was incredibly easy, by the way, especially with the Beauty Blender. The formula is smooth and creamy, which is not shocking given the number of emollients and waxes in this formula and its stick format. When I tested this with a dense brush, I noticed that the creaminess actually led to some streaking, and it was a little uncomfortable to blend this with my fingers. I'd definitely recommend sticking with a sponge.
Here is a macro shot of the foundation shortly after it was first applied. As you can see, it's not quite the dewy, luminous dream I was promised (this is supposedly pure greasy glory on even the driest skin, according to most reviews). That said, it still looks decent: it's smooth, satin-y, and has done a good job of covering up my redness. I will point out that it settled in to lines and, if you were within a foot of me, it looked a bit makeup-y. That's probably a mixture of the coverage (since I normally go for sheer products) and the actual finish of the product. My partner saw me wearing it on Snapchat and told me he didn't like it because it looked "like a mask," but he later admitted that he was probably turned off by the too-dark shade and the more-than-usual amount of coverage.
From roughly a foot or more away, this foundation looked super smooth and flawless after application. It also photographs pretty damn well, as you will see, provided you aren't up-close and in-macro-mode.
From left to right: 15 minutes after application, 3 hours after application, 5 hours after application.
Here's where things get a bit hairy. Makeup Forever claims that this product is a "long-lasting, multitasking cover stick with invisible coverage." As I've already shown, the coverage isn't really invisible. Yeah, it looks good, but it also definitely looks like you're wearing makeup.
Multi-tasking is more fair, I must say. I skipped regular concealer on this day and just dabbed on a bit more of the foundation stick where needed, and I think it did a fairly good job. It brightened up my undereyes and hid blemishes well.
Long-lasting, though, is a crock of shit.
Look, I know cream formulas made for video and photographs are not the most tenacious on the market. They have a very specific niche to fill. But damn, does this stuff move! Even when I set it with a powder, it would transfer if I so much as tapped my face. Notice the bright red spots on my nose where the nose pads on my glasses sit? Yeah, they were visible within an hour. By the time I hit the three hour mark, my hose was oilier than ever and the product was starting to get weirdly textured and dry on the rest of my face.
Here's a macro shot of how this foundation looked on me after about 3 hours.
Beyond the fact that we are scary close here and I'm so sorry, isn't this a bit weird looking? While it looked gorgeous when it was first applied, and it still looked pretty damn good in pictures, anybody within a foot of me would see texture on my face that never before existed. My cheeks and chin actually look like they've got tiny little dots poked through a thick layer of foundation. It's not a good look.
As for using it as a touch-up or contouring product? Eh, that would be okay. It's certainly smooth and creamy enough to work for contouring and highlighting if you get the right shades and use a small amount. And while it got a bit wonky-looking if I layered this product on top of itself, I will note that using a small amount of this stick over a liquid foundation was just fine. I do think it could work well as a toss-it-in-your-bag product. But in the long run, it only looks good in pictures and videos, provided you aren't in super HD close up mode, and it doesn't do half of what it promises. At the end of the day, this is another foundation that left me disappointed.
RATING: 3 out of 5
Makeup Forever products are sold at Sephora.