I've lusted after the Surratt Surreal Skin Foundation Wand for over a year now, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $130 per ounce for a foundation. Then Sephora put most of their Surratt products on sale, including this foundation, and I decided that I could stomach $32.50 to test a half ounce of Japanese-aesthetics-inspired luxury. That sale was only temporary, of course, so the question remains: is this product worth that $65-per-wand price tag?
The Surratt Surreal Skin Foundation Wand is described as a "medium-to-full coverage and long-wearing" foundation that "instantly melts into skin." It comes in a plastic tube that looks solid black on the website, but actually has this elegant bluish-green, sparkly gradient color at the top. You press a button at the end of the tube to dispense product through the attached brush. Makeup artist and brand founder Troy Surratt has claimed that he wanted the Surreal Skin Wand to be your primer, foundation, and tool in one package.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom. From left to right: Surratt Surreal Skin Foundation Wand in Surreal Skin 1, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Sephora Bright Future Concealer in 03 Fondant.
The shade I purchased is the lightest in the range, Surreal Skin 1. It's described as being pale with beige undertones. I actually think it has a bit of the cool yellow undertones I go for, though it's not as pale as the NARS concealer or as yellow as the Sephora concealer. Overall, I'd say this is an NC/NW10-15 foundation that can be used by people with neutral or moderately yellow undertones. I don't know if this shade will be pink enough for people with strong pink undertones.
So how does the foundation and the applicator work? I have to be honest: I didn't expect it to work at all. I've always been leery of products packaged like this because I'm fussy about the cleanliness of my tools. (I've been cleaning the brush with Dr. Bronner's soap every couple of uses.) I also didn't think it would work very well, since, in the video I just linked, Troy Surratt applies the foundation and blends it out with the attached brush, then goes in with a Beauty Blender.
"Sure, Troy," I said snidely. "This is the only tool I need, asterisk, and a Beauty Blender." I'm happy to report that the foundation always comes up through the center of the brush after a few clicks, and it's easy to manage how much you get, but swiping the brush on my face for my first test run didn't fill me with hope. The brush isn't the absolute softest tool out there, and the foundation felt a little stiff.
When I started buffing the foundation in to my skin, however, I realized that the brush actually works just fine. In fact, I was able to cover my entire face in a thin layer of foundation in about two minutes. Okay, Troy, I stand corrected. I'll put my Beauty Blender and my shitty comments away.
Now, I'm not usually happy about having a cystic pimple on my face, but looking at these before-and-after photos, I'm glad this zit came to visit. Surratt claims that this foundation is "medium to full coverage," and I can't fathom why. This is definitely a light coverage foundation: you can see that it covered up my discoloration and gave my skin a more even look, but it barely softened the angry red zit on my chin. In my experience, a medium coverage foundation will cover a zit at least partially, and a full coverage foundation will work about as well as any concealer. That's not what's happening here.
In terms of finish, the Surreal Skin Foundation looks like skin. It does cling slightly to dry patches, though this softens up a bit throughout the day; as promised, it sort of "melts in." Also, it's worth mentioning that my skin was at its absolute driest when I took these photos. Buffed over less parched skin or a moisturizer, you'd have to get right up against me to see any dryness or clinging.
The picture on the left is 15 minutes after application, and the picture on the right shows 6 hours of wear. (I didn't take a later picture because it looked roughly the same at the 9 hour mark.) The foundation stays skin-like and beautifying, but it does start to fade a little from my nose, the one oily part of my face. However, you can reapply the foundation without making it look cakey or dry, which I tested one day: I threw the wand in my bag and buffed it back over my nose during my lunch break. Lastly, this foundation was comfortable all day and did not make me itch or break out.
On the whole, I really enjoy this foundation. I think it will be a better fit for me in the summer, when my skin and the air around me are less dry, simply because this isn't as dewy as what I normally reach for and it can emphasize my dry patches a little. It's not the sort of product I'd recommend to very oily skin, either, given how it performed on my nose. That doesn't change the fact that people looking for easy-to-apply light coverage with a skin-like finish will really enjoy Surreal Skin. Is every ounce worth three full days of my teaching salary, though? Eh...I'm on the fence about that one. I can see myself using this up, but unless it becomes my go-to in the warmer months, I'm not sure I'll repurchase.
RATING: 4 out of 5
You can purchase Surratt products at Sephora.