Saturday, March 9, 2019

REVIEW: Laura Mercier Flawless Lumiere Radiance-Perfecting Foundation

Laura Mercier is the brand of my dreams, promising glowy skin and naturally gorgeous looks packaged in sleek, simple tubes. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck with their products. Their formulas are almost always perfectly fine for me, but their shade ranges? I don't know what it is, but I can never find a passable match in a Laura Mercier formula. When they released the Flawless Lumiere Radiance-Perfecting Foundation, a product name full of words I love but refuse to keep typing throughout this review, I thought things might be a little different.

 Natural light on top, flash on the bottom. From left to right: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in Fair, MAC Face & Body Foundation in C1, Kosas Tinted Face Oil in 02, Laura Mercier Flawless Lumiere Foundation in 1W1 Ivory.

The Flawless Lumiere foundation is $48 for an ounce of product housed in a simple glass bottle with an easy-to-control pump. As of this writing, there are 30 shades in the range, stretching from fair to decently dark, though it looks like there's quite a jump between the depth 5 and depth 6 shades. I chose the lightest warm shade, 1W1 Ivory. In swatches, it's about NC15 with very strong golden undertones, but I do think it gets a bit darker after application. Even when I self-tanned my neck, this shade was too dark for me.

The formula itself is a thin, relatively fragrance-free liquid that spreads easily with your fingers, a brush, or a sponge. If I had to describe the texture in one word, I'd call it "soft."

Laura Mercier says this product has medium coverage, and some people have taken umbrage with that. I actually think Laura Mercier is right, though you could call it a "light medium" or "natural medium" coverage. As you can see in these before-and-after pictures, my skintone is evened out and most of my flaws are covered or softened, but you can still see my freckles and a bit of the darker surface redness peeking through. This is a very skin-like foundation, and while it isn't outright glowy on my dry skin (what foundation is?), it certainly makes me look healthy and hydrated.

The one issue I had with this foundation? I had an awful time blending my blush over it. I tested all of my cream blush formulas, which normally spread like a dream for me, and they all experienced a bit of "catching." Powdering mitigated the issue a little, but of course, it cut down on the radiant finish. In the end, the best fix for me was to really warm up the blush on my fingertips or the back of my hand, then take my time slowly but surely patting it in to my cheeks. Going over the blush with a damp Beauty Blender also helped.

Here's a macro shot of my makeup completely finished. Looking at my nose, the skin around my brows, the tops of my cheeks...I think this foundation looks just like skin. Really, it's a beautiful texture.

PS: Why do so many brow pencils turn red on me? Is this some weird makeup version of a Midas touch? Send help and ashy pencils, please.

As far as wear goes, the Flawless Lumiere foundation performed pretty well. I noticed some oil breakthrough on my nose after three hours, and a lot of oil and some fading on my nose after 8 hours. The skin on the driest parts of my face--around my mouth and up the sides of my jaw--also looked a little dry at the 8 hour mark, though you had to get really close to my face to see that. I'd call that pretty solid performance, though I'd hesitate to recommend this foundation to truly oily skin. I didn't experience any itching, discomfort, or breakouts from this product; it was comfortable and weightless all day.

Now, in these pictures, I buffed out two pumps of foundation with a Real Techniques buffing brush, then bounced a damp Beauty Blender on top of it, as directed by many-a-YouTuber. However, Laura Mercier suggests using a sponge to apply this product. So I used a damp sponge and my usual "spray your face with moisturizing spray until it's dripping wet" tactic on my next test run, and I got this:

While they're both really lovely finishes, I'd say I prefer this sponge-and-spray look to the brush-and-sponge look. It has an even more natural finish. I also applied this product with my fingers during another test, and while it looked just fine, I really think a damp sponge works best.

And yes, I wore a turtle neck and applied the foundation to the top of my neck. This stuff is way too dark for me, but dammit, it's pretty, and I wanted to wear it to work at least once.

So there you have it: another Laura Mercier foundation that doesn't work for me, personally, but is an overall gorgeous product. If it wasn't such an uphill battle to apply my cream blush on top of it, the Laura Mercier Flawless Lumiere What Is With These Long Names Foundation would be a five star product.

RATING: 4 out of 5
I purchased this foundation from Sephora.


  1. How does it work with some of the white Mac Face and Body foundation mixed in? I'm curious as to how using a white mixer would affect the texture and finish of the product.

    1. I find that MAC Face & Body usually mixes best with itself because of the film former it contains. That said, people certainly could try more versatile mixers with this to get their shade match!

  2. What about a cream blush??! Once you go cream, you are hooked anyways!

    1. I only use cream and liquid blush. As per the review, I tested all of my formulas over this foundation, and they all "caught" on it unless I powdered first.