This week, I developed an obsession with finding a good "high definition" foundation. My latest trial being the Face Atelier Ultra Foundation of which I ordered the above generous samples from cultbeauty.co.uk.
Just to give you a quick background on my foundation usage, I rarely wear foundation because my skin texture and tone is mostly ok, I just need concealer under my eyes and around my nose, plus some finishing power to prevent shine through the day. However, I want to find a good foundation to use on my wedding day. My make-up artist used Dior Airflash in my trial, which looked fantastic in her photos but quite dry and crease-y in real life on my over-animated face. So I'm looking for a foundation which has medium to high coverage but still looks like my own skin, which moves with my face, and doesn't dry out or crease up. But more importantly, I want it to look absolutely flawless in photos, with radiance but not shine. So... I'm not asking for too much really.
Oh, and I prefer silicone-based foundations. I find they look the most like real skin. I like Yaby Liquid Foundation but it's too light coverage for the wedding, and L'Oréal Matte Morphose which is brilliant and more coverage than Yaby, but I wouldn't mind even more coverage.
Ok, so here's how Face Atelier describe the Ultra Foundation:
Ultra Foundation is a silicone-based emulsion that floats on top of the skin, doesn’t crease or flake, and lasts all day long. Hydrating yet oil-free, it obscures tiny lines and pores to ensure a smooth finish. No primer needed! It's built into Ultra Foundation, thanks to the super sophisticated, silicone-based formula. Another bonus - it sets without powder, preserving the youthful, dewy finish.
Before I go on, you'll probably want to know what I look like completely bare-faced. Here I am, parading my sun-induced freckles, dark circles and discolouration around my nose (probably caused by overenthusiastic spot-picking as a teen):
And below are the four shades I ordered heavily swatched on my jawline. The shade I decided was the best match was #3 Wheat (the second one along), which is your bog-standard beige. No noticeable pink or yellow tone.
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation is a primer/foundation 2-in-1 so I applied it straight over my moisturiser, using my fingers. Apparently you get the best finish using a Beautyblender but sadly I don't have one. The formula is very runny and needs to be shaken before use (silicone is lighter than pigment).
As I would expect with a silicone-based foundation, it blends seamlessly on the skin and really, really does look and feel like real skin. It doesn't matter how much I put on, or how slow I am to blend it, it never looks dry, chalky or cakey. And it feels really lightweight too... I can completely forget I'm wearing foundation.
The coverage is like a magic airbrushing wand being waved over the skin, evening out discolouration and lightening up shadows. The coverage is medium to high, depending on how it's applied (medium if you're applying it with fingers, but I guess it would be higher if you use a brush). In the photo below, I have only applied the foundation on one side of my face. My freckles definitely still show through (but are blurred and less visible), but the foundation has concealed my dark circles and nose blotchiness with just one quick layer. I didn't even feel the need to wear concealer on top.
I did of course finish off applying the foundation to the rest of my face... and below is the finished result, before any finishing powder. While the finish is genuinely flawless, it was a bit too dewy for me to feel comfortable not using finishing powder, so I used ELF High Definition Powder to prevent the shine getting too much later in the day.
By the end of the day, while my skin did still look pretty flawless (the foundation is both oil and water-resistant), I did notice some oil breakthrough on my forehead and nose. That's my only complaint about this foundation... it doesn't mop up excess oil (which L'Oréal Matte Morphose does). So while my face was greasy, I took the opportunity to take a photo with flash, just to check how shiny I would look. It's not too bad, but still greasier than I'd like. I look a bit of a weird colour in this photo because I'd tried out a new bronzer and hadn't quite got the hang of it.
I think I will try a few more "high definition" foundations before purchasing a full-sized bottle of Face Atelier Ultra Foundation. I've tried this one twice (the second time with Bare Escentuals Prime Time underneath), and both times I've become a little too shiny through the day for my liking.
The full ingredients of Face Atelier Ultra Foundation are:
Cyclomethicone, Water, Glycerin, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl Dimethicone Copolyol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Cellulose Gum, Nylon-12, Tribehenin, Lauroyl Lysine, Tristearin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Ci77891/Titanium Dioxide, Ci77492 Ci77491 Ci77499/Iron Oxides, Mica Ci77019
If you're interested in trying Face Atelier Ultra Foundation, you can contact Cult Beauty or Pro Makeup Store (both UK sites), to order some shade samples. The little pots are so generous, you can probably get about a week's worth of use out of each! A full-size bottle costs £32 for 30ml.
You can read more about the Ultra Foundation on the Face Atelier website.
Update (28th October 2010): My skin has got a bit drier coming up to Winter and I have have dug out my old sample pot of Face Atelier (yep - it's still going!). I have to say it's perfect for my skin at the moment and I don't get the same oil breakthrough at the end of the day that I had experienced the last time I tried it. I had also forgotten how amazing it is at airbrushing the skin and leaving it flawless all day! I also noticed that Pro Makeup Store has started selling sample pots online here as has Coco Beau here.