Sorry this is so long, but this product has made a difference in my life, and I wanted to get the info out there. I bought the Mat Velvet Plus about two weeks ago after experimenting with it out of a sample container from Sephora for over a week. (I'm a terribly picky consumer, but I'm also tired of returning stuff, so I wanted to be sure!)
I have major skin problems and never had much luck with foundations. I'm combination (sometimes horribly oily, and other times horribly dry), blotchy, acne-covered (not just acne-"prone"; I almost constantly have pimples!), with severe red scarring on the chin and around the mouth from years of pimples. The natural color of my skin is extremely fair (I'd say "neutral," with slight yellow undertones), so each time I get a new zit, it scars. And I should emphasize just how fair I am (slightly lighter than MAC's NC15). Because of the deep redness in certain areas, I need quite a lot of coverage. But because of the oiliness (and sometimes simultaneous flaking!) extra coverage means cakiness. And above all, I loathe the look of wearing "fake skin" on my face. I mean, if it were up to me, I'd go bare, with *no* base at all! Anyway, pretty much every time I try a new foundation, I have to deal with at least one of the following:
too sheer; too cakey; too pink; too dark (this last one is a biggie!).
So, foundation has always been a problem for me. I've found maybe 1 *concealer* over the years that did the job, but you can't wear a thick concealer over a large section of your face. It simply cakes up and looks unnatural.
Almost immediately, I realized this is some of the best foundation -- I think, *the* best foundation I've ever tried. I'm going to sum it up as quickly & efficiently as possible:
~# 15 is actually light enough for my skin, *and* not ridiculously pink!!!!
~There is enough coverage to make me feel like I don't necessarily *need* concealer on top of the stuff (in fact, I usually don't bother, which is unheard of for me on makeup days); if I'm going for some perfect porcelain look, I can add it.
~It really lasts on your face. And keep in mind that I've been wearing this stuff on 95+ degree days in California, during a heat wave. Now on days this bad, *no* makeup is going to look as perfectly seamlessly fresh as the second you put it on in the morning, but this comes pretty damned close. Often I'll just do a quick mirror check, briefly blend in areas that have mixed a little with the sweat on my face (sorry - gross, I know, but it's really that hot these days! :p), and it's presentable again. I haven't had that experience with other foundations. (Incidentally, on, the non-horribly-hot days, this stuff has lasted hours and hours in GREAT shape, really surprising me.)
~Despite the amazing level of coverage, the formula looks incredibly natural and NOT fake/cakey (though you MUST exfoliate/moisturize with this stuff!!). Again, I'm a picky consumer and I hate the made up look.
~Last, but absolutely not least, I DON'T THINK IT'S CAUSING ANY NEW ZITS! For me, this is really a huge feat. In fact, what with my current skin regimen (I'm using Clinique's Take the Day off Balm to remove), my skin's actually been doing shockingly well in the summer heat.
I've tried a few methods to keep it looking natural: wet sponge, dry sponge, fingers, brush. I still haven't had that much time to experiment, since I don't wear makeup every single day, but what I'm liking lately is a foundation brush with the tip slightly wet, and then dipped into the foundation (which I've dispensed onto the back of my hand), to be applied & blended to the face. DEFINITELY only do one area of the face at a time, as this stuff dries/sets quickly.
Really briefly in response to the review before mine:
1) I'm actually quite surprised what she wrote about the insufficient coverage. I always use very little (I'm this way with hair products, skincare products, etc.), and I hate having gobs of stuff on my face -- and I was shocked at the amount of pigment and its ability to *tone down* my extreme redness. Without concealer on top, it's definitely not opaque *perfection* (if it were, it'd look fake!). But it blows most foundations out of the water. And keep in mind that I'm using their very lightest shade, so that's a big deal. In other words: it does what a foundation (not concealer) is supposed to do.
2) I, too, had the problem with the stuff oozing out the top -- but it only happened the first (and maybe the second?) time I used it. After that, it's been perfect. For first-time users, after shaking the bottle (which everyone should do with every use) I suggest giving it a good couple of thuds on the counter to settle the makeup. In fact, do this just before you apply your moisturizer or primer, and by the time you get to your makeup, it's settled. :)
3) Finally, I agree about the color selection; more shades would be nice. I just happened to get lucky with mine (after being terribly unlucky with almost all other high end, and especially drugstore brands). If you can find one that almost works for you, I say go for it, cuz this stuff is worth it. For those of you who can't find decent colors, write/call/complain! It's all about consumer demand - we're the ones buying the stuff, and if you make your voice heard, you CAN make a difference in what the company dishes out.
BOTTOM LINE: I'm an extremely picky customer with extreme skin issues, and I love the stuff. Make sure you exfoliate & moisturize, and do one area at a time. Experiment to find your best application method. If you do all that and can find a good color match, I think this stuff has the potential to make you feel beautiful. Honestly, it's given me confidence back.