I wanted a foundation that looked like real skin or very close to it for everyday wear. I have quite mixed feelings about this foundation.
PACKAGING AND FORMULA
I like the shade I selected, "R230 beige ivory" for my light skin with neutral to slightly cool undertones (about MAC NW20). It's a nice muted realistic skin colour and not at all orange, pink or yellow looking. The packaging works well and looks nice I think. It has an easy to use pump that makes it easy to dispense how much you desire (I find that one full pump is more than enough for my face). It needs to be shaken well before use.
The foundation has a thick liquid texture. It doesn't spread as well as I had hoped, but it doesn't dry instantly, so you do have some time to work with it, but not as much time as I would have liked before it sets. I think it's best applied in sections.
It did not cause any skin issues at all. No irritation, clogged pores or breakouts. Overall looking at the formula I think it's a very skin friendly formula. It does contain fragrance, but I can't really smell it. It smells like foundation/lotion maybe slightly vanilla like? It must just be a small amount of fragrance used to mask the natural scent of the formulation. I doubt even those with very sensitive skin or a very sensitive nose are going to have any issues with this. If it didn't say fragrance on the ingredient list I would have thought this foundation to be fragrance free.
I found applying it with fingers in sections and then going over it with a damp sponge worked the best (I used a damp beauty blender). That or mixing it with a light gel moisturiser (I used Clinique for men oil control lotion which is the same formula as Clinique DDMG) to make it dry slower and spread more easily. I find that it's a bit tricky to get a nice even application with it though not impossible. I just have to pay attention to what I'm doing when I'm applying it.
APPEREANCE IN REAL LIFE
Once applied this nicely evens out the skins tone (about light-medium coverage or on the low end of medium coverage with one pump for my face). However that is really all it does. It is a very "realistic" looking foundation for better or worse. It does not do much if anything to improve the texture of my skin. Small bumps, indented scars, lines and pores are not improved unlike with some other foundations. It does not improve the finish of the skin either in terms of the way skin reflects light (it doesn't give you a healthy glow or something like that). Its a natural skin-like satin finish.It does appear a bit "thin/flat" it's not very dimensional finish, but I think the satin finish prevents it from appearing too flat.
This foundation is *almost* invisible on the skin, even when viewed up close in direct sunlight. However its not quite as good at this as say MAC Face and Body Foundation in my experience. If you layer it, it's going to look like foundation.
APPERANCE IN PHOTOS/VIDEO
As realistic and boring to some extent as this looks in real life it's a whole different story when it comes to photos and video. It looks really natural and invisible and not at all like you are wearing makeup, but it also some how manages to make your skin look retouched at the same time. The skin looks simultaneously blurred *and* in focus. It makes the skin look "vivid" or "in focus" I guess is the best way I can find to describe it. It looks really nice and just like good skin. Quite impressive.
Back to real life. This starts emphasising texture and lines within about an hour if not set with powder on my skin. It also begins to settle into lines a bit. It goes from being close to invisible to being very visible in terms of texture. It also gets shiny in the same time frame. Not a nice dewy effect. Shiny. As in ugly oily shine. How this manages to get so shiny on my dry skin and how it manages to do it as quickly as it does I don't know.
I have tried using MUFE Ultra HD Microfinishing loose powder (a loose silica powder) over this foundation without success. If I only use a small amount it doesn't make any difference in terms of how the foundation wears. If I use a large amount it prevents it from creasing and settling into lines, but now the face appears very dull and matte. It's a powder that I otherwise love, but surprisingly it did not work well with this foundation for me. I have also tried using MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Pressed Powder over this and it's better, but still doesn't work well. I still have to use a lot of powder, but that powder has more of a satin-matte finish, so it doesn't look as dull. Still most of the time it still starts emphasising textures and settling a bit into lines. Both of those powders diffuse light to make the skin appear smoother and I would suggest you use a nice "blurring" powder, because this foundation doesn't do much for texture and can make it look a lot worse in my experience.
It's not a very transfer resistant foundation. Not terrible, but I expected better. It doesn't make any claims that it's a long-wearing foundation, but the wear really was pitiful. I have dry skin and most foundations last fine on me. I live in a temperate climate, have only tested this on days that were not hot and even just wearing this indoors being careful not to touch my face the wear even with a lot of powder just made this foundation useless for me.
WHO I THINK THIS IS FOR
I can see a makeup artists working on a film/tv set might like this (looks great on camera, can do touch ups, skin friendly formula, large shade range, looks like real skin). Assuming it wears better on your skin than mine, I could also see this as being a great "special event" foundation because it photographs so nicely. Or a good foundation for those that really like to customise the way the skin looks with primers/powders/setting sprays since this essentially just evens out the skin tone.
I won't repurchase.