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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The search for the perfect foundation

I love trying and buying new foundations because I always like having a selection to choose from. I know there are some days I want sheerer coverage, a more matte finish or even just a darker or lighter shade so I try to keep my bases covered. Being the foundation junkie I am, I decided I have to have Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation in my life so I went down to my local counter to get colour matched.

As soon as I saw and felt this on my skin I fell in love with the formula because it seriously gives me airbrushed looking skin with minimal product. I always use a concealer but with this I don't need to and my skin still looks flawless! I also don't even need to set it because it dries to a beautiful natural matte finish. It has definitely become my number one foundation formulation followed closely by Diorskin Forever in second place.

The only problem I have with it is that I cannot find a perfect shade match in this foundation! Now this isn't a major issue for me because I'm a notorious foundation mixer. I'll gladly mix various shades and formulations of foundation as well as colour correctors to get my perfect shade but I just wish that this didn't often have to be necessary!

I've already posted about this before (check it out here) but I hate how much variation there is between the foundation colours I get colour matched to. Just to show you what I mean, here are different foundations that I have been matched to within the last year and how I mix and match them to get them to work for me. The first one, NARS Sheer Glow in Syracuse is my closest colour match.

1. NARS Sheer Glow in Syracuse (good match)
2. MAC Pro Longwear in NC42 (too yellow so I mix with a pink corrector)
3. NARS Sheer Glow in Barcelona (too light so I set it with a slightly darker powder)
4. Christian Dior Diorskin Forever in 040 Honey Beige (too pink and dark so I mix it with a lighter shade of Diorskin Nude and also add a yellow corrector)
5. Estee Lauder Double Wear in Bronze (5W1) (a bit too dark)
6. Estee Lauder Double Wear Light in Intensity 4 (good match)
7. Estee Lauder Double Wear in Shell Beige (4W1) (a shade too light)
8. Estee Lauder Double Wear in Soft Chestnut (5C1) (too dark and too pink)
9. NARS Sheer Matte in Barcelona (too light and too matte so I mix it with a darker, dewy finish foundation)

These next two photos are the same foundations in the same order as above but just taken in different light settings:

The Estee Lauder Double Wear Light in Intensity 4 is actually quite a close match so I think I'll be picking that up but in terms of the original formulation of Estee Lauder Double Wear, it looks like I'll have to buy both Bronze and Shell Beige and mix them in order to get the right colour. I know this seems like a lot of trouble to go to but I seriously love this foundation and I can see it'll be reaching HG status very quickly!

Do any of you have a high maintenance product that you don't mind putting in the effort for? I'd love to know so leave me a comment below. Also if you're a user of either Estee Lauder Double Wear or Double Wear Light, I'd love to hear what you think of them!


  1. I'm way too lazy to bother mixing foundations to get the right colour, I want something that I can just pick up and use.

    It's amazing that you have been colour matched to such different colours. It happens to me a lot too, I've returned quite a few foundations after I tried them at home and found that they were totally the wrong colour. Now I ask for a sample of the colour I've been matched to as it's heaps easier to return an unopened product.

  2. Estee Lauder Double Wear is lovvvvvvely. I've just run out of my bottle and I'm itching to go back for more. Especially love that I don't need a powder to set it - it really is waterproof. I walked to work once in pouring rain without an umbrella and 25 minutes later my foundation was still flawless. It's an automatic win. So glad you love it!

  3. GlossQueen: I have days where I just can't be bothered mixing up a custom shade but most days I like putting different products on my palette and mixing them up. It makes me feel like an artist :D

    I wish more of the high end brands actually gave out samples because it would avoid me buying the wrong colour. It sucks that being matched to the wrong shade happens to so many people!

    Clare: It is truly lovely! Wow 25 minutes in the rain and no budging is awesome! Have you found that it photographs well or do you get that mask like effect with flash photography because of the SPF?

  4. I love Double Wear too. I've tried the light version but went back to the original. Nothing budges that baby!! And i need it atm to cover up spots and spot scars. I have started mixing it a little. I use the double wear (Desert Beige) on my t-zone where I need coverage and hold and then I use Lancome Teint Miracle (02) on my foreheads/cheeks etc. The Lancome gives good coverage but with a luminous finish which I love as I find the ELDW can be a bit falt all over the face.

  5. me, my best and I: I know what you mean about it being a bit flat. I think it's such good coverage that it covers everything and you really have to make sure you contour and highlight to add dimension back in. \

    I haven't tried the Lancome yet but I think I'll check it out since you make it sound fab!

  6. Hi, I'm a fellow Aussie, from Perth. Stumbled across your blog whilst looking for advice about ELDW =)

    I think DW is an amazing foundation! Feels fantastically soft, easy to apply, truly long wearing.. however.. I think the colour matching is a real issue.

    I was "matched" for the first time recently by an EL counter in Taiwan. I was in a rush at the airport so went for the EL lady's advice. When I got back here and tried it on... it was WAY too light (1N2 Ivory Cream). Went to EL Myer today to try and get rematched with more of a cynical eye, lol... and though the EL lady here recommended 2N1.. I just can't quite be convinced.. =P

    I'm thinking of going with your idea of mixing colours - perhaps getting 3N1 and mixing it with the 1N2....would be able to create a Summer to Winter spectrum =D

    Wish they offered samples here.. especially since ELDW here is almost double the price of overseas!!

  7. Eevee: Hi! Colour matching is such a pain :| I really wish all brands did custom shade mixing!

    Just as an FYI, Estee Lauder in Oz does do samples :) If you get colour matched they offer you a '10 day sample' in a little bottle. This only happens at an actual Estee Lauder counter though and not at chemists etc where they may stock EL. I picked up samples of 3 different shades as it was impossible in store to tell what matched me.

    Hope that helps :)

  8. Hi Ahalya
    I just wanted to say thank you for such aa informative review, I have been searching for a longer wear foundation to match my Nars sheer glow and you have ended my search in this beautiful and down to earth review.
    Thank you
    From Blackpool, Uk

  9. Thanks so much Maha :)

    Estee Lauder Double Wear is definitely a great option. I just hope you can get a shade match since it's a bit tricky with this brand!

    Have you checked out Make Up For Ever HD foundation yet? I think the shade range is much better and it's quite long lasting too :)

  10. Have you tried the 5N1 shade soft tan? I was in exactly the same boat -- I found that I was between bronze and shell beige so the woman at the EL counter suggested I try Soft Tan. I was super skeptical since I tend to prefer yellow undertone foundations rather than neutral ones. However, I found that it blended really nicely even though it looked darker than the bronze at first. Different things work for different people and it's totally based on your undertone what flatters best but I thought I'd share my experience. I find this foundation so lovely and wears so well (even on my super dry skin!) that I would mix if I have to (which I may have to do in the summer since I tend to get extremely dark in the summer)! :)

  11. Cassandra: I haven't tried Soft Tan yet but I'll check it out. So far I've just been mixing 5W1 Bronze with a lighter foundation to get a colour match.

    I haven't been using it much these last few weeks though since the weather is super hot. I've been sticking to mineral powder but I can't wait to pull out my liquid foundations again soon. Thanks for the comment :)