Let’s face it (see what I did there?). There are some of us here that are deathly afraid of foundation. Don’t be shy—I was there, too. I avoided putting on that liquid flesh on my face like a plague for three reasons. First, it made me look too white. Second, it made me feel like I was carrying the face of a theater actress about to go on stage for a play. And third, it just made me look like an oil slick by the end of the day.
But after a few years into beauty blogging and being experimental (AKA splurging on bottle after bottle of the latest foundation craze getting sucked in by “It’s as thin as air!” marketing), I am finally able to maneuver around the different types, finishes, coverages and not get lost in the bottomless liquid foundation pit. For today’s column, I’ll group these liquid foundations (my fave) by their coverage. Hopefully, by the end of this, you’ll have less foundation fears!
These six bottles will serve as our subjects for the day: L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Foundation, Maybelline Dream Satin Skin Liquid Foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, Estée Lauder Double Wear, NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, and Laneige Snow BB Cushion. For reference, I’m a MAC NC30-35.

LIGHT

Light coverage doesn’t mean no coverage—it offers minimal coverage as it evens out your skintone. It can’t cover up redness or zits, though. This kind of coverage is best for those who already have good skin and would just like to look radiant and even all over the face. What I want to emphasize here is that light coverage doesn’t necessarily equate to a lightweight feel. Sometimes, light coverage foundations feel even heavier on as the day passes.
L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup is the runniest out of the six foundations I’m using. It will literally spill when you forget that it isn’t viscous like the other liquid foundations. Its light coverage is kind of buildable to medium if you layer it on (but honestly, it’s still not “medium” enough for me). What I do love about this foundation is that even if you build it up in layers, there’s no caking that ensues. It still looks like second skin. The downside to this is it’s not suitable for oily skin—especially in this tropical weather. It takes proper priming and powdering to really make it stay on.

  • Finish: Dewy
  • Longevity: 4 hours
  • Best for: Normal and Dry Skin

Maybelline Dream Satin Skin Liquid Foundation is a fairly new foundation that I’ve tried. It promises “airbrushed perfection.” Given its velvety finish, I can feel that this contains quite an amount of silicones which contribute to its poreless promise. I was actually torn on whether to categorize this as light or medium as when applied thickly, it can already pass off for medium coverage. But its medium coverage feels a bit thick for my liking so how I personally apply this is with a stippling brush—that way, it gives lighter coverage and a softer finish.

  • Finish: Satin
  • Longevity: 3-4 hours if you’ve oily skin, less if you’re exposed to heat and humidity
  • Best for: Normal Skin

MEDIUM

Laneige Snow BB Cushion is a liquid foundation that comes in a squeezable compact so you can take it with you anywhere you go without the hassle of having to bring a brush for touch-ups. I initially penned this for the ‘light coverage’ category but it does a good job evening out my nose area which is “the red zone.” What I love about this product: it has SPF50 protection, it contains arbutin (a brightening ingredient), and it lasts pretty well throughout the day. However, the consistency of the liquid is thicker and denser than other liquid foundations, say the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation (next up), so you would definitely feel it on your face throughout the day.

  • Finish: That Korean dewiness
  • Longevity: 4-5 hours
  • Best for: Normal - Dry - Slightly Oily

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation has been one of my go-to foundations for the past two years and counting—it’s like second skin to me! It provides medium to full coverage depending on how many layers you put on. It feels very lightweight as well because its consistency is quite runny, but not as runny as the L’Oreal True Match above. It’s slightly brightening with its dewy finish which feigns good skin in an instant. There’s absolutely no caking with this foundation! The only downside is this won’t last long with oily skin types especially in Manila heat and humidity.

  • Finish: Slightly Dewy
  • Longevity: 5-6 hours
  • Best for: Normal - Dry

FULL

Estee Lauder Double Wear is my “special occasions” bottle. It’s the most trustworthy, no-fail, stay-put-all-day foundation that no heat nor humidity can beat. Of course, with this, you’ve got to expect the thicker, heavier feel and a drier skin texture. Literally, after putting it on (in which you have to work fast as it sets quickly), you can’t smoothly run over your skin —it’s almost as if it’s cemented. I’ve been frenemies with this foundation because on my terrible skin days, I have to moisturize and prime like crazy, or else the dry patches will be flaking all over. Not to mention, it cakes easily if you put on too much. However, it’s the best foundation for oily skin to beat the tropical heat and everyday commute pollution.

  • Finish: Matte as Damon!
  • Longevity: 8-10 hours, maybe even more
  • Best for: Oily, Combination

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is fairly new to the foundation game but it’s definitely shaping up to be a more skin-friendly option to Estee Lauder Double Wear. The consistency is very different in comparison to ELDW. NARS’ foundation is runnier and feels like a serum, although it still sets quickly so you have to learn how to blend efficiently. It’s extremely pigmented so you don’t need to use a lot of product, otherwise it cakes and emphasizes dry areas. It really covers up redness and acne well, although the down side is it’s not as long-lasting or oil-controlling as ELDW.

  • Finish: Demi-Matte/Matte
  • Longevity: 6-8 hours
  • Best for: Oily, Combination

HOW I APPLY FOUNDATION

Every foundation has its own most efficient way of application depending on consistency, drying time, and so on. Thus, I won’t go in-depth on how to properly apply each of these six products. Instead, I’d just like to share my personal application technique for most of the foundations I use, in case you need a reference!
Photos by Shari Macainag