I've Finally Found My Holy Grail Foundation

In which I seek out a replacement for my long lost love, a discontinued lightweight, long-wear foundation.

To say that I’m picky about foundation is a hilarious understatement. It cannot be too powdery or matte a finish, it must come in my shade (you’d think that’s a given but…), it cannot totally mask my skin, it must cover my hyperpigmentation, it must not rub off on my clothes...

The search for this magic foundation has been a saga spanning many years. Here’s where it gets tragic: I found it once.

Face Fabric had everything I wanted in a foundation. The texture was unique, it blended beautifully, it gave the right amount of coverage, and it lasted all day. For many years we were very happy together, then it betrayed me.

In a move that still hurts (and inspires mild rage), Armani didn’t stop making Face Fabric--they just stopped making it my shade. I don’t know why they did it and I never will so I have decided to get over it.

I attempted to move on by trying every lightweight foundation I could get my hands on.

I tried to try (I say this because some brands just don’t have a shade for me) over 15 foundations, and narrowed it down to these seven to tell you about.

For reference, here’s what my skin looks like with nothing on it at all.


Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation

Texture: Thin and serum-likeFinish: Matte/powderyCoverage: Full

I’d heard such great things about this stuff, but it’s not for me. Too much coverage, and it needs blush and highlight on top to make my face look human again. I also don’t like how dry the finish is--give me some dew!

Verdict: Not the one.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide

Texture: Serum-like: thin, and slipperyFinish: Very naturalCoverage: Light

The coverage and finish are spot on, but because the formula is so watery, it dried out my skin and I needed a lot of product to cover my face. If you’re less dry than me, I strongly recommend this. Excellent shade range, too.

Verdict: Could be the one in warmer weather.

Revlon PhotoReady Makeup

Texture: Thin and serum-likeFinish: Natural and dewyCoverage: Light to medium

I’ve heard good stuff about Revlon foundations, but I’ve never really tried drugstore foundation. I was pleasantly surprised by how vibrant my skin looked after applying.

Verdict: The one I'd buy when I'm on a budget.

Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation

Texture: Thin and serum-likeFinish: Very dewyCoverage: Light to medium

I loved the way this looked at first, but dewy turned shiny after a couple of hours. It’s nothing powder couldn’t take care of, but I need something that stands alone. If you’ve got very dry skin, this is perfect for you.

Verdict: Not the one for me.

BECCA Luminous Skin Color Ultra Sheer Foundation

Texture: Creamy yet super blendableFinish: Glowy and naturalCoverage: Very light

I love this. It made my skin legitimately glow. The only reason it didn’t win is that the coverage is a bit too light for the current state of my skin, which is a mess. Season changes suck.

Verdict: The one for when my skin is good.

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation

Texture: Thin and serum-likeFinish: Very naturalCoverage: Light but blendable

I didn’t have high hopes for this because most Benefit stuff doesn’t work on my skin tone, but this is an amazing foundation. The right amount of coverage, the right finish, and it lasts for hours.

Verdict: Would be the one (if not for the one that is actually The One).

Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup

Texture: Like a thick serumFinish: Natural and perfectCoverage: Light but buildable

This blew my mind. It handled my hyperpigmentation, didn’t make my face look like a mask, and, true to its name, it stayed in place. I put it on before work and after a full day there--plus a sweaty ballet class--it hadn’t made a mess of me. If you wait between layers, the coverage can absolutely be built up to full.

Verdict: THIS IS THE ONE

  • Now let’s dish! Have any of you ever been jilted by a discontinued product or shade?
  • What makes a foundation Holy Grail status for you, and how many of you are still searching for The One?