Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Laying the Foundation

As a general rule, I've always believed that you should spend the most amount of money on things that lay closest to your skin. For example: bras, lotions, foundation.

And when I find a really great product (any kind of product, from a corkscrew to an author), I tend to commit. I stick with it and buy it over and over and over again. However, much like best laid plans, best laid foundation can often go awry. Here's the story of my search for the perfect foundation.

My first foundation love was Smashbox's Wet/Dry Foundation, in Natural. When I decided I needed to break free of the drugstore foundation for my precious skin (which was already on prescription medication for breakouts) I went to Sephora and had a beauty agent suggest what would be good for my skin, and she pointed me in this direction. I primarily used it dry, unless I really needed extra coverage in a few spots. I've read other reviews which complained about the flimsy sponge, and in the three or four times I re-purchased the product, I have to agree that was its biggest flaw. Otherwise, it lasted a long time, it covered well, felt light, gave you the wet option, and was reasonably priced.


Then Sephora discontinued the product. I'm not sure why; they told me that while Smashbox would still make the foundation available, Sephora was no longer opting to carry it. I was heartbroken, and begged for any samples they may still carry in my shade. Sephora's usually great about that kind of thing. Unfortunately, even backup sample compacts had already been given out in my shade! How could something so popular be discontinued, I wondered.

I decided to try another product, although I was heartbroken. I had already found a perfect foundation and now I had to start all over again!

I decided to try another product by Smashbox since I knew I could trust them, and was led to the Conversion Cream to Powder Foundation (shade 1.5). Apparently I just like foundations with two functions in the title? Actually, that's not far from the truth.One thing in particular that I loved about the Wet/Dry was that I could use it for smooth, complete coverage with only Neutrogena Tinted Moisturizer (with SPF 15) on my face beforehand. That is, I got to skip the expensive primer. As I explained that (along with other things I loved about the foundation) the saleslady at Sephora explained that the Cream would not require primer before wearing it, because it's in the cream format when it's applied (with the effect of the Wet/Dry when it was wet). However, when it dried, it was supposedly going to feel just like wearing a light powder foundation. All right, I thought, that sounded like the perfect replacement for the Wet/Dry!

Sigh. Suffice it to say, I was out about $35 bucks. I didn't love the feel of the cream when I applied it, the shade was imperfect for my whole face, and I broke out a lot more when I wore it (I feel as though I needed to put on a lot for total coverage, a contrast with the way the Wet/Dry foundation settled and blended in effortlessly). This was no competition for my beloved original.

Once again I asked for advice, and this time I was told that Sephora had their own foundation that was just like Smashbox's Wet/Dry. The woman told me that she had sold it to several people who'd come in looking for my favorite. (Again - if it was so popular - then why forsake me, Sephora? Why!) I was very wary about trying a new brand and a new product, so I had the woman apply it to most of my face, so I could really see how it went on and covered. I wanted to feel more confident, and I did feel good when I left with my new purchase. It helped that the Sephora brand was about $14 cheaper than Smashbox.

Over time I decided that Sephora Matifying Foundation (Warm Nude), combined once again with my Neutrogena base, was a worthy product. It wasn't perfect for me; I believe some concerns were not having a mirror and that the sponge crumbled (just like the Wet/Dry's had). Additionally, as it got old, the foundation cake began to crumble, which made it a little messy to carry around. In the end I was actually keeping it in a Ziploc bag so that it wouldn't make a mess in my makeup bag. After a few months, I finally laid the foundation to rest on vacation, because it turned to messy powder with a messy applicator when I needed it the most - traveling out of the country.

I would still use the Sephora brand foundation as a cheap backup, as it was better than anything I'd yet encountered in a drugstore, but there had to be something better out there. Last weekend, I had to look for the perfect new foundation. And would you believe I found it?

I'm going to go ahead and officially guess that this product is the replacement for the Wet/Dry foundation. Smashbox Function5 Foundation suddenly appeared in Sephora stores -- right where my old beloved used to be! And other than being a strictly dry powder, I find that the coverage and lightweight feel are identical to the Wet/Dry. I can wear it with my new favorite drugstore moisturizer, Summer Glow by Neutrogena with SPF 15. Over the course of the past few days, I've noticed that it stays in place and the Light L3-L4 matches my skin so perfectly, I can put it on a spot and need to lean in to see where I've already applied it. I'm not complaining.

So all's well that end's well. Although I'm back to spending -- what, $38? -- on foundation, I think that my trials have proven it's worth the expense. The sponge? It will probably still disassemble with use. Only time will tell. Yet? Dependable foundation, I am so glad to have you back.


FashionKitty said...

Okay, are you me? Because I had pretty much the EXACT same experience. I ended up going w/ paying a fortune for Smashbox primer, Smashbox liquid foundation and Smashbox powder. Expensive as hell but I love how it works :)

The Style Bard said...

Haha I think we figured out I'm not you because you dress way cuter than I do!

But I'm definitely coming to you for a review of that Smashbox combo the next time I need to switch it up.