After the rants and wrath which then occurred, and countless emails and tweets to Estée Lauder’s customer service team, I decided to turn this into a two-week trial of other foundations (and an excuse to live off free make up for a while). Circulating around the luxury cosmetic counters in Boots, I was on a mission to fill my handbag with testers, accumulated by my persuasiveness and the mutual understanding (and horror) about my make up ordeal (AKA ‘Estée Lauder-gate’).
Skin type: very oily, occasional blemishes, but not prone to redness/wrinkles/uneven skin tone.
Looking for: a matte effect, non-oily foundation.
Make up routine (in order of application): No7 Primer, Rimmel hide the blemish concealer, Estée Lauder maximum Cover foundation, Benefit blushers, BareMinerals eye shadows, Lancome eyeliner and Dior Blackout mascara.
To the horror of any make up artist, I use a cosmetic sponge to apply foundation. Yes, it wastes a lot of foundation whenever I start a new sponge, with the first few attempts of foundation just soaking straight into the sponge, but it helps create a really matte and even finish, I don’t get my fingers sticky and covered in make up, and the idea of a) painting my face and b) having to regularly wash brush bristles that have clumped together with foundation goop makes me shudder. (I hear that baby oil is best for cleaning foundation brushes.)
The offending item:
Allow yourself to imagine an artistic squiggle of foundation emitting from the nozzle, as I’m not prone to wastage, and certainly not when the remnants of this foundation are like gold-dust (one sold for £56 on ebay whilst I was in the ‘denial’ phase… I hasten to add that (unfortunately) it wasn’t me…)
And with that… let the trials begin!
Clinique’s anti-blemish foundation has a very creamy and verging on ‘thick’ consistency (although still not thick to my liking). The anti-blemish factor is always a benefit, but in my opinion, nothing will ever beat the combination of hormones and oily skin, so I can’t say whether it’s helped my complexion or not - I’d probably have to try it out on a more permanent basis. It did stay on my face, with partial ‘rubbing off’ around the nose area, but was easy to apply. This turned out to be a very close ‘second place’ to my first choice, but I will definitely consider buying it in the future.
Lancome took ages to apply - it was very translucent, so I had to really layer it over blemishes and darker areas to achieve an even cover. It was very fluid and almost ‘sticky’ to sponge on, but once done and sealed in with loose powder, if gave a pretty flawless and airbrush finish. I was rather biased to this one, until I had to face the truth and admit that by the end of the day, there was absolutely no foundation on my face at all. Where the hell had it gone? I can’t even lie and say it had gone all speckled (when foundations partially rub off); it had literally vanished, revealing a very shiny (oily) and make-up-less complexion. Really bad. On a positive note, the tester pot I was given from their counter in Boots contained over 5 days worth of foundation, and the colour was an excellent match to my skin tone.
Estée Lauder Double Wear is actually a better match to my skin than their ‘Double Wear Maximum Cover’, but I’ve never liked the consistency - it’s much too thin for my liking. I noticed after application and powdering-down, than it dried in streaks - mainly noticeable on my chin. It was the most fluid of them all, and I had to be speedy with the sponge before it all slid off the side, and impossible to layer up on the face. By the end of the day the usual area of make up had rubbed off - nose and spreading across my upper cheeks, perhaps more so than others, and all my blemishes were showing. Not good.
Clarins Everlasting smells like watermelon - it’s something I’d never come across with foundation and I have no idea if this is an intentional ‘feature’, but rather nice. Their testers are ridiculously small sachets of the foundation - the sort you’d pull out from a magazine, so barely even enough to apply once. It applied extraordinary thinly, so I returned to Boots to swipe another sample, and this time used the whole packet, and I have to say I was nicely surprised! It did apply thickly once I had plenty on the sponge (perhaps the previous time I’d tried to make the packet last at least two days…), giving me an airbrushed effect. After a while, it sort of ‘dried’ on my face, giving me the feeling of wearing a facial mask and powdered off whenever I touched it, but surprisingly by the end of the day (where I’d got caught out in the middle of a torrential downpour, attempted (and failed) to put in contact lenses in preparation for Halloween causing a lot of teary eyeballs, and got fake-eyelash glue everywhere but my eyelids), it was still firmly stuck on my face, with minimal rubbing-off - true to its name.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover is the foundation I’ve used since I started troweling makeup on my face at the age of 14. It’s the foundation my mother uses and has always used, and I like it as it’s a very thick texture (so I know it’ll cover up any blemishes and stay on my face), whilst really helping with both our oily skins (don’t mock - oily complexion helps slow down the aging process). She liked it because you could layer it in different areas, whereas I just sponged it on thickly...everywhere. The issue I had with layering is that despite having the lightest shade, applying it thickly in one area actually gave it a darker appearance, which isn’t great. Despite being outraged and distraught when discovering that they had discontinued their lightest shade: 01 Creamy Ivory (with their lightest shade now being ‘03 Vanilla’, showing some indication of how appalling this is), trying the other luxury brand foundations and then re-trying the last remnants of my much-loved Estée LauderMaximum Cover foundation, I came to realise that the colour was never right to begin with, and rather on the dark side. However, I will maintain that this is a fantastic foundation, and if only I was slightly more darker skinned.
Chanel was very disappointing, purely because they don’t stock pale coloured-testers. Their testers came in three colours, starting with ‘beige’, which looked practically orange on my hand (I wouldn’t dare attempt it on my face, like the cosmetic counter lady suggested). I’d have looked African! It was a shame, seeing as the benefits sounded so good, but no way would I (anyone?) pay £36 for a pot they can’t test at home. The cosmetics lady offered to do a make-over in store, but I explained that in doing so would require me to leave the house with no make up. Which wasn’t happening. Ever.
So my final decision was the Clarins everlasting, purely because it was the only one that stuck to the tip of my nose like wall paper paste (and I’m secretly in love with the Clarins’ sisters). It’s £26, which is at the lower end of the ‘luxury make up’ price scale, and matched my skin tone (I have their 103 shade - which is their lightest). Their testers were a let down, by only having a small sachet of the foundation, so I only hope that buying a full pot of it won’t turn out to be a let down. I have the Clinique anti-blemish as a firm backup though.