My relationship with foundation has always been … conflicted. I want it to hide my imperfections so I can pretend that my skin is flawless. I happily ignore that a layer of pigment suspended in a viscous base is painted onto my face. Foundation has promised me countless times to be a lightweight face fixer.
Too often, however, it parks heavily on my skin causing all the problems I hoped it would resolve. For most of my adult life, wearing foundation has been like eating cauliflower: I will do it, but I won’t like it.
I am thankful that, finally, the makeup industry has answered my prayers. Now comes serum foundation, a high-tech, ultra-pigmented, water-thin option to traditional heavy bases. Like your favorite skin care serums, they disappear into the skin as they deliver anti-aging benefits.
Yves Saint Laurent’s Youth Liberator Serum Foundation ($69) is exactly what the name suggests: A makeup/skin care hybrid that infuses the elixir with foundation. It offers weightless, medium-to-full coverage, and SPF 20. It also claims to hydrate the skin for 24 hours. I can’t speak to the validity of that claim, because I washed the foundation off after 12 hours or so (and suggest you do the same). A word for people who are sensitive to scents: This foundation is heavily perfumed, and it’s durable.
Terrybly Densiliss Wrinkle Control Serum Foundation By Terry ($115) is a fantastic wears-like-a-second-skin foundation. The coverage is light to a buildable medium, and doesn’t settle into lines, or need maintenance throughout the day. In fact, it actually looks better as the day grows long. So it’s easy to forget that it’s also fighting wrinkles, reshaping contours, and smoothing texture. When choosing a shade, keep in mind that this product oxidizes a shade or two darker. Terrybly Densiliss Concealer ($69) has all of the great attributes of the foundation, but the coverage is on the light side. People with dark circles under their eyes will need a corrector.
The ultrafine pigments and silky lychee, bamboo grass, and Cordyceps mushroom extracts in Bobbi Brown’s Intensive Skin Serum Foundation ($62) impart a luminous glow and a smoother, firmer look. Plus, it’s SPF 40. If you have oily or combination skin, you know that “luminous” is a beauty code word for: “Will make you shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.” It’s not a good look. With my combination skin, I found that setting this foundation with powder prolonged its longevity and stopped it from creasing. This foundation is best for dry skin. Intensive Skin Serum Concealer ($40) has the same emulsion of skin care goodness as the foundation disappears beautifully under your eyes.
These fusions of makeup and skin care aren’t intended to replace your regular routine, but to augment it and spare you from that someone-baked-a-cake-on-my-face look. The bonus is the properties that actively reverse damage. Patching the cracks in the old foundation helps keep things stable, inside and out.