In Collaboration with QVC

Does The Perfect Foundation Exist? How 3 R29 Editors Found Their Match

Few things are more infuriating to shop for than the perfect foundation. The wrong one can read too light (especially in a flash-lit photo) or too dark; it can oxidize hours after application; it can slip and slide, creating annoying streaks even after the lightest swipe of a finger; it can magnify shine or exacerbate dryness. Factor in a historical lack of extensive shade ranges, and the task can run from daunting to impossibly difficult. 
But the right foundation — a base that matches your skin tone, that offers the perfect amount of coverage, that agrees with your skin type — is something akin to magic. And three R29 editors found their unicorn of a foundation after browsing the hundreds of inclusive beauty options available at QVC, the online retailer that's committed to curating products catered to customers of color (with the goal to keep expanding its shade ranges), featuring prestigious brands like Bobbi Brown, Lancôme, and Too Faced that check off all the boxes. Keep reading to find out how three R29 editors and their relationship with makeup changed after lockdown, what they look for in a foundation, and how they knew they found “the one.” 
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My first memory of foundation: The first time I wore foundation was for my sweet 16. I didn’t own any makeup, so it was all my mom’s and she used powder foundation. The first time I purchased my own was in college, which was also a powder foundation because it was what everyone was wearing. I got a color swatch, purchased it, and I remember being so excited.”
My skin type is…“Dry.”
The most frustrating experience I had shopping for foundation: “Ordering from an Instagram ad — there were these questions and this foundation was supposed to magically match everyone’s skin tone. So, I tried it, and it was horrible. On a separate occasion, I was using a foundation for about a year and half when all of a sudden, it made my skin really dry, and the color became darker than my skin tone.”
Before the pandemic… “I wore foundation a lot more only because we were out so much more.  I also used to switch up my foundation a lot — I would wear a lightweight foundation daily, I used a tinted moisturizer when I traveled, and I had different shades depending on the season.”
Now, my approach to foundation is…“Just sticking with one foundation, which is Lancôme — my absolute favorite. Since the pandemic, I haven’t worn foundation as much — only for special occasions. For the most part, I’ve been at home focusing on my skin-care routine: doing masks, applying hydrating products, keeping my face moisturized. Sometimes, when I go outside, I won’t even wear foundation (just concealer and gloss, and that’s enough), which is why when I do wear foundation, I have to really love it.
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This foundation fits my lifestyle because… “I’m a social butterfly. When I’m home or with close friends, I don’t wear makeup, but from Thursday to Sunday, I’m usually attending a birthday, a baby shower, or a wedding. And this Lancôme foundation fits every setting: If it’s just drinks, I can do foundation and gloss; if it’s a wedding, I can do a full look with eyeshadow, lashes, and brows. It’s a lightweight formula that gives up to 24-hour coverage and, most importantly, a natural look.” 
My foundation test: “When people were like, ‘You have makeup on?” Yes, yes I do.” 
Final thoughts: "This foundation converted me from powder to liquid. It matches my skin so perfectly, it doesn’t look — or feel — like I have makeup on. And I’ve heard this from other darker-skinned women: For me, it’s the perfect foundation. It doesn’t feel sticky, it’s not oily, it’s moisturizing, it’s natural-looking, and it’s lightweight. It’s magic — that’s all I know.”
My first memory of foundation: “I had really bad skin growing up. I started wearing concealer regularly in seventh grade, but I didn’t wear foundation until senior year of high school. My first foundation was liquid and most likely a drugstore brand. I had oily skin, so I would also put powder on top.”
My skin type is…“Dry. For some reason, my skin changed a lot during the pandemic, and I had to change my whole skin-care routine. Before, I was oily, but now, I’m extremely dry. So whatever I was doing before the pandemic, including the foundation I was using, no longer works for me.” 
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The most frustrating experience I had shopping for foundation: “I’m really bad at matching foundation to my skin tone. A lot of the time, my body is so much tanner than my neck and face, and it’s hard to match online. I was also much tanner before the pandemic, so I had to switch shades within the last year. I’m hesitant to try new foundations because I’m always scared it’s not going to work, and I don’t want to regret the purchase.”
Before the pandemic…“I used to wear foundation every single day. It was part of my daily makeup routine. But since the pandemic, I haven’t been going out as much and I haven’t felt like I wanted (or needed) to wear makeup at all." 
Now, my approach to foundation… “Depends on my schedule. When I go out on weekends, I’ll wear foundation (a skin tint if I’m out for a couple of hours; a long-lasting foundation if I’m out all day), but not during the week. In terms of beauty trends, before the pandemic, everyone was into the matte look, which is what I did. Now, I want my skin to look dewier and less matte. I also want buildable medium coverage to help conceal the redness and acne scars on my cheeks.” 
This foundation fits my lifestyle because… “It does a great job at muting the redness on my cheeks and covering acne scars.” 
My foundation test: “At initial application, whether it highlights dry patches; at the end of the day, if it has held up, especially with wearing masks all day.” 
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Final thoughts: “The Too Faced foundation was more liquid-y than I expected, but it blends easily and it’s incredibly buildable. After one thin layer, it did a great job at covering any redness. I layered more on active pimples and acne scars, which concealed them without looking or feeling cakey. It did fade a little by the end of the day, but it gave me a glow without any creasing or patchiness. And I love that it contains hyaluronic acid, so my skin feels hydrated (other foundations make my skin feel tight and dry).” 
My first memory of foundation: “I didn’t start wearing foundation until college because my mom said I didn’t need makeup. I didn’t have that much guidance — I remember going to a [drugstore chain] and matched a shade to my hand, which was dumb because the color of my hands and my face are different. I realized it wasn’t my shade, but I used it anyway. At school, my friend, who was into makeup, was like, ‘What’s going on with your makeup? It’s looking ghostly.’ I found out you could get matched by people in stores, which is how I learned to find my shade. At the time, I was breaking out, and I needed a foundation that wasn’t going to be too heavy but could help cover my blemishes.” 
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My skin type is…“Oily in the summer, dry in the winter.”
The most frustrating experience I had shopping for foundation: “I have weird undertones. I’ll go to one place and they’ll say I’m a yellow, another, a red. No one knows what they’re saying. I figured mine out by sampling different foundations and realizing I have cool undertones. Undertones really matter, and if you don’t pay attention to them, you’ll get the wrong shade, and it will look wrong.” 
Before the pandemic…“I would get up every day and do a whole face before going to work. As we were quarantining, I didn’t need to, so I didn’t wear foundation as much. When I started doing a little bit of influencing, I would put on makeup for that.”
Now, my approach to foundation is…“Finding something that’s not going to move. Before, I was looking for something that wouldn’t feel too heavy on my face, but now, I need something that’s going to stay put. I have hooded eyes, and I always get a crease with liquid foundation. I can’t have my makeup wiping off during the day; I just can’t live that life. But learning how to set my foundation with powders and sprays has really helped.”
This foundation fits my lifestyle because…“I have my makeup on when I’m shooting my hair videos — imagine wet hair rolling down your face, which has been the biggest challenge shooting hair content — and with Bobbi Brown, I just do a quick little pat and I’m fine. The fact that I don’t have to do a new face mid-recording has been great. It’s good to have a foundation that stays in place (with the help of setting spray) while I’m doing my hair on camera, so I can just focus on the message I want to convey.” 
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My foundation test: “I’m an avid face toucher, but now, when I look at my hands, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m okay.” Historically, I didn't want to wear white, but now I wear white just fine.”
Final thoughts: “I knew the Bobbi Brown foundation was working for me when I got my makeup routine down to 15 to 20 minutes (foundation on the outer sides of my face, light contouring in the center, eyebrows, and mascara) instead of an immense amount of time blending it out. I love that it’s full-coverage, and I don’t have to cake it on — I can just do one layer and go.” 
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