We test 8 long-wear foundations to see if they can last through Singapore’s ridiculously hot weather: Dior, Guerlain, Laura Mercier and Hourglass
The expectation for constantly flawless, filtered skin can be credited to numerous things: (a) rigorously-enforced Photoshop by the media; (b) skincare brands looking to earn more coin; and (c) a genetically blessed few mostly situated within South Korea. And while imperfections are something the beauty industry is slowly learning to embrace, there are still ways to go before we can declare unrealistic beauty standards dead and buried.
In the meantime, let's deal with it the best way we know how: by faking it with makeup. The equivalent of a 24/7 flattering Snow filter in the beauty-verse? A long-wear foundation. The majority in the beauty market claims to provide coverage, deliver on fresh, luminous skin and last anywhere from 15 to 24-hour periods. Has heaven opened up and rained upon us miracle workers, or is it some damn good marketing at work? The Buro. beauty duo finds out.
1. Sisley Phyto-Teint Ultra Éclat
What they say: A radiance-boosting, long-lasting, and imperfection-minimising foundation might sound like a tall order, but it's one that Sisley attempts to meet with the Phyto-Teint Ultra Éclat. It also claims to have a lightweight, blendable texture that glides onto skin effortlessly thanks to a potent blend of buckwheat seed, mallow, and gardenia extract — all of which ensures a soothed, hydrated complexion despite long hours of wear.
What we say: We're fans of its luminous, velvety finish, though don't expect too much in terms of coverage. Piling it on in an attempt to conceal monster zits or dark eye circles leads to cakey, flaking foundation impossible to salvage, no matter the amount of powder applied after. If you're looking for a sheer, lightweight, and reasonably long-lasting (it clocked about 11 hours) foundation, though, then Sisley's Phyto-Teint is your guy.
Score: 3.5/5. Perfect to add a jolt of radiance to your complexion on good skin days.
2. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
What they say: This groundbreaking foundation not only set the standard for shade-inclusivity in the beauty world but also comes with a light-as-air, buildable texture that provides medium to full coverage for up to 12 hours. Revolutionary in more ways than one? We should hope so.
What we say: Its high-coverage formulation means a single pump is all you need to conceal all manner of pores and imperfections. We like to dab it on with a Beautyblender for soft, diffused, second-skin finish that doesn't cake or crease for a solid 12 hours. It still looked darn good on Fashion and Beauty Editor Jolene Khor’s combination skin after a full day of wear (and no blotting) with the help of the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Mattifying Primer, although her cheeks began to show signs of dryness. Amazing.
Score: 4.5/5. Is it too soon to say that its earned a permanent spot in our makeup bags?
3. M.A.C. Cosmetics Studio Fix Foundation Stick
What they say: Rejoice M.A.C. fans, because the brand's much-adored Studio Fix range is welcoming a new addition to their ranks. Meet the Soft Matte Foundation Stick, which provides a medium, matte coverage in a stick for ease of concealing, contouring, sculpting and more.
What we say: While its thick, bulky body might make precise application difficult, we found that dabbing at the formulation with our fingers and transferring it to our visage does the job perfectly well. A little goes a long way, so be sure to use a gentle touch if you're aiming for a more natural finish that lasts up to a staggering (!) 12 hours.
Score: 4/5. We say scoop it up before it (inevitably) sells out.
4. Guerlain L'Essentiel Natural Glow Foundation 16H Wear
What they say: Guerlain's latest offering ticks all the right boxes — on paper, at least. Slated to provide a natural, glowing finish that lasts for 16 hours, it also claims to have buildable coverage that lets skin breathe all while hydrating and balancing due to its unique formulation.
What we say: Coverage-wise, this leaned more towards light, but we did find it was easy to build upon without the usual feelings of heaviness or cakiness. The lightweight formula was also a plus, drying down on the skin quickly without leaving a sticky residue. In terms of staying-power, it did last for the duration of a whole work day. And while we did notice some slight fading by the 10th hour or so, it didn't appear too noticeable. A quick touch-up with a compact power on T-zone and we were good as new.
Score: 4/5. Would probably last through after-work drinks in the comfort of an air-conditioned space — your nearby kopitiam featuring one broken fan? Not so much.
5. Laura Mercier Flawless Lumière Radiance Perfecting Foundation
What they say: No official time claim was issued, though it does claim to "create a longwearing comfortable second-skin" that resists oxidation. Also on the list of deliverables? Up to 15 hours of hydration, a luminous complexion in any light, and a weightless full-to-medium coverage.
What we say: The formula was surprisingly lightweight considering its full coverage claims, which it also lived up to. Dark eye circles were easily concealed, and our skin felt soft and hydrated throughout use. The only (and, unfortunately, monumental) drawback? Multiple touch-ups were required for it to last through a full work day, with it pretty much dissipating after several hours under Singapore's sizzling ball of flames in the sky.
Score it: 3/5. Ideal for those with dry skin and or who doesn't mind a mid-day reapplication.
6. Diorskin Forever Foundation
What they say: Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup has reinvented the house's iconic Forever foundation — this time, it's even longer-wearing than before; the new formulation promises to stay comfortably on the skin for 24 hours. Big claims.
What we say: We're really not brown-nosing when we proclaim that the Diorskin predecessor has been our favourite matte foundation for the longest time. Described as "perfect makeup" with "everlasting wear" and "pore-refining effect", this was a product that delivered its many promises. Our high expectations of version 2.0 was met. The new Forever is lighter in texture (our previous love was creamier than it is liquid), but just as heavy-duty in performance. The hint of oxidisation with the old formula (which we didn't mind at all; fair trade for its unparalleled staying power) noticed in times past is notably absent now.
Score: 4.5/5. Only because no foundation will ever be a 5/5 for us oily-combination types. Dior gets higher marks than most due to its persistent cling onto the skin, even when we sweat, even after 16-hours of wear — the longest we could stand to have foundation on our face.
7. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation
What they say: Hourglass' Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is already a hit when the liquid form dropped in stores. The big push now? The fact that this newbie doesn't have a primer prerequisite (though Hourglass makes a pretty solid one), nor does it require a heavy application for its waterproof, sweat-proof, transfer-proof 24-hour formula to work like a charm.
What we say: Have you tried Shiseido's Syncro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation? The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation felt very similar to Shiseido's best-seller on the skin, only more viscous than the latter's famously watery texture. This makes application perfectly manageable (rage is finding speks of your foundation on your favourite white T-shirt right before leaving the house) when we used our fingers as we always do, and especially so when the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Brush come into play.
Score: 4.5/5. Lightweight but full in coverage, breathable but pore-minimising — Hourglass has another winner in its already impressive arsenal.
8. Hera Black Foundation
What they say: The ever-popular Hera Black Cushion is now available in foundation form. Hera's latest addition claims to be lightweight in texture, semi-matte in finish, and last 24 hours. Available in 12 shades, Black Foundation also takes warm, cool, and neutral undertones into account to ensure a perfect fit for a wide range of complexions.
What we say: Claim of its lightweight texture proves to be no understatement. The formula glides and disappears into skin almost instantaneously, providing a second-skin finish that doesn't feel cakey nor clumpy despite hours of wear. And while it doesn't quite live up to its claim of 24 hours (let's be real; besides tar, what does?), Hera's foundation certainly pulls its weight, lasting up to a full 18 hours or so. Our only (slight) gripe? The rather limited shade range that doesn't cater to darker skin tones.
Score: 4.5/5. We have a winner on our hands, folks.