Today I have a base makeup edit talking about my go-to foundation and concealer routine. When it comes to color bases, I prefer formulas that have a mostly luminous or radiant finish but still looks natural and offers at least medium to full coverage, preferably full. I don’t have perfect skin by any means so visible coverage is essential. Most foundations and concealers are complete misses for me. They either come up short in color or coverage, offer matte finishes only, are too drying, don’t have smooth application, etc. Many formulas just don’t come at me correctly and it’s very easy to turn me off since base makeup as an overall is the most important to me. Base makeup sets the tone for your entire look and if that is off, everything else will as well which is why I can be extremely picky about what I use or how much time I spend on application.
Years ago I had myself professionally color matched at Sephora and was matched with the Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Vallauris based on both color as well as my personal criteria. Getting color matched was the smartest thing I’ve ever done in terms of finding out what exactly my shade matches were, but it also connected me with my foundation soulmate. Nars offers multiple formulas in foundation, concealers, primers and powders in a very extensive shade library. The quick takeaway is that I do believe there is something for everyone in their permanent lineup if you can find a color match. Knowing my match, curiosity has made me look into their other base products over the years but I keep falling back on the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation as well as Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Custard. For foundation the color shades are similar across the board, but not exactly identical.
Formula-wise, the Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is one of the best full coverage liquid foundations I’ve ever tried. It’s very concentrated and highly opaque but doesn’t produce a fake look like most full coverage foundations do. It has a natural-looking luminous finish that is not so dewy or luminous to where it looks like an oil slick, but is also not a flat matte. The finish is natural and beautiful and looks radiant and fresh at the same time. Lasting power is excellent and stays put all day long – no oxidizing and no budging. This is one of the two foundations that stand the test of extreme Vegas dry heat without a hitch. It has smooth, lightweight coverage, buildable pigment, blurs imperfections and neutralizes redness to give the skin a gorgeous glow. The consistency is quite watery and a little goes a long way. Two pumps is more than enough to cover my entire face. For me, I found that application works best by blending with a damp Beautyblender.
Just like with any full coverage foundation, properly prepping your base is key. If you have dry skin that is prone to patches or flakes, a full coverage foundation has a tendency of emphasizing those dry areas so moisturizing prior is paramount. I still really like the J. One Jelly Pack primer. It’s just a really great moisturizing, glowy and firming primer.
For color, I am consistently the shade Vallauris, which is a medium with pink undertones until Summer when I am much more tan and switch to the Natasha Denona Face Glow Foundation in 45 Medium Neutral which is a just a tad darker. Vallauris could not be more perfect for my skintone though and needs no tweaking to be exact. As someone who is of pink undertone, I appreciate that Nars does not make their foundations too pink but instead has a great balance of pink and yellow.
Below I pulled some comparison swatches of the two other foundations I frequently wear depending on what level my tan is. One is the Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Foundation in the shade R380 (reviewed here). This one has medium coverage with a natural finish and on my face pulls slightly pinker than it does on my arm. The Shameless foundation is what I tend to wear when I’m a little lighter than usual or on low-key makeup days. Next is the Natasha Denona Face Glow Foundation in 45 Medium Neutral (reviewed here) which has been my go-to Summer foundation for a while. In comparison to Vallauris it’s slightly darker and in person translates a little rosier than it ended up doing on camera.
Vallauris swatched on the arm by itself:
The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard has been a long-time go-to for me. As with my foundations, I prefer a concealer with a radiant finish because I find that in general it makes my skin appear much fresher and youthful especially when used around the eyes. Also, I find that a radiant concealer finish blends much easier and better. For me matte concealer finishes are either too opaque, too matte, tend to emphasize lines and other imperfections and can age my eye area significantly or make me look very tired. To put it short, matte finishes just don’t work the best for my skin.
For this one, the coverage is medium to full but buildable. It has a hydrating feel and subtle glowy look but isn’t heavy. The consistency is quite thick so blending is key to get it to lay down nicely and evenly – preferably using a damp Beautyblender. Texture is smooth and creamy. It is highly pigmented and opaque so once again properly prepping with a thoroughly moisturized base is key. The Radiant Creamy Concealer works well to cover dark circles and blemishes, it also brightens up the face when used in highlighting and the creamy radiant finish makes it feel so nice on the skin. Lasting power is very impressive, it also doesn’t oxidize nor turn gray after a few hours.
Unfortunately, it does minimally settle over the course of a long wear day. I have come to terms with the fact that all concealers crease despite how hydrating or creamy they are, especially when you already have fine lines or creases around the eye area. There is no going two ways about it. I have noticed in isolated testing phases that the concealer tends to settle more depending on the powder. Without any powder it stayed smooth for a very long time but with powder tended to settle in half the time. It also depends on which powder I used because sometimes it would crease immediately.
Below I pulled some concealer comparisons of the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20 and Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in Light-Neutral which are both favorites of mine. The MAC Pro Longwear is a concealer I turn to when I am either lighter in tan or want a more highlighted look to cover up some pretty bad dark circles. For me, MAC is the only full coverage concealer that can truly cancel out the pigment in my dark circles which can get quite deep at times due to either diet, stress or lack of sleep. It’s truly a holy grail concealer. The Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in Light-Neutral has a lighter consistency and is creamier than Custard but does not provide enough coverage. Being someone who has emphasized dark circles I need visible coverage and this one unfortunately would suit someone perfectly who has minimal dark circles/imperfections. That being said, I do wear it on low-key makeup days or whenever I feel and see that my circles look much more manageable – which then I will mix it in combination with MAC NW20 to get more coverage but the overall look and feel of the UD concealer.
Custard swatched on the arm by itself:
Here is a side-by-side of Vallauris and Custard together:
That concludes my foundation and concealer routine. I’ve spent the better part of last year testing numerous foundations, concealers, powders and primers, but these two are the classics I keep falling back on because they are so reliable. There will be an extensive base roundup coming soon of what I’ve tested and what stuck from said testing. If you’re in the market for a new foundation or concealer, I highly recommend checking out the Nars base lineup. There’s a lot to explore with a wide range of finishes and coverage to suit everyone’s needs or preferences.
Do you have a holy grail foundation or concealer? What is your go-to color base routine?