I have been reading (not to mention writing) a lot more about the move away from fast fashion over the past few years. In an era when we’re all starting to think more seriously about climate change and reducing our carbon footprint, and when de-cluttering experts like Marie Kondo have persuaded us that sometime less really is more in the pursuit of peace and happiness, we’ve been gradually moving away from shopping hauls and towards investing in quality.
I suspect that at the same time that we’ve been changing our clothes shopping habits, something similar has been going on in the world of beauty, albeit a little more quietly. Whereas a few years ago, the Kardashians drove the contouring trend, and the emphasis was on adding more stages to our make-up routine, and celebrity-endorsed products onto our wish-list, in 2019, we’ve seen a greater emphasis on investing in skincare. At a recent Q&A with Harvey Nichols’ beauty and fragrance buyers, His & Hers was told that customers are now seeking a natural glow and make-up with skincare benefits.
The buyers suspected that following the trend for heavier, layered make-up looks, consumers are recognising that the most important thing is to get your skincare right. They added that they were seeing brands like La Mer with strong skincare credentials doing really well, and expected cosmetics with added skincare benefits to top consumers’ wish-lists over the coming months. They also name checked La Mer as one of the brands they took home from the office for glowing skin.
Always keen to stay abreast of the latest skincare and make-up trends, I decided to road-test a firm favourite with La Mer customers, their Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation. This is described as a hydrating foundation offering buildable coverage, and has a SPF of 20 (which I’d say is a must to prevent UV damage all year round). I’m currently wearing this foundation over Dermalogica Prisma Protect (SPF 30) for the summer months, but would wear it without any additional sun protection in autumn and winter.
My first thoughts were that the Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation provides my ideal level of coverage – there’s nothing cakey about it and it feels light and dewy on the skin, but covers everything you want it to. Plus, having watched make-up artists on shoots expertly mix moisturiser and foundation to create a gorgeous natural glow, I’ve found that when I try this trick at home, excessive moisturiser just makes my T-zone look oily and gives me spots, which may constitute ‘the natural look,’ but is still not a winner in my book!
La Mer’s foundation gives that moisturised feel and a nice dewy finish, but without compromising on coverage. It gives a really subtle glow and is easy to apply. I’d recommend using a make-up brush, but for all those mornings when I’m running late and going for a five-minute make-up look (*almost every single morning) I’ve found that it also applies beautifully using your fingers.
The foundation won me over fast (after being colour matched at La Mer’s Selfridges counter in Manchester I’d already declared it my favourite foundation formulation). However, over time, it’s impressed me further. Although I’d been told it was a foundation with skincare benefits, I wasn’t expecting it to improve my complexion as you might when using a new serum or moisturiser. However, after a few days of use, the stubborn mini spots on my cheeks (with which I’d struck an uneasy truce after making a series of changes to my skincare and make-up regime and applying salicylic acid, all to no avail) gradually started to fade away. After several months of using this as my only foundation, they’ve almost disappeared completely.
This could be because using a foundation which feels like it delivers plenty of hydration has stopped me applying too much moisturiser as a base, but I suspect that there are actually some soothing La Mer skincare ingredients at work, and it’s nice to use a make-up product which feels like it’s making my skin look better even after I’ve taken it off.
The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation has an RRP of £90, which sounds pricier than most foundations. However, I’ve found that just one pump gives plenty of coverage, and it lasts really well throughout the day. Plus, it’s the first foundation I haven’t felt the need to re-apply in the evenings, so a bottle’s likely to last a long time (after more than four months of daily use, I still have some foundation left, which has really impressed me).
I appreciate that finding your ideal coverage is a personal thing – for some, like my mother, who has beautiful skin, a tinted moisturiser gives her a gorgeous natural glow, while for others, covering every freckle makes their make-up look feel ‘finished’. Personally, this is my ideal middle ground foundation, which can be applied to give a barely there finish, but is easy to build up for more coverage where you want it. Admittedly, if you happen to be reading this in your teens, I’m not sure you need all the make-up and skincare magic this product packs. But personally, I’m hooked. I’ve had my first taste of make-up with genuine skincare benefits and, like the Harvey Nichols beauty buyers, I think it’s the future!
Related read: We road-test the La Mer Luminous Lifting Cushion Foundation.