Within every category of cosmetics are those products that almost everyone adores but yet for one reason or another I just haven’t tried. Maybe I had my nose stuck in a novel, or perhaps I was busying myself on a different bandwagon at the time.
Whatever the reason, I always seem to be hopping on some bandwagons late, like this one, which drove by me like a lumbering, metal makeup truck with the words, “MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Invisible Cover Foundation” plastered across its side.
Actually, I’d latched onto the rear bumper of this popular foundation about three years ago, but I was just getting into makeup at the time and rarely stayed with the same products for more than a month, regardless of how good or bad they might have been. It wasn’t long before I lost interest in Invisible Cover Foundation ($40 for a 1.01-oz. bottle; exclusive to Sephora) on my endless quest to find bigger and better things.
Then, a few months ago, I decided to try it again, so I grabbed a new bottle of this four-star-rated product and gave it a whirl.
My skin is pale (think Elmer’s Glue), with yellow undertones, which few cosmetic companies seem to recognize as an actual skin tone, as if they think that if you’re pale, you’ve gotta be pink. Color me surprised and excited to learn that Invisible Cover comes in 26 shades!
That’s pretty impressive for a consumer line, and the colors run the gamut from pale, to pale pink, to deep ebony, meaning that most people, including me, should be able to find a match. In my case it’s Marble 117, for “light skin with yellow undertones.”
The product comes in some of the most stunning foundation packaging I’ve ever seen. A completely transparent outer plastic bottle has the information and product name printed on it in MAKE UP FOR EVER’s signature font, and the actual product is housed within an inner vial inside the outer shell.
Under the glossy black cap sits a pump (thank god, a pump!). I’ve really come to despise bottles of foundations designed to be poured because no matter how hard I try, they always make a mess. And I can never get that last bit of product out that sticks to the sides of the bottle without getting Medieval on the packaging.
My elation with this pump, however, faded within the first few days. I find it extremely messy and quickly got product all over the top of the bottle. Plus, I think it leaks ever so slightly, which is odd because the actual pump-action works perfectly fine; it’s both controllable and smooth. I wonder if there’s not something faulty with this particular bottle.
The product itself, which is touted for its ability to be used in HD video, is touted as an oil-free medium-to-full-coverage liquid foundation that covers skin imperfections flawlessly while remaining invisible on-screen and in real life. For the record, it’s silicone-based, which means that those with allergies to silicone should steer clear.
The first time I applied it, I used a dense stippling brush (the Sigma F80), and about two pumps worth of foundation to cover my entire face with a single layer.
The first thing I noticed: the finish. Sephora lists this as a medium-to-full coverage foundation (the type I always use), so I wasn’t expecting to see the finish I saw.
It was glowy, dewy, and…transparent. Although it had evened out some of the ruddiness naturally occurring in my cheeks, I could still clearly see every blemish and spot, and the dark area underneath my eyes.
My skin wasn’t fantastic at the time, but it wasn’t in terrible shape, either. I almost never use concealer, so I usually rely on my foundations to do the work (unless I have a really prominent blemish or unusually dark circles), so I stippled on a second layer.
Better, but it still wasn’t cutting it, and I felt that a third layer would start to look cakey. Instead, I set it with my normal powder and headed out the door.
About two hours later I popped into a restroom to check out how Invisible Cover was holding up to my ridiculously oily skin.
Let’s just say it wasn’t faring well. Shine was beginning to show through on my nose, cheeks, and forehead. Normally, when I use an oil-controlling foundation, I can usually eek out four to six hours without having to blot.
I was surprised that people hadn’t been using my face as mirror! It was literally a reflective mess, but already mortified, I chanced a closer look. The foundation had sunken into my pores, creased in places I didn’t even know had lines, separated on my cheeks, and made my few blemishes more apparent than they’d been on my clean face.
By the end of the day, most of it had disappeared, and I was left with a patchy, greasy finish for all my hard work.
Determined to give a fair shake to a product that so many people refer to as their holy grail foundation, I tried it repeatedly over the rest of the week. I tried it without primer, then with a silicone primer, then with a dampened brush, a paddle brush — no luck for me. My best results, which still weren’t very good, were probably when I applied it with a silicone primer and used a dry stippling brush.
On the positive side, Invisible Cover Foundation does photograph beautifully. In that way I think it is “HD ready,” but that’s probably because it’s so sheer. If you spend much time in front of a camera and have nearly perfect, normal to dry skin that’s blemish-, wrinkle-, and texture-free, lucky you.