I can be a late-night tv infomercial sucker. Friday Night Beauty on QVC always introduces me to new products I didn’t know I’d want or need – and let’s face it, there’s nothing else on tv on Friday nights anyway. One Friday night I was drawn into the Josie Maran products, particularly watching a white product miraculously transform to perfect skin-tone matching shades, and for that foundation to also have lots of great properties for your skin while being natural, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to march straight to Sephora and get myself a sample to try for a few days.
Until that point I had been very happy with the medium and long-lasting coverage I got from my Estee Lauder Double Wear, but I wasn’t so thrilled with it being not-so-natural. For one week I wore the Josie Maran Argan Oil Matchmaker Foundation on one side of my face and my regular Estee Lauder on the other. At the end of the day, I couldn’t tell which makeup was on which side of my face. And the Josie Maran side looked a little less shiny than the Estee Lauder side, which you wouldn’t expect from a foundation with “oil” in it’s name.
So for a few months I went along with the Josie Maran makeup. What I really liked about having a “matchmaker” foundation was that it was a lifesaver during the early months of new motherhood, when I had a few precious moments to make myself look presentable (or at least look like myself) and not a lot of time to worry about blending in a lot of products. But once I went back to work it was clear I was going to have to get a product with a little more durability and coverage.
Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Foundation Pros: Feels great on your face, like you’re not even wearing makeup. A little goes a long way. Makeup you don’t feel guilty about wearing.
Cons: It does not have lasting power. Often I’d wipe off the makeup around my nose within an hour if I had to blow my nose – which is the reddest part of my face and needs the most coverage. No SPF. The color tinting was a little bit more yellow/brown than my skin tone and often needed more blending around my neckline to look flawless. You may have to get creative about using up what’s left in the jar because it’s a pump. And I didn’t see any benefits from the foundation like anti-aging or flawless face perfecting. But I also didn’t apply it with the foundation brush they recommend.
Hmm, bummer. The late-night miracle product wasn’t perfect. What to do? Enter challenger Almay Smart Shade Foundation. I had actually always wanted to try this foundation but I never thought the “smart sensing” technology would actually be able to get my skin tone right. It seemed too good to be true. But once my sister gave me her unused bottle, I had no excuse not to try it.
At first I didn’t like it as much as the Josie Maran foundation because it was heavier, but that was due to its having SPF in it. Once blended, it didn’t feel much heavier than other foundations and it didn’t leave my skin slick. The shade was a little bit lighter and less yellow, which made it a more natural fit for my skin tone. A little goes a long way as well, except the Almay doesn’t wipe off easily.
Almay Smart Shade Foundation Pros: SPF 15 and more of a match for my fair skin (with redness but yellow undertones). A slight more coverage than the Josie Maran foundation, but not as much as with a full-fledged department store foundation (such as my Estee Lauder Double Wear). Drugstore prices and easily accessible. No fragrances and formulated for sensitive skin.
Cons: Not as natural of a product but does limit toxins and other additives that are considered harmful. I’m not sure how the heavier (initial) feeling of the foundation will react with hotter summer temperatures.
My decision: Well, I’ll be using my Josie Maran until it’s empty but only on days when I don’t care what my makeup looks like (aka, when I’m not going to work). Every other day I’ll be using the Almay. I’ll probably buy the Almay again and use it again, though I still wish I could find something more natural but with the SPF and matchmaking/time-saving/no-mirror-required-to-apply benefits.
My next beauty review in a few weeks – The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Day Cream vs Clinique’s (aka better beauty through chemistry) Redness Solutions Day Creme.