In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, beauty writer Natasha Marsh is testing the Make Up For Ever HD Skin Foundation.
Growing up, my sisters and I weren’t allowed to wear makeup. While, typically, a restriction like this might lead to rebellion for an adolescent, none of us showed interest in eyeshadow, mascara, foundation, blush, or any other color cosmetic. For most of our lives, we operated with a skin-first mentality where moisturizers and face masks took priority over makeup, and dewy, naturally radiant skin was always the goal. Although I still live my life this way, the pandemic and subsequent mask mandates produced blemishes on my face that I still fall culprit to today. In order to cover them up, I have been on a quest for a lightweight foundation that gives me that perfect no-makeup, makeup look (and feel). Enter: Make Up For Ever HD Skin Foundation.
With over 40 shades, the HD Skin Foundation is a continuation of the iconic Ultra HD Foundation (launched in 2008) from the brand. “We expanded on the past undertones to create new shades that are true-to-skin for undetectable coverage that is waterproof and lasts for 24 hours,” says Eddie Duyos, pro artist and Make Up For Ever international educator, on the foundation’s key differentiator. The lightweight formula promises to give medium to full coverage and is durable against water contact and sweat, a key ask for all my summer and tropical fall getaways. With this in mind, I set out to test the foundation for eight weeks, while in New York City (where I reside) and abroad on all my travels for that time period.
Ahead, my full breakdown on the hydrating product, the inspiration behind the lightweight formula, benefits, cost, and how often to use for best results.
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- Price: $43
- Size: 1.0 oz
- Clean/Cruelty Free: Yes
- Best For: All skin types
- Ingredients: a proprietary “micro-skin” system that syncs with the complexion for just-like-skin finish
- What we like: Lightweight, dewy skin finish
- What we don’t like: Large bottle and bulky packaging
- Your Rating: 4.1/5
My Minimalist Makeup Routine
Apart from being a lipstick snob (I own over 87 tubes), I reiterate that I’m not someone who likes to wear cosmetics, especially foundation. Whenever I get my makeup done for weddings and special events, it always feels very heavy and uncomfortable in comparison to my daily bare skin routine. That said, on days I do seek a little extra coverage, I’ll reach for a tinted moisturizer that is able to give me a smooth finish and not look caked on. And every once in a while, if I’m in need of a little extra oomph, I’ll add some mascara and a touch of stick blush.
The Make Up For Ever HD Skin Foundation
The ultra-light texture of this foundation has a luminous finish that delivers medium to full coverage. It’s designed to blur and cover imperfections for 24 hours via a micro-skin system (more on that later) that syncs with the wearer’s complexion for a just-like-skin finish. The real draw to note is that the formula does not appear cake-y or settle into natural lines on the face.
The product is made with three key ingredients: micro-skin system, vegetable-origin glycerol, and exopolysaccharide. The micro-skin system, according to the brand, “is a proprietary complex of ingredients that help the foundation to bend and move with the skin. Sort of like a film or web so that there isn’t any caking or cracking when wearing the foundation.” The vegetable-origin glycerol keeps skin hydrated and exopolysaccharide (a probiotic that fights photoaging) helps keep the complexion looking radiant for 24 hours. In addition, the foundation is free of any animal-derived ingredients. Plus, it comes in 40 new and existing shades, creating an option for all complexions.
My Experience & Results
I obviously have a very minimalist approach to makeup, striving to be ready and out the door within 10 minutes. I really can’t be bothered with primers, setting spray, or contouring techniques, which is why foundation has never excited me. The HD Skin Foundation, however, is a breath of fresh air in comparison to other lightweight foundations I’ve tried. It really feels like a second skin and blends in perfectly with my skin without looking layered on.
After testing and wearing the fuss-free foundation for more than eight weeks now, I’m amazed at the hydration boost it gives my skin and radiant finish that looks natural, but free of barely there breakouts and dark circles (my other biggest skin concern). I’ve applied the product in a few different ways over the weeks and each time the silky-smooth, lotion-like texture absorbs nicely, delivering an instant glow.
For sheer coverage, I would take a small pea-size of the foundation and apply with my fingertips only to the areas that needed it: under eye, cheeks, and forehead. On days I needed medium coverage, I blended it out with my Artis’ Elite Brush. I simply applied one half-a-dime size of the HD Skin Foundation to the back of my hand and started in the middle of my face, working outward until it blended in naturally.
For travel days where my skin leaned more lackluster, I added in a couple drops of my favorite face oil into the foundation and applied in a tapping motion with my Beauty Blender, a tip I learned from Duyos for glowing radiance. I really enjoyed how easily it melted into my skin and the customizable coverage I could play around with that lasted the whole day, against sweat, humidity, and water. (I’m not the only one with this sentiment: TikTok has garnered 1.5 million views and counting on their love for the new HD Skin Foundation.)
Word to the wise: Be sure you know your skin tone or take the brand’s shade-matching quiz. I did a visual scan online and selected three color options when I first got the foundation — and each one was wrong. I was either left orange or a couple shades darker than my neck. It wasn’t until I physically visited the label’s brick-and-mortar store to get color matched by Duyos that I discovered my true shade (1Y16). If you’re good at knowing your exact color, you’ll be fine here, but for my novice foundation skin, seeking a professional was key.
Although I’m not crazy about the bulky bottle (1.0 oz but takes up a bit more space than I desire in my makeup bag and carry on) the environmentally conscious lover in me appreciates that it’s made from 40% recycled glass, with an FSC carton and bio-sourced cap. If you aren’t a fan of the size, the brand also offers a mini 0.4 oz version that would be easier to store anywhere.
Is The HD Skin Foundation Worth It?
If you’re looking for a buildable and lightweight foundation, you simply can’t go wrong with Make Up For Ever HD Skin Foundation. As someone with olive-toned skin with deeper undertones, I can confirm you’ll be able to find your perfect color match in the vast range. It also gives a great non-cake-y base for those that want to add more makeup to create your favorite look. And I know, at $43 a bottle, it can be quite the financial commitment in comparison to competitors, but a little bit really does go a long way. I’ve been testing the product for two full months now (using less than a pump for each wear) and haven’t even made a dent.