I picked up a few things from Ulta recently and the Essence Pretty Natural Foundation caught my eye mainly because it has a surprisingly large shade range for the price.
What it is: A lightweight light-to-medium coverage foundation with a matte finish. It claims to be hydrating but I don’t agree. It looks and feels more like a matte foundation.
Price/Quantity: $6.99 for 30mL / 1 fl. oz.
Shade Range: 36 shades on Essence’s website. Ulta carries 29. The shades go from quite pale to pretty deep.
Packaging: Squeeze tube with twist off cap. The cap is flat so I can stand the product upright. The bottom portion of the packaging looks like it is clear so you can see the color of the product inside, but it’s actually not. At least for the shade I chose, the color on on the outside of the packaging is a bit darker than what is inside.
Smell/Fragrance: Barely noticeable floral fragrance. I struggle to smell it even when I try.
Expires After: 12 months
Ingredients (from Essence’s website): AQUA (WATER), CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, TALC, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, GLYCERIN, CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, TROPOLONE, SODIUM HYALURONATE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, HYDROGEN DIMETHICONE, SODIUM PHYTATE, PROPYLENE CARBONATE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, PHENOXYETHANOL, SODIUM DEHYDROACETATE, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (IRON OXIDES), CI 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE).
Availability: So far I have only been able to find this on Essence’s website and Ulta. CVS, Walmart, and Target carry Essence but I don’t see this product on their websites and I’m not sure if they carry it in store.
Shade: In the store I hemmed and hawed over which shade I thought would work best. The lightest one seemed obviously way too light for me, the second lightest seemed like it might work, and I thought this one might be a tad dark but actually also ended up being a little light for me. I could see the next one up probably being a decent match for me.
Application: I have tried applying this with a damp sponge and with a brush. To use a sponge, I first apply and spread it out generally in the area I want to cover and then blend it out with the sponge. This gives me the most natural looking finish. When using a brush, I will squeeze a bit of product onto the brush or the back of my hand and work the product into the bristles before sweeping/stippling/buffing it into the skin. Either way works well. Using a brush gives me slightly more coverage and helps to get the product into the pores more. So far it works well with NYX Angel Veil Primer (better for oil control) and Tatcha The Silk Canvas (better for filling in pores).
One major thing to note is the way this applies to areas with large pores. It sometimes will emphasize them because it doesn’t easily go into them during application, instead sticking more to the outside edges. And because it dries quickly, once it is dry, it is difficult to blend the foundation into the pores. I either need to get the application right the first time or go in with a second thin layer. Using a brush seems to help this issue.
I’ve tried using this on days when I have exfoliated and after a couple of days of not doing so. It sits well on my skin either way and doesn’t cling to areas of dryness.
Texture and Finish: It has a very average consistency to it – not very runny and not very thick either. I can lay the tube on it’s side with the cap off and it will not spill out. It dries somewhat quickly to a matte finish during application. It doesn’t have a tacky feel so don’t think applying powder blush/bronzer/contour over top would be a problem. It’s very lightweight and I don’t feel it on my skin once it is applied.
Coverage: Coverage is somewhere between light and medium depending on how much of it I apply. If I build it up I can get more medium coverage out of it.
Longevity: I tried wearing this by itself and over two different primers. Every time I wore it, it held up well till the end of the day. I have somewhat of an oilier/combination type of skin and at the moment it’s less oily as we are heading into the winter months where I am. I can get away without touching up or powdering the entire day. Some shine will start to develop midday and of course get worse the longer I wear it but I don’t think it looks terrible. It stayed put throughout the day, not gathering/settling in areas with lines and not rubbing off too much when wearing a mask. I think being semi sheer helps with this.
Besides the pore issue, I’m surprised how well it works. I think it’s a nice product and it is hard to go wrong at this price. I have some much more expensive foundations I like less than this one. It’s not holy grail status but I’m pretty satisfied with it.