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One of the items I rely on reviews most for is foundation. I've wasted a lot of money in the past on the wrong shades, types that weren't suitable for my skin and foundations that have made promises they just don't deliver on. I find it incredibly helpful to read peoples thoughts and opinions on the quality, coverage and lasting power before purchasing a product, especially when it's from one of the higher end brands. A recent addition to my foundation collection and one that I researched well before purchasing is Laura Mercier foundation powder. I'm normally a liquid foundation only girl but after reading rave reviews on the powder formula I was desperate to try it.
About Laura Mercier
Laura Mercier was born in Provence and originally set out to be a painter before switching her talents to make up application. She attended the Carita beauty school in Paris where her talents were noticed by one of her tutors, Thibault Vabre a talented make up artist who is now the artistic director for Clarins. Mercier became Vabres assistant and taught at Carita for three years before setting up as a freelance make up artist. In 1985 she moved to New York to work with American magazine Elle and began working for other big names like Vanity fair, Glamour, Clairol and L'oreal. During this time Mercier also began working with Madonna and Chanel and entered into a four year contract with Elizabeth Arden where she designed looks for their advertising campaigns. In 1996 Mercier designed her own range of cosmetics concentrating on an always current palette of shades to suit all ages and skin types and a collection of foundation, powders and concealers to help create a flawless face/base. Skin care products, bath and body products and fragrances are now offered in the line and the range is available in 21 different countries.
What is foundation powder?
Laura Mercier foundation powder is a compact powder foundation that's available in a range of seven different shades. Colours are numbered from 1 to 7 with number 1 being the lightest shade for very fair skins and 7 being the darkest. The product is designed to be used either wet for a heavier, fuller coverage or dry for a sheerer cover and contains oil controlling ingredients to prevent shine. The lighter colours offered in the range are great but I noticed the darker shades still run quite light which would probably be a problem for anyone with very tan or dark skin.
Cost and availability
Unfortunately there is no UK site for Laura Mercier, something I'm a little bit disappointed with. The products are available through Space NK, John Lewis, Liberty and various other online sites but I've often found that the full range isn't available or if it is, shades are limited. The foundation powder is priced at £30.00 for a 7.4g compact and I purchased mine from Space NK because it was the only place that had the shade I wanted in stock at the time. Space NK only currently stock 5 shades and 2 and 6 are not available at the moment on the site.
The product is packaged in a large square compact that's the same brown/purple colour as a lot of Laura Mercier packaging. The brand name is stamped on the front in silver and a shade and product name label is stuck on the back. Inside there is a reasonable sized mirror and a metal pan containing the product that lifts to reveal a compartment where an application sponge can be stored. The product comes with a square application sponge and also a rather nice square puff printed with the brand name.
I have to say, I'm not really a fan of Laura Mercier packaging. I find the compacts a little bit bland and unimaginative and the brown plastic a little bit dull and drab. When I purchase items from higher end brands the packaging influences me quite a bit when I'm choosing which line to buy from and when I'm paying a lot for make up I expect the packaging to be attractive and high quality. The separate compartment or storage space is quite handy although it does make the compact rather bulky and I feel it's really bigger than it needs to be. The applicators that came with the foundation are both nice quality and with regular washing have lasted extremely well.
How to use
As I mentioned above the product can be used either wet or dry. On the brand website you are instructed to use the enclosed sponge wet for a heavier coverage than most liquid foundations will give you. This is something I was reluctant to try as I've found this has altered the whole product with other items that I've used wet in the past so I decided to first try the foundation dry with the provided puff. The puff is soft and has a towel like texture to it instead of the velour type that normally comes with loose and compact powders. I found it picked up the product well and enabled me to apply the powder easily and evenly to my face. The foundation is incredibly soft and pigmented which means a little goes a long way; however I normally end up applying or dispensing more than I need because the sponge or a brush picks up the silky powder so easily. Shade number 2 which I purchased matches my skin perfectly and applied dry gives a sheer to medium coverage that looks natural, non powdery and soft. The product doesn't cling to slightly drier areas, glides over pores instead of sitting in them and generally gives a beautiful finish that looks like skin instead of make up.
After using over half the product dry I finally decided to try it wet as I was less concerned about ruining the consistency of the foundation. The sponge it easy to dampen with a small amount of water and picks up a nice amount of product and as with the dry application method is easy to apply. As you're told on the Laura Mercier site, using wet does give a much fuller coverage and takes the product from being a sheer to medium coverage foundation to an opaque, full coverage base. Applied this way the result you get is very similar to what you'd get with a liquid foundation but I feel it looks a lot more natural and you don't get the heavy foundation texture you can sometimes get with liquids.
As well as the two above application methods the product can also be used over the top of a liquid foundation or tinted moisturiser as a touch up or a finishing touch to your base. Used in this way I really did manage to achieve a flawless base that lasted and lasted. I found the powder altered the look of my liquid foundation and did an excellent job at disguising larger pores and overall gave my skin a perfectly even, airbrushed look.
Lasting power with both methods is fantastic. My make up stays in tact all day and I find I only need to blot once over a period of about eight hours which is excellent as I have quite oily skin that tends to get shiny. The product feels light and whenever I used it I noticed no negative effects on my sensitive acne prone skin. When touching up during the day with the product I found it easy to add to my existing make up with out creating a cakey mess or smudging any product underneath. I'd say this is probably one of the longest lasting foundations I've ever tried which really has surprised me because it's in powder from instead of liquid.
Would I recommend?
Well as you've probably gathered from the rest of the review, I think the product is really fantastic. The only issue I've had with it is the actual size. At £30.00 I was expecting the foundation to last a while but after the first couple of uses I realised this wouldn't be the case. When the pan is lifted to reveal the storage/sponge compartment you get to see how much product is actually in the compact and the amount is tiny. After the first few uses I'd already started to make a dent in the powder and could already see the metal pan showing through in the middle of the product. After this I managed to use up the entire thing apart from tiny bits around the edges that are hard to get to within about a month to six weeks. This was using the product a few times a week and mainly to touch up instead of a full face application so only a small amount was being used each time.
Part of the reason I buy from higher end brands and pay the higher prices is because I find products last longer because less is needed but this isn't the case with Laura Mercier foundation powder. A liquid foundation normally costs me between £20.00 and £25.00 and lasts me around six months which I am happy with but for a product to cost as much as this one and last just over a month is terrible. If I were to use this as my main foundation I'd be spending over £350 a year on one product that does one job, this is something that I can't afford and something I wouldn't spend such a ridiculous amount of money on even if I had the funds. I am really disappointed that it lasts for such a short amount of time because it's a great product that does what it promises. I really have been tempted to try it again but I just can't bring myself to splash another thirty pounds on something I'm going to get such little use out of.
Overall Laura Mercier foundation powder is a really great product and something that may be worth purchasing if you have a special event or occasion coming up but I personally wont be buying myself another unless the product is made bigger, the price lowered or refills are perhaps made available.
One other small thing I just want to mention is Laura Mercier's customer service. I recently had a problem with another product from the range and attempted to contact the company via the website by e-mail on six separate occasions. I am disappointed to say that I've received no reply whatsoever and I am unable to find any contact number for the UK. This is something that I'm very disappointed and frustrated with and something I think is unacceptable for such a big company.
(No. 1-7): Talc, Dimethicone, Nylon-12, Lauroyl Lysine, Zinc Stearate, Magnesium Myristate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Squalane, Methicone, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Cl 77891), Iron Oxides (Cl77491, Cl 77492, Cl 77499). +/- (May Contain): Ultramarines (Cl 77007).
For shade reference I purchased and used shade no 2 which was a really good match. I normally wear Buff in colorstay, 20 in Mat velvet, Ecru in Double wear, bare in Stila's tinted moisturiser and I'm nc15 in MACs range of foundation.
Laura Mercier Foundation Powder / Medium Coverage / Satin Finish / Oil absorbing.