Longwear Foundation

The Make-up , 31 March 2018

What Is A ‘Longwear’ Foundation And Do You Really Need One?

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‘Longwear’ is everywhere, with ‘longwear foundation’ launches in particular crowding my desk. It is the make-up equivalent of articles on how to get Meghan Markle’s glossy hair or the various things that may or may not be giving us all cancer, as ubiquitous as the words ‘glow’ and ‘illuminate’ that are emblazoned on so many products nowadays.

Does it really mean anything? No, not really, in my view. It’s not like the waterproof thing. Waterproof is a clear promise: ‘if this comes into contact with water, it will not smudge/smear/run.’ But longwear? It seems to be to be a rather spurious claim that can span anything from ‘this is a fairly highly-pigmented product so fade will be minimal’ to ‘we’ve not included a lot of oils in this so it shouldn’t slip too much.’

It seems to me to be a murky word with a murky meaning, designed to obfuscate, to suggest that somehow this or that product is better bang for buck. And we sure as hell don’t need any more of those sorts of words in the beauty world.

Also, let’s say in theory that longwear is a thing that is actually quantifiable. A lipstick that holds fast for 24 hours, or foundation that really locks onto skin and doesn’t smear onto people’s shirts when you hug them or transfer to your (or someone else’s) pillow should you commit the crime of sleeping in it. Is that really so appealing?

I’m going to go with a firm ‘no’ on that, too. I get that eyeliner that doesn’t disappear is kind of great, but isn’t it also sort of charming when it smudges and smears and you get to the end of a night and, y’know, look like you’ve had a cracking time and your once-meticulous eyeliner now has a lovely Jack Sparrow aspect? Ditto foundation, which I always think melds with skin so well after a bit of wear and looks at its best a few hours in, once the heat of flushed cheeks bursts through and chins and cheeks are slightly reflective.

And if you want something like lippy to stay absolutely neat and perfect, is topping it up after eating really such a biggie? I personally think not, and far prefer the lustre of a hydrating lipstick to the shrink-wrapped sensation of something that’s designed to cling on from morning until evening.

But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Lots of products with the word ‘longwear’ printed on the label are brilliant – but usually this is not for the length of wear but for how they wear. So when testing the myriad new longwear foundations on the market, I extend this sentiment to them: I don’t give a toss whether they last forever and a day, but rather that they wear well.

By this, I mean that they must apply evenly, remain even, and look like skin throughout their tenure. I noted whether they made it from morning to evening successfully in this fashion, sure, but I would do that with any foundation and flag if there was some mad patchiness that kicked in during the afternoon. I am mostly marking them on their worth as a foundation, longwear or no. I’ll keep this a running list, too, so expect updates as I discover newbies //

NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation / My moderately oily skin hated this, but those with more dry complexions think it is fantastic. They tell me that it works as a second skin, adding lustre and a veil of coverage without making skin look overloaded.

Marc Jacobs Shameless Youthful-Look Longwear Foundation SPF 25 / I’d put this in the realm of ‘proper foundation’ as it offers good coverage and is much more compatible with oily skin. Beware that it slightly sits on skin unless you buff it in with a brush, which is how a foundation of this ilk likes to be applied.

Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 / At first, you’ll smooth this oil-free number on and think it’s not covering much. Once you’ve got it all over the bits you need help with, you’ll realise it actually has – but it somehow lets freckles and skin shine through. Very clever, and looks great throughout the day and really does up lustre but not grease.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow 24 Hour Foundation Radiant Finish Normal/Dry Skin Foundation / I was blown away by this one – it manages to be both glowy and offer decent coverage while magically seeming to disappears as it glides on, making skin look like skin, just clearer and smoother. Annoyingly, it’s only out in the US at the moment (which is where my link directs you to), but I will update when it’s here because it’s BRILLIANT and a great bargain.

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