The thing is, not enough people give samples.
'Oh no dear,' said the lady hawking Dior's cosmetic wares, 'we don't give samples,' and she simpered and fluttered at me in the way a spider does while contemplating a very juicy (and very fiscally-exploitable) bug, 'but the foundation is very, very good.'
However, when I'm investing in something such as a foundation, I want a sample, and not one of those one-size-fits-all sachets you see in magazine, where most people with normal skin tones in between will either look like they've overdone the fake tan, or that they've got that greasy palour to your skin that you get when you're ill.
So when Coco Beau offered me the chance to try their new foundation from FACE atelier*, I jumped at the chance, because I like being offered the chance to try before I buy... And because their excitement over the product was a little infectious.
A little sample jar arrived, wrapped in cute blue tissue paper, as per Coco Beau's usual standards, and everything was great until Kiwi decided to open the jar to investigate, and tipped half of its contents on himself (I swear I don't even make this up - that's just what you come to expect when you find that your boyfriend was mis-sold under that particular label, and is in fact an over-grown, over-excited puppy.)
Trauma over, I opened the pot later (with Kiwi banned from the room), with minor trepidation (new product jitters!), having read over the blurb. This is what they say:
Ultra Foundation is the heart and soul of FACE atelier – an innovative approach to foundation that allows you to be in control. With a growing cult-following, Ultra Foundation is a silicone-based emulsion that floats on top of the skin, doesn’t crease or flake, and lasts all day long. Hydrating yet oil-free, it obscures tiny lines and pores to ensure a smooth finish. No primer needed! It's built into Ultra Foundation, thanks to the super sophisticated, silicone-based formula. Another bonus - it sets without powder, preserving the youthful, dewy finish.
Given my recent foray into the baffling world of face primers (oil-free? Silicone-based? Magical pearlised particles? TALK ENGLISH), I'm pretty excited to try this new foundation already, seeing as I've developed a relative apathy to searching high and low for a face primer which will work best both with my skin chemistry, and my foundation. So, being the procrastinating young thing that I am (lazy is such an unfair word...), I'm all for the metaphorical kicking back in my La-Z-Boy recliner and letting something else do all the work. Now, in the efforts to save your eyes from being rampaged by a wall-o-text, I'm going to split this review up into some easy-as-A-B-C sections, because I want you to really read it, and I want you to try it and then fall in love, just like I did. After all, even if we are only talking about foundation, everyone still deserves their fairy-tale...
The texture of FACE atelier's Ultra Foundation is silky and luxurious, and reminds me exactly of melted chocolate in that satisfyingly glossy way. The silicone-based formula means that you need to shake it up before you use it, as silicone particles are lighter than water, but they create this perfectly smooth canvas to work on and make your skin feel like magic. It feels just as silky on the skin and is foolproof for blending. There is no streaking, and no dappled paint-job effect with this foundation; it just blends in perfectly with whichever tool you decide to use.
The Ultra Foundation's coverage is most likely going to fall into the medium category, but that's not to say it's not buildable. This foundation can literally be built up as much as you want without ever becoming chalky or crepey or ageing. You don't need that much, though, as a little goes a long way due to its hyper-pigmented formula.
The funny thing is, although it's a medium coverage, my skin still looks like skin, just the perfect, airbrushed kind, and some of my freckles still shine through, just with none of the usual dark circles and red bits.
Dewy and glowing are the two buzzwords for this foundation, and these words are generally the exact two which strike fear into my oil-fearing heart, like a warning of an uncharted region on a mariner's map of 'Here be monsters!'.
Ah, the fear of the unknown. FACE atelier's Ultra Foundation is dewy from the off, but more of the healthy kind rather than the sweaty, end-of-the-day kind. Although it is not necessary to set this foundation with powder, I found it a touch too dewy for my liking and set it with my usual Kryolan Anti-Shine, as my combination skin works against me like a stubborn toddler from the moment product is applied. However, one amazing thing about this foundation is that there is virtually no dry-skin grabbage.
As it's an HD foundation, the finish here lends itself very well to photography, although the upshot of this means there's no sunscreen to be seen, and you must apply your own.
This foundation is water-resistant and oil-free, meaning that it's formulated for good performance. It lasted a good day on me, although I definitely had breakthrough shine by the end of the day on my forehead and nose; this is nothing new, but if your skin is extremely oily, you may need to powder.
The shade range is the real magic part of this foundation: although there are only 8 shades in this range, you can buy the corresponding shade adjusters, which comprise of Zero Minus to lighten, Zero Plus to darken, and Heat to add warmth. Pretty brilliant if you ask me.
The foundation sample was the tiniest bit too dark for me (at least at first - I managed to get a mild tan! Shock! Horror!), and Ria at Coco Beau was quick to send me a little sample of the Zero Minus to mix in with it. It worked perfectly and didn't change how the foundation worked, which was a minor worry.
THE END NOTE/FINAL THOUGHTS
- FACE atelier are completely committed to cruelty-free products, both in production of their cosmetics and in the sourcing of cruelty-free ingredients from outside vendors. Definitely something to consider.
- Best for: All skin types, but definitely normal skin types will feel the benefit.
- Order a sample for £1 by clicking on your desired shade, and then clicking on the 'Buy a Sample Here' link. Sample pots are generous and a brilliant idea to help you find the perfect shade.
- Coco Beau stock other products in the FACE atelier range to compliment this product, such as their Ultra Loose Powder and their Ultra Camouflage Duet. I've not tried them, but if the foundation is this good, I have faith in the rest of the range.
- Price point: £32 from Coco Beau (link takes you right to the Ultra Foundation page).
When I first tried on this foundation, my thought process started at 'It's really nice, but...'. Having come to the end of a sample jar, and pathetically swished the remnants out with a brush, my final thoughts are 'But it's reaaally nice...' in that kind of pleading, whining, justifying voice while explaining my upcoming cosmetics purchase to Kiwi.
Kiwi just stares, anyway.
But then he wouldn't understand... He likes computers far better than makeup.
* This foundation sample was provided to me for the purposes of review, and I am NOT being financially compensated for this post (but I'm gonna buy it anyway!)