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I have never liked foundation because even the best full-coverage foundations can make you look like you're wearing makeup, which defeats the purpose. Eventually, I started using BB cream or CC cushions every day to even my skin out a bit. They’re dewy, but generally still let some dark spots and discoloration I have shine through. If only I didn’t care about these signs which point to my years of, um, wisdom, but I do. Which is exactly why the foundation industrial complex exists.
So reluctantly I started experimenting with more heavy-duty foundations. Many would either settle into my fine lines or else flake off my forehead in the wake of my hardcore retinol use, which can cause dryness. I thought I had found my facial soulmate in Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation (still loved, but now second place), until a sample of Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation ($48) came my way.
My skin needs a bit more moisture than it did even a few years ago when I identified as “oily,” whenever a checklist asked me my skin type. So many dermatologists have told me that dry skin can actually make you look older than wrinkles can, so I avoid matte formulas at all costs. This formula is glowy without being too wet or greasy-looking, and the pigment in it provides the perfect amount of coverage without looking mask-like.
It also buffs in beautifully with my favorite dense foundation brush. (I don’t like using a Beauty Blender or a flat foundation brush. I’m convinced the round, dense ones provide a better airbrushed finish and also help to exfoliate dead skin away.)
I still try a variety of foundations because I’m always testing, but most of them end up in the discard pile after one wear. I save this one for when I need confidence or want to look really polished. A few weeks ago, the founder of a skincare company asked me what my current regimen was because my skin looked so great. It didn’t really — it was just my foundation.