In the quest for a traveling foundation, I tested two crème compacts and two stick foundations. For each, I chose one drug store/affordable option and one that was more high end, or at least more expensive. In the battle of the compacts, Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin compact (retail $10.99) beat IT cosmetics Confidence in a Compact (retail $38) by a rather large margin. This gave me high hopes for the second round where I tested Revolution’s Stick Foundation (retail $9) against the NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick (retail $45). After all, Revolution performed well with only a slight heaviness to the skin. It could be a contender.
So let’s get to the round shall we?
First, the basics. The NARS Velvet Matte Foundation stick does retail for $45 which is not a price to sneeze at. It is billed as medium, buildable coverage, oil and fragrance free, for all skin types and long wearing. It is also slightly larger than the Revolution product. While the Revolution foundation stick weighs in at .21 ounces, NARS comes in at 0.31 ounces. Not a huge difference, but with a $45 price tag a little extra product isn’t a bad thing.
The hype according to the website:
Introducing the first foundation stick with a built-in, removable Touch-Up Blender designed exclusively to be used with the Velvet Matte Foundation Stick. This all-in-one pro tool and foundation stick can be used for all-over coverage or touch-ups on-the-go. Its soft-matte finish and creamy, blendable texture layer easily for medium-buildable coverage. It can be applied multiple ways: with fingertips, directly from the stick or with the removable Touch-Up Blender, to create various effects.
First, I found the touch up blender to be pointless. It was hard and not easy for me to work with. I found it much easier to apply the foundation with the stick, then use my foundation brush. Typically I use my brush and then if I notice any streaks I use my beauty blender to do a final smooth out. Personally, I would prefer they remove the sponge and add more product, but I am not in charge of marketing. And I’m sure the sponge came from the brain of someone in marketing.
So to the application. First off, it glided on smoothly and I was pleased to see I did not need that much product to cover my face. It fairly melted into the skin but did not emphasize any of the fine lines around my eyes and mouth. It was also so light weight that once on it felt like I was wearing nothing at all. Everything I applied after sat well on top of the foundation.
I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling like my usual neutral self so instead of reaching for my more subtle lipsticks I decided to pick up one of my NARS lipsticks to go with the foundation. It’s called Kirat in case anyone is wondering. And quite frankly anytime I put it on I am transported back in time to my non-responsible adult self. I’m not certain if lipstick can be classified as a time machine, but this one might as well get that designation. It makes me ditch the traffic and weather reports and sing along loudly to older play lists while tapping the steering wheel instead.
But this is not about the lipstick, or my slightly warped past.
Nope, it is about foundation.
Oh there is one thing I need to add. I have been careful to use the same face products each time I test one of these foundations as a way to help control some of the variables. There is one thing I forgot to do with this foundation though. While I used the same primer and face powders, this time I forgot the setting spray. I used it on all of the others, but was several miles down the road before I realized I had not added it that morning. It is just a little extra insurance for the makeup to stick around, but shouldn’t affect the application.
Turns out, I didn’t need the insurance.
In the eight and a half hours I was running around throughout my day, it stayed put. I moved through air conditioned offices to a picnic table in the park and even had to walk a few blocks downtown to get from one meeting to another. When I returned home, my foundation was in place. It had not worn down into my fine lines and there were no oily spots showing in my T-zone. Which is good because I didn’t actually have time to stop and check to see if I needed a powder blot mid-day. In fact, I forgot completely that I was wearing it.
Of the four travel friendly foundations that I tried, the NARS velvet Matte Foundation stick is my absolute favorite. To be honest, I think I actually like it better than the liquid foundation I’ve been using. The price tag is a little steep, but I actually think the product is worth its price tag. Will I be looking out for sales? Oh yes. This is one of those products I will use and when it is used up I will use my second favorite until a sale comes along. Then I will stock up.
So to the rankings.
NARS beat Revolution in the stick foundation trial and Neutrogena beat IT cosmetics in the crème compact trial. If I put all four of them in the travel friendly foundation competition I would have to say, NARS is first place, Neutrogena second, Revolution running a close third to Neutrogena and IT cosmetics Confidence in a Compact not only fourth place, but not even earning an honorable mention.
I have to say that while I am okay with a higher priced product taking first place, I am really glad that second place went to an affordably priced option. Actually, I’m glad third place did too. I like having something I can use even if I can’t afford to replace the luxury brand every time it starts to run low. But trust me, I will be marking when those sales come up. Whether it is a site sale for the NARS brand or the Sephora annual spring sale, it is on my list. NARS, I’ve got my eye on you.