Barely there makeup is fun and all, but sometimes you want a bit more coverage while maintaining that airy finish. The new Real Flawless complexion product from Laura Mercier is the perfect middle ground—lightweight like a skin tint, but buildable like a foundation.
"It is a foundation that leaves your skin looking like skin," says Tayaba Jafri, global beauty director at Laura Mercier. "The pigments are high-resolution so it really perfects the skin with a lot less product."
Although skin tints have gotten super popular over the past few years, they've long been a staple in French skin care, and Mercier (a legendary French makeup artist) put them on the map in North America in the '90s. This latest innovation combines her strengths to create the ultimate your-skin-but-better foundation.
The Laura Mercier Real Flawless Weightless Perfecting Foundation ($48) melts into the skin like no complexion product I've ever used. When applied in smooth, thin layers, you can hardly see it going on to your skin—you just see the after-effect of a blurred and smooth complexion. I usually apply foundation with my fingers and a damp sponge, but for this, I used the new Real Flawless Foundation Brush ($46) and loved it.
Start by putting a few pumps on the back of your hand. Then, pick up some on the brush and swirl it on a clean spot on your hand to evenly disperse the product over the top of the brush and then tap it onto the hand to desaturate it so you don't see the foundation lying on top of the brush. Instead, it's a bit deeper within the bristles. Apply a light layer and repeat as needed. It has medium-buildable coverage so you can add on to get substantial coverage while still looking like yourself.
"You know when you have your makeup done with a full-coverage foundation," says Jafri, "because it's a special occasion—usually tinted moisturizer is really not enough, especially if you're gonna be photographed— and you have that feeling of the full-coverage foundation on your face? Cut that down to like 10 percent with Real Flawless. You don't even feel this on your face and it looks just like skin as well."
A blend of bamboo silk powders and a hydro-lipid matrix allow this formula to balance moisture and control shine. Plus, it has an antioxidant-rich blend of camelia seed, vitamin E, and cacao extract to defend against damage by environmental stressors like pollution.
Apply just the foundation and leave it as is for a natural, hydrated finish, or add a hint of powder for a blurred, cloud skin effect. The Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($49) is the gold standard when it comes to setting powders. "They're finely milled and they look really nice and natural and they set your makeup really well," says Emily Amick, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. "When you use them lightly in a way that's meant to look diffused and blurred, it does the job."
Jafri explains that you get the best application when you apply the powder with the included velour puff. Take the puff, fold it in half, pick up a bit of powder, and tap off the excess. "Just like the brush, you don't want to see the product lying on top. It has to be dispersed within the too," says Jafri. "So we then fold it the other way and you just massage it a little bit." Then, you tap the puff onto your skin. If done correctly, you won't see the powder sitting on top of the skin, you'll just see that the shine is gone. "It's called a soft focus where the reflection of the emollience is gone, but it's not dry or matte—it's just blurred."
I love the way this foundation makes my skin look. It's not heavy or thick put still provides amazing coverage. Following Jafri's tips, I get an amazing finish while barely using any product. Get the Real Flawless foundation ASAP for a formula that's like if a skin tint and a foundation had a baby.
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