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Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Wet/Dry Compact Foundation Revolutionizes the Beauty Game

When it comes to makeup, few things irritate women more than discovering that a favorite lipstick color has been discontinued but, on that rather short list of cosmetics-related grievances, you’ll indubitably find a collective frustration over finding the right shade of foundation, never mind the desired consistency, finish, and depth of coverage. Some of these gripes pertain to the perceived difficulty of the shopping experience — after all, foundations, whether in powder, liquid, or cream-to-powder form, are likely to look different inside their packaging than they do when applied to skin. And let’s not forget — finding the right shade involves understanding your skin’s undertones, which can range from cool to warm to neutral. Last year, I penned a piece for Cosmopolitan for Latinas that explored these issues, and I offered some quick tips on determining whether you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones. For instance, if you look at your inner wrist, you should be able to see whether you have more blue veins than green veins (which would make you part of the cool family) or viceversa (which would make you part of the warm undertone family). A near-equal amount would, of course, mean you fall in the middle of these groups, so that you’d be classified as having neutral undertones. Another trick: try on gold and silver jewelry, as gold baubles tend to look better on women with warm undertones whereas silver jewelry tends to pop on women with cool undertones.  Once you understand both your skin’s undertones and your skin depth (how fair or dark you are), then you can begin to search for the right shade (side note: makeup artists often recommend using a cotton swab and applying a dab of color along the jawline to determine whether it’s a match). But, even if you do find the right match, will it perform to your standards? Will it dry out your skin or leave it looking oily? Will it smear and streak? Will it seep into fine lines and wrinkles, making them even more visible to the naked eye?  Will it properly cover blemishes, dark under eye circles, red patches, and dark spots? Will it make your skin look dull and lifeless? With so many factors to consider, it’s no surprise that women are often left flustered on their quest to find the perfect foundation. 

Luckily, Make Up For Ever has been excelling in this space, delivering a variety of foundation options to cater to women’s highly specific needs. Its  Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation has long been a staple in the personal kits of many a makeup artist, as it controls oil, delivers full coverage, and creates a powdery finish that’s still luminous. Last year, the brand swept me off my feet  with the launch of its HD Foundation, an ultra-lightweight formula that delivers medium to full coverage and which makes skin look utterly natural, as if nothing had been applied at all. 

Still, while these foundations are lovely and I will continue to use them on a regular basis, they do have their drawbacks (however minor): for one, because they’re liquid foundations, they’re not exactly travel friendly, making it hard to touch up your makeup during long days; second, while the natural-looking appearance of the HD Foundation is part of its appeal, on bad skin days, you might want something with a bit more coverage; and third, though the Mat Velvet + foundation delivers great coverage, it can be a bit drying on women with extremely parched skin. So what if you could take the best elements of each product while also doing so in the form of a solid, powder-like compact?

That, my friends, is precisely what this remarkably innovative brand has accomplished with its new  Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Foundation ($36 at Sephora.com), available in 25 shades  that address both skin depth and skin undertones. As described, the portable foundation comes in a round black compact with a handy mirror and a hidden compartment that includes a Celfine sponge than can be used wet or dry.

But the convenience of the compact form is really just the cherry on the sundae. What makes this foundation so stellar is that it can be applied wet or dry, creating diverging results depending on which option is selected. If you apply the foundation dry, either dabbing it onto the skin with the enclosed sponge or sweeping the powdery formula onto the skin with a kabuki brush, you’ll achieve fuller coverage and a completely matte finish. When your skin is irritated, you’re enduring a massive breakout, you need to control oil production, you have a formal function that calls for a more done-up look, or you’re stepping in front of a camera and beneath harsh studio lights, you’re likely to prefer applying the foundation dry. If, however, you want sheer but buildable coverage and a more luminous, satin finish that looks dewy and delicious, you’ll want to apply the foundation wet. All you need to do is wet the sponge inside the compact, wipe it across the surface of the powder and then sweep it over your face.The formula should feel a bit creamier since the sponge will have dampened the product, and you’ll notice that, once you finish applying the formula, your skin will have this red carpet-ready glow to it.

Typically, when makeup brands recommend running a damp sponge or brush over the surface of an eye shadow, powder, or blush, what they fail to mention is that doing so can virtually ruin the product as it might never bounce back to its original form. Fortunately, the Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Foundation works exactly as advertised so that you can switch from using it wet to dry then back again as often as your heart desires.

What exactly accounts for the versatility of this product? Well, the Pro Finish features  a patented vegetal lecithin coating that makes pigments appear natural on the skin and helps these pigments better adhere to the skin for longer wear. The formula also incorporates skin-soothing ximenia oil and aloe vera, along with silica and sericite powders that gently reflect light. And, since the formula contains less talc than ordinary compact foundations, you need not worry about chalky effects, ghastly casts, and caked-up finishes.

Want to see the different effects yielded depending on whether one opts for a wet or dry application? Take a look at the photos below.

First, immediately below, you’ll find some photos in which I’m wearing the Pro Finish Foundation in 120. In these photos, I applied the foundation dry, first using the sponge within the compact and then blending with a brush. As you’ll hopefully see, the foundation delivers an almost shocking degree of coverage and it makes my skin look  matte without making it appear lifeless. In fact, I noticed that it almost gave me a bit of a bronzed finish, which I welcomed given my mid-winter pallor.

In the next series of photos, meanwhile, you’ll see how the very same shade looks when applied wet. Personally, I prefer applying my foundation wet since I like the satin finish it gives my skin. It makes me feel like I’m glowing a bit!

Pretty amazing, right? And remember: you can carry the compact in your makeup bag! In other words: it’s the foundation Holy Grail.

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