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Face Atelier Review or My Cruelty Free Foundation Quest


Left to right: Liquid Foundation in -0, Pressed Powder in Light (background), Liquid Foundation in UF2, Ultra Matte spray
Left to right: Liquid Foundation in -0, Pressed Powder in Light (background), Liquid Foundation in UF2, Ultra Matte spray

Ever since I learned that MAC Cosmetics is no longer cruelty-free (jerks), I have been on a Quest to find a cruelty-free foundation to replace what I had been using: MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NW13 & NC15) and Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra (100N & 140N) set with MAC Studio Fix Powder.

I started looking into cruelty-free foundation brands and Face Atelier was the one that came up the most, usually along with raving reviews. Their concept of a “neutral” yellow toned foundation to which you mix some of their white, dark or red foundation correctors in order to get the perfect colour really appealed to me.

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation

As you can see Face Atelier's foundation is really liquid and runny.
As you can see Face Atelier’s foundation is really liquid and runny.

I decided to order a sample of their liquid foundation along with a few Mehron and Kryolan foundations (strangely enough most theatre/special FX makeup brands are cruelty-free) from Camera Ready Cosmetics. Since I’m neutral-yellow toned and pretty pale, I ordered UF2 (Ivory) and the white corrector, just in case.

Sidenote: I also ordered a sample of Kryolan “RANGE” Foundation TV Paint Stick (in 406), Kryolan Ultra Foundation 9002 (in Ivory) and Mehron Celebre HD Pro Foundation (LT1 & LT2) all of which I hated and were waaaaaaaay too pale for me (a first!).

While the adjustable colour concept is awesome, I think it’s really hard to really adjust it since the colour oxidizes SO MUCH during the day. That means that if it matches your skin in the morning, it might be too dark, let’s say 2 hours later, because at night it will be gone from your face anyway. Throughout the day the foundation became more orange as it oxidized and slid off my skin.

The foundation is somewhat sheer and did not hide acne scars or redness completely with only one layer. Unfortunately, it can’t be built up in layers without creasing visibly. It’s also very ‘dewy’ and leaves a shiny finish on the skin that is really hard to mask even with a liberal application of setting powder or mattifying powder.

I don’t know if it’s the silicone (or whatever else is in the product) but continuous use broke me out which is what ultimately made me decide to stop using the foundation. The only foundation I can think of that ever broke me out was MAC’s Pro Longwear (everything about that foundation was bad except its ability to become pretty much tattooed on your face. Forever.)

Face Atelier Pressed Powder

The Face Atelier Pressed Powder was not bad, but not as covering as I’d liked (then again, I normally use a powder foundation as a setting powder) and I thought the texture made my pores look bigger, or my face a bit cakey. I’m not sure exactly what it was but it gave my skin a bit of an unnatural finish (maybe I’m just nitpicky).

Face Atelier Ultra Matte

To balance out the shiny problem of their foundation, Face Atelier released a mattifying primer/setting spray (your choice). I read good reviews, but, honestly, HONESTLY? That thing did nothing. In fact, I think it may have even reduced the pathetically weak lasting power of the foundation further. I expected the same effect as any mattifying powder or better (it has ULTRA MATTE in its name after all), but no. The spray is very oily and slippery which really makes me wonder how in the world they expect it to mattify anything.

In short

Ultra Foundation

Final verdict: Face Atelier’s product description sells the foundation as a “silicone-based emulsion that floats on top of the skin, doesn’t crease or flake, and lasts all day long”. In my experience, every part of this sentence is pretty much a complete fabrication.

Colour: It oxidises the hell out throughout the day.
Lasting power: What lasting power? Did I put on foundation this morning?
Coverage: Light to medium(?) coverage. Not really buildable without creasing.
Finish: Very shiny. Not the good kind of shiny. Even putting on loads of setting powder and MUFE’s awesome anti-shine powder doesn’t beat the ultimate power of shininess of this foundation.

Ultra Matte

Final verdict: Don’t even bother.

Lasting power: If anything, it worsens the staying power of the foundation whether you spray it over or under the foundation.
Finish: Ultra Shiny

My Cruelty-free Foundation Quest continues… (in Part two: Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation!)