I have to start this off by saying I was incredibly skeptical about this product – after all, Hourglass bills it as “your miracle for oily skin” and nothing turns me off of a product like including the word “miracle” in the description. Buuuut… I have incredibly oily skin, and I frequently find my pessimism to be unjustified (does that make me a closet optimist?), so I decided to give it a chance.
I’ve been sort of holding off on this review for a while. After several months of my skin being almost completely clear, the summer weather and humidity have been making my face go absolutely bonkers. Crazy oily and breakouts/clogged pores everywhere. I wasn’t going to subject you guys to that, but then I decided it might be good to do a foundation review that isn’t tested on a best case scenario. Just so you’ll have a reference point, my skin right now is very bumpy from clogged pores, very oily in most places, and a little bit dehydrated/flaky around the worst breakouts because my dermatologist bumped me up to a higher-strength retinoid. Worst case scenario, indeed. Enough of that though, because I’m willing to bet you clicked on this post because you wanted to know about the foundation and probably have zero interest in my skin woes.
So what does this stuff even claim to do? The list is pretty extensive. According to the Sephora website description, it absorbs oil, camouflages imperfections, lasts all day and is water-resistant. Phytostem Edelweiss supposedly slows collagen degradation and reduces wrinkle depth after 20 days of use, and they also claim that Lavandox (a Spanish lavender extract) inhibits muscle contractions leading to fine lines. I’ve got to admit I didn’t test those last two, because a) I don’t know if they’re even reasonable claims and b) I don’t really have any way to measure the results. It’s also free of gluten, synthetic fragrances and dyes, and is vegan. There’s no SPF in it, so no worries about it destabilizing the ingredients in your daily sunscreen.
The formula is about what you’d expect it to be, based on the description. It’s a liquid, of course, but feels surprisingly light compared to some of the other matte foundations I’ve tried. The product descriptions says it “goes on smoothly and dries down instantly to a soft, velvet finish.” That’s some pretty smooth marketing speak there. Translated into regular English, it really means “this stuff dries fast and you need to blend quickly and work in sections.” To be fair, the product insert does advise working in sections, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. It does go on smoothly, and blends very nicely. The finish is quite matte – it’s the first foundation I’ve tried that I don’t need to set with powder to get rid of the initial shine. It’s also surprisingly natural-looking (I usually find matte finishes to look a bit dry or cakey), and it doesn’t actually feel like I’m wearing much on my face once it sets. I use either the UD Optical Blurring Brush or the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush to apply, and I wear it over my normal moisturizer, sunscreen and Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer.
Coverage is the one area of this foundation where I feel like people are either going to love it or hate it. It’s firmly in the ‘medium coverage’ arena, at least if you’ve got anything that needs covering. If you want to hide blemishes, birthmarks, etc, you’re going to need a concealer. I don’t have any concealers with the same matte finish, so if I bother to conceal, I do it before I put the foundation on. I also don’t find it be extremely buildable. I do a fairly sheer layer all over my face, and then another very thin layer over problem areas. After that, adding any more starts to make it look pretty thick and a bit powdery, though that could be partly due to the fact that areas I’d need to build coverage in are a bit dry from topical medications. Your mileage may vary, but it’s an important thing to know if you have problem skin like me. I wouldn’t hesitate a bit to recommend it to someone who just wants to even out their skin tone a bit.
Where this foundation really stands out from the crowd is wear over the course of the day. Is it a miracle for oily skin? Ehhhh, maybe not. But it’s the closest thing I’ve found so far. Most of my other foundations have me diving for blotting sheets (AKA Starbucks napkins) by 10-11AM even in the winter. The finish of Hourglass Immaculate doesn’t stay entirely matte – it settles in as more natural – but I can easily get past lunch without blotting, even in the super-humid summer weather. It also doesn’t break down and start looking cakey as the day wears on, which is usually the issue I have with foundations marketed for oily skin. The other problem I generally have with matte formulas is that they suck all the moisture out of my skin and really increase/emphasize flakiness. Not so here! Obviously flakes are still visible, if I have them (I really don’t think any foundation could hide that), but it doesn’t make them worse or more noticeable. It lasts a good 10 hours before it starts to fade, and I’ve been able to extend that by using setting spray before and after my makeup. As I mentioned before, I do wear this with Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, and I think that helps with the wear time and oil control; when I tried it with Givenchy Mister Smooth, I noticed that I started seeing a little bit of shine a couple hours earlier (though still not nearly as much as other foundations). As for water-resistance, I’m pretty satisfied there, too. I walk to lunch pretty often (a mile or two round-trip), which can be a sweaty endeavor when it’s 85 degrees and 70% humidity out, but that hasn’t bothered this makeup a bit.
Color choices are also a point in Hourglass Immaculate’s favor. When I was checking out early reviews of it, most said there were only eight shades available, without many choices in the very fair and very deep tones. It seems they’ve listened to their customer feedback because there are now sixteen shades on the Sephora website, and they have a decent range of undertones. I’m about NW30 right now with it being summer and all, and Sand was the best match for me. It’s a medium with pink undertones, which is really exciting, since I find that a lot of medium-toned foundations pull yellow on me. I’m not sure if their lightest shades will be light enough for the fairest of them all, but I did notice their lightest shade has yellow undertones, and I’ve heard that can be a difficult thing to find.
Packaging for the Hourglass foundation feels nice and luxurious, which for the price, it should. The bottle is made of metal, and is nice and heavy. It’s quite a bit taller than any of my other foundations (even taller than MUFE HD, I think), but still fits in the drawer that I store them in. It initially comes with a cap on it, without the pump installed. I suspect this is because the product can dry in the pump and clog it a bit. It’s very minorly annoying, but it’s easy to clear out with a toothpick or safety pin, which I’ve only had to do once in the month or so I’ve been wearing it. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with the packaging, it’s just a characteristic of the quick-dry formula. I’d guess that letting it get really clogged could result in quite a mess, so I’ve been taking care not to let that happen.
In Short: This is an excellent foundation. It would definitely be HG status for me if the coverage were just a bit more buildable. At $55 for 1 oz, I didn’t want to love it, but I’ll happily repurchase when I run out.
Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation is available in the US at hourglasscosmetics.com, sephora.com and Sephora stores.