Beauty Without Fuss

Thursday 4 March 2010

Foundation Week - Cream to Powder

Now, as cream to powder formulations are the ones I have most trouble with, I invited two guest bloggers to try out a brand new foundation on the market, Urban Decay Surreal Skin.  Let's take a look at how Lina from Make Up to Make Out and Charlotte from Lady of the Lane got on with it:

First of all, Lina:

I was given this Urban Decay Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation by Get Lippie as she needed a reviewer of darker skin and I greedily put my hand up for it! As the name suggests, it's a compact foundation that is cream in formula, but sets to powder finish. Having naturally dry skin (plagued with it my entire life - I was BORN with eczema, EW!) I was a bit dubious about how well I'd gel with this product; ordinarily, any kinda powder finish product (especially in compact form) is a massive no no. Looking quickly online to see any further info about it didn't really help much either in deciphering its target skin type.  Oh well, I'll give anything a shot!

The first thing I learnt when playing around with this was don't even bother trying to use the special brush it comes with; cheap, crappy, and scratchy. I don't even have much to cover and I could barely get ANY coverage with it. I tried a few other brushes and interestingly found my No7 Foundation Brush worked best (as opposed to my beloved Bobbi Brown one). It's quite a thick fluffy foundation brush so you could really work the product into it. And working the product into it I did! Unlike most foundations, where you start of with a little and build, I literally swirled my foundation brush in the compact, and the applied straight to my face. This worked really well and I managed to get a really good, even coverage .

What I noticed when applying it was that is it incredibly weightless, and feels really silky on your skin. It did dry to a powder finish, but luckily not so severely that it dried my skin out in the process. With a bit of concealer it made my face flawless, made up but flawless. A little bit unusual for me as I tend to go for quite light dewy foundations so this finish was fairly new to me.

The lasting power is pretty good, admittedly I found around my nose it wore off more quickly but I get that with every foundation so that's fine. I did feel the need to touch up just to freshen it up a little bit half way through the day, not the sort of product you can apply in the morning and then forget about it till bed time, but this led me to discover that it was great for building with - even hours after original application. Didn't cake in the slightest.  Neither did my skin feel particularly parched either, which was really surprising.

I'm not sure if my skin could take wearing this everyday, especially for days which start at 8am and finish at 1am, my skin would just collapse from dehydration on day 4, but it's definitely great for evenings where you want to look made up and have a powdered finish matte base. Obviously, if you have oilier skin then you could probably (happily) get away with wearing this everyday but dry skin needs a little bit more nourishment. However, in general this is good matte, powder finish product that even dry skin gals can get away with using on occasion! Just make sure you slather on the richest night cream when you go to bed to put back some of that moisture into it at night time!

Here's how Charlotte got on with it:

I’ve been using Lilly Lolo Mineral foundation for years, it works well and looks really natural which is great, but sometimes I want a more finished and polished look and so have been on the hunt for a cream foundation that suits me. Louise kindly offered to send me this one she had in return for a review as it was too pale a shade for her. So here we are.

The packaging is really rather nice. Heavy solid, transparent purple compact with inlaid design on the lid. Inside is a (very  shallow) pan of foundation and underneath that is a brush to apply it with.

Okay now brace yourselves, you need to see what I’m working with. Eeep!

I applied this on day one using the brush it comes with. It went on easily and smoothly, was easy to blend and gave good coverage to the spots on my chin, it wouldn’t need much touching up with concealer. However, I’m recovering from a cold and I have some dry skin around my nose – the effect wasn’t pretty. This stuff is definitely not for people with dry skin. The other thing I should mention is that within moments of application I started to come out in red slightly itchy blotches. These were caused by the brush. I don’t know why, or what the brushes that do this to me are made of, but an hour later the blotches were gone. I won’t use that again, but that’s not a massive problem except it loses the portability factor me as I’m unlikely to carry a foundation brush around with me.

 It lasted well throughout the day and I would describe it as light to medium coverage, it didn’t mask out my freckles and looked soft and natural.

I tried again today but this time used my own foundation brush, went on nicely with no irritation this time. My dry skin has pretty much gone today so the finish was much better without the clumping in the dry spots!

It’s a pretty good colour match for me and I like the finish, but it won’t be my go-to foundations for a couple of reasons:
I do get dry patches from time to time which this foundation does not suit.
The brush doesn’t work for me.
It’s not terribly buildable and if you try it can get a little cakey.
The quantity you get is tiny. It wouldn’t last me five minutes.

I take a lots of pics of myself (for my blog) and this gives you awful white face when a flash hits it, but in natural light it’s good.  I think it’s a pretty good foundation actually and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a handbag foundation compact just so long as they don’t suffer with dry skin and can afford to replace it often. I will definitely finish it, but I probably won’t replace. The search continues!

Now, in the interests of thoroughness - and because I hate to miss out! - I tried it myself, in the shade Kismet.  Actually, I surprised myself by liking it a great deal, normally with cream-to-powder formulations I find them cakey, and drying, and just awful. I didn't find it clung to any dry patches, and it gave a lovely natural finish. But ... but the brush is dreadful, don't even bother using it. It reminds me of those dreadful Benefit blush crushes, which are neither use nor ornament, I think it would be better to actually have more product and a separate, rounder brush with more bristles.  I do appreciate the packaging (it's very pretty, and portable) but the brush is only really fit for top-ups during the day, and not for a proper application. I use a flat top Kabuki (from Elf) which works way better, and I'll be talking about that a bit more later this week.

Urban Decay Surreal Skin Foundation will cost approx £18 and will be available from your usual stockists later this month.

Do you use Cream-to-powder formulations?  Which ones do you recommend?

The Small Print: Foundations used in this review were provided for review purposes.  All reviews are impartial, regardless of the source.  


  1. fab post! I love how different skin types tried the foundation out to give us a really good idea of how it performs. Im a sucker for foundation, its my weakness!

    I had the liquid surreal skin and found the colours came up very yellow, hopefully this is better

  2. Fab post, shame it was quite drying. Smashbox function5 is the one I am using at the mo and isn't drying at all but normally cream to powders make my skin look like I have freaky face dandruff lol...not a good look ;)

  3. I actually went to look at that Urban Decay foundation at Debenhams just yesterday. I was hoping Haze or Fate would be light enough for me, however in the pan they look rather dark. I might go back to get them put on me to see if they look any better. It looks and sounds like a nice product!

  4. I like the idea of cream to powder foundation, but I've never had much luck with them. Either I'm getting the application process horribly wrong, or they just sit on top of my skin looking mask-y.

    My mam really loves Benefit 'Some Kind-a gorgeous', but I'm worried by there only being 2 shades and both are pretty yellowy.

  5. Msg for Kat - I'm wearing Fate in my pic - it's not dark, its pretty pale actually, especially in pics!


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