I’ve been wearing L’Oreal’s Repair Absolute foundation for the past week and I can tell you now that I love it! It’s definitely the best drugstore foundation for very dry skin that I’ve found so far.
For the past few months I’ve been searching for a drugstore foundation that provides decent coverage, is suitable for light yellow toned skin, and has a dewy finish. My skin is quite dry and naturally mattifies and dehydrates most foundations so I also require a moisturizing formula.
Several foundations were recommended to me and these were my results (applied using fingers/sponge/brush):
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin – Matte finish. Cakey. Clings to and accentuates dry skin. Lightest shade was too dark and too pink. Medium-full coverage.
- Maybelline Fit Me – Powdery finish. Light-medium coverage. Clings to and accentuates dry skin.
- L’Oreal True Match Lumi – Natural matte/semi-matte finish. Light-medium coverage. Shade W1-2 is a good match. It doesn’t emphasize dry skin like the other two foundations.
- I was also recommended Rimmel Lasting Finish but Rimmel foundations always run dark so I was unable to find a shade suitable for me (NC15).
- I was warned strongly against trying Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse by fellow dry skinned gals. Apparently it clings to dry patches.
Since the Lumi foundation worked pretty well for me I decided to try the newish L’Oreal Visible Lift Repair Absolute foundation. Repair Absolute is advertised as an anti-aging makeup for mature skin that contains hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, Pro-Retinol and ProXylane.
I have dry skin and one of the most important things I’ve learned when looking for a foundation is to find one that’s targeted for mature skin (wish I had known this as a teenager!). As skin ages it loses moisture so even though I may not technically have “mature” skin I have the same skin concerns.
Because I already knew that True Match Lumi W1-2’s a shade that worked for me, I grabbed a bottle of that from the L’Oreal display in CVS and compared it to the Repair Absolute compacts. The lightest Repair Absolute shade, Soft Ivory, appeared very pink so I purchased the next lightest shade that has a more yellowy tone, Light Ivory ($15.49 for 0.7 oz/19.85 g).
In the package Light Ivory looks slightly lighter and more neutral compared to Lumi W1-2. Unfortunately, the packaging is deceptive and the product inside is actually darker and yellower.
The Repair Absolute foundation comes packaged in a round compact and the bottom portion houses a makeup sponge.
The lid of the upper portion of the compact screws off and contains the actual foundation which is a cream formula. The texture is firm to the touch, kind of like a cold stick of butter and when I swirl my finger against the surface it feels slick and thin.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (6.1%) (Sunscreen)
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, PEG 9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin 3, Ozokerite, Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Citric Acid, Acetyl Trifluoromethylphenyl Valylglycine, PEG 9, May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
The L’Oreal Visible Lift Repair Absolute foundation is unscented.
The thing I like most about this foundation is its finish. Finally, a suitable foundation for very dry skin! Everything else I’ve tried turns matte but Repair Absolute has a lovely satin/slightly dewy finish to it. There is absolutely no shimmer or glitter in this foundation.
The coverage is the other thing I really like about Repair Absolute. I’d say it offers medium but buildable coverage depending on the method of application. Fingers will provide a heavier coverage but in my experience the foundation didn’t look so hot using that method.
It was easy to pick up more product than necessary when I used my hands to apply the foundation. The result was a way too heavy/cakey looking coverage and finish.
The best way I’ve found to apply this foundation is with a small, dense foundation brush, like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or Sigma Precision Flat P80, and stipple/stamp the foundation onto my face. I don’t recommend buffing the foundation on with a brush as that will cause unnecessary friction against the skin and result in the foundation streaking, catching against any dry patches and settling into pores.
Using this method my skin tone is evened out, the appearance of my large pores is diminished, and I’m able to achieve the look of healthy, luminous skin that I’ve always wanted. The true test, of course, is how it looks when I check my face in the car mirror in daylight. Everyone knows that car mirrors reveal a multitude of makeup sins but I’m happy to report that Repair Absolute passed with flying colors. It looks natural in a “my skin but better” kind of way.
I’ve also tried applying this foundation with damp beautyblender sponge and while I like the finish I’m able to achieve that way, I find that it sheers out the coverage a little too much for my liking. I’m a medium coverage type of girl.
One of my biggest foundation concerns is finding a formula that doesn’t turn powdery by midday. I never ever set my foundation with powder — I don’t need to — because over time my skin sucks the moisture out of most foundations leaving a powdery layer of pigment behind. I need a moisturizing foundation and Repair Absolute seems to fit the bill. It looks as fresh at the end of the day as it did at the start. Love!
I wouldn’t recommend Repair Absolute to anyone whose face gets even the least bit shiny during the day. If you’re the type who usually needs to blot or powder during the day, this foundation isn’t for you. This foundation offers zero oil control and will likely break down, slide off your face and make you look greasy. Repair Absolute is really best suited for people with truly dry skin who are looking for some moisture and subtle dewiness to their foundation.
samanthaschuerman on YouTube did a couple of reviews on the L’Oreal Repair Absolute foundation that you can watch here (first impression) and here (updated review). My skin is extremely dry and the foundation lasted well on me but her skin (normal to dry) is oilier than mine and she ran into problems with the foundation rubbing off and transferring.
The only negative about the foundation is finding a shade match because the Repair Absolute line runs a bit dark compared to the Lumi. I think if you’re NC20 that the Repair Absolute in Light Ivory would be a good match for you. Compared to Lumi W1-2, Light Ivory is slightly darker and warmer. I’m NC15 and if I try to go for a heavier coverage with it it can make my face look dirty and very yellow.
When I discovered Light Ivory wasn’t a good match for me I went back to the store and bought Soft Ivory hoping that because Light Ivory turned out to be yellower on the inside than it looked on the outside of the package that Soft Ivory would be the same. Soft Ivory does appear very dark and pink when I look at it in the container but on my face appears paler and the pink tone isn’t quite as strong (or perhaps I’m more neutral/pink than I thought). Once I blend it into my skin, it ends up being a pretty decent match for me. Still, I’m hoping that L’Oreal decides to add a paler yellow shade to the line in the future.
The foundation does have an SPF of 16 which is hardly any protection but I never rely on foundations or makeup for my sunscreen. I’ve read that to actually get the benefits of the SPF in foundation you need to apply at least 1/4 teaspoon of product to your face and then reapply every few hours to get continuous protection. Most people are never going to use that much foundation in a single application, not unless they want a super cakey finish, and they’re even less likely to reapply throughout the day. Always use a separate sunscreen if you want to protect your skin from sun damage. Personally, I think SPF in makeup is pointless and I wish more cosmetics companies would leave it out. It’s hard enough finding a foundation for dry skin let alone one that doesn’t make my face look ghostly with flash photography due to the SPF.