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The Makeup Room: When Less is More

By Joie Davidow

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New formulas on the market promise to cover our birthmarks with a lighter product than we ever dreamed possible. These new foundations are generally packaged in tubes, and are no heavier than any other foundation. They claim to be twice as opaque. But do they work?

In addition to my favorite Estee Lauder Maximum Cover, I recently began experimenting with anything else I could find. I have a much-treated Port Wine Stain, which is still a pretty deep rose in places, and I am an active person, who perspires at the gym, and has little patience with heavy makeups that require constant touch-ups, so keep that in mind. My findings are strictly personal.

Here’s what I discovered, so far. All these makeups give great coverage when you first put them on. They are lightweight, natural looking, and by applying an extra layer, patting the makeup on with a sponge over the PWS area, I was able to cover it to the point of virtual invisibility. As the day progressed, however, only the Estee Lauder held up. Here are the products I tried:

Natural FX
Thanks to birthmark buddies in our newsgroup, I learned about Cover FX, which many of you use. So I went online and ordered Natural FX, the lighter version of the product. The upside: it’s very, very light, the lightest of the group, and it does actually cover well. Also, I was able to get a very good match using the online color swatches to choose from among the 20 shades offered. (I use the E-20, equivalent to the Estee Lauder Maximum Cover Creamy Tan.) Downside: Without a powder finish, it doesn’t last long enough to suit me, and wouldn’t be a good option for an afternoon at the gym. They make a good setting powder, though, which doesn’t look at all cakey or dry because of built-in light diffusers.
SPF 15
Natural FX, 1 oz. $35 Cover FX Setting FX Loose Mineral Powder, $30

Dermablend Smooth Indulgence
This is a beautiful product. It covers very naturally and is easy to apply. It lasts pretty well, too. But still didn’t hold up as well as I’d like. I used just the foundation and it did the trick, which is a big time saver. Dermablend also makes a Smooth Indulgence Concealer, which could be great for darker birthmarks, and they’ve just come out with a new Smooth Indulgence Redness Concealer, which should be a big help. The downside is that the concealer comes in a little tube (0.3 oz), which wouldn’t go very far for those of us with substantial birthmarks. The Smooth Indulgence foundation comes in only seven shades, while the traditional Dermablend cream comes in 20, so getting a good match was a challenge. It took a couple of tries and a very patient sales clerk, but I found a shade that looks natural.
Smooth Indulgence, 1 oz. $25.
To buy online, click here: Sponsors, then click on Dermablend.

Exuviance Skin Caring Foundation
This product, which comes in a handy bottle with a pump for easy dosage, is incredibly lightweight, gives good coverage to lighter birthmarks and with a built-in treatment component, really does seem to improve the overall texture of the skin. The only downside is that it has to be finished with a light dusting of powder. It comes in 14 shades for a good match. SPF 15
Skin Caring Foundation, 1 oz. $26
To buy online, click here: Sponsors, then click on Coverblend.

Unifiance by LaRoche Posay
This Swiss company is now distributed by L’Oreal, which also distributes Vichy, Lancome, Garnier, Skinceuticals, Maybelline, Kiehl’s, Shu Uemura, and a host of other brands. The Unifiance line includes a “fine film corrective makeup,” and it’s true to its name. It’s a fine film of color that really covers. It doesn’t require a powder finish and it lasts. The coverage is still not quite a good as Lauder’s Maximum Cover, but it’s lighter, letting the skin show through on the non-birthmark parts of the face. I haven’t found an American distributor yet, but with L’Oreal behind it, it’s just a matter of time. It’s hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. It is available in drugstores in Europe. So far, only the treatment products are available in the USA and Canada.
Unifiance, 1 oz Euro 17

Estee Lauder Maximum Cover
Water proof, smudge proof. It is available in four shades plus a green corrector for toning done red. SPF 15
1 oz $28.50. Available in department stores and at

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