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I mean face-off in the hockey sense, in which two (in this case, three) players battle it out for the puck (in this case, the puck is . . . my face? I think this metaphor is getting away from me), not in the sense of the spectacularly ridiculous Nic Cage/John Travolta movie where they TRADE FACES.

Foundation is the, well, foundation of my makeup regimen. When I was a teenager (ahem, in the ’80s), we called it “base,” which really conveys the same thing as “foundation” when you think about it, but “foundation” sounds more sophisticated. I don’t recall whether companies actually marketed the product as “base,” but it sounds silly to me now. (Of course, now that I’ve just typed the word “foundation” five times in this paragraph, that word is starting to sound silly too.)

When dining out at a familiar restaurant, I’m more likely than not to order the same thing I’ve had before. It’s safe, I know I like it, I know what to expect. I am the complete opposite when it comes to makeup. Even when I find something I like, I’m likely to try something different when it runs out. Partially it’s because I’m bored after using the same product for months at a time. Partially it’s because I’ve read about something new that I want to try. And partially it’s because I need material for this blog. (You’re welcome.)

Last year I wrote about the foundation I was using at the time and loved – Stay Tuned by Origins. When it was empty, I tried something different, and then something different after that. But when I need foundation again, I’m going back to Stay Tuned, because it really is that good.

Origins Stay Tuned

Stay Tuned copyAs I mentioned in my original post about this foundation, I bought it after having a make-over at Origins before I had my engagement photos taken in 2013. The list price is currently $24.50 for 1 fluid ounce; I probably paid roughly the same amount.

I love this foundation because it offers the kind of coverage I expect from foundation, as opposed to, say, BB cream, but it’s not heavy or mask-like. I never felt like I was wearing foundation when I had this on.

I also like that it’s designed for combination skin, so it gives you the best of both worlds. It didn’t feel oily in the summer, and it didn’t dry out my skin in the winter. I do wish they would put a sunscreen in this product. If it had that, it would be perfect.

The opening of the bottle is too big for my finger to cover it completely, so I used an application process that I picked up from the Origins counter: dip a Q-tip into the foundation, twirl the Q-tip across your cheek or forehead, and then blend with your fingers. (Or a brush, if you insist. But long-time readers know how I feel about using anything but your fingers to apply foundation.)

Tarte Maracuja Miracle Foundation

Until last year, I had never heard of Tarte. Then I saw them mentioned on a beauty blog that focuses on cruelty-free brands and products, Cruelty Free Me, and now I see Tarte everywhere. Everywhere!

I purchased their Maracuja Miracle Foundation because it has maracuja oil in it, which I thought would be good for my dry skin, and because it has broad-spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen in it. I paid $21 for it, which is certainly not a terrible price. It was most likely a standard 1-fluid-ounce bottle, but I can’t say for sure. Apparently they are no longer making this foundation, because I couldn’t find a trace of it on their website. Maybe it’s for the best, because I didn’t really like it.

For starters, it had a pump dispenser instead of a round opening. At first I thought that was a great idea because the pump would let me control the amount of product being dispensed. But no. The product just shot out of the dispenser in whatever amount it wanted to. For the first several months, it was dispensing quite a bit more than I needed to cover my entire face, so the extra was going to waste.

I also didn’t love the weight and feel of this foundation. I couldn’t wait to wash my face every night because I felt like I was wearing a mask all day. Maybe for someone who has problem skin and needs full coverage, this is just what they have to deal with. But I neither needed nor wanted a heavy foundation.

And then there was this:IMG_7332

I had traveled with this foundation numerous times – by car, by plane, by train – without a single problem. I had it with me on a trip at the end of January. One morning it was fine, and then later that day, it had exploded all over my makeup bag. The mystery remains unsolved to this day. But it ruined my favorite makeup bag, so I will always hold that against Tarte.

I’m glad they discontinued this foundation!

L’Oréal True Match

True MatchThis is my current foundation. It’s obviously a drugstore brand, and the least expensive of the three. I paid $10.29 at Target for a 1-fluid-ounce bottle. I saw an ad for it in one of the many magazines I read, and I wanted to give it a try because of L’Oréal’s claim to match your true skin tone and texture.

I answered a few questions in their online matching system to figure out which of the 33 shades would be my “true match.” It asks about how your skin reacts to sun (burns, tans, both), whether you look better in gold or silver jewelry, what your hair and eye color are, whether the veins in your wrist are more green, blue, or both, etc. Based on your answers, it categorizes you as a Cool, Warm, or Neutral skin tone, then tells you which shade within the overall category is best for you.

My result was Warm 1 Porcelain. Considering that “porcelain” and “China doll” are words that people have actually used to describe my complexion, that seemed like a reasonable result. I’ve been using it for about a month now, and although I like it better than the Tarte foundation, I still don’t like it as much as Origins.

To begin with, it seems a bit too light for my skin tone. Don’t get me wrong, I am one pale motherfucker. But I feel almost Geisha-like when I apply this foundation. It seems to wash me out. I do like the consistency of the product though – it covers without feeling like I’m wearing foundation. I also like the small bottle size. The opening is the perfect size to cover with my middle finger, tipping the foundation bottle over to get just enough product to cover one zone of my face. (I apply foundation in three zones – right cheek, side of nose, chin; left cheek, side of nose, chin; forehead.)

This foundation is oil-free, so for those with oily skin, fear not. I have dry skin, and there have definitely been days in this miserable winter that this foundation has made my skin look and feel a little dry. But that tends to happen no matter what foundation I’m using. #wintersucks

I do love that this foundation has SPF 15 sunscreen in it. I like to make sure I have at least one product on my face every day with sunscreen, either my moisturizer or my foundation. In the summer, I prefer it if both have sunscreen. I have to maintain that porcelain complexion somehow.

I took the online quiz again just now, and I got a different result – Cool 1 Alabaster. (My celebrity match is apparently Gwen Stefani. Um, okay then.) I’m not sure what to make of this. My eye and hair color haven’t changed, and I’m fairly certain my veins are still the same color. Maybe there’s a glitch in the Matrix.

I’m almost tempted to buy a Cool 1 Alabaster and see how it compares to the Warm 1 Porcelain. But I think I’ll just play it safe and go back to Origins. Sometimes it’s nice to know just what you’re getting.

So the clear winner is Origins Stay Tuned. But I can almost guarantee that once I finish my next bottle of Stay Tuned, I’ll be looking to try something new. I just know myself!

Feel free to share your favorite foundation in the comments. Maybe I’ll try it!