Depending on what you spend it on, $17 is either a lot of money, or it’s not. For a foundation that matches your skin tone perfectly, I’m going to have to go with the latter. As a Chinese-American with yellow undertones to her skin, I’ve had my fair share of too-pink drugstore foundation mishaps—and I can’t even imagine what my darker-skinned sisters must go through when it comes to selecting the perfect shade.
As it turns out, most traditional foundations rely heavily on red pigments in their formulations, which is why so many drugstore and mass foundations tend to skew pink, especially in darker shades. I learned this during a deskside with EX1 Cosmetics founder and biochemist Farah Naz, who created the brand after struggling to find quality affordable foundation shades for her skin tone. Like any true pioneer, instead of admitting defeat and submitting herself a life of unmatched foundation, she decided to create her own—and EX1 Cosmetics was born.
Here’s the special thing about EX1 Cosmetics foundations: Instead of red pigments, they’re made with a really unique blend of yellow and gold pigments to mimic the true undertones for anyone with warm undertones to their skin. As a biochemist, Naz knew exactly what she wanted for her formula, and she also included spherical coatings on the pigments so that they don’t oxidize (aka change color) throughout the day due to oil production (because that’s a thing, too).
She started with five shades and expanded to 13 in 2016, and simply through word of mouth, the foundation has blown up overseas in London with bloggers singing its praises and celebrities like Adele wearing it to red carpet events (really). It doesn’t hurt that it only costs $17 either.
I brought two of the foundation shades with me home to try and was immediately impressed with the consistency of the formula. The liquid foundation feels light and creamy and sinks in instantly, almost like a second skin. The finish is just the right amount of dewy and velvety, and unlike other budget-friendly foundations, it matched my skin tone perfectly. In fact, Naz gave me two shades to take home and both of them matched me. I don’t know how this is possible, but it’s true—I’ve been using them interchangeably.
Longevity-wise, I get a little shiny midday but that’s to be expected with my oily skin. I love that the formula is light and silky enough to smooth on with just my fingers, and it never pills; it’s light enough that I treat it as a tinted foundation during the day and just apply more at nighttime to build coverage. I do wish there were more shades since the basis of the brand is inclusivity, but considering how quickly the brand expanded its shade range in just one year, I’m certain there will be a wider variety coming to us soon.
All in all, I’d call this groundbreaking $17 foundation quite the steal—and it’s only a matter of time before it explodes in the U.S., so I’d snatch it up now if I were you.
You can purchase EX1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Liquid Foundation ($17) at LookFantastic.
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