Posted on September 21, 2017 under Reviews
The product featured in this post was provided to me by the company at no cost. I was not compensated monetarily for this post and my opinion is completely honest, as always.
I have been interested in the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream* for years now due to its much-loved status in the YouTube community. This is a product that is not only apparently universally-adored but that has longevity. It’s not a flash-in-the-pan trend; it’s a staple in YouTubers’ foundation drawer. When IT Cosmetics finally came to Sephora Canada in early August, I made a mental note to look into it when I ran through a bit of my current foundation stash. And then IT sent me a tube to try, which I think means this was meant to be.
Before I delve into the review, I’ll remind you that I have normal-to-dry skin. Currently I’m on the drier side as the weather transitions, and I live in a wet, temperate climate that’s heading into fall. I have relatively clear skin but deal with regular hormonal breakouts on my chin and persistent hyperpigmentation after active breakouts heal. I prefer light-to-medium buildable foundations with a natural finish.
The shade range of this product is pretty abysmal, which is such a bummer. Canada has a lot of multicultural cities (my hometown of Toronto was recently named the most diverse city in the world!), so seeing a brand with only seven shades and no apparent plans for expansion enter our market is disappointing. (It looks like they added the shade Deep pretty recently, but there are still plenty of darker-skinned people who will be completely shut out of this range.) Small shade ranges are looking particularly bad these days now that Rihanna’s brand Fenty Beauty has released 40 shades of foundation. Though it’s unfortunate that diversity tends only to gain traction when it’s clear that it’s profitable, that’s a reality of capitalism and I’m hopeful that the massive success of the darker shades in the Fenty Beauty range will inspire brands like IT Cosmetics to get on board with diversity.
I was sent the shade Fair for review, and my PR package actually stated that if the colour match was wrong I could request a different one, which I thought was nice. Luckily, Fair is a pretty bang-on match for me. I’m fair with neutral-leaning-yellow undertones, which is exactly how I’d describe this shade. (Generally these colours appear to run more on the neutral-to-yellow side.)
Out of all of these shades I’d say the Ordinary 1.1N is my current best match, though MUFE Ultra HD in Y215 is the best I’ve found yet. (I completely used up my bottle so couldn’t use it for comparison swatches.) In swatches, the IT CC in Fair looks like it will be significantly too dark for me, but as you’ll see the shade works fine. If you’re lighter than around NC13 in MAC shades this will probably be a hair dark. I like that the IT CC Cream is neutral with slight yellow tones, which seems to suit me best. Though it’s certainly not pink-toned, in comparison with NARS Siberia it’s far less yellow.
Dude, I love this packaging. I wish every liquid foundation were packaged like this. First, there’s a pump, which is obviously the #1 thing we all look for in a foundation. Second, it’s in a squeezy tube! This means that a) you can squeeze out the last bit of product when the pump stops dispensing anything, and b) it’s super travel-friendly because there is no worry about breakage as with glass bottles. My only (small) gripe is that the silver does wear off – you can see in my photos that my tube looks pretty beat up even though I haven’t even had it for two months. It got a bit dinged up in my move, but it’s still totally functional. I don’t think this is the most aesthetically beautiful packaging, but from a usability standpoint it’s incredibly well-designed.
The wondrous pump!
This foundation contains an unusual 1.08 fl oz/32 mL of product, as opposed to the industry-standard 1 fl oz/30 mL. Oh well, I’m not going to complain about more product than is standard. At least it’s not a $65 foundation containing a mere 0.84 fl oz/25 mL of product.
Application and Finish
The Your Skin But Better CC Cream* is quite thick: a pump stands in a straight peak rather than spreading out as a thin liquid. Thicker foundations like this don’t always work on my skin, but this applies like a dream with every method I’ve tested and doesn’t feel or look thick. I’ve used my fingers, a damp sponge, and three different foundation brushes – two dense (my Magic Collection Oval brush and the Real Techniques Buffing Brush) as well as the Real Techniques Stipple Brush. I get an easy application and a beautiful finish every time. I absolutely delight in finding foundations that apply quickly and easily with my fingers, because when I’m lazy/in a rush that’s how I apply my foundation. I don’t mind making a little extra effort for a gorgeous finish, but obviously it’s a huge bonus when I know the product is going to work no matter what I do. That’s one of the reasons I love MUFE Ultra HD so damn much.
This foundation has a pretty natural finish, leaning towards dewy. Despite being on the drier side, I don’t love a super dewy foundation and prefer something between satin and dewy. I really like the finish of this product on my skin but wouldn’t want it to be much dewier.
A lot of people on YouTube seem to consider the Your Skin But Better CC Cream* full coverage; I would say it’s a solid medium. Maybe it’s just that it’s high coverage for a CC cream? I’m not one who expects massive coverage out of my base products and even I wouldn’t consider this full. I can build it up where I need it and it doesn’t look heavy or emphasize texture. Recently my nose has started to get super dry, which always signals an impending change in season, and this foundation applies very smoothly over that area, which is always the true test.
One pump of foundation is more than enough for this one – it allows me to do two thinner layers all over my face.
And of course, what we’re all waiting for – the before and after:
Wearing only IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*
And the left-side-of-my-chin test, because that’s my problem area:
Wearing only IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*
You can see that I actually wasn’t dealing with an active breakout here, just a bit of hyperpigmentation from old breakouts. The Your Skin But Better CC Cream* doesn’t completely cover those areas, but it really evens out the skin and looks natural and healthy.
Wearing only It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*
I think this picture really shows the finish. It’s natural, glowy, and skin-like.
For a product that borders on dewy, this wears really well on my skin. My nose is pretty much a lost cause – though it’s dry right now, it’s also the only part of my face that produces oil, making it the worst of both worlds. My foundation always wears off there first. But on the rest of my skin, it looks really great throughout a full 10 hours of wear. It doesn’t break down or look heavy throughout the day. Do keep in mind that my skin is normal to dry, so base products don’t wear as quickly on me as they might on someone with a combo or oily skin type.
It can be difficult for me to get pictures showing 8+ hours of wear time since natural light quality isn’t very good past about 4pm at the moment, but here are some pictures I took last month after 8 hours, which included vigourous sweating. (These were taken after I did my driving test on a super hot day in a car with no AC and then walked 15 minutes home from the subway station – I put it through a fair amount.)
Full face situation. Overall good, but let’s zoom in and be picky.
As I said, on my nose it pretty much wore off completely, which is fine because that always happens. There’s also a bit of bunching of product at the top of my nose and between my brows, but that’s because I was wearing my glasses all day and that’s just the way life works. On days when I wear contacts I don’t experience that.
There’s a bit of bunching around my nose, but otherwise it looks pretty much impeccable across my cheeks. Yay!
Other Things to Note
The Your Skin But Better CC Cream* has an SPF of 50+, which is really high for a base product. Personally I still wear SPF underneath it because I can almost guarantee that to actually get SPF 50 out of this you’d have to apply way more than you’d ever want to. As with most if not all base products with SPF, this is a physical sunblock – containing titanium dioxide and zinc – meaning that it will cause a white cast when it comes to flash photography. It also may look ashy on darker skintones due to the physical SPF, though I can’t speak from personal experience there. Honestly, I could do without the SPF in this one; because I don’t think I’m really getting SPF 50 coverage I use a sunscreen underneath it so it makes it redundant, and it’s not super versatile because I wouldn’t wear it to any event where there might be flash photography. I guess SPF in base products is good for those who won’t wear a separate SPF, but I find it kind of annoying personally. It’s a shame because otherwise this foundation has a beautiful finish and photographs really well in natural lighting conditions.
This product has a pretty strong citrus scent. If you’ve smelled Bite Beauty lipsticks it’s quite similar to that. I don’t mind the scent and don’t find it lingers, but I’m against strong fragrance in makeup on principle. If you’re sensitive to scent maybe avoid this one.
Despite its limited shade range, I think the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream* is a really wonderful product that completely deserves its hype in the makeup community. It hits all the right notes for me: it’s easy to apply, looks beautiful on my skin, and wears impressively. Although the SPF50 and citrus fragrance are flaws, this is still a product that is extremely useful for my everyday life and that I will use up happily and even consider repurchasing.
The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream retails for $49 CAD for 1.08 fl oz/32 mL of product, or $44.95 per fl oz/$1.53 per mL. Canadians can now purchase it at Sephora.
If you’re interested in picking a tube for yourself, IT Cosmetics kindly provided me with a 10% off code for use on itcosmetics.ca. Just enter ITGIRLCLEMENTINE at checkout by October 31. I don’t receive any commission on your purchase!
Okay, I’ll be frank with you right off the bat. I have four foundations and that stresses me out. Up until, like, six months ago, I was a strictly one foundation kind of gal. I went through a bottle every six months and liked to feel like I could use my product up before it went bad. But then a lot of things happened and I ended up buying more foundation than I ever needed. But my concealer, primer, and powder is under control, so there’s that.
The only primer I have a deluxe sample size of the Paul and Joe Illuminating Primer. Usually I use it mixed into foundation instead of as a primer. It’s alright, but I won’t repurchase it or a similar product when I run out. So far I haven’t found a primer that does a damn thing for me!
NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia: I have always maintained that this is a finnicky foundation which gives a very nice finish on my skin. However, in the last month or so my skin has stopped liking this product as much. I’m not sure why – I’m not any dryer than normal. I have been liking it mixed with other foundations, though, so that’s how I’m soldiering on with it. I’m sad, though, that some unknown force abruptly changed how this foundation worked for me, because it was going well for a good while.
Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation in 110: This is a thin, watery formula that dries to a matte, powder finish. Though I’m normal to dry, this works decently on my skin. I don’t know that somebody who is truly dry would enjoy it very much. What I really like about this is the shade: it’s more yellow-toned than pink (which can be hard to find in fair foundations) and it’s the palest foundation I own. It’s definitely the best shade match I’ve found at the drugstore. I think this is a really great affordable foundation option for those with normal to combination skin. It’s not amazing, but in a world where L’Oreal wants me to pay $22 for their foundation I’m down to spend $10.99 on this one. (It goes on sale for $5.99 and $6.99 frequently, too!)
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation in Y210: I am a big fan of this foundation. It gives a medium, natural-looking coverage and it works on my skin throughout the year. I don’t have to fuss with it or mix it to make it work; I can apply it with my hands, multiple brushes, and a sponge; it’s just a no brainer for me. The shade Y210 is my best foundation match out of anything I’ve ever tried.
The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation in 1.1N: I appreciate this foundation quite a lot. Because of its lightweight texture it’s great for casual, minimal makeup days. It applies easily just like the MUFE Ultra HD. It feels comfortable on the skin and it’s a good colour match for me, too. Staying power isn’t excellent, so I keep this one on reserve for times when I don’t have a full day of wear ahead of me.
Recycling this picture from my Serum Foundation review, for reference:
L-R: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in Y215, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in R210 (my old shade), NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia, and Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless in 110. This picture is slightly underexposed.
NYX Color Correcting Palette: I bought this because I needed a good salmon-toned corrector to help conceal my eyebrows for Halloween. It did the job, but I don’t really care for the product otherwise. The salmon colour does actually do a great job hiding undereye circles, but it creases quickly and doesn’t layer well under concealer. I’ve used the green a few times too on angry red blemishes and I just felt like I had to layer on more concealer on top to get rid of the green cast.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly: I’m not really sure about the name of this concealer, because I get a distinctly matte finish. It covers and brightens my undereyes like nothing else, but it does look quite dry after a few hours of wear. It’s a touch too light to use on the rest of my face. I’m glad I indulged my curiosity, because I know that I will not require a $36 concealer every 6 months.
Maybelline Master Conceal in Fair: I really like this concealer; it has good coverage, it’s blendable, and it lasts well on my skin. It works underneath my eyes and on zits. The colour is slightly pinker than my skintone, but once it’s blended in the discrepancy is not noticeable. I also really like the squeeze-tube packaging; I hate using doe-foot applicators on my blemishes because I think it’s unsanitary and just plain gross.
This loose powder bears absolutely no clues as to its origin, but I think it’s quite nice. I like to use this with my more satin-to-matte foundations and just dust it loosely across my t-zone. When I want to really set and mattify I use the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Translucent. I don’t go through powder quickly so it’ll be some time before I’m done this one; I’ve had it for around a year at this point with no sign of pan at all. I think it’s a pretty nice powder, but I’ll move on when I do finally use it up. I’d like to use something a bit creamier and with sturdier packaging. The Stay Matte packaging could not be worse if Rimmel tried.
I have a feeling I’ll be halving my foundation collection before I move in September, but I think in terms of the other categories of base products I’m doing pretty well. My next inventory post will be something a bit more interesting; I just wanted to get this boring one out of the way!
Posted on May 08, 2017 under Reviews
I’ve been using and enjoying The Ordinary’s inexpensive, no frills skincare since last year, so when I saw that they were launching two foundations for practically pennies I found it hard to resist despite the fact that I don’t really need more foundation. They’ve been backlogged with orders for both the Serum Foundation and the Coverage Foundation, but I happened to pop into the Deciem store on Queen Street a few weeks back to find a fully-stocked selection of both. After some excited swatching, I finally settled on a bottle of the Serum Foundation in the shade 1.1N. My friend Katie, who was visiting, picked up a bottle too when I told her that the product cost a mere $6.70 CAD. (For reference, in Canadian drugstores L’Oreal, Maybelline, and Revlon all have foundations which cost $20 and up, so something that’s well under $10 is truly incredible.)
The shade range of the Serum Foundation seems to be pretty extensive. There are 21 shades with multiple undertones represented. From what I can glean from their colour chart, there do seem to be more extensive, nuanced options for light to medium skintones than for dark skintones, but the range does go quite deep.
I really appreciate the naming system for this foundation. Though I can get behind an interesting or clever product name, for foundation I prefer something descriptive and relative. I don’t know if “true beige” is darker or lighter than “shell beige” or “neutral beige”, nor do I know what the undertones of those shades are. However, I know that 1.1N is neutral and lighter than 2.1Y. The foundations are divided into three base numbers, 1 (for light), 2 (medium) and 3 (dark) and contain a letter or letters which indicate undertone. Many brands don’t denote undertone in their shade names, and when they do you’d be lucky to have a neutral option in addition to warm and cool. The Serum Foundation comes with a whopping six undertones: Neutral, Pink, Yellow, Red, Neutral Silver, and Yellow Gold. I’m not sure how this will play out for olive skin.
I chose the shade 1.1N, which is “fair neutral”. I would say that it leans a bit yellow, which I’ve found I like in a foundation. I am honestly amazing at matching myself to foundation based on the back of my hand; this is a great match for me. There are three shades in the 1.0 range for those fairer than me. As someone who is quite fair, I don’t always have the luxury of choice in undertones, so I appreciate that there are quite a few fair shade options with different undertones. I do wish that this luxury was afforded to the deeper tones. There’s quite a subtle gradiation from the lightest to more medium shades, with larger jumps between the darker shades. Dark skin comes in many variations and this should be represented in shade ranges.
Swatches for shade reference! L-R: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in Y215 (my current best shade match), Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in R210 (my old shade), NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia, and Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless in 110 (my fairest foundation). The underside of my arm is fairer than my face so these swatches might look a bit dark/orange. I also underexposed the picture so you could see them a bit better.
In terms of packaging, I have no major complaints. It isn’t the most beautiful packaging, but it’s functional and frankly much more attractive than plenty of drugstore offerings. And, really, when you’re paying $6.70 for a foundation, I don’t think you can complain if the packaging isn’t exquisitely beautiful. The foundation comes in a matte plastic bottle, which, while not as luxurious as NARS’ frosted glass, is extremely travel-friendly. The bottle is small and, unlike most foundations on the market, doesn’t try to convince you that it contains more product than it does. Compared to all the other foundations I have, this one is the least bulkily-packaged, though all four bottles in the image above contain 30mL/1 fl oz of product.
It also has a pump, which I think we can all appreciate. Now that we know that a brand can put out a foundation with a pump for $6.70, can we just agree that there is NO EXCUSE for any foundation to NOT have a pump in this day and age? I will say that the pump is pretty crude; it’s hard to press it down only halfway. The best you can do is to press it lightly, at which point a bit splutters out, and just keep doing this until you have the approximate amount you want. It’s that technique or just suck it up and go for a full pump. There’s also no cap, which does cut down on the travel-friendliness of the product. Also, the matte black stains with product a bit; you can wipe it down but there will always be remnants of foundation on the bottle. I don’t really mind this, personally, but some people might be sticklers for having clean products.
As you would expect, the Serum Foundation has a very light, fluid texture. It’s very spreadable, so you don’t much to cover your whole face. One pump is enough to cover my entire face and build up a second layer where I need it, which is generally on my chin and along my jawline. Lately I’ve come to realize that describing coverage is difficult, since we all have different needs. I’ve seen some people referring to this foundation as akin to a tinted moisturizer, but I think you can get low medium coverage out of it. That said, with the exception of a few hormonal zits and the ensuing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, I don’t have much to cover, so I may not be the best judge of coverage level.
No makeup. I’ve prepped with moisturizer.
With one pump of The Ordinary Serum Foundation, applied in two thin layers.
Here are some closer before-and-after shots:
You can see an obvious evenness to my skin, but the foundation doesn’t fully cover my freckles/zits/hyperpigmentation.
I have normal to dry skin which right now is more on the dry side due to the change of seasons. I find the Serum Foundation easy to work with, and it clings only minimally to the underside of my nose which is undetectable under regular life conditions. My forehead is another problem zone when it comes to foundations that are too drying, and I didn’t experience any issues blending it across my forehead with a brush, a damp sponge, or my fingers. The finish is natural, but more on the dewy side than matte.
The Serum Foundation is not super long-lasting. I wore this on an uncharacteristically hot day at the end of April, and it did look pretty heavy when mixed with my sweat. But under regular weather conditions I don’t find that it cakes up; it just doesn’t wear for a terribly long time. I’d put this around the 4-hour mark before it starts to wear off my nose (which every foundation does, to be fair) and look shiny. This won’t be one I wear for my long retail workdays!
Here it is after about nine and a half hours of wear, which included a full 8-hour day in retail:
Obviously, ignore the evening lighting – despite this you can see that it’s fairly shiny. I’d probably want to blot this one and powder halfway through my day, which I don’t always have a chance to do when I’m working.
Based on how this performs on my skin, I’d wager that the oily-skinned among us won’t love this. Personally I see this as a casual foundation, one I’d pull out when I don’t want to do a full face of makeup and don’t need it to last a terribly long time. It’s like… a hungover brunch with friends product, I would say.
I’ve very recently gotten into cocktailing my foundations, and the Serum Foundation works great for this purpose. Half a pump of this with one pump of NARS All Day Luminous Weightless is perfection. I love the finish and longevity of ADLW, but it’s finnicky to make work on my dry skin. The Serum Foundation makes it apply much more smoothly but keeps the essential properties of ADLW that I enjoy. It’s also nice enough with MUFE Ultra HD, although I don’t find Ultra HD hard to work with so I don’t really feel the need to mix it, generally.
I think the Serum Foundation is a solid first foundation outing from The Ordinary. Neither packaging nor product are perfect, but I’ve been really enjoying it over the past few weeks and it’s nice to have an easy, lightweight option for everyday wear. I’ll be out of cosmetics retail in a few months and I won’t have such a need for fuller coverage, longer-wearing foundations, and I can see this one having a lot more use in my return to student life. If you’re on the dryer side and prefer a lightweight, lighter coverage foundation, this one might be worth a few bucks.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation can be ordered on the Deciem website (though they do have a backlog of orders!) or picked up at any of the standalone Deciem stores. Maybe. I’ve heard all the Toronto stores are sold out currently, so you might have to be tenacious.