I've been blogging for almost 2 years now and it's hard to believe that I haven't once talked about a cream foundation stick! This changes today, though! I have a couple of them from different brands but for this post I'll start off with one of the more popular ones — the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick!
From my understanding, the tube that I have is a reformulated version (launched in 2014). The old version was introduced to the market back in 1992 (almost 23 years ago!) and it was supposedly the first-ever cream foundation stick of its kind formulated to skin tone correct while providing a natural finish. Unfortunately I don't have the original formula with me so I cannot compare them for you. My review today is based on the 2014 version only.
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is a cream foundation packaged in a stick format. The product is released upon twisting the base of the tube and is retractable. Upon seeing the tube for the first time, I gasped at its small size! I mean, for the price I expect it to be slightly chubby (like Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick chubby) but I suppose this way it's more portable and I imagine it would fit even in the tiniest makeup bag!
There are 24 shades in the line-up (wowza, I'm pretty sure anyone will find their match!). The color I'm using is 4 Natural which I think is a decent match for me, although I can probably get away with 3.5 Warm Beige, too. Natural has nice, not-too-yellow undertones that once applied, looks absolutely natural on me, and it matches the color on my neck really well. The stick has no scent that I can detect and contains key ingredients as listed below:
- Shea Butter to retain moisture
- Silica to control oil and reduce shine in oily skin, but doesn't dry out dry skin
- Olive Extracts to moisturize the skin leaving it soft and smooth
The cream formula is on the thick side but it glides on the skin amazingly well without tugging. It also doesn't take any effort to blend to a seamless finish! I was actually surprised to see how light it felt on the skin. Having said that, if you experience tugging, or if the product happens to dry out, you may want to warm it up with your fingertips first to melt the texture a little bit before applying.
I start the application by applying the product directly on my skin. I like to apply it in short strokes across my forehead, down my nose, on the inner and outer cheeks, chin, and jaw lines, then buff it all in with a buffing brush such as Tom Ford (review) or Cover FX Cream Foundation Brush, or Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Fingertips work OK, too, but I find the coverage a little cakey sometimes. With a buffing brush, or even a damp sponge, I always get a nice, soft and smooth, more skin-like effect than fingers. I'd describe the finish as a soft satin-matte with very little powdery feel. You can skip setting but I always at least dust loose powder over it. It doesn't provide any obvious glow or illuminating effect. It just makes my skin appear more even-toned, softer, smoother, and overall just looks better, while still feels like skin. I suppose it has something to do with the “clear base” used in the formula (as opposed to white base) to allow for ultimate skin match while placing a thin veil of color-correcting pigments over the skin. It doesn't feel greasy, tacky, or oily afterwards, either. Very nice!
And another nice thing about this stick is, it's so easy to customize the coverage! You know, some days you just want a sheer coverage to even out your complexion a little while still letting your skin breathe, then you can apply the product lightly all over the face, or only on problem spots. But if you want to go all full coverage, just build up! I have quite a few sun spots and acne scars on my cheeks and 2-3 layers of this product takes care most of the concealing for me. I'll still need to go in with a concealer to complete the look but for normal days, 2-3 layers is perfectly enough for me. If you only have just slight redness and/or dark circles to conceal, I'm happy to report that this product cancels them out really well!
As for pores, well, unfortunately it doesn't do well on pores. I find that without using some sort of pore-minimizing primer first, this product has a tendency to pull into pores making them much more visible! I'm not very fond of this but I always prime my face prior to foundation application anyway, so I have no complaints. Also, if you have dry/flaky patches, this product will cling on and highlight those. My advice is to always start off with a fresh, preferably perfectly moisturized skin if possible. It doesn't oxidize during the day and the wear time I'd say is about 6-7 hours before I notice signs of fading.
Now for the major drawback. On my combination to oily T-zone skin, this product does not control oil at all. In fact, it makes my T-zone become so oily much more than usual! I have to blot within a few hours of application or otherwise my nose would become overly oily while the rest of my face is dewy. Those who have oily skin, definitely try a sample first. Maybe have it applied at the counter and walk around the mall for a few hours to see how your skin holds up. My guess is probably the Shea Butter in the formula that contributes to the oily factor. Those with dry skin will probably appreciate this more. The product also touts “water-, sweat-, and humidity-resistant“, well, it's somewhat true! Because when I blot, only a slight amount of product transfers to the blotting sheet.
Despite its inability to keep oils at bay, I still enjoy using the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick due to its extreme ease of use (and it's very fun to use in fact!). It's a swipe-and-blend product so it's never messy or fussy. It's highly portable, perfect for touch-ups, provides excellent coverage, and also doubles as a concealer. I say a product that does all these is totally worth blotting for! ;)