Ever Matte SPF 15 Oil-Free Skin Balancing Foundation

by Clarins  
Price:
$35 
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Category:
Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen > Liquid Foundation w/ Sunscreen
Last Updated:
4/29/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This liquid foundation has a beautifully fluid, silky texture that feels wonderfully light and blends readily. Blending must be quick, as this sets to a soft, powder-like matte finish in seconds. The finish holds up quite well, but those with very oily skin won’t see the hours of shine control Clarins promises. This foundation provides sheer to light coverage that looks natural, not flat or mask-like.

Sun protection is provided from pure titanium dioxide, though the amount (2.3%) is on the low side for robust UVA protection, so this isn’t the wisest bet as your sole source of anti-aging sun protection.

Drawbacks include the fragrance and the amount of alcohol, which you’ll likely smell as you blend this. The alcohol poses a risk of irritation, though most likely the amount used is low enough to make it a minor issue. Still, why tolerate it at all when there are many fluid foundations with sunscreen that omit this troublesome ingredient?

Turning to the shades, as usual, most of them are excellent and suitable for fair (but not porcelain) to tan skin tones. If you decide to look past the alcohol and fragrance issues, the shades to consider carefully include Wheat and Amber. Both are workable but slightly peach. Avoid Chestnut, a darker shade that’s notably rosy and does not resemble real skin. Cream, Beige, Sand, and Toffee are great for light skin tones.

Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide 2.3%; Other Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, PEG/PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Methyl Trimethicone, Silica, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Glycerin, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Limonia Acidissma Wood Powder, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum/Fragrance, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dianthus Carthusanorum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Dimethiconol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Algin, Acacia Senegal Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Chrysin. May Contain: Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Mica

Clarins is a distinctively French line whose beginnings go back to 1954. It was then that founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins began formulating plant-based treatments for his clients. He parlayed this into a Beauty Institute, and from there, with an all-natural mantra that was slightly ahead of its time, the business grew. Never wavering from its original marketing angle, Clarins has steadfastly held on to the belief that whatever grows from the ground and smells nice must be the cure for every skin ailment, from breakouts to loss of firmness to the dreaded "sponginess" of cellulite. A visit to today's white- and red-trimmed Clarins counter confirms that the plant-based, natural-extract rhetoric is still intact, and the counter staff is eager to discuss it (yet ask them what some of the non-plant, unnatural ingredients are doing in their products and you may be met with a blank stare).

You'll also find that Clarins routinely offers facial appointments at their counters, yet more often than not these appointments, which are done behind a privacy screen, are about selling products, not about performing a legitimate facial. (For example, cleansing, toning, and facial massage are included, while extractions are not.) One other point of difference you may hear about is the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex. First added to their products in 1991, this Complex consists of a group of plant extracts — though what they may be is a mystery, since all manner of plant extracts show up in these products, with few repeats. This "high-performing" protection is supposed to shield skin from pollutant gases, corrosive particles, and industrial emissions. Although that sounds good, it's not true and there isn't a shred of proof to the contrary (Clarins research is unpublished). Plant extracts, alone or in combination — regardless of the remote locations they may come from — cannot keep pollution off the skin. If anything, the amount of fragrance in these products can weaken the skin's defense mechanisms, resulting in more damage from the pollution our skin encounters daily.

This line is enormous, and is absolutely one of the most cumbersome around. Within it, the assortment of plant extracts ranges from the usual to the exotic and ultimately to the no-one-knows-what-in-the-heck-these-are! Clarins has something for every skin concern imaginable—from keeping pollution off the face (not possible) to lifting a sagging jaw line (not possible without surgery), and even protecting skin from electromagnetic waves (give me a break). It would seem there is nothing these supposedly miraculous products can't do! And you'll find a horde of plants here with the promise that this can really all come true.

However, once you're armed with even a modicum of ingredient knowledge and a fair helping of myth-busting, you'll realize how ridiculously out of whack all of this hype is. That's not to imply that all of these products are bad—there are good ones—or that all of the plant extracts aren't good—because many are very good anti-irritants, antioxidants, emollients, or antibacterial agents. However, many plant extracts are also potential allergens or skin irritants. Clarins also has its fair share of ordinary, standard, and completely unnecessary products whose claims are at best misleading and at worst downright false, and overall the products are incredibly overpriced for what you get. What is most startling is the redundancy among the Clarins products. There are few differences, for example, between the moisturizers and the mask cleansers, and the oil-control products are more reruns than they are new alternatives for skin care.

Note: All Clarins products contain fragrance.

For more information about Clarins, call (866) 252-7467 or visit www.clarins.com.

Clarins Makeup

Clarins showcases its prodigious skin-care products so prominently that you may not have noticed that their excellent makeup collection has become even more impressive. Evaluating Clarins makeup is 180 degrees different from evaluating the lackluster and confusing assortment of skin-care products they sell. When it comes to foundations, powders, and lipsticks, texture is critically important. Luckily, this is where Clarins color line excels, despite premium prices and going a bit overboard with fragrance. Their foundations are marvelous, the lone concealer is much better than their former attempts in this area, and every powder-based product feels incomparably silky while looking stunningly smooth on skin. (Keep in mind, however, that even the best makeup looks only as good as the skin on which it is applied.) Giving Lancome and Dior a run for their money, Clarins' mascaras are surprisingly good, and at least their lipsticks feel as rich as you'll need to be to afford repeat purchases. You don't need to spend this much money to get beautiful results and stellar products, but if your budget allows you to fill your makeup bag with department-store products, Clarins' nicely organized makeup display should be one of your first stops.

Clarins likes to promote that many of their foundations contain a special anti-pollution complex to safeguard your skin. Don't believe it for a second, because there is no way to completely shield skin from the effects of pollution and antioxidants. Besides, the kinds of ingredients that can reduce, not block or eliminate, pollution-based free-radical formation are rarely included in Clarins makeup.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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