Color Instincts Foundation falls in line with other "skin-intuitive" makeup products that start out white, but change color once applied to the skin. Only three shades are available, because each shade (light, light/medium, and medium) is supposed to "instinctively" adjust depending on your skin tone—which, of course, it can't; no product can know what skin color you have. Each shade starts out white with tiny brownish beads, and as it's blended the beads burst, revealing the color. Each shade has a set amount of pigment that is similar to that of a tinted moisturizer, and each provides sheer to medium coverage.
This foundation goes on as a silky liquid and sets to a powdery finish, making it best for normal to oily skin. The color matches may prove difficult for very light or very dark skin, but testers are available in most stores. Just keep in mind that the visual trickery isn't this foundation magically adjusting to your skin tone; either the shade you're considering will work or it won't, same as for every other foundation.
Formula-wise, we're pleased to report that this contains some good antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients, and it's fragrance-free.
- Blends well.
- Provides sheer to medium coverage and an even application.
- Fragrance-free and contains beneficial antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
- Limited shade selection; no very light or dark options available.
Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG/PPG 18/18 Dimethicone, Boron Nitride, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Squalane, Glycerin, Phytantriol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Palmitic Acid, Stearoyl Inulin, Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Triethyl Citrate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Propylene Carbonate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tribehenin, Ceramide 2, PEG- 10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Lysine, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Extract, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, May Contain (+/-), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
Since Ulta was founded in 1990, the company has continued to carve out a unique position as a specialty beauty store by offering a large selection of upscale and drugstore cosmetics in all price ranges, all under one roof. There are currently over 480 Ulta locations across the United States, and, like Sephora, Ulta sells its own product line right alongside more familiar brands such as Revlon and philosophy.
The Ulta Collection offers a variety of basic makeup products, from foundation to eye shadow to lip gloss. Nearly all items in the Ulta Collection are inexpensive, and its lower price point is a major draw.
As with most cosmetics lines, Ulta has its share of good and bad products. Thankfully, the shelves of the in-store displays are well stocked with testers for each product—much like a department store setup—making it reasonably easy to find appropriate color matches and to play with the products before committing to a purchase.
Among Ulta's better products are everyday basics like their Cheek Color, Fabulous Face Compact Foundation, Fabulous Face Pressed Powder, and Extreme Wear Lip Stain Pen. The sheer and cream lipsticks are worth trying, too, but steer clear of Ulta's shimmer-finish lipstick, as its finish tends to feel gritty. Ulta also sells some great mascaras, including waterproof formulas.
As for Ulta's large selection of eyeshadow, the quality is inconsistent, especially when it comes to texture and how they apply, even among different shades in the same category. The best way to shop this line is to pay attention to which products we've reviewed favorably and to take extra time to play with the products in-store.
For more information about Ulta Beauty, call 866-983-8582, or visit www.ulta.com.
Note: Several Ulta stores we visited had poorly maintained tester units. They were either dirty or dusty, or severely lacking adequate testers. This was disappointing because several other brands in the same store had immaculately maintained displays, while Ulta’s own brand was in various states of disarray, as if the staff simply didn’t care.