This liquid foundation has a luxuriously smooth, lightweight texture that blends well and sets to a finish that feels matte but looks luminous. It is available in a wide selection of workable shades for light to dark skin tones, of which only Beige Rose 40 and Beige Rose 50 are too pink to recommend.
Even though this foundation has many likable attributes, we cannot give it a higher than average rating because it does not provide broad spectrum sun protection despite the SPF 19 rating—which is essential for the best anti-aging benefits. Any SPF-rated product should contain one or more of these UVA-protecting ingredients listed as "active": avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule), or Tinosorb (Sources: Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, December 2011, pages 81–90; Cosmetic Dermatology, Second Edition, Baumann, Leslie MD, McGraw Hill, 2009, pages 246–252; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Supplement, 2009, pages 19–24; The Encyclopedia of Ultraviolet Filters, Shaath, Nadim A., Allured Publishing, 2007; and Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, October 2003, pages 242–253).
Although this foundation cannot be relied upon as a sole source of sunscreen, it is still a good option for normal to oily skin (assuming you don't mind the luminous finish) if paired with a broad spectrum SPF moisturizer or powder. Of course, all of this is assuming you don't mind this foundation's steep price. If you do, know that there are superior foundations that cost a lot less.
For a list of our top-rated foundations with sunscreen, check out our selection of Best Foundations with Sunscreen.
- Smooth, lightweight texture.
- Blends well and sets to a luminous satin finish.
- Suitable shades for light to dark skin tones.
- The SPF ingredients do not cover the top range of UVA light.
- A couple of shades are too pink to be recommended.
Active: Octinoxate 7% Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Dimethicone, PEG-10, Dimethicone, Sorbitol, Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Polglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Aluminum Hydroxide, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Dipropylene Glycol, Isotridecyl Isononanoate. May contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bismuth Oxychloride
We have never reviewed an expensive cosmetics line with the intent of criticizing it based on the price tags alone. Our standard for reviewing all cosmetics remains the same whether the prices are rock bottom or stratospheric. What cannot be denied is that there are many consumers who just refuse to give up the notion that, in terms of cosmetics, expensive means better. If you're one of those consumers you may have been curious about our take on Yves Saint Laurent's makeup, which by far outshines their skin care.
In the past, as we surveyed the other French-themed lines at the department store (including Lancome, Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain), YSL almost always came in last, barely stepping up to the plate to compete in any category. Lately, we've been pleasantly surprised to find several impressive products, along with some needed improvements for many of their previously lackluster options (whose price-to-performance ratio was depressingly low). YSL still isn't the French line to set your sights on and fill your makeup bag with, but there are enough positives to make a trip to their counter worthwhile, assuming that your budget extends far enough to comfortably afford these items. (Even the best products from this line have less-expensive counterparts, but if you're label-conscious, you should know what to focus on.)
What's not so great is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in products with sunscreen, or SPF ratings that are too low given what we know about the need for a sufficient level of daily sun protection. Adding sunscreen to many of the foundations and lip products was a smart move, but doing so without getting the basics right doesn't get a passing grade. Most of the mascaras are surprisingly average also, yet on the other hand the foundation and powder shade selections have improved considerably. It's this off-kilter blend of outstanding and boring products coupled with steep prices all around that earn this line an "approach with caution" statement. However, careful shopping from YSL will undoubtedly net you some wonderful products you'll be pleased with, at least until the credit card bill comes due!
When it comes to skin care, Yves Saint Laurent relies heavily on its fashion heritage to convince consumers to give these products more than a passing glance. Based on the formulas and outlandish prices, we see no reason for anyone to admire, let alone purchase, most of the skin-care products this brand sells. The claims are nothing short of ridiculous, especially for any YSL product designed to minimize wrinkles or stop sagging. It's good that all of the sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection, but the cost means you'll be replacing them quickly (if you're being diligent about liberal application, as you should be) and, of course, all of them contain wafting fragrance. The moisturizers are much less impressive, but carry some of the most too-good-to-be-true claims imaginable. None of what they're said to do in terms of wrinkles, skin regeneration, firming, and sculpting skin is the least bit reliable, though many of the moisturizers have luxurious textures.
What's missing is a focused approach to provide skin with what it really needs to thrive and remain healthy. Some of the basics are covered, but antioxidants are seemingly an afterthought, water-binding agents and skin-identical substances are mostly lacking, and once again fragrance takes precedence over advanced ingredients with substantiated research to support their use. If your skin-care routine must involve a designer brand, you'd be better off shopping Chanel and only considering YSL for the makeup products they have that, cost notwithstanding, are worthy of the attention they get in, where else, fashion magazines.
For more information about Yves Saint Laurent, call 800-399-0929 or visit www.ysl.com.