Go For the Gold – Serum Style

I immediately shot off a text to my beauty-obsessed bestie. "Oh, gosh," I gushed. "This. Serum. Foundation! I'm a goner. I'm never going back."

June 24, 2015
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Not-so-secret confession: I’m a makeup junkie, and I’ve tried everything.

I know the best shades of pink/red/coral/nude lipstick, which tinted moisturizers have the best texture, and what primers actually extend the wear of your foundation — while also providing that ultra-radiant glow we all covet.

And I don’t discriminate. My makeup drawer houses favorites from Revlon, NARS, CoverFX, Smashbox, Laura Mercier, Neutrogena, Dior and more. If a $7 drugstore product is better than a $50 cult classic, I’ll rock it proudly — and it generally takes a lot to shake me out of my tried-and-true standbys, and get me on board a trend bandwagon.

Which is why my initial reaction to trendy serum foundation was so unusual. I smoothed Dior Diorskin Nude Air onto my face and had a “WHOA” moment.

I immediately shot off a text to my beauty-obsessed bestie. “Oh, gosh,” I gushed. “This. Serum. Foundation! I’m a goner. I’m never going back.”

While I still rock tinted moisturizer and oil-free foundation to save my skin, for special occasions, serum foundation is my jam. In case you’re unfamiliar with this latest cosmetic incarnation, here’s how to wear it, which type to choose, and the general 4-1-1:

Serum foundations looks like just like a clear serum; many come in glass bottles with liquid droppers. These gems are generally oil and silicone-centered formulas instead of the watery or powdery creations. “It appears like serum, just with coverage,” says celebrity makeup artist Marni Burton. “AKA, it’s a different texture than other foundations.” With application, the effect is liquidy smooth color that glides on, as the oil melts into skin and blurs imperfections.

Perhaps the best part of the whole serum-foundation deal is how you apply it: In my opinion, literally, it’s the only thing you need. Great formulas are long lasting, and do not require setting powder. You don’t need other tools or products for complexion correction.

“It’s important to use on bare skin for a smooth finish, as prepping your skin with moisturizer under can make it look streaky,” Burton says. ” It can be applied quickly with fingers, instead of a brush, and your skin still looks lifted.”

One step, and that’s it. A little goes a long way for coverage and glow.

The one drawback — there’s always one, right? — is that serum foundation can clog pores, cause breakouts or irritate sensitive skin types, especially if it’s oil-based. This is why these products are in my rotation, and I don’t necessarily use them everyday; while I love them, I don’t love acne flare-ups…

There are a lot of serum foundations popping up, from drugstore finds to pricier options. Burton says her go-to is Yves Saint Laurent Youth Liberator Serum Foundation. I’d also highly recommend Dior Diorskin Nude Air, if money is no object or you’re okay with the occasional cosmetic splurge.

If you’re on a budget, try Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation for a look that’s more matte, or L’Oreal’s Visible Lift Serum Absolute Foundation for extra hydration and easy blending.

A final hint?

Along with my serum foundation, I like to add a natural pop of color to the apples cheeks with a liquid cheek stain. Try Dior Cheek & Lip Glow or Benefit Benetint for complete, smooth complexion perfection.

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