Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation Review + Swatches Dark Skin

Read ALL about my review process including how I take swatches, photos, and more here.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation

In a world where it seems everyone wants to be as matte as possible, it’s refreshing to now have this new surge of luminous and serum foundations. BECCA came through with the Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation, Stila has the Aqua Glow Serum Foundation (look out for my review soon), and now there’s Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation.

As someone with oily skin, I typically steer clear of foundations with any iteration of “luminous” in the name because I know good and well that glow can quickly turn to grease on me…lol. But some of the latest luminous foundations are more lightweight and seem to give a more controlled luminous glow.

Official description:

What it is:
A sheer-to-medium, buildable coverage foundation that creates a soft, candlelit glow on skin—day or night.

What it does:
Laura Mercier always dreamed of inventing a foundation that recreated the atmosphere of a candlelit room. Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation is a mosaic of nature’s most luminous natural ingredients that gives skin a glowing look anytime day or night. A calibrated blend of radiant-pearl mica, embedded in an ultra-lightweight formula, mimics the reflective radiance of just lit candles. The mica mélange fuses with refreshing purified water that leaves skin with a burst of hydration and helps foundation glide onto skin for lasting smoothness and natural luminosity. Available in 24 shades, this foundation’s luxurious blend of lightweight oils locks in this moisture to leave skin balanced, soft and beautifully ignited.

I LOVE this foundation. Laura Mercier sent over the three deepest shades for review consideration. Much like the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide it’s very hard to tell the difference between the shades when swatched since they look very similar, but here are some official descriptions to help you decipher the difference between each one because they are each VERY different:

TRUFFLE: deep with cool to neutral undertones
CHESTNUT: deep with cool undertones
ESPRESSO: deep with neutral to warm undertones

Truffle and Chestnut are close in shade—though Chestnut is slightly lighter but both have different undertones. Espresso is the deepest of the three. The differences in shades are more apparent when you put it on your face—that’s the only way I could tell Truffle was the closest match for me though it’s a touch too dark but still workable. But I could also get away with wearing Chestnut (give or take a few tweaks with highlighting and contouring) because the formula is lighter with this foundation.

laura mercier candleglow soft luminous foundation truffle chestnut espresso swatches dark skin

Taken in different light with flash to attempt to show the differences in the shades:
laura mercier candleglow soft luminous foundation truffle chestnut espresso swatches dark skin with flash

I do have to be careful with which moisturizer I use when wearing this foundation—one day I had on my winter moisturizer and it turned out to be much warmer out than I thought it was going to be (welcome to unpredictable NYC weather…lol) so I was VERY shiny all day and required a ton of touching up. A primer (like Murad Invisiblur) would have helped me in that situation. Then when I tried it again I wore my Murad Oil Control Mattifying Lotion and was fine. So basically I wouldn’t need to do much manipulation when I’m wearing Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation in colder weather but once it starts to warm up (I’m talking 55 degrees and warmer), I’d need to add primer or a mattifier—which is sometimes the case with most foundations. Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation might not be my best option for my oily skin as a summer foundation (see summer foundation options for dark skin here).

But for now? I LOOOOVE this foundation. It gives my skin such a beautiful healthy glow—like I just got the most amazing facial. It is lighter coverage but you need very little to make it more medium coverage. It was enough to even my skin tone and slightly cover my dark spots—they weren’t as apparent-looking but you could still see them a little if you were staring me down…lol.

A little goes a long way so you don’t need much product to complete your look. I like to use my beautyblender to apply it and then I set it with whatever powder I have handy but it of course works well with Laura Mercier’s own Translucent Loose Setting Powder. I don’t use a ton of powder because I want to keep the luminous finish—I lightly dust and then pay special attention to my T-zone where I get even oilier.

laura mercier candleglow soft luminous foundation dark skin
Foundation pre-highlight/contour and the rest of the beat

Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation in truffle swatch dark skin

Both pics were taken right after application. The less you powder this foundation, the more luminous it will look. It gets even more luminous and glow-y as time passes which I love because it looks like your skin is all perfect BUT that can come off as greasy in some photo situations. If you have oily skin be sure to make note of what I said earlier about moisturizers and primers.

I have a video of me using this in a spring makeup routine—I need to edit it so you can see the foundation in action—that’s coming soon. But in the meantime I’m also wearing it here.

Other makeup I’m wearing in the pics above: (a video tutorial is coming as well as reviews for the newer products—stay tuned)
Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Palette #40 & #50 (to highlight and contour)
Gwen Stefain Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palette
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Kevyn Aucoin Cream Blush in Patrice
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Pencil in Perversion
Nothing on my lips yet
Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ebony

See more foundation reviews and swatches here

Read how to buy the right foundation both in-store and online here

Bottom line: Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation is AMAAAAZING! I’m a foundation junkie so I have a toooon of them in my routine—I like different formulas, finishes, and brands. If you want something with a gorgeous luminous finish and don’t need a ton of coverage, grab a sample next time you’re at Sephora to try before you buy—especially if you fall in the deeper shades.

Price and where to buy: $48 at Sephora (plus 4% cash back when you use eBates)

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About Danielle

A former finance girl, Danielle is a New York City based freelance writer and fashion and beauty expert. She's a Hofstra University and Fashion Institute of Technology grad with an obsession with fashion and beauty which she loves to tell you all about every weekday on her award-winning blog. Think of her as your style and beauty entourage all wrapped up into one bubbly brown package. Danielle's work and expertise can be found in print and across the web in Cosmopolitan for Latinas,, and more! She's also appeared as an on-air style expert on CBS New York's "The Couch" and WPIX11's Savvy Shopper segment.
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4 Responses to Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation Review + Swatches Dark Skin

  1. Fancie says:

    Omg this foundation looks gorgeous on you! Your skin looks like it’s naturally glowing and just flawless. I love it! I’ve been avoiding buying new foundation because I just bought UD Naked Skin and Too Faced Born this Way but these new luminous foundations are killing me. Now I don’t know if I want this or the Becca one lol

  2. Laura Mercier products have always worked great on my skin. I’m going to try this one out.

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