Read ALL about my review process including how I take swatches, photos, and more here.
Welcome back to another TSABD Edit!
For one of the newer kids on the block, Deciem’s The Ordinary Foundation does have a decent shade range. Of course it’s not a 40-shade range like Cover FX or Make Up For Ever or Maybelline or Fenty Beauty and there is of course room for more shades (there always is!), but for a $6 foundation, 21 shades is still awesome. Especially since some of them can be flexible. I picked up the three deepest shades of The Ordinary Serum Foundation and The Ordinary Coverage Foundation to give it a whirl.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation
Serum Foundations are lightweight medium-coverage formulations available in a comprehensive shade range across 21 shades. These foundations offer moderate coverage that looks natural with a very lightweight serum feel. They are very low in viscosity and are dispensed with the supplied pump or with the optional glass dropper available for purchase separately if preferred.
The pigments used in this format are treated for a rich, highly-saturated effect. These pigments are suspended in our proprietary spreadability system that allows pigments to look natural on the skin, resist collecting within fine lines and stay on for longer. The foundations offer a semi-matte finish and are compatible with most primers and are designed to work exceptionally well with the primers offering from The Ordinary.
Read more here
So I personally can really rock with The Ordinary foundations because the packaging is sleek and fits in my goal makeup stash aesthetic. You do have to be careful with how you twist to close the nozzle or you’ll have little foundation leaks which you know of course can get messy. But I do wonder if any tweaking to the packaging would cause the price to increase beyond $6. I can live with it, but if you’re a super neat freak, you might find it irritating.
Now because The Ordinary Serum foundation is lightweight, there is some more flexibility in the shades, meaning more people can probably work the deeper shades (I would think though that for *some* people, the deepest shade 3.3N might need a little warmth added to it which can be done with something like the NYX Pro Foundation Mixer).
I did my video demo with 3.2R but later on once I played around with the shades more, I realized I could get away with either 3.2N or 3.2R (I have neutral undertones but can sometimes lean a teeny bit red in undertones). It’s a lighter weight formula so I can vary between the two although I don’t mind the red in the 3.2R.
I loved the formula! It gives a beautiful “my skin but better” look to it but note that if this is the look you’re going for without having to do a lot of other techniques and use a lot of other products, The Ordinary Serum Foundation is going to work best on those who don’t have major texture or pigmentation issues to begin with.
It also has great staying power. I tested this when we were still getting summer-like weather in NYC. I had some shine breakthrough and needed to touch-up throughout the day, but I really liked how it looked. (Make sure your skincare matches with your makeup—read more about that here)
Also note: I set every foundation with powder unless the foundation specifically says it doesn’t need to be set with powder. If you have a drier skin type, depending on the foundation formula you might only need to set in your T-zone area.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation Video Demo:
(this video has no sound)
Bottom line: I was pretty impressed with The Ordinary Serum Foundation. I loved the performance and your-skin-but-better look and feel. I was also impressed with the 21-shade range. Yes, there is a lot of room to add more shades and undertones but looking at the range tells me they weren’t trying to exclude a huge section of people by only having beige shades. If you don’t have a ton of skin concerns you want to cover and want a foundation with a skin-like look and feel AND you can find a good shade match, this is nice to try. I mean, shoot $6 and it’s decent!
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
Coverage Foundations are full-coverage formulations available in a comprehensive shade range across 21 shades. These foundations contain higher pigment levels than our Serum Foundations but still offer a smooth finish that avoids the heavy makeup look that can make skin appear more aged. The texture is that of a lightweight, non-oily cream.
The pigments used in these formulations are treated for a rich, highly-saturated effect. These pigments are suspended in our proprietary spreadability system that allows pigments to look natural on the skin, resist collecting within fine lines and stay on for longer. The foundations offer a semi-matte finish and are compatible with most primers and are designed to work exceptionally well with the primers offering from The Ordinary.
Because The Ordinary Coverage Foundation is a full-coverage formula, it’s not going to be flexible in terms of shade color like the Serum foundation. You want to make sure you get the right shade match here because since it’s so pigmented, it’ll be very obvious if you have the wrong shade. 3.2N looked a little ashy on me along my jawline (which makes sense because my face is a little darker there) and 3.2R was a teeny bit too red. I could salvage both with highlighting and contouring though and/or perhaps tweaking them with a product like NYX Pro Foundation Mixer.
But I do love the coverage—you just have to be careful because if you add too much you can get a fake doll-like finish on your skin (but hey, if you like that look, go for it). I had to dab a little more on my forehead to cover a dark spot I have there. Make sure you properly blend this out or you could have areas that look streaky. Overall I’m impressed with the coverage and wear. This is going to look more matte and of course have more coverage than the Serum foundation.
I also tested this when we were still getting summer weather in NYC and it performs well. I had some minor oil breakthrough but nothing to be mad at. One day of testing I did a side by side with the Serum on one side of my face and the Coverage on the other. Both maintained well but the Coverage side looked and stayed more matte.
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation Video Demo:
(this has no sound)
Bottom line: You definitely want to make sure you have a good shade match in The Ordinary Coverage Foundation or it’ll be very obvious that the shade and/or undertones are off because of how pigmented the formula is. Out of the two The Ordinary foundations, Coverage is definitely the one for more “beat” makeup looks. If you have a great shade match and like a matte, full-coverage formula (that also feels lightweight), this is worth a try. Otherwise if the shade match isn’t right, this foundation can make your skin look you’re not well.