Makeup Forever HD Foundation Review: invisible cover for film & photography
The Makeup Forever HD Foundation has been in my kit ever since I’ve became a professional Makeup Artist. I’ve been using it on myself and my clients, for weddings, photography and film for more than five years now.
Over the years, I’ve tried more than my share of foundations, from high-end to professional. I’ve liked a great deal of them and included them in my makeup kit. Still, none have replaced MUFE’s HD Invisible Cover. I love it to the moon and back because it sits well (pun intended) with most of my clients, on a wide variety of complexions and skin types, it photographs beautifully and still looks amazing in natural light.
It’s strange that I’ve never thought about doing a review on this until now, since I have so much experience with the product and I’m very familiar with the shade range. I guess I’ve imagined that ever since it’s been available at Sephora worldwide, lots of people would try it and be amazed, without any need for my opinion.
Turns out, there is quite some controversy regarding Makeup Forever HD Foundation, as it usually goes with hypes. Quite often, once people start raving about a product, they build its popularity and start getting even more people interested. All of a sudden, the said product gets so many mixed reviews from so many different types of people – with or without experience with makeup – that you begin to think whether this is one of those “love it or hate it” situations.
While some share my love for this product, others found it to be a bad choice for oily skin or too cakey, notions that are – more than often – contradicting when it comes to foundations. My main concern here is that some of the bad rep that MUFE’s HD has gotten derives from people that don’t apply it properly or that fail to prep the skin before applying their makeup.
Because of this, I’ve set out to share with you my experience with Makeup Forever’s HD Foundation in this review. The pros, the cons and the in-between makeup tips that make this product work great even if you or your client have oily skin, acne, scars, dry skin, freckles, redness or any other skin concern. Keep on reading!
Makeup Forever HD Foundation
Anyone who’s into makeup knows that Makeup Forever is one of the best professional brands out there, alongside MAC. You’ve heard of their amazing HD complexion range – primer, foundation, powder, as well as their pigmented eye shadows, their waterproof Aqua Cream shadows or their Star Powders.
As a freelance Makeup Artist, non-associated with any makeup brand, I treasure the fact that I can choose to include any product in my kit and speak candidly about everything I try and use. However, it’s normal to have preferences – 70% of my kit consists of MUFE and MAC. I can do countless looks by using just the products from one of these brands.
That’s because for me, the most important part of a beautiful makeup is the complexion. Products like Makeup Forever HD Foundation and HD Powder, MAC’s Face & Body and Blot Powder, the Full Cover Concealers from MUFE on one side and the Studio Conceal and Correct Palette from MAC on the other are some of the best tools available to achieve a beautiful, radiant complexion. They’re my all time favorites, so if you’re interested in a review on either of them, let me know in the comment section.
I’ll probably bring the spotlight on all of these in the near future, since they’re all must have products for professional and personal use, in my opinion. Until then, let’s get into the matter at hand and see what all the fuss is about…Makeup Forever HD foundation.
As high-definition video began to replace standard-definition and basically all content was made available in higher resolution and quality, makeup products had to change as well to appear more natural. As pan-cakes replaced the theatrical makeup known as greasepaint, so did HD makeup made the powdered, cakey look of traditional foundations a distant memory.
But why did the invisible cover of the HD foundation become something of importance to the general public and not just something that makeup artists use for film and photography?
Well, we live in a world where #Selfies are the norm, everyone is at all times ready to take a photo and post it on social networks for the world to see. The “No Makeup” makeup is more popular than ever and everybody wants to look natural to the naked eye, like they’re not wearing any makeup at all. Behind that craved look, however, there are layers upon layers of HD foundation, contouring and highlighting, concealers and blushers, not to mention eye makeup.
The makeup products of the future are finally here and, as professional brands like Make Up For Ever go mainstream though Sephora, everybody wants a piece of the pie.
Plus, a little celebrity endorsement from Kim Kardashian never hurts. The reality star gives credit to this foundation for her flawless complexion.
Makeup Forever HD Foundation Review
What sets Makeup Forever HD Foundation apart from all others I’ve tried is the perfect combination of coverage and natural finish. Created to be invisible on HD cameras and to the naked eye, this product is great for film, photography, special events as well as daytime wear.
coverage & finish
It’s a medium to full coverage foundation, that’s easily buildable. One layer stippled with a brush neutralizes redness and covers blemishes and mild skin imperfections, whilst two fine layers are enough to camouflage dark spots, acne, even scars.
Applied with a wet Beauty Blender or a sponge, this foundation is pigmented enough to conceal any skin concern you may have. This foundation doesn’t look heavy at all, it bestows a natural matte finish that looks incredibly like real skin. However, I always prefer to use a fine layer of foundation and spot correct any imperfections with concealer.
Its formula blurs imperfections and catches light, intensifying the glow of the skin. I call it satin-matte and I find it most resembles natural skin. The soft focus effect makes it look incredible under any lighting, which is why I use it daily on myself, for outdoor and indoor shoots, for film and commercials and on all my brides.
All the DOPs and photographers I’ve worked with during the years tell me they love how the skin photographs and that there is little to no work left to do post production. What does this mean for you? So long, Instagram filters!
This is an oil-free, water and silicone based foundation, that causes no breakouts and prevents oil buildup throughout the day. I’ve used them on many different skin types and on a variety of skin textures – on 16 year old models for magazine covers and photo shoots, as well as on mature skin for events and special occasions.
I’ve never experienced itches, breakouts or any skin irritations with this product with any of my clients, however with some sensitive skin types, it’s best safe to check the ingredients list and avoid a formula that might cause skin reactions.
Here is a list of ingredients, for those with sensitive skin to check out:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Talc, Mica, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauroyl Lysine, Glyceryl Caprylate, Methylpropanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Chlorphenesin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Propylene Carbonate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Benzoic Acid, [+/- CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)].
application – recommendations for dry, normal or oily skin
The Makeup Forever HD Foundation has a light, fluid texture. Applied properly, the skin feels smooth, elastic and moisturized. Like a second skin, it’s a pleasure to wear. You look and feel great!
I can’t remember how it felt when I first applied it, but now that I’m familiar with the product, I can say it’s really blendable. I always apply it with a stippling brush – either the F82 round Kabuki from Sigma, the buffing brush from Real Techniques or 130 stippling brush from MAC – and it just melts into the skin. I start from the center of the face and find it really easy to blend the product at the edges of the face, on the jaw line, towards the neck.
This product is so light and fluid, that it’s said it can also be applied with an air brush. I didn’t try it, so I couldn’t say. However, its formula works really well with Temptu adjusters, which I sometimes use to dilute the product to make thinner or adjust the undertone.
Another plus is that a small amount of foundation is enough to cover the entire face. Used every day, the one I use on myself lasts about 6 months, in my opinion the perfect amount of time.
Regardless of other reviews I’ve read, the Makeup Forever HD Foundation looks beautiful on all skin types, which is something I stand by and will explain further. However, due to its pigmentation, texture and satin-matte finish, it’s best for normal and oily skin types.
If you are familiar with the Make Up For Ever range, you probably know that the Liquid Lift Foundation is recommended for dry to normal skin types and the HD Invisible Cover is recommended for normal to oily skin types.
When I apply makeup for clients with dry or mature skin, for photo shoots or film, I prefer MUFE’s Liquid Lift for a medium coverage or MAC’s Face & Body for a light coverage. They both give a beautiful, dewy glow that dry skin requires to look best.
These are my go-to products only for dry skin and when I remain on set with the crew/team until wrap and I can constantly supervise the look and use blot powder in case of oil build up. For brides and special occasions, when my clients have to look perfect for a minimum of 12h, without my constant supervision, I use Makeup Forever HD Foundation 90% of the times.
I prep the skin differently, depending on the skin type and I always get the best result using this foundation and a guarantee that the makeup will look impeccable throughout the party, under any type of lighting, outdoors or indoors, to the naked eye, as well as for photographs and film. You get it, no matter what!
I start by cleansing the skin using Bioderma Sensibio H2O, a micelle solution that removes makeup and dirt and tones the skin. This is a water based remover that works well with the water/silicone foundation. It’s my opinion that all the formulas you use on the skin tend to influence the end result after you’ve applied your makeup, in terms of longevity.
For instance, when dealing with extremely dry or mature skin, I cleanse the skin, apply a moisturizer with SPF or a silicone or water based primer, a necessary requirement if you’re planning to use MUFE’s HD foundation. This way, the foundation will glide on the skin easily, which will in turn absorb less product and look flawless.
If your skin is too dry or even has dry patches, this foundation will not work. The product will apply patchy and uneven, it will seem like it accentuates pores and flakes. If you have extremely dry skin, I do not recommend this foundation – there are several other good choices available for you to choose from, like MAC Face & Body. If you have dry to normal skin, then by prepping the skin properly, your complexion will look amazing with MUFE’s HD. I do not recommend powder with this skin type.
If your skin is normal to oily, a good moisturizer with SPF is all you need to prep the skin before applying the foundation. You’ll love the finish, guaranteed! Apply one layer to cover minor imperfections or two layers to cover blemishes, redness, scars, acne, dark spots or any major skin issues.
I always prefer to apply only one layer of foundation and conceal any imperfections with the Full Cover Concealer. This way, the makeup is lighter and the skin looks more natural.
If your skin is oily or extremely oily, you should always use a mattifying primer underneath your foundation to ensure sebum control throughout the day. I like Embroylisse Hydra-Mat Emulsion and YSL Matte Touch.
Although this is a product designed for this specific skin type, it’s not a mattifying foundation (like Estee Lauder Double Wear or Kat Von D’s Lock It). In order to look natural to the naked eye, MUFE’s HD formula needs complementing products like primers, HD or blot powder and good setting sprays to withstand shine throughout the day and still look like you’ve got no makeup on.
It’s a compromise I’m willing to take to achieve a flawless skin and my clients love it. For oily skin, I use a mattyfing primer, I apply in thin layers 1 and a half or 2 pumps of Makeup Forever HD Foundation, depending on how much cover is needed and also spot correct using a concealer to cover acne or major skin issues.
I use either Makeup Forever HD Powder or MAC Blot Powder to set the foundation and prevent shine throughout the day and for special occasions, evening or bridal makeup, I use a makeup finishing spray that keeps down the shine and makes the skin look fresh and dewy, even underneath all those layers of makeup.
I recommend Skindinavia Bridal Makeup Finish, Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray or Ben Nye Final Seal. If needed and you’re planning to look stunning for a 12-24h, also keep handy some blotting tissues – they truly remove sebum and shine without having to add more product to the skin. I like MAC and Bobbi Brown blotting sheets.
When I do my own makeup, I usually just pump the product on the back of my hand and pick up product as I go, using a stippling brush. I like to work each area of the face at the time and not dot the product on the entire face and then blend it.
I guess that could also work, if you’re a fan of Beauty Blenders or like using sponges to apply your foundation. Just remember that this foundation is quite liquid and you should always wet the sponge before applying or avoid using a sponge that is too absorbent, or risk losing a lot of product unnecessarily.
The pump dispenser makes it easy to measure the right amount. I need one and a half pumps to make up my face, maybe two if my skin tend to get a bit drier in some months.
The cool thing is that the dispenser really works with you, allowing you press gently in order to squeeze just a tiny amount of product to go over a blemish. Pump all the way down, and you’ll get enough product to apply on the entire face.
Note to makeup artists – this helps me out quite a lot when I’m on set, because I can measure out directly onto a spatula or sponge and respect all the necessary hygiene measures.
Its plastic packaging makes it practical and easy to carry and fits easily into makeup cases. I have a clear plastic one from Makeup Forever, which fits about 10-12 HD foundations in, to give you an idea. The only downside of the packaging is the plastic cap, which I always seem to break after a few months. With time, it weakens and eventually cracks, however I can still put it back on and protect the dispenser, so it’s not really an issue.
Shades and swatches
The MUFE HD Foundation is available in a wide range of shades to suit all skin tones. There are not only plenty of options available to choose from, from fair, porcelain skin to very dark skin tones, but the selection offers amazingly good options to match many skin tones to perfection. With this many options, naturally there are light to dark shades with pink, neutral and yellow undertones to fit everyone. It would be a miracle if there weren’t a shade to match you in the entire range.
For myself, I use Makeup Forever HD foundation no 118 during winter months and 125 during the summer.
I always carry and repurchase for my kit some of the most popular shades for European skin, since I live and work in Romania – 115, 118, 120, 125, 128 and 153. By mixing the shades, I can achieve many different shades in between, which is necessary in my line of work.
For darker skin tones, that I usually get to make up for international commercials that are filmed here, I’ve purchased a Ben Nye HD Matte Foundation Palette, that I can tell you more about in a different post.
These are cream foundations that come in small pans, a major selling point for myself, since I don’t get to use them quite as often as I’d like to. If I ever need larger quantities of foundation for dark skin, I have my eyes set on a few shades from MUFE – 117 Cognac, 178 Chestnut and 180 Brown.
In my opinion, not all of the shades available in the range are slam dunks. I’ve had the misfortune of buying several that didn’t seem to match anyone of my clients, either because they were too pink or too peach/orange – 135 Vanilla, 150 Pink Beige, 160 Golden Beige. They eventually expired and I had to throw them out :(.
To find your exact skin tone match, I wish I could provide a shade finder. Until then, I’ll list a description of each shade available in the Makeup Forever HD Foundation range and with the help of Sephora’s beauty advisors, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the right shade for you.
price and purchase
The Makeup Forever HD Foundation contains 30 ml of product and is available in Sephora, MUFE boutiques and online. It’s a bit on the pricier side, which is something to be expected from a professional makeup brand, but considering you’ll get something that looks amazingly natural for day-to-day or on-camera, for special occasions, parties and events, I think it’s well worth it.
The price tag should vary from $60 to $65, depending where you buy it from, so if you’re planning to purchase it, I recommend you bookmark this page until you find the right shade for you with the help of a beauty advisor and order Makeup Forever HD Foundation online, from here.
Makeup Forever HD Foundation Dupe
There are options available on the market that share some of the qualities of Makeup Forever HD Foundation, so if you’re looking for dupes and don’t mind sacrificing some of the features that are specific to this particular product, here are a few choices:
Revlon Photoready foundation
Revlon is, in my opinion, the best mass-market brand available at this moment. Their formulas are reliable and their pigmentation is unmatched by any other brand in this segment. Their Photoready foundation is exactly the one I’ve been using before I took the step and splurged for the first time on professional and high-end foundations.
Compared with Makeup Forever HD foundation, the Revlon one is, in my opinion, more suitable for dry to normal skin, as it lacks MUFE’s longevity and suitability for oily skin. If you don’t have a problem with sebum or oil build up and need something good for day-to-day wear only, that you have to touch up throughout the day, this would be a good fit.
Makeup Studio Fluid Foundation No Transfer
Makeup Studio is an Amsterdam founded brand that is pretty popular in Europe. Their Fluid Foundation mostly resembles MUFE’s HD foundation in formula. It tends to be a bit drying, which would make it more suitable for combination to oily skin types and the overall finish isn’t as natural as its professional counterpart. Moreover, the shade range is substantially more limited and some options are unwearable.
However, if you find yourself among the lucky one and find a shade that matches your skin tone, the price per value is undeniably the best you’ll ever find.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
I don’t quite know if listing an equally expensive foundation defeats the purpose of a dupe, however I chose to include Armani’s Luminous Silk as a product that could replace MUFE’s HD Foundation for those of you with dry to normal skin.
This foundation offers a satin-dewy finish instead of a matte one, but its finish is really natural, very air-brushed in the same way as its counterpart. It offers good, buildable coverage, it’s longwearing and also oil-free.
With that in mind, I expect many of you will have plenty to say on this topic, since Makeup Forever HD Foundation is a cult favorite, after all. Hope this review helps those who are still pondering the purchase and that those of you who weren’t too impressed with this product are able to find a technique that makes this foundation work with their specific skin type.