Makeup Monday: Testing New It Cosmetics Foundation

Emma Frankart Henterly
The Confidence in a Compact solid serum foundation ($38) and Healthy Skin Skin-Smoothing Complexion Brush ($48). Product in pan appears darker in this photo than it actually is.

Two weeks ago, I turned to coworker and fellow makeup enthusiast Chelsea Savage to brainstorm ideas for this month’s Makeup Monday post. She immediately pulled up Ulta’s website to see what was new, and there it was: A foundation that made just about every claim in the book. As a self-confessed foundation junkie—my skin type and tone mean I’m constantly on the hunt for my perfect product—I knew I had to try it.

The products:

The Confidence in a Compact foundation from It Cosmetics comes with a lot of claims. It’s supposedly the first-ever “solid serum” foundation, with an ultra-lightweight formula and weightless full coverage, according to Ulta’s website. That alone had me pretty psyched. But then I read the skincare benefits.

It Cosmetics claims that the Confidence in a Compact is anti-aging, adds moisture, improves skin’s firmness and reduces the appearance of pores, discoloration, lines and wrinkles. Its skincare ingredients—hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, squalane, antioxidants and super ceramide cream—are safe for sensitive skin. Top it all off with SPF 50 in a physical sunscreen and you have what sounds like a miracle product.

I went to Ulta and picked up the second-lightest of the seven shades; it looked a little dark on my arm swatch, but blended perfectly into my neck. (I wear the same shade in the line’s Celebration Illumination Foundation powder, so I wasn’t surprised on that front.) I also picked up the Heavenly Skin Skin-Smoothing Complexion Brush, which has a laundry list of its own claims.

Infused with silk and skincare ingredients like collagen, peptides, niacin and antioxidants, the angled brush is said to blur skin imperfections and deliver a boost of skin-perfecting ingredients over time.

The grand total for both items was more than $90. Ouch. Strike one in my personal book, but if the products lived up to their claims, I was willing to make that sacrifice in the name of flawless skin.

My skin:

I’m pretty pale with yellow undertones, so finding a foundation shade that isn’t too pink is a never-ending quest. I also have sensitive skin; many skincare ingredients break me out, and I use an all-natural/DIY skincare regimen to wash, tone and moisturize my face. I’ve been on that regimen for about two months, and my once-acne-ridden face is finally clearing up. I have normal-to-combination skin, with minor oil in my T-zone throughout the day and a few dry patches where my acne is healing.

Behold, my undereye circles! Photo above shows no product, one layer and two layers.

The review:

I found the application to be a bit annoying, to be honest. The product applied a little streaky, and I found that I had to stipple product on and then buff it in to make it work. I tested it with and without my usual primer (no difference in wear time), and I applied it with the Heavenly Skin brush, a flat-top kabuki (the Sigma F80), a beauty blender and the included sponge. I actually liked the kabuki best, followed by the Heavenly Skin brush, the sponge and finally the beauty blender, which gave somewhat patchy coverage.

Now, a word about the brush.

The It Cosmetics rep at Ulta swore that it was 100 percent necessary for this foundation. She claimed she couldn’t even use the foundation at all with any other brush. That claim is blatantly false. I wasn’t a fan of the angled bristles, and I found it wasn’t quite dense enough to properly blend the foundation. My advice: Save your $48 (yes, really) and use a dense foundation brush that you already own.

I found the foundation itself was actually closer to high-medium coverage (strike number two for me), but it was buildable. With two layers, I was able to get full coverage. It was, true to its claims, really lightweight. The finish was slightly tacky, so I set it with my Ben Nye Neutral Setting Powder … and promptly found that I lost a bit of coverage in buffing in that product and my blush.

Still, the foundation did minimize my pores and had a nice, slightly dewy finish even with powder. I was able to use the product for touch-ups later in the day, with only the slightest amount of cakiness as a result.

The foundation wore beautifully for about six hours, as shown above (no touchups yet in the second photo), with the exception of some slight oxidization. After 10 hours—an average wear time for me—I had lost a lot of coverage and had developed some slight creasing on my forehead.

Unfortunately, I think this product broke me out. I used it for two days and noticed some fresh spots by the end of the second, despite not having any new breakouts for at least a week prior. Strike three.

And strike four? (This is makeup, not baseball, after all.) I put a major dent in the product after just two days’ use.

With only 0.63 ounces of product in the compact, and my need for two layers per application, I don’t see this product lasting very long at all.

The verdict:

For me, this is a hard pass. The cons were too many and the coverage/wear time didn’t make up for them. (Plus there’s the whole issue of my-skin-doesn’t-like-skincare-ingredients.) I find that I just as much coverage or more from more affordable foundations, like my Mac Studio Fix Fluid ($28 for one ounce) or even my Revlon Colorstay ($13 for one ounce). At $38 for 0.63 ounce, this just didn’t seem like a good buy for me. (In fact, I've already returned both products.)

But if you can get away with one layer of product, and you don’t have overly sensitive skin, and you find your perfect shade match … well, the Confidence in a Compact solid serum foundation might work well for you. But for the love of your wallet, skip the Heavenly Skin Skin-Smoothing Complexion Brush and use your own.