Thought I'd do an update because my skin looks pretty bad lately. "Bad" is totally relative and I am staying chill about it. For the past two or three weeks I've been going through a lot of different foundations, which is unheard of for me. I've also tried several different concealers. Typically I steer clear from ANYTHING that doesn't belong to my usual routine for fear of causing new breakouts. I've become a lot less neurotic though, and decided to just go for it. What I've tried so far:
1) NARS Sheer Glow: I like this stuff. But it costs $42, and that's without sales tax. IMO, not worth it, but it'd be perfect for drier-skinned ladies. If my skin's having a good day, this stuff makes it look flawless. The finish would be beautiful on someone without hyperpigmentation. Too many cons, though: dismal staying power (rubs off on the hands not long after applying - though this could be that I neither use primer nor setting powder), gets oily quickly and starts to separate on the face. Also will accentuate any flakes/dry areas and looks awkward over enlarged pores. Basically will look great if you start with a good canvas, but I am too lazy for that. Pass.
2) Stila Natural Finish: Again, not bad. The staying power is a little better than the NARS but still not too impressive. Goes on sheerer, but the formulation looks oddly thick and feels greasy going on. Thankfully it dries to a nice satin finish but it breaks down easily as the day goes on. Also, I realized one day that this stuff has noticeable shimmer. I do not want to be illuminated, Stila, thanks. This went back.
3) Lancome Teint Idole: Nice! I thought I'd hate this one because it sounded like a Double Wear dupe. The finish doesn't have the same beautiful glow as the NARS, but it doesn't look cakey or mask-like and lasts for hours. It also didn't feel heavy or like it'd cause breakouts. All in all, I loved Teint Idole, but it had one drawback (well, two, the price is ridic): it sucks over my concealer. It's quick drying, so I guess it bunches up around the extra pigment and darkens it: which means you see darker patches everywhere my red marks are. I can't blend them out, either, and my concealer is such that I have to use it under, not over, foundation. Too bad! I love this stuff. Perfect for when you need your makeup to stay put, but not too heavy-duty.
4) Make Up for Ever Face & Body: Suuuuuucks. For me, anyway. My skin got all itchy minutes after applying this stuff, but I just thought I'd gotten a bad sample. I would say this stuff is HG material for anyone with clear, dry-ish skin who just wants to even out their skin: it's cheap for the amount you get (almost 2 oz), will probably last ages, and leaves behind a finish that makes you look pleasantly bare-faced. Very natural, but also very dewey-looking (i.e. borderline greasy). Also waterproof. I liked this stuff but the itchiness and tiny bumps were intolerable.
5) Urban Decay concealer stick: Pretty good on red marks, covers them well. Main drawback is that the formula isn't buildable and gets cakey after more than one layer. People will definitely know you're trying to conceal something when you use this stuff, and it's so thick I think regular use would clog pores. I liked it at first, but this is nothing compared to...
6) Make Up for Ever full coverage concealer: I love you. I use shade 4, because the parts of my face with hyperpigmentation are also freakishly pale. This stuff is wonderful for hyperpigmentation, dunno if I'd put it on active acne as it requires a bit of tugging/rubbing. It dries almost immediately - so quickly it becomes tacky almost as soon as you put it on. But it's so pigmented that a tiny dab will cover basically anything. It's not 100% foolproof - nothing is for me, because I don't like putting on a full face/full coverage anything - but it's the best I've ever tried for my red marks. It's almost like quick-drying paint, which makes it easy to use under foundation. I've tried applying concealer under foundation (usually MAC's Studio Finish) and the results have always been horrendous. With the MUFE, though, you can't tell I'm wearing concealer at all because I cover that with a layer of foundation. Fantastic!
Anyway, that's my update post. I thought I'd share.
Something annoying, though: I whipped out an old Neutrogena powder (exp 12/2010) to set my NARS foundation a couple days ago because I knew it'd melt off otherwise. I now have a smattering of small zits on my face. >_>
Also, trying all this foundation has just led me back to square one. Each one I tried was nice in its own way, but they either had poor staying power or blended badly. I ended up just ordering my usual foundation (Cargo oil-free) in two shades. I typically use the F-40, which is about three shades too dark, but I also got the F-20 and airtight pump bottles to mix them in. Woo!
Oh, and random crap I want but can't currently afford:
1) Green Cream Level 6
2) MAC Lustre lipsticks in See Sheer & Sheer Plum :'(