From left to right, #2 Ivory, #3 Wheat , #4 Sand, #6 Honey

This week, I developed an obsession with finding a good “high definition” foundation. My latest trial being the Face Atelier Ultra Foundation of which I ordered the above generous samples from

Just to give you a quick background on my foundation usage, I rarely wear foundation because my skin texture and tone is mostly ok, I just need concealer under my eyes and around my nose, plus some finishing power to prevent shine through the day. However, I want to find a good foundation to use on my wedding day. My make-up artist used Dior Airflash in my trial, which looked fantastic in her photos but quite dry and crease-y in real life on my over-animated face. So I’m looking for a foundation which has medium to high coverage but still looks like my own skin, which moves with my face, and doesn’t dry out or crease up. But more importantly, I want it to look absolutely flawless in photos, with radiance but not shine. So… I’m not asking for too much really.

Oh, and I prefer silicone-based foundations. I find they look the most like real skin. I like Yaby Liquid Foundation but it’s too light coverage for the wedding, and L’Oréal Matte Morphose which is brilliant and more coverage than Yaby, but I wouldn’t mind even more coverage.

Ok, so here’s how Face Atelier describe the Ultra Foundation:

Ultra Foundation is a silicone-based emulsion that floats on top of the skin, doesn’t crease or flake, and lasts all day long. Hydrating yet oil-free, it obscures tiny lines and pores to ensure a smooth finish. No primer needed! It’s built into Ultra Foundation, thanks to the super sophisticated, silicone-based formula. Another bonus – it sets without powder, preserving the youthful, dewy finish.

Before I go on, you’ll probably want to know what I look like completely bare-faced. Here I am, parading my sun-induced freckles, dark circles and discolouration around my nose (probably caused by overenthusiastic spot-picking as a teen):

And below are the four shades I ordered heavily swatched on my jawline. The shade I decided was the best match was #3 Wheat (the second one along), which is your bog-standard beige. No noticeable pink or yellow tone.

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation swatchesFrom left to right, #2 Ivory, #3 Wheat , #4 Sand, #6 Honey

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation is a primer/foundation 2-in-1 so I applied it straight over my moisturiser, using my fingers. Apparently you get the best finish using a Beautyblender but sadly I don’t have one. The formula is very runny and needs to be shaken before use (silicone is lighter than pigment).

As I would expect with a silicone-based foundation, it blends seamlessly on the skin and really, really does look and feel like real skin. It doesn’t matter how much I put on, or how slow I am to blend it, it never looks dry, chalky or cakey. And it feels really lightweight too… I can completely forget I’m wearing foundation.

The coverage is like a magic airbrushing wand being waved over the skin, evening out discolouration and lightening up shadows. The coverage is medium to high, depending on how it’s applied (medium if you’re applying it with fingers, but I guess it would be higher if you use a brush). In the photo below, I have only applied the foundation on one side of my face. My freckles definitely still show through (but are blurred and less visible), but the foundation has concealed my dark circles and nose blotchiness with just one quick layer. I didn’t even feel the need to wear concealer on top.

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation before and after
I did of course finish off applying the foundation to the rest of my face… and below is the finished result, before any finishing powder. While the finish is genuinely flawless, it was a bit too dewy for me to feel comfortable not using finishing powder, so I used ELF High Definition Powder to prevent the shine getting too much later in the day.

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation after
By the end of the day, while my skin did still look pretty flawless (the foundation is both oil and water-resistant), I did notice some oil breakthrough on my forehead and nose. That’s my only complaint about this foundation… it doesn’t mop up excess oil (which L’Oréal Matte Morphose does). So while my face was greasy, I took the opportunity to take a photo with flash, just to check how shiny I would look. It’s not too bad, but still greasier than I’d like. I look a bit of a weird colour in this photo because I’d tried out a new bronzer and hadn’t quite got the hang of it.

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation after with flash
I think I will try a few more “high definition” foundations before purchasing a full-sized bottle of Face Atelier Ultra Foundation. I’ve tried this one twice (the second time with Bare Escentuals Prime Time underneath), and both times I’ve become a little too shiny through the day for my liking.

The full ingredients of Face Atelier Ultra Foundation are:

Cyclomethicone, Water, Glycerin, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl Dimethicone Copolyol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Cellulose Gum, Nylon-12, Tribehenin, Lauroyl Lysine, Tristearin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Ci77891/Titanium Dioxide, Ci77492 Ci77491 Ci77499/Iron Oxides, Mica Ci77019

If you’re interested in trying Face Atelier Ultra Foundation, you can contact Cult Beauty or Pro Makeup Store (both UK sites), to order some shade samples. The little pots are so generous, you can probably get about a week’s worth of use out of each! A full-size bottle costs £32 for 30ml.

You can read more about the Ultra Foundation on the Face Atelier website.

Update (28th October 2010): My skin has got a bit drier coming up to Winter and I have have dug out my old sample pot of Face Atelier (yep – it’s still going!). I have to say it’s perfect for my skin at the moment and I don’t get the same oil breakthrough at the end of the day that I had experienced the last time I tried it. I had also forgotten how amazing it is at airbrushing the skin and leaving it flawless all day! I also noticed that Pro Makeup Store has started selling sample pots online here as has Coco Beau here.

34 comments on “Face Atelier Ultra Foundation: Review plus before & after photos

  1. Wheat is a great match for you. I’d have a look at Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, and Suqqu Liquid Foundation Aqua too – if you’re concerned about shine, the Suqqu Aqua is amazing.

  2. Thanks everyone for reading and for your lovely comments! 😀

    @Grace London: Thanks for your recommendations! Giorgio Armani LSF and Suqqu Liquid Foundation Aqua sound like my kind of thing as well. I think the Suqqu one has SPF though, which I’m worried may not be so great for photos… but will still check it out.

  3. Hey 🙂 Is there any way of us ordering samples too or were you just sent samples to review? Sorry if thats a silly question but the site doesnt seem to have an option of ordering sample sizes By the way you look amazing! 🙂

  4. @khadija: That’s not a silly question at all! I ordered these myself. No-one sells the foundation samples online in the UK, so you have to call up to order them. I paid £2 for each sample from Cult Beauty with no extra charge for delivery, but I think they might be cheaper on Pro Makeup Store if you email or call them. Hope that helps.

  5. Heya! I am so glad I came across this post. I have been looking into buying this foundation.
    Apparently Lady GaGa & Madonna use this foundation. £32 is a bit steep, but slightly cheaper than NARS Sheer Glow. Thanks for those website, I will ordering a couple of samples! Thanks.

  6. Wow! Not only is your skin super beautiful and flawless, but you also have such pretty facial features! Super photogenic too! *jealous* hehe…

    Thank you for following my blog! <3

  7. I saw that you were at 199 so I had to be 200 XD

    Anyway I really like your indepth review on the Face Foundation. I’ve wanted to try this foundation for so long but I have a boat load of foundations to get through already :X I just can’t believe they are so expensive on your side of the ocean though! I believe it’s about 45CAD here. Your skin is so nice already but it looks flawless with the foundation on. I’m really surprised the Dior foundation made you really shiny. I’ve only tried Nude and Forever myself, and I love them both because they photograph so well that I assumed the rest of the line was the same.

    Congrats on your upcoming nuptials!^^

  8. gee! that’s an awful beautiful finish! i always love dewy finishes and i sometimes dont use finishing powders.
    new follower here btw. great blog

  9. @DesignerSpray: Ooh good luck with your samples! £32 isn’t too much for a foundation when you think how long it will last! It’s like face creams… they last months and months and I’m like “Man, when will this pot finish so I can try something new??”

    @BeautyOnTheWay: Thanks!

    @PetiteGorgeous: I’m glad you found my blog! I like yours too! Yeah the foundation makes a massive difference. My skin isn’t too bad so I don’t wear foundation daily, but when I look at these before and after pics, I think “maybe I should be wearing foundation every day??”

    @Jess: Aww thanks! I’m not sure about photogenic… a lot of photos I take don’t make the cut!

    @Tammy: It was the opposite problem I had with the Dior Airflash – it made my skin dry not shiny! I haven’t tried Nude or Forever yet. I have loads of sample sachets of Nude which I always find in my magazines… but I am yet to try. Although I’ve heard it’s quite a dewy finish? Which might not look so good on me in photos!

    @Maki: Yes it is a beautiful finish – looks just like real skin, but more perfected! Oh man, I wish I could go without finishing powders… I have dehydrated skin, but it gets really shiny very quickly!

    @Linda: Aww thanks! You’re too kind as always!

  10. Hey Helen, Thanks a lot, I’m going to try that one. I like the result on your photos. it looks very natural 🙂

  11. Hi! I loved this post 🙂 If you are searching for another HD foundation, I have been using Make Up For Ever HD Foundation for a few years now. I love it, but am looking for something lighter for every day use, so will definitely try 🙂 Thanks!

  12. i´ve got this foundation too and i have to say i really love it! i think it really makes a beautiful finish. for my skin, it was worth the money (:
    do know how the new chanel vitalumiere auqa foundation is? or have tried a chanel foundation yet? or whats one you would recommend?


  13. Just wondering which color you ended up choosing (Face Atelier Ultra Pro Foundation). I have very similar skin tone to you & I’m interested in ordering this. Also did you mix any two colors?

  14. @Di-Ya: Sorry, I have no idea which shade it would be in MAC terms!

    @Anonymous: You know what? I haven’t tried any Chanel foundations yet! Well, only on the back of my hand anyway!

    @Anonymous: I’m definitely #3 Wheat… which is spot-on for me.

  15. your skin is gorgeous without foundation! thanks for the review, though, just what I was looking for.

  16. Even without that, your skin is actually AMAZING! You lucky girl 🙂

  17. I just searched the word “face” in Google images and saw your picture.

    I am just some random guy so take my comments accordingly.

    (1) You have a nice page here with very good photo examples and explanations. I have zero interest in this topic, but still ended up reading a lot of this page. I imagine women who are interested in this topic will love it.

    (2) You said, “I look a bit of a weird colour in this photo because I’d tried out a new bronzer and hadn’t quite got the hang of it.”

    Actually, your color might not have looked quite as seen in the photo.

    Many variables play a role in the colors of your photo.

    Your background is a dead giveaway that something is awry (maybe not your bronze application skills). See how the background of your first four face photos is so consistent in brightness and color? Now look at the background in your “bronzed” face picture. The background color goes from cooler to warmer (left to right). Plus, the shadow from your head is “harsher” which could mean you were either standing closer to the background or that your light source was more intense.

    Your camera will struggle when you mix light temperatures (sun/blue vs. some incandescents/red) so sometimes photos don’t show you what the naked eye sees.

    In conclusion . . . before you fine tune the colors for your face, make sure you are seeing the colors as they appear to your anticipated audience. Just be consistent with lighting position, intensity and color for most accurate color comparisons.

    (3) Ok, it could also be that your bronzer application went awry and you actually just sprayed brozer on your background as well as your face. Ha! Just kidding.

    (3) Wow, you do have a great face.

    (4) Call me.


  18. Grrrrrrrr.. I wish I had skin as good as yours! And your dark circles are NOTHING compared to mines! Why why why must bad skin run in my family….

  19. Do you have anything on your lips pre-foundation? They are such a beautiful color!

    1. No, just lip balm! Funny you should say they are a nice colour because I think they are too mauve and uneven, especially as I get older! But thanks!

  20. okay, so two years later…
    are you still using this foundation? if so, have you tried finishing with their ultra matte spray?
    if not, then I guess I need to be updated. haha.

    1. I still use this foundation occasionally (I ended up buying a full size bottle) but only if it’s not hot or slightly humid as I find that it does start feeling and looking a bit oily on my face after a few hours.

      I haven’t tried their ultra matte spray! I actually rarely wear foundation these days as my skin tone seems to be quite even these days – maybe all the skin care I’ve tried is starting to make a difference??

  21. You look stunning and polished!
    I know it’s been 2 years and you probably cant remember. In the photo where you swatched the foundation on your jawline with no. 2,3,4,6 , does no.3 wheat really get darker than no.4sand or it’s just because of the lighting? I’m in the country of getting samples cost lots of shipping fee so i’m using your review as a guide of buying. Thank you in advaced for your answer

  22. I would not recommend this foundation unless you have really good skin like the lucky girl who is reviewing it above. My skin is not dry or oily put this foundation makes me look greasy. I wear suncream underneath but most other foundations will look fine if a let it sink in properly and powder but not this one. The coverage is definitely not medium to full like some people say its light. Not worth the money by a long shoot.

  23. Lady, your skin is sooo perfect… If I sold make up I would ask you to do the review, just with your photo I would sell tons.

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