Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Skin Illuminating Foundation in Light EF05 - review and swatches


I've owned this product for around six months now and it's quickly become my HG foundation for night-use or big events. While I'll always reach for my Koh Gen Do for everyday use because it has less coverage, this is the product I reach for when I need my makeup to look a little more polished and to last a little bit longer.

Yes it looks very natural on the skin so it's like the Koh Gen Do (indeed, they're rather similar and if you like one then I suspect you'll like the other), but it has more coverage out of the starting gate and it also builds better, so it may be a good choice for those who find the KGD to be too subtle.

Kevyn Aucoin claims/product details:

  • Naturally flawless, luminous skin is just one step away with this radiance-boosting, moisture-replenishing foundation
  • Achieve the coveted 'lit from within' look with this lightweight, medium coverage formulation
  • Infused with ultra-fine pearl pigments to reflect light, radiance magic pearl powder to diffuse and brighten, and hyaluronic acid for a shot of hydration
  • Glides on effortlessly to grant a natural-looking airbrushed finish, akin to a second skin, with a lustworthy glow
  • Available in 16 shades
  • For all skin types
  • Dermatologist tested
  • RRP $85 AUD for 28ml

The product comes in a nice-looking plastic bottle that's lightweight (so it's good for travel) and it has one of those pumps that moves upwards over time so you can see how much you've used as the tray moves up from the bottom and a gap starts to appear.

I like the pump, I like that you can control the amount dispensed through the pump, and I like being able to see exactly how much I have left. Ten points to the packaging.

Light and heavy swatches, indirect sunlight:

And direct sunlight:


This is an amazing foundation and the only thing I don't like about it is that it's expensive, but it's so good that I honestly think it's worth the money and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

It's a standard fluid foundation that's on the runny side, and it spreads and applies well. Given that it's thicker and has more coverage than the typical sheer foundations and tinted moisturisers I use, I do need to work at this a tiny bit more than usual (I'm a fingers-applier), but I can still get an even, smooth coverage with very little effort. It glides on like the proverbial dream and merges beautifully with the skin.

What I like about this is that I can apply half a pump for a sheer coverage and one pump for a solid medium. And the pump dispenses an amount that's smaller in size than a pea, so if you're getting a solid medium out of that, you're doing well. Just goes to show that the pigment is really there. I never need to build it. 

Shade Light EF 05 is described as 'light with golden undertones' and I think that's right, although note that it's at the light-medium end of the spectrum. In winter, it's the closest foundation I've ever found to my natural skintone - and while it's not quite perfect because I have yellow undertones and I can see the slight difference between my face and neck, once I've bronzed and put my blush on etc, it's a very good match.

Worth noting is that shade Medium EF 06 is a very good match for me in summer, especially because that one has yellow undertones. Yes it's a hair too dark, but if it's rare for me to find one shade that matches me well in a range of foundations, it's even rarer for me to find two that I can work with. That's never happened to me before. I can't quite believe it! Of course, my ideal shade would be between those two - but you can't have everything ; )

I love that the product is hydrating and offers me a natural radiance without being too shiny. I also love that it has an airbrushing effect so my pores and fine lines look less pronounced when I wear it. Even better, it wears well throughout the day so I know that if I put it on in the morning, it will still be going strong eight hours later.

Overall I think this is a brilliant product that generally meets its claims and I can't live without it. Yes it's pricey, but at least I don't need to use much each time so I think it makes up some of its value on a price-per-use basis. I can't imagine ever being without this foundation in my collection: it's that good.


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