Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation in Dusk - review and swatches


I've been using this foundation almost every day for the past two months because it's been on my Project Pan list, and while I did finish the bottle yesterday, I'm still working from a little pot that I pre-mixed (it's too dark for me) and I want to get my review done before it's gone for good.

Long story short, this foundation doesn't work for me but I have been able to play around with it so it's better than it was when I first used it. In any event, I've now learned that it's a better summer foundation for me because it clings to dry patches and I wouldn't go near it in winter again.

The product comes in a nice, frosted glass bottle complete with a pump. While I like a pump in theory, this one doesn't dispense much product and it's not a full-coverage foundation so I need to pump far too many times for each use.

Also worth noting if you're like me and want to get every last drop from your foundation, is that the neck is incredibly thin so I can't eg stick a clean eyeshadow brush down there and remove the stuff stuck to the bottom. Annoying. Such a waste.

Laura Mercier claims/product details:

  • A sheer-to-medium, buildable coverage foundation that creates a soft, candlelit glow on the skin
  • A mosaic of nature’s most luminous natural ingredients that gives skin a glowing look  
  • A calibrated blend of radiant-pearl mica, embedded in an ultra-lightweight formula, mimics the reflective radiance of just-lit candles
  • The mica mélange fuses with refreshing purified water, leaving skin with a burst of hydration and helping foundation glide onto skin for lasting smoothness and natural luminosity
  • Available in 24 shades, this foundation’s luxurious blend of lightweight oils locks in this moisture to leave skin balanced, soft and beautifully ignited 
  • Dermatologist tested and noncomedogenic
  • RRP $48 USD for 30ml, but do shop around

Now for swatches.

Light and heavy swatches, indirect sunlight:

Direct sunlight:

Comparison swatches.

Indirect sunlight:

* L-R: LM Dusk, LM Oil-Free Tinted Moisturiser in Sand, Hourglass Illusion Tint in Warm Ivory, Koh Gen Do Aqua in 213 and Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist in 05

Direct sunlight:

* L-R: LM Dusk, LM Oil-Free Tinted Moisturiser in Sand, Hourglass Illusion Tint in Warm Ivory, Koh Gen Do Aqua in 213 and Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist in 05


This foundation is just usable for me - but only if I muck around with the formula by adding a good amount of liquid highlighter and a drop of oil (plus the whitening drops I use to bring the colour down).

It's a light-coverage foundation that smells like paint. As mentioned above, I like that it comes with a pump but the pump dispenses a tiny amount of product, especially when you consider how sheer the coverage is. Dispensing that many pumps every day just creates more work.

When I first used it, it was winter (so my skin was dry) and I couldn't believe how awful this was on my skin. It was difficult to blend so it looked streaky, I needed to use a lot per application to get a light-medium coverage, and it also sat in pores and clung to dry patches. Indeed, it was unusable so I set it aside and tried it again once the weather became warmer.

Now that my skin's less dry, I can get this to blend better and also look better on the skin, but it still clings to dry patches and it can sit in pores if I try to apply it with a sponge, so for me, it's better to use my fingers.

I do like the finish because it's dewy so it has some radiance, but it still dries down so there's some powder to it and it doesn't have that greasy look that some radiant foundations can have. It also has a slight soft-focus effect so it can blur the look of imperfections.

Still, though, I've found that the only way I can use it and have it look decent (and be easier to apply) is when I add some highlighter, oil and whitening drops to make it paler - so in the end the mix I'm using is only about fifty per cent foundation and I don't think we can say that the foundation itself has become that much easier to use during the warmer months, and it's mainly that I've been mixing it so I've changed the formula.

When used alone in the warmer months it can look good, but it takes some extra effort to blend and I need to ensure that I don't have any dry patches on my face (which I often do because I have dry skin). Yes it wears reasonably well throughout the day but it can still sit in pores throughout the day after I've spritzed my facial mist - and I still need to add a decent amount to get the light-medium coverage I prefer so it's not good value for money.

Overall I don't like this foundation and I can't recommend it. It's too hard to work with, it's not good value for money and it can look really bad on my skin - especially in winter. For this reason I've given it a 'disappointing products' tag.

Not for me.

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