Foundation “concentrates” may sound like a professionals-only product that take years of expertise to use properly, but they’re actually devised with multi-purpose perks for the foundation-phobic to wear with ease. Concentrates are exactly what they sound like – a concentrated liquid foundation that you cut with your choice of moisturizer, serum or primer, so you can turn any of those products into a tinted version of itself. It’s all about tint control with these, as we’ve learned from testing them out ourselves. Obviously, blending a shade to match our skin tone is mostly a matter of figuring out the ideal ratio.
Brands like Marc Jacobs Beauty, Ardency Inn, and Cover FX have released foundation concentrates this year, to much oohs and ahhs but also a bit of “Wait, what do I do with this?” Thankfully, each one offers a spectrum of shades from lily white to deep ebony. Since they’re meant to be diluted, this makes color matching much more forgivable. As long as you know your under tone and where you stand in the light, medium, or deep range, you can hit pretty close to your target with these concentrates, ostensibly removing the headache of having a separate winter and summer shade.
This sounds like a dream come true if not for the fact that every makeup artist’s advice about why you’re not supposed to water down liquid makeup is echoing in our heads. It’s not without good reason—when you mix two already emulsified products like a liquid foundation or concealer with your moisturizer, the textures don’t often play nicely together and you end up with a Frankenstein goop that will likely leave a streaky mess on your face. Even if they appear to mix well, the formula of your foundation would be essentially voided by your moisturizer, so you can pretty much say “never mind!” to that long-wear promise or matte finish. When these new foundation concentrates basically told us to “go nuts—mix with whatever!” we were a bit skeptical.
However, there is a genius factor built into these new concentrates: Since they’re concentrated pigment with not much else, they have the ability to morph into the finish of whatever you mix it with—so, a matte primer would give you the same performance and finish with the addition of color, and your serum would likely give you the same dewy feel (and skin care boost!) with complexion coverage. Why can’t all our makeup get along with our skin care?