The concept of "serum foundation" has been a trend in the cosmetics industry for the recent year or so, and the Kevyn Aucoin brand's entry is a good one. The Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation is a natural looking, light coverage formula that sets to a soft, velvet finish—not quite matte, but just shy of moisturizing—making this ideal for those with combination to slightly dry skin (including the acne- prone).
Housed in a beautiful glass bottle with a push-button dropper applicator, the formula has a somewhat neutral scent to it (its light fragrance mixed with the standard foundation smell). The added fragrance is minimal and shouldn't be problematic for most.
Kevyn Aucoin describes this as "ultra-lightweight" and "luminous" with buildable "long wear coverage" that lasts for six to eight hours. They also note that this includes "potent anti-aging ingredients" and that it is oil-, water- and powder-free. Six to eight hours is barely a workday for many, so that's an odd standard of long wear. Also, we're also not sure what they mean by "powder free" since this does contain ingredients used in powders, i.e. talc, silicone and others, but we'll give their marketing department a break there.
However, we will mention that there is but a single skincare ingredient, an algae listed as Alaria esculenta extract, present in a tiny amount. So, don't depend on this for "potent anti-aging" benefits—which is fine, because there is still a lot else to like about this.
Thanks to its lightweight, liquid silicone base, The Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation blends easily over skin and lends itself well to finger application or with a brush, but tends to absorb into sponges a bit more than we would have liked (even those like the beautyblender).
The finish is not necessarily luminous, but it is quite skin-like. As we touched on earlier, the degree of coverage is light and there is just enough here to help hide minor discolorations or redness. Think of this as a "your skin but better" formula, but those with more substantial skin discolorations will likely be disappointed by the degree of coverage—you'll still need your go-to concealer for those.
Among the pros, its sheer coverage and mix of silicones helps it avoid seeping into fine lines or wrinkles in the skin. Regarding the wear time, this does tend to stay put over the course of the day for those with combination to slightly dry skin. If you have very oily skin, however, this doesn't fare as well—we found it lasted about five hours before its coverage began to "disappear."
The shade range consists of eight options, with good picks for the very fair to medium skin tones. Given its light coverage, the shades are a bit more flexible in that getting an exact match is less critical. The color options are all beautiful, and this offers more choices than is typical for the very fair to light range.
There is a lot to like about The Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation. We enjoyed wearing it, but at close to $70 for a less than an ounce of foundation, we didn't find this as compelling or as unique as you should expect at this price tag. Being a totally water-free, silicone-based formula, it is undoubtedly an expensive one to produce (factoid for you: silicone is one of the most expensive cosmetic ingredients to use), yet the result doesn't distinguish itself well from the burgeoning fluid foundation or "serum foundation" category.
If you happen by a Kevyn Aucoin counter or haven't been able to find that perfect "near naked skin" foundation, this is a wonderful choice to consider. Whether it is worth the price tag is a decision you'll need to make for yourself!
Kevyn Aucoin was arguably one of the most iconic makeup artists of the 20th century. A self-trained, highly sought celebrity makeup artist and best-selling author, his work appeared regularly in countless fashion magazines, as well as his monthly column in Allure. Not surprisingly, his work has influenced countless makeup artists and YouTube beauty vloggers—whether they know it or not—and at the time of his passing in 2002, he had just launched a small range of products under the Kevyn Aucoin brand. Although Aucoin left us far too soon, at least his products serve to compliment his lasting legacy.
Today, the Kevyn Aucoin brand continues with his motto that anyone should be able to experiment with makeup and feel beautiful while doing so. The brand's range of unique products reflects the emphasis on makeup’s role in our lives as more than just utilitarian—it should be enjoyable, accessible, fun, and the outcome always rewarding. The approach is enhancing one’s self-esteem rather than using makeup to cover up what you or others might perceive as unattractive.
Thus, the products themselves are something of an experience to use—from their packaging (beautiful) to their focus on perfecting skin and mix of basic to bold color options. This line isn’t for those who think of makeup as a chore!
The price points are higher, to be sure, but there are also quite a few exceptional and unique standouts that allow this brand to nicely distinguish itself in a sea of makeup artist-fronted lines. There are some shortfalls here and there, but overall, it is a range that is well worth experimenting with should you happen upon a Kevyn Aucoin counter at your local Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. (Note: Kevyn Aucoin is sold online at a number of beauty sites, from Sephora to Beautylish.)
For Beautypedia, we have chosen some of what we feel are Aucoin’s best products along with those that are OK, but for one reason or another may not be worth the expense.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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