Color Instincts Foundation
Color Instincts Foundation falls in line with other "skin-intuitive" makeup products that start out white, but change color once applied to the skin. Only three shades are available, because each shade (light, light/medium, and medium) is supposed to "instinctively" adjust depending on your skin tone—which, of course, it can't; no product can know what skin color you have. Each shade starts out white with tiny brownish beads, and as it's blended the beads burst, revealing the color. Each shade has a set amount of pigment that is similar to that of a tinted moisturizer, and each provides sheer to medium coverage.
This foundation goes on as a silky liquid and sets to a powdery finish, making it best for normal to oily skin. The color matches may prove difficult for very light or very dark skin, but testers are available in most stores. Just keep in mind that the visual trickery isn't this foundation magically adjusting to your skin tone; either the shade you're considering will work or it won't, same as for every other foundation.
Formula-wise, we're pleased to report that this contains some good antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients, and it's fragrance-free.
- Blends well.
- Provides sheer to medium coverage and an even application.
- Fragrance-free and contains beneficial antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
- Limited shade selection; no very light or dark options available.
Since Ulta was founded in 1990, the company has continued to carve out a unique position as a specialty beauty store by offering a large selection of upscale and drugstore cosmetics in all price ranges, all under one roof. There are currently over 675 Ulta locations across the United States, and, like Sephora, Ulta sells its own product line right alongside more familiar brands such as Revlon, Murad, and philosophy.
The Ulta Collection offers a variety of basic makeup products, from foundation to eye shadow to lip gloss. Nearly all items in the Ulta Collection are inexpensive, and its lower price point is a major draw.
As with most cosmetics lines, Ulta has its share of good and bad products; however, it seems for every good to great makeup product the line has two average-to-poor options. Testers may or may not be available, so choose wisely.
Among the safer categories of Ulta makeup are the eyeshadows, many of the mascaras, brow products, and most of the foundations, particularly the cream-to-powder and powder formulas.
Despite our enthusiasm for Ulta's large selection of eyeshadow, the quality is inconsistent, especially when it comes to texture and how they apply, even among different shades in the same category. The best way to shop this line is to pay attention to which products we've reviewed favorably and to take extra time to play with the products in-store (assuming the Ulta you frequent keeps testers available).
In recent years, Ulta has branched out from makeup to skin care. Their namesake skin care has the same affordable price point as the makeup, and some of the products are actually quite good. Skip the cleansers, ignore the moisturizers in jar packaging, and forget about the pore-tightening products...the rest is worth exploring, but again, this is not a brand to shop without some knowledge of what you're buying and how it performs.
For more information about Ulta Beauty, visit www.ulta.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.