This New Foundation Is Designed to Look Flawless in Photos—We Put It to the Test

It's common knowledge within the beauty realm that any product carrying the Laura Mercier name will make you look flawless—glowy but not too glowy, made up but not obviously made up. In fact, it's one of the few beauty brands with a hearty collection of cult-classic staples we see almost any time we snoop inside a makeup artist's or celebrity's makeup kit. You'll also find said cult classics in the bags of (ahem) beauty editors. We know firsthand from inquisitive experience that makeup artists can't get enough of the dew-gifting talents of the beloved Radiance Foundation Primer ($38), or of the stay-all-day muscle of the ever-popular Translucent Setting Powder ($39). Oh, and don't even get us started on the skin-perfecting prowess of the brand's foundations and concealers. My life has been changed for the better since I was introduced to the Flawless Fusion Concealer ($29), and my fellow beauty editor and roomie Amanda Montell wholeheartedly agrees.

So, when Laura Mercier announced the exciting launch of a brand-new foundation—a foundation that allegedly looks perfect in photos and under every kind of lighting situation, no less—the thrill ran high. Enter the Laura Mercier Flawless Lumière Radiance-Perfecting Foundation ($48)—a medium- to full-coverage liquid formula that's expertly concocted with an exotic grouping of ingredients (think "super crystal clear pearl," vitamin C, and "silver ear mushroom extract") to deliver weightless yet long-wear luminosity and hydration to even the dullest and most dehydrated of complexions. Enticing, no?

Being the product hoovers and reviewers we love to be, Amanda and I couldn't wait to get our hands on the foundation, and when we headed to the brand's Los Angeles launch event yesterday—a rare dingy and rainy day in L.A.—we had some pretty high expectations for our completely bare complexions. (The brand advised us to come without a stitch of makeup on.) 

Upon arrival, we snapped a few photos before each being paired with a Laura Mercier global makeup artist who applied the new foundation (plus some extras!) while sharing all the glorious benefits of the newest face elixir. Curious about our honest reviews? Keep scrolling for our unfiltered before and after photos and what we truly thought of the brand-new foundation as beauty editors who have tried almost every foundation on the market.

Amanda Montell, Features & Beauty Editor

My thoughts: The main intrigue of this foundation, for me at least, was the formulation. It contains a mushroom extract that's rumored to be so hydrating that it will actively improve your skin's moisture and radiance levels, making it look and feel softer, as you're wearing it. It was also promised to be lightweight in texture. And the finish is supposed to be subtly glowy and light-reflecting but still matte and controlled enough to look grease- and flashback-free in photos. Like your real skin, but better. Since I only ever really wear foundation for special occasions where I'll probably be photographed and I still like my skin to look human, that all sounded ideal to me.

In practice, the texture of this foundation was every bit as lightweight as promised, and it did an impressive job of evening out my freckly skin tone and dark under-eye area without looking cakey. And as the selfie here proves, it looks pretty damn flawless in photos. My only qualm was that after 12 hours of wear, the foundation started to separate from my skin a tiny bit, so there was some flaking happening. And in person, it didn't look quite as seamless or invisible as my holy-grail foundation by Japanese brand Koh Gen Do. But I can definitely see myself reaching for this stuff for a night out when I know there are going to be flash photos around, confident that the result will be worthy of an Instagram story—no filter needed.

Erin Jahns, Associate Beauty Editor

My thoughts: Unlike Amanda, I'm a little bit of a foundation fiend. When it comes to my makeup M.O., I'm either completely barefaced or I'm completely made up: full-coverage foundation, bronzer, mascara, highlighter, lipstick—the whole nine yards. And, I'm notoriously picky when it comes to foundation formulas. There are only a select few I've ever loved and worn on a routine basis. That said, I happen to truly love Laura Mercier as a makeup brand and consistently wear its Flawless Fusion Foundation ($48) (a liquid like this one but more matte), the Flawless Fusion Concealer, and an assortment of highlighters and translucent powders. Plus, my crease-prone under-eyes would be lost without the brand's iconic Secret Brightening Powder for Under Eyes ($28).

Typically, I prefer a matte or satin finish when I shop for foundation and rely on my collection of bronzers, blushes, and highlighters to deliver whatever ratio of radiance I want. It's not that I don't like the idea of luminous foundations, per se, but more often than not, I'm left with a slick, oil-stricken face come 2 p.m.—not what I'm after. But again, since I trust the brand to create excellent, top-performing formulas, I remained optimistic.

As Amanda pointed out, the feel and texture of this formula are addictively lightweight. I don't know a single person who enjoys the feeling of foundation on their face, so this one's a 100% win on that account. It also does a superb job in terms of coverage. Due to stress and hormones, I had some extra redness and acne, and this foundation covered both (without looking cakey or heavy) pretty effortlessly. I was impressed.

Once I arrived home from the event and had more opportunity to inspect the foundation on my face, I was left a little undecided. I'm super particular about the way every aspect of my makeup is applied, and even though the makeup artist I worked with was incredibly talented, I just didn't think I looked like myself, which ultimately ended up hindering my opinion of the foundation. I resolved to try it out the next morning (aka today) on my own, which would also give me the opportunity to feel firsthand how it would apply and work with my other makeup staples. Fast-forward, and I was obsessed. Once again, I appreciated the amazing yet natural-looking coverage of the formula, and although the finish isn't quite as luminous as you'd think it would be, that's probably a good thing as you are left with a radiance that never treads the line of overly dewy or greasy. Plus, I think it actually looks prettier as it settles and melts into the complexion. Overall, I'm sold, and I can definitely see myself rotating this formula with my bottle of Flawless Fusion.

Other LM Essentials

Boasting vitamins A, C, and E, this creamy, featherweight gel is the makeup artist–preferred way to prep your face pre-foundation. As someone who historically despises most primers, I actually really love this one.

Whereas most makeup sponges absorb more foundation than they apply (especially annoying if said foundation has a price tag that stings), this new, ergonomically designed sponge doesn't. You can use it damp or dry, and the unique shape is easy to maneuver, promising to hit every curve and crease of your face. 

According to the makeup artists Amanda and I worked with, this is the best concealer to pair with the new foundation formula. It had already been a longtime favorite of ours (I actually turned Amanda onto it a few months ago), so no surprises there.

A newer take on the brand's OG loose setting powder, this new glow-inducing option ensures a finish that's pretty and radiant but not aggressive or "sparkly." Instead, it keeps your foundation application in place all day or night while simultaneously delivering a touch of shimmer that's flattering, not fake.

We would go out and buy this brush simply for how cool it looks, but the fact it was specially designed to dust the brand's beloved Translucent Loose Setting Powder (see above) is just an added perk. The unique shape ensures utmost precision, so your powder actually falls where you want it to. For once.

Next up, this unexpected hairstyle is cool again thanks to Poppy Delevingne.