Water Blend Foundation Showdown: Comparing Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude to the Rest of the Market

Recently, my local exchange had Estee Lauder’s latest addition to their extensive Double Wear foundation line on sale … a crazy sale, so good it seemed too good to be true (it was, sort of; it was a misprint I hear, but they honored it). It’s a new water blend foundation: the ridiculously long named Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF 30. I had been wanting to try it after the rave reviews I had been seeing, and the price meant I couldn’t say no (I tried, lovely husband, I really did … I waited until the last day of the sale to pick it up. Almost made it).

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It’s an interesting market, water blend foundations … and an interesting addition to the Double Wear stable, as the OG Double Wear is known for it’s matte finish, full coverage, last all day through Okinawan heat and humidity-ness. While this foundation is super popular, I personally do not like OG Double Wear at all; it looks like thick, chalky cake face at it’s worst on me. Not cute. But water blend foundations are a different animal entirely. Literally formulated with more water than anything, they offer a light, totally skin like finish … they aren’t going to hide cystic acne or raccoon eyes after an all-nighter, but they will even out your skin tone, balance redness, and make you look like you. But better. That’s the claim anyway, I think you look amazing without it (do I sound like your mom?).

The OG to this market is the cult classic MAC Face and Body. With 13 shades (and a white mixer shade available in the large size to pros), it is also the most economical choice at $29 for 50 ml or a honkin’ 120 ml bottle for $38. The coverage is extremely light, but it is also very buildable, with some people using several layers when they are looking for a more medium plus level of coverage. The shade range is a little bit of a bummer if you are fair or deep in complexion as you will likely be excluded from the Face and Body party (without mixing in something else anyway).

Make Up For Ever used to sell a foundation also called (not-so-creatively) Face and Body, but recently replaced it with Water Blend. This new foundation has been blasted by a few well-known You Tubers recently for being … well … not much more than water (the company markets it as a waterproof formula that is made of 80% water). $43 will get you 50 ml, and it comes in 20 shades (MUFE has long been very inclusive for all skin tones). I personally LOVE this foundation (I don’t like makeup-ey looking skin too much for myself), but yes, it is very, very sheer. I call it my “why bother” foundation.

water blend
Make Up For Ever Water Blend, or my affectionately-dubbed “why bother” foundation

Even more sheer than MAC Face and Body, it feels nearly undetectable on the skin, looks undetectable, and just evens out redness for me very well. It’s buildable too, if you have areas that have a little more pigmentation you would like to not hang out. I get a lot more coverage using it over my Shiseido Ibuki holy grail primer, so if you want a little more oomph, that’s a good option. Buyer beware though … this is a true watery foundation, and it will not play nice with super siliconey primers like NYX Angel Veil, Smashbox, etc. AT ALL. Don’t do it.

This summer, reach for Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+. Now at NORDSTROM.

So enter Estee Lauder’s new kid on the block, the Nude Water Fresh blah-blah-blah (I hope you read that in Adam Sandler’s Dracula voice like I said it in my head when I typed it).

What this foundation has in common with its water blend sisters: it’s practically undetectable on the skin, and feels very lightweight. What it doesn’t share: it offers significantly more coverage than MAC and MUFE. All three, for me, have a demi matte, also very skin-like finish to them (not too dewy, not too matte … juuuuuuuust right). It comes in just 12 shades, but the top and bottom end of the spectrum go a good bit farther than MAC’s Face and Body do (and the upside to a very sheer formulation means you can get away with less of an exact color match … though Estee Lauder in my opinion could do a lot better). $42 will get you 30 ml (that’s the standard size for a foundation, but here in water blend land, this one is by far the most expensive per ml of the bunch). It also comes in Estee Lauder’s stupid, cheap-ass (but pretty) frosted glass bottle without a pump. Gross. Seriously, at this price point (at any really, can we be hygienic here, people), this shit should have a pump.

So, which do I like best? Hmmmm. Well, I’m cheap, so if I could wear MAC Face and Body that might be my choice … but they don’t go light enough for me so pfbbbbb to you, MAC. Out of MUFE and EL … I think more people will like the EL foundation. It really is fantastic, and offers a lot of coverage without looking or feeling like makeup. If you have an event, I definitely would go with this over the MUFE one. But … I might be in the minority, but I really love the Make Up For Ever Water Blend. It perfectly matches my skintone (my actual skintone, MUFE is very good at looking at real undertones that people have … with most lines, I have to just buy the lightest and hope for the best … this was not the lightest in the range even, and I had a couple different (realistic) undertones to pick from, not just pepto bismol mixed with white out or mustard mixed with white out options).

I hope this was helpful and you can narrow down the field to a water blend foundation that will work well for you and your skin type and tone. If you’ve tried any foundations from this segment, what did you think?

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