"Foundation Balm" Exists and I Tried It⁠—Here Are My Honest Thoughts

Foundation Balm

 Amy Lawrenson

When I think "foundation balm," something creamy and dewy springs to mind. But, when I tried Kevyn Aucoin's newest formula, it was the polar opposite. Full-coverage and matte, the brand's Foundation Balm ($52) was, of course, different than I expected—but not in a bad way. See, I love the dewy, juicy coverage that It Cosmetics' CC+ Illumination yields (you can read my love letter to the It Cosmetics CC+ here), but I'm also ready for something new.

First impressions: The small pot of balm comes with a flat-topped brush—and it's not just a throw-away product. Usually, brushes that come as part of the package can be rubbish. But this one is perhaps the best foundation brush I've ever used. It applies, blends, and conceals (as if wielding the blur tool on Photoshop) with unbelievable ease. It's also small enough to get the product into all the nooks of your face, like around your nose and inner eyes.

A little goes a long way. I've used cream pot-based foundations before, and they can tend to disappear quickly. But, you can tell this one will last a while, especially if you are strategic with your coverage (rather than opting for an all-over blanket application).


I applied the Foundation Balm to one side of my face—it instantly evens the complexion and neutralizes redness.

It's full coverage, but it's buildable, and while it's more matte than I'm used to, it's not flat or dull. It does a great job of neutralizing and concealing redness and blemishes, but without leaving my skin looking cake-y. It's packed with hyaluronic acid and vitamin e, so it hydrates and nourishes your skin throughout the day, rather than drying out your face.

I applied the product at 7 a.m., with a full day of work meetings ahead, and didn't remove it until 11 p.m. that night. At 4 p.m., I did notice a little extra shine on my forehead and some redness around my nose. That said, a quick sweep of the brush over those areas, and the coverage looked good as new. Being a liquid foundation lover and a fan of a dewy finish, I'm used to doing a few touch-ups throughout the day anyway, and this foundation required just the one. It's not the longest-wearing product I've ever applied, but it's definitely got impressive staying power nonetheless.

Full face

I applied the Foundation Balm all over and then added bronzer, blush, and lipstick to finish the look.

After all is said and done, I don't think I'd completely ditch my usual tinted moisturizer for the full-coverage foundation balm. That said, when I need a little more coverage and staying power (perhaps a long day or night out), I'll be reaching for this formula again.

Foundation Balm
Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm $52

Next up, this Byrdie editor put Tarte's Babassu Foundcealer to the 12-hour test.

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