This Long-Lasting Full-Coverage Foundation Still Looks Like Skin

Urban Decay foundation

Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

When it comes to foundation, the stakes are high. The wrong choice can derail an entire makeup look (patchiness, oxidation, shine, and creasing are all common offenders). But the right one will change your life (to an extent, anyway). 

Working in this industry means I’ve made it my business to trial new foundations all the time. And today’s subject is Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation. It’s an interesting road test for me because I almost always use lightweight, dewy, sheer products; however, this is a fuller coverage, semi-matte, long-wearing product. But if anything, this just makes me a tougher critic—below, read my full review.

Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Foundation

Best for: All skin types, but specifically normal, combination and oily. It also suits those who prefer full coverage and a matte finish. 

Uses: This product can be used as an all-over facial coverage product

Clean? Yes

Potential allergens: None

Price: $39

About the brand: Urban Decay is a Californian beauty brand founded in 1996 by Wendy Zamnir. It’s known (and loved) for its progressive approach to makeup, and iconic products such as the Naked Palette and Stay All Day Setting Spray. 

About My Skin: Balanced-to-combination

I can feel tight and dry across my cheeks and forehead, but my nose and chin are prone to shine. In the context of foundation, I typically like a more natural, dewy finish (but it depends on the day, where I’m going, and how my skin is feeling). 

How to Apply: Three different options

My thoughts are that foundation is a bit of a "chose-your-own-adventure" makeup endeavor. But the Urban Decay website actually details three application options, depending on the desired finish: 

  • Light coverage: Use a soft, fluffy diffusing brush or your favorite sponge.
  • Medium coverage: Build with a blending sponge. 
  • Full coverage: Use a flat brush.

I trialed both a sponge and a soft, fluffy brush and surprisingly preferred the brush (I’m VERY much attached to my beautyblender). I liked the way it really buffed and diffused the product into my skin. Don’t get me wrong, the sponge was fine, but because it’s a little thicker and dries down to a soft matte finish, the brush seemed to give me a more seamless look. For the ultimate in coverage, I’d take the aforementioned advice and use a flat brush. 

The Results: Natural-looking coverage

UD foundation
Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

As mentioned, I don’t typically go for long-wear, matte, full coverage foundation formulas (I’m a lightweight, dewy kind of girl). But this pleasantly surprised me. It was full, but still felt like it allowed my skin’s texture to shine through. I also didn’t mind the matte finish (especially where I am in midst of a Sydney, AU summer right now). It felt soft and natural—not thick or cake-y. 

The main feature that blew my mind, however, was the staying powder. I wore this on a particularly long day (I’m talking 5 a.m. wake-up for work and a small dinner that wrapped just before midnight). Being the good beauty editor that I am, I diligently went to remove my makeup when I got home and was surprised to find it still looked near perfect. It was fresh, even, and soft (and zero transfer on my cream sweater!) I was impressed to say the least. 

The Value: Average

UD Stay Naked
Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Foundation $39.00

This product is $39, which is fairly average when it comes to the luxury foundation category. There are certainly similar drugstore options available if you're looking for a budget-friendly option (more on these below), but I think this buy is warranted. It feels great, wears well, comes in a good range of shades and the weighty glass bottle adds an element of prestige. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free (what’s not to love?). 

Similar Products

MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Foundation: If you want a full-coverage foundation with a natural-matte finish, this is for you. The shade range is amazing as well. 

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation: This iconic buy is unmatched when it comes to longevity. While it’s full coverage as is, you can mix in a drop of serum or face oil to give it a lighter, more dewy sheen. 

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation: Rihanna can do a lot of things well, foundation formulation included. This is a soft matte that will quell shine but not compromise on radiance. 

e.l.f. Cosmetics Flawless Finish Foundation: At $6, there’s a lot to love about this drugstore hero. It’s super matte and does an incredible job at controlling shine (so it's great for oiler skin types). 

Final Verdict: Great for special occasions

Overall, the Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation does what it says: stays on, and provides decent coverage (but remains fresh). The shades are great, the price is reasonable, and it feels nice on the skin. While I don’t think I’d use it all the time, I will certainly draw on its powers next time it’s humid out or I’ve got a marathon day of meetings (Zoom or otherwise). 

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