The Ordinary Colours – Coverage Foundation – Review (1.1N)

Ordinary coverage foundation swatch

This foundation is… OK. The thing is, I’m a tinted moisturiser/BB cream kinda gal. This isn’t because my skin is flawless; it’s actually kebab house pizza-level greasy and, although my teenage acne days are gone, I still get bad hormonal breakouts and my nose is still covered in blackheads. No, I’m just very invested in lightweight formulas partly because I don’t like looking caked up, but mainly because I’m lazy and like things that are light (read: forgiving) enough to be smeared on with my fingers when it’s 7am and I’m inadequately caffeinated.

As a side note, I received The Ordinary’s Serum Foundation before this – about a month back, whereas the Coverage Foundation only arrived a couple of days ago – and I fell in love with it. My kinda formulation and it actually gives me a glow. The review for that one will come shortly; I actually took pictures of it on my skin last month, but I haven’t had the time to do a write-up because I’ve been away writing my dissertation, and the pics are on my boyfriend’s phone, and my boyfriend is away… so it’s the Coverage Foundation getting the coverage today (sorry).


My skin is quite difficult to shade match because the colour changes quite a lot in the summer. I tan pretty easily – and I often use St Tropez’s Gradual Facial Tan to keep it topped up after I’ve been on holiday –  but in the winter I lose all my natural colour and ditch the gradual facial tan, so I need to change my foundations. This is also why I wear tinted moisturiser-type products, because they’re more forgiving if you’re not really wearing the ‘right’ shade. I tend to flip between NARS’ Tinted Moisturisers in the shades Alaska and Finland throughout the year, and use heavy concealers to deal with blemishes.

I went for the shade 1.1N in this one, which was a mistake. You can see the colour match with Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Light, in 1.0, above; it’s very slightly darker than this ELDWL shade. I’ve been using 1.2YG in the Serum Foundation and it’s a much better match, shade-wise (though I’d argue still a little too light on my summer skin). However, I can see this shade working better for me in the winter… and also when I’m ill. Luckily, my gastritis has flared up this week because I’ve been drinking too much (I’ve finally graduated – let me live), so I’m not looking so fresh. The perfect occasion, then, to give this a go.


Above is my skin without any make-up on, besides a little primer. I use the NIVEA Men Post-Shave Balm hack that was popular in blogging communities, like, a whole year ago, but it works fantastically and it costs me nothing because my boyfriend buys it anyway!

the ordinary 3

And below is my face with the foundation on. I apply foundations with my fingers these days, but I had to blend things out a little with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush because the foundation looked awful after my initial cack-handed smearing.

I’ll start with the good points. Firstly, this doesn’t feel heavy, like any other foundation with ‘coverage’ in its name does. The formula is lightweight. It spreads easily. Like the Serum Foundation, you don’t feel like you have foundation on when you inadvertently touch your face throughout the day.

However, I didn’t like the way this foundation clung onto the dry, flaky bits on my face (another reason for being on team Tinted Moisturiser). I wouldn’t say it gave me the same level of coverage as other similarly priced drugstore foundations have done in the past, when I used to prioritise covering up my insecurities over anything else when doing my make-up; my favourite foundation from my teens, Revlon Colourstay, gives much more coverage and is only slightly more expensive. Also, buying from Boots means you can have a little play around with the shades before you buy, which I think is the most annoying aspect of Deciem not having UK-based bricks-and-mortar stores anywhere north of the M25.

Overall, it’s not outstanding – I think I was expecting more, given the hype, but that’s marketing for you – though if you’re on a budget and looking for a nice day-to-day foundation that feels lightweight on the skin, this might be the one for you, especially if you’ve found that the shade range on the drugstore shelves is too restrictive for your own colouring.

The best bits

  • For the price, it’s worth trying.
  • The longevity is pretty decent for the price; I initially tried wearing this without my usual setting spray or powder on top, but just with primer underneath, and it lasted about 2 hours without moving anywhere on my very-oily skin (no mean feat). On my second try, I used Urban Decay De-Slick over the top and it stayed put for around 6 hours.
  • There’s an extensive shade range. For a budget-priced brand, this is laudable.
  • The formula is lightweight and doesn’t feel

The worst bits

  • Unlike the Serum Foundation, this foundation is not worth the hype (or the hyperbolic marketing jargon regarding ultra-long waiting lists…)
  • Annoying that, unless you can get to one of the stores in London, you need to blindly purchase and shade-match yourself online
  • Like most foundations, the formula will cling to any flaky patches on your skin
  • The level of coverage isn’t mind-blowing; if you’re actually looking for coverage, you’ll still need to pair this with a good concealer

Rating: 5/10

Would I repurchase? No


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