The Ordinary Colours – Serum Foundation – Review (1.2YG)

swatch comp

Yesterday I reviewed The Ordinary’s Coverage Foundation, which I wasn’t impressed with. Now it’s time to talk about the Serum Foundation – which was actually the first of the Colours foundations I received, but I haven’t had the time to write about until now because life has been stressful as of late.

As I mentioned in my other foundation review, despite having far-from-flawless skin, I’m not really into high-coverage formulas. I like tinted moisturisers that are easy enough to apply without a mirror, but with enough substance that they actually make the skin look better. The only decent tinted moisturisers/BB creams I’ve found are Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, NARS Tinted Moisturiser (my go-to base product… admittedly this is 90% because it’s a wee bit cheaper than Laura Mercier), and Erbrorian BB Crème au Ginseng (which I raptured about to a writer pal here). The common thread linking these wonder products? They’re all really expensive. So props to The Ordinary, then, for coaxing me out of my hood rich lifestyle with this glorious Serum Foundation.

serum foundation

I went for 1.2YG, which looks too dark for me in the swatches above, but this is just the lighting – trust. It’s a little darker, and much more yellow-toned, than one of my most-used NARS Tinted Moisturiser shades, Finland (which, just to give you a better idea of the hue, is the second-to-lightest shade in the NARS TM line-up). I have yet to really notice the ‘gold’ undertones in the formulation, so don’t be tricked into thinking this is a sheeny-finish foundation. You know that elusive Your Lips But Better lipstick hue that everyone, apparently, needs in their life? This foundation gives you Your Skin, But Better.


Here is my make-up free face. Yep, I know, pores. Peach fuzz. Sorry not sorry; airbrushing/filtering my skin would be false advertising, especially when I’m trying to write honestly about beauty.


And here I am with the foundation on. I think this formula definitely has that ‘blurring’ effect; my imperfections are still there, but glossed over a little. Obviously everything looks worse under close scrutiny; when I look in a normal mirror, at a normal distance, at my skin like this, it looks fine. However, if I had any particularly awful blemishes (you might notice a little red one brewing in the centre of my cheek…), I’d just slap a bit of NARS Soft Matte concealer on top. You can’t realistically expect this foundation to be a miracle fix when it’s not marketed as a high-coverage product.

I apply this, like everything else, with my fingers; this seems to be the best way to apply it, as the formula is so lightweight and fluid that my brushes just soak it up, hardly distributing it around the face. The formula is like nothing I’ve ever tried, and I adore it – I imagine that it’s similar to Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation, which I’ve lusted after for ages but never bought because it’s too expensive – it feels and looks like you have no make-up on. Your skin but better, you guys! So much better!

I’ve found that – like most products – it looks better and lasts longer with a primer underneath (I’m not wearing primer in the photos above, I should note!). I have very oily skin so, unsurprisingly, this foundation does not last very long (I’d say a couple of hours, max) if just left unfinished. I always wear Urban Decay De-Slick on top of any base products, though, which means I can eke that natural look out for a whole working day when I remember to set it. Seriously, fellow oily skinned friends: buy De-Slick, and then you can buy whatever foundation you like, because long-wear formulas won’t let your **inner glow** shine through.

To summarise, then, this foundation is the bomb if you are a tinted moisturiser/BB cream/CC cream person. I’m not going to part with my beloved NARS Tinted Moisturiser for good, but I’ll definitely be continuing to use the Serum Foundation a lot.

The best bits

  • The price
  • Improves the appearance of – rather than conceals – your skin
  • Vast shade range
  • Doesn’t feel like make-up
  • If you colour match yourself slightly incorrectly, don’t fret. The formula’s so lightweight that it’s pretty forgiving, shade-wise.
  • Easily (and best) applied with fingers; no unnecessary faffing with applicators needed

The worst bits

  • Unless you can get to one of the stores in London, you’ll need to buy it online (and possibly wait ages for it to arrive)
  • Don’t count on it to last all day unless you’re using it with a good setting spray or powder

Rating: 9/10

Would I repurchase? Yes






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