Sunday Swatches: Foundation Files - Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Foundation

Sunday 17 September 2017

Fenty Beauty is all the rage right now and of course after my last post about the Match Stix Trio, I needed to follow up with this much requested Pro Filt'r foundation review!

I have to say this blog post's planning, execution, testing, write up and everything has felt more like a final year degree project/dissertation, I have even tested this foundation under different conditions (explained below) like a true scientist to give it a fair test.. guess my BSc Human Nutrition taught me that much at least 😂

The Store Visit
It may not be that deep for anyone that isn't this fazed by foundation or this product in general but the response I've had on my instagram from many girls like me has been phenomenal and because many of you can't visit Harvey Nichols easily (especially in tourist central Knightsbridge here in London!) AND a two hour wait, it's not the most convenient thing to check out in person, especially if you work full time or have kids.

So when I visited the store second time around on Tuesday (the second weekday after the launch weekend), I still had just under an hour's wait to get in at midday and unfortunately I didn't get to swatch the full foundation ranges but you can see below mostly medium to tan shades from the 40 available foundations (which was no easy feat during launch madness - I even tweeted tips for anyone planning to visit here!)

I have to say the waiting process at the Knightsbridge store is pretty civilised and controlled, the security and counter staff were also nice enough to let me go back and forth from the counter to the corner near the doors for daylight so thanks Harvey Nix staff!

A lot of the messages I received on IG were of course asking what shade I think they would be based on MAC, NARS, L'Oreal etc so I decided to trek to a MAC store to get samples of their best selling/universally popular foundation - Studio Fix Fluid - to compare a few Fenty shades to.. in the hope this helps.

So make sure you have a cuppa ready and without further ado, here is my full in depth review, starting with swatches:
Arm Swatches
In Store Swatches of Medium & Tan range

Face Swatches
My skin 
For this swatch session, my skin seemed shinier/oilier around my t-zone area, especially my nose as you can see in the befores. You can see my freckles, eye scar and pigmentation around my mouth and forehead in the befores which can hopefully give you an idea about the coverage of this foundation and tones.

For a celebrity makeup brand, the packaging of all Fenty products I've tried so far are pretty good quality (my faves being the magnetic skin sticks of course, review here).
The foundations feel weighty because of the frosted glass bottle and definitely look distinct; I like the fact it has a pump which dispenses more than enough product in one pump.
I did find at my in store visit that the white pump and lids were prone to getting very dirty but luckily the lids are wipeable.

The main USP of Fenty Beauty is of course the sheer amount of foundation shades - 40!

The range covers complexions grouped into categories of:
Light: 100-190
Medium: 200-290
Tan: 300-390
Deep: 400-490

I didn't actually realise that my other brand favourites who have extensive foundation ranges (Estee Lauder Double Wear and L'Oreal True Match) don't actually have 40 shades which surprised me. Makeup Forever Ultra HD do however have up to 40 shades.
So this is of course a huge thing and kudos to Rihanna for starting her line with 40 shades.

In saying that though, with more shades there's more confusion as to what shade we are; I had an idea I may be 290 after looking online and once at the store I felt like it could look ashy in certain lightings around my mouth area but the next up (300) was way too orange and the ones below 290 felt too light on my arm.

Now that I've had time to wear it and swatch alongside other brands, I'm convinced 290 is definitely my preferred shade as I have strong olive undertones in my neck and hands and this is the only shade in the Pro Filt'r "medium" range that was described as "neutral olive". The closest foundation shade I have to 290 in another brand is Armani Luminous Silk Shade 6 which is my HG foundation as I feel the undertones are spot on for me especially once settled/dried on the skin (review here, see it in action in my tutorial here).

I think 240 (described as "warm") is my Winter shade, when I'm generally less tanned, especially around the top of my forehead.
I felt like this was the next olive-y toned shade down (see in store arm swatches above to compare), and the closest foundation I already have to it was NYX Total Control Drop Foundation in 10 Buff (review here).
260 ("neutral") may also be a good contender for similar medium skinned girls like me with more neutral undertones, you may want to check the end of this post for other bloggers' shades I'm trying to put together!

My only qualm with the 240 shade is that it's not a strong olive tone, and runs slightly neutral, confirmed by a MAC makeup artist when I went in store for samples, which is why I swatched it with NW22 and that turned out to be a lot pinker. 
I prefer to wear more stronger olive tones as it doesn't make my olive toned discolouration around my mouth more obvious/ashy.

I also feel like the jump from 240 to 290 and 290 to 300s range is quite steep as I consider myself around an NC25-30 in Studio Fix Fluid and Fenty 240 looks closest to NC20-25 in MAC SFF, 290 probably closest to MAC NC30 (if the studio fix was less orange).
300 seems more peachy warm and suitable for NC40 skin tones and upwards so I feel like there could be more in between shades/undertones between 290 and 300 (not that I'm complaining about the range so far which is confusing as it is!)
310 is more orangey/yellow warm, probably more suited to NC42/NC44+.

The rest of the shades in the medium range are either warm, warm peach, cool or neutral.
I did notice the tan range lacks more yellow/olive toned shades as 300 upwards look pretty peachy or orange.

A lot of people have asked me if the foundations oxidise; they do dry down significantly darker and Fenty Beauty used the analogy of paint drying to its "true colour". 
Personally I prefer 290 drying darker as it means less chance of looking ashy in my tanned areas and as long as my undertone matches, I brighten the middle of my face with lighter concealers (or the Fenty Bamboo skinstick works pretty well).
Only one day did I notice 290 looking slightly too tanned by the end of the day and I feel like this was either because of the moisturiser I used or setting spray (see Longevity section below!)

The coverage is definitely medium to full; I find that using a foundation brush and pasting it on in stripes gives the fullest coverage, a kabuki type brush gives medium to full and a beauty blender can give more of a medium to light coverage if blended very well/less product is used.

The foundation is described as a "soft matte longwear foundation" and it's far from the flat matte I expected!

I personally think it's best suited to combination/dry skin types (yes even with the word matte in it) because dry skin types could easily use or mix the foundation with a super hydrating/glowy primer or moisturiser, whereas very oily skin types may struggle with the actual satiny/dewy-matte finish of the foundation (if dewy matte isn't an oxymoron I don't know what is!).

I don't consider myself very oily aside from my nose but I definitely felt oily in this foundation after a couple hours wear as it has a sort of healthy glow to it, so much so that a lady complimented me on the train 🙌🏽
The foundation is apparently resistant to sweat and humidity; I find that my oils do come through after the 3rd hour but it weirdly doesn't break up the foundation crazily, its just super shiny on my nose, so this claim is partly true.

Used with the Deciem The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer however, I felt more matte and also felt less oils coming through after the 4th-5th hour of wearing it.
I wouldn't say its longwear for oily skin types unless worn both with mattifying primer, setting powder and setting spray.

The texture first reminds me of my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk; satiny silky to touch/apply, but obviously dries down a bit more matte. It blends absolutely beautifully but it's best to work in sections due to the semi matte finish, which allows you enough time to blend well but not to sit on the face for unblended for long.

I've worn the foundation 5 days in a row since I got a sample on the first visit in store and then the full size 290 sent to me, and I've worn it in a range of ways: 
without primer
with primer
with setting spray
with a foundation brush or sponge
one day I even wore 240 on half my face and 290 on the other side!
Every single day though, I used the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder to lightly bake my under eye area and sides of my nose.

The first day I tried without primer but used a glowy moisturiser/primer by Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham's: Morning Aura and used a foundation brush. I was glowinggggg. By the 3rd hour in though, I felt super shiny and could see the oils coming through on my nose. 
By the 7th hour in (no nose powdering) I was an oily mess BUT it didn't break up too much which was impressive considering!

Second day I wore it with my standard moisturiser (currently The Body Shop Youth Fresh Emulsion, super hydrating) and a beauty sponge and again by the 3rd hour in I was feeling oily so I had to powder down my nose. I did have to do this more than once in the 12 hours I wore the foundation, to keep it from looking super shiny.

Third day I wore it with The Ordinary primer for a couple hours on an evening out, but with 240 on one side and 290 on the other and I felt 240 definitely made me look a lot paler so I bronzed it up a bit.

The fourth day I wore it with The Ordinary primer on one side and not on the other and the non primer side definitely looked shinier/oilier after a couple hours wear whereas the primer side looked less so but still dewy.

Finally on the fifth day I wore a Boots Botanics Hydration Burst SPF15 Day Lotion and used a NYX TCD Foundation brush to apply the foundation, then used the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and felt like it made it even more dewy by the 3rd hour in.
Something in this combination made my foundation oxidise/turn a very tanned shade compared to the other days where I didn't feel like an oompa loompa by the end of the day, so that's something to note if the foundation does oxidise on you (it might be best to use a primer if it does oxidise).

£26 per foundation is usually more  of a high end price, however I consider the foundation to be on a more premium tier with its texture and feel, I definitely think it's up there with Giorgio Armani which is £40 and you get 2ml more than the standard 30ml too which makes it even more better.
It's available to buy in the UK at Harvey Nichols or worldwide at Sephora. If you do find this blog post informative, please feel free to use my affiliate links here so that I can make a couple pennies to buy myself a pumpkin spiced latte or matcha latte for my efforts 😂

Overall rating
Overall I do love this foundation a lot. There's something about it that makes my skin look HEALTHY and far from flat, so it looks almost naturally flawless.
I do think it's best for dry-combination skin tones mostly unless lots of mattifying products are used for oily skin types (probably those blotting products also in the Fenty range).

I think it is a perfect start to go for a soft matte foundation range to start with because it can be tailored to different skin types with the right primer/moisturiser/finishing products.

The shades are super confusing and unfortunately due to the less accessible location of the UK Harvey Nichols stores, it's hard to get shade matched easily right now (as helpful as the staff members are!).

But I'm very impressed at the success of Rihanna's brand so far, everything from the actual quality of products, promotion all over Knightsbridge, advertising, inclusion of the stunning hijabi model Halima Aden etc., it's all been super organised and counts towards the success no doubt.

I'll definitely be supporting this super WOC-friendly brand and although there's an extensive medium/tan/dark range than usual, I still feel there's some key olive/yellow shades missing but for now I'm happy with my 290 shade so I give it a 4/5:

Here's me wearing 290 with the Match Stix Trio in Medium 200 as in my last post, but with and without flash:

I'm trying to compile a list of medium/tan shade bloggers for you guys to refer to if you're not 290 like myself, so far I've seen these bloggers/YouTubers say they are these shades:
230: Hannah St Luce
260: Iqra Blushing Giraffe
270: Jadirah Sarmad
290: Me! Kaushal too
300: Anchal Mua and Aysha Begum

If you're a blogger/youtuber and have a review of your shade, please do comment below or message me so I can add your link too!
What do you guys think of this foundation?
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  1. Thanks so much for this Safiyah! After reading and studying all the swatches I think i'm 290! I think the price is ok for what you get I expected it to be more. Cant wait to try!

    Amina xx

    1. Do let me know if you do, would love to add you to the list :D xx

  2. Wow this was a really thorough and in depth post! Thank you so much for your time and effort. Unfortunately I'm pretty oily so I probably won't invest in the actual foundation but I really enjoyed reading the review! X

    1. Aww you're welcome! I feel like if you wore a suitable primer/moisturiser and powdered down well it wouldn't be too oily but it definitely gives a "glowy" finish which most people with oily skin tend to steer away from in my experience!

  3. Unfortunately I don't have access to Sephora in India...I purchased 310 online. I am an NC42, but more neutral than Orange. The best match for me is MUFE 153. Keeping my fingers crossed that the shade I picked matches me ��

    1. It sounds like it might! I use MUFE 153 in my kit and definitely think it's around NC42 range, check out the link to Anchal Mua's video if you can, as she's a similar shade to you I think!

  4. hi im 290 but its sold out so how would 240 be for me ? Do you think i should wait for 290 or get 240 now. And for reference I've used maybelline 220, wet n wild golden beige, giorgio armani 6 ! and if you could could you do a comparison of 240 and 290 right next to each other, thanks x

    1. Hi Jerusha, so sorry about the delay in getting back to you!
      If you think 290 is your shade then I wouldn't go for 240 as it's significantly lighter and also less olive toned.
      At the moment I'm in between my summer shade and winter shade so I'm mixing 240 and 290 but 240 definitely does look paler on me by itself.
      Hope this helps!

  5. The best written review. Thank you so much 💗💗💗💗

  6. Hey! Thanks for doing such a detailed review. I feel like I'm somewhere between NC25-30, No. 5 in Armani Luminous Silk and Cream Beige in Wet n Wild Photofocus. Looking at the pictures I feel like 240 might be a better colour for me. What would you recommend?

  7. hey! i used to use drugstore foundation. i am 220 in the fit me matte plus poreless and 02 nude in nyx stay matte but not flat. can you suggest me a shade?

  8. Thank you for this.... they are not selling in physical stores here (Brazil). By the pictures on the website I thought I was 220... but now with your swatches I know I'm much closer to 240.

  9. Assalamualaikum Safiyah, thank you for your such detailed review. At the moment, I am looking for affordable, drug store foundations. I match with 290 too from the sample I got, do you think you could tell which NYX Total Control Drop Foundation is closest to 290? You mentioned it but it was with 240, please let me know! Thank you!!

  10. This is an amazing review! I am also 290 and I'm glad I'm not to only one who struggled to find her shade and also has the ashy mouth area problem. I have looked in every light possible and although my forehead , cheeks, and nose all match my neck perfectly, my mouth area always tends to look slightly gray. I'm afraid to wear 290 out because of that problem and if I have to wear foundation out, I have been wearing 280 which is warm and peachy. 280 does not make my mouth area look ashy but my face tends to look slightly peachy and pinker compared to my olive neck. I hope Rih Rih comes out with more olive tones but in the meantime I will be using color correctors!

  11. I dunno how 300 is considered tan not medium! Plus, 240 is sooo pale! Warm where? It looked cool and ashy on me.. more suited for pinkier fairer skin

  12. Hey safiyah. Just came across your review. It’s perfect. Im still confused about my shade. I use Nyx total control drop in shade 12-Classic Tan and Im an Nc40. Which shade should i try for Fenty?

  13. I am just thinking of getting this foundation. Which shade I should take for nc44? I just did my beginners makeup lesson from Lina Cameron. She is really good at this. She can bring gorgeous look in a very regular face.

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  15. Hey there. Have you tested out the newer shades like 235,255? I'm on the lookout and only seen a few swatches but your reviews are so detailed.


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