As a millennial who hit teenager-dom before beauty YouTube really took off, my first encounter with the miracle of foundation was in seventh grade math class. My deskmate, for reasons still unknown, would bring her makeup bag to class and do a full face, and I can still vividly recall her devotion to CoverGirl Smoothers foundation. Impressed, I tried it at home, only for it to immediately separate on my skin and highlight hundreds of different flakes, like a blacklight in a motel room.
It wasn't just CoverGirl's foundation, either. No matter which brand I tried in pursuit of an immaculately even skin tone, any foundation would hit my skin and morph into a mottled mess that created texture instead of masking anything. After YouTube got big, I'd watch the way vloggers would spackle on foundation in awe of the supernaturally even and smooth finish they got, but still, it was like my forehead contained foundation kryptonite.
To this day, I've only come across two complexion products that resist my skin's separation siren song. One is Josie Maran's Vibrancy Foundation, which is uber-moisturizing and dewy. The other is Sephora Collection's new Best Skin Ever foundation, and it makes my combination skin look like an even, matte masterpiece.
Shop now: $20; sephora.com
Sephora Collection's liquid lipsticks have earned accolades for years, but when something is so boldly named "Best Skin Ever," it can feel like the product promises too much. Yet in my first and only pandemic trip to Sephora, I picked up a $20 bottle just to give it a shot after hearing good things online. To my surprise, it's become a daily go-to for when I want to feel like my skin is marble, or like I'm Edward Cullen.
Along that note, the foundation's available in 50 shades (wink, wink), from an ultra-fair peach to deep shades in hard-to-find undertones. I squirt a pump onto a flat top brush and buff it onto my skin, starting from my jawline hormonal acne up to my forehead, which has defeated so many formulas over the years. The Best Skin Ever's magic holds; even my oily-yet-dehydrated T-zone doesn't disrupt its flow.
Shop now: $30; sephora.com
The coverage level is squarely medium, and the non-separating secret lies in the gel formula's infusion of moisturizing hyaluronic acid. There's no sunscreen included, which is my preference, because nine times out of 10, foundations with SPF rely on the hormone-disrupting ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate. Red and brown algae extracts provide anti-pollution skin benefits instead, fending off any sun damage I might incur from sitting in front of a window all day (#JaneEyreLifestyle). Likewise eco-friendly, the foundation's bottle is made from 30 percent recycled glass.
As the unlucky recipient of a lifetime subscription to seborrheic dermatitis, I never really expected to know preternaturally smooth, even skin. Yet after all this time, Sephora Collection's Best Skin Ever finally delivers. If only my desk partner could see me now.