Bobbi Brown foundation review

Review: Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation in Alabaster (Foundation for pale skin)

Some of you may remember me talking about Bobbi Brown’s Long Lasting Foundation last month, and wondering if the ‘Alabaster’ shade might be a good match for my pale skin. Well, this month I decided it was time to stop wondering and find out: the Bobbi Brown corrector I use had reached critical levels, and while I was replacing it, why, a bottle of the Natural Finish Foundation just so happened to slip into my online shopping cart along with it. Fancy that!

It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I’m just going to answer the critical question right away: YES. It’s a perfect match for my skin. I hardly ever get to say that, so this is kind of a big deal for me. I’d actually been worried that it would be TOO pale: I already use Bobbi Brown concealer/corrector in the shade up from this, which is Porcelain/Porcelain Bisque. It’s very pale as it is, so I wondered if Alabaster might turn out to be one of those pure white shades that are really only useful for editorial looks, or mixing in with existing foundation to lighten it. I needn’t have worried, though, because as I said above, it’s pretty much perfect:

This was really hard to photograph, so apologies for the quality of these swatches. The first one is the “right out of the bottle” product, the second shows – or tries to show – it once it’s been blended in. As you can see (or, er, can’t see), it blends in so well it’s almost indistinguishable from the surrounding skin. What you may or may not also notice from these photos is the yellow undertones. I’d worried a bit about this, too, as my skin is pink toned, but it’s actually worked out really well for me: yellow is great at cancelling out dark shadows under the eyes and other areas of discolouration, so it’s helped with that, while not being yellow enough to make me look sallow.

For the benefit of my pale skinned friends, I did a couple of comparison shots with some of my other foundations:

L-R: Bobbi Brown, Dainty Doll in Ivory, Lancome Renergie Lift Foundation in Porcelain, Revlon ColorStay in 110 Ivory, Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in RF120. (Some of these are swatched here.)

And swatched:

These have all come out a little darker than they are in real life, with the exception of the Dainty Doll, which is pretty true to colour. As you can see, though, this isn’t quite as pale as Dainty Doll but it is paler than the other three, and the difference is much more pronounced in real life. I was actually wearing it in yesterday’s photos , so I won’t bore you with more photos of my face, but if you’ve arrived at this post via a Google search and want to see what it looks like on, you can see it here.

Enough about the colour, though, what about the foundation itself? Well, in that respect, it’s very true to its name: a natural finish. The bottle has a pump dispenser, and when I first used it, I didn’t think I was going to like it, as it’s runnier and lighter than I’m used to: lately I’ve been using my own mixture of Revlon ColorStay combined with Illamasqua 105 (a pure white) to make it pale enough to wear. Those are both heavy duty, thick coverage foundations, and, in comparison, this is more of a medium coverage, although it does layer up nicely. What I noticed as soon as I started to apply it, however, is that it truly does have a natural finish: it basically seems to melt into the skin, so you don’t look like you’re wearing foundation – there’s none of that “caked on” look, and it doesn’t settle into fine lines either. I was really impressed with how natural it looks on, and that, combined with the great colour match has really made a difference to me – I feel like my foundation looks much less like “makeup”, and more like skin, which obviously a big point in this product’s favour.

My one small criticism of this would be that it’s not quite as matte a finish as I usually like. My personal preference is for very matte foundations, and my usual ColorStay/Illamasqua combination really soaks up any excess oil on the t-zone. I don’t normally have to use powder with Revlon, but I have been having to use it with this from time to time, depending on just how shiny my skin decides it wants to be of a morning. This is a small price to pay for such an otherwise fantastic foundation, though: to be honest, I can’t really think of a good reason for me to want to switch from this, although, in the interests of “research” I’ll probably try some of the other foundations from the Bobbi Brown line too, as they all come in this Alabaster shade.

This is £29 at Bobbi Brown. Expensive, yes, but worth every penny for the colour match alone…

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  • Hannah


    I’m happy it’s a perfect match for your skin. I have almost the same skin tone as you so I might try it out. I’m glad it doesn’t have the caked on look because I hate that.

    April 6, 2011
  • liz


    Great post Amber, especially the swatches. I too love the Revlon for it’s staying power, but being a peely wally Scot it’s too dark for me. I mix it with a little MAC face and body in white and C1. The white lightens the tone, and the C1 neutralises the pink, the formulation of the MAC makes the Revlon lighter to wear and easier to blend. Foundation combo mixing is the way to go;-)))

    April 9, 2011
  • Kim


    I LOVE this foundation too – and Bobbi Brown are the only brand I’ve found a colour match in too!

    Haven’t tried Dainty Doll though after reports it can flare up acne (which I suffer from horribly).

    First time to the site and I’ll have to have a back read to see if you have swatches, fotds etc! Will be nice to see them from someone with my skin tone.

    April 10, 2011
  • Kim


    By the way – I’m the Kim thats been on Shoeperwoman recently, nice to see you’ve got a beauty site too and comment on a lighter topic! 🙂

    April 10, 2011
  • Christine Jeffrey


    Hey Amber,
    I am another snow white from Scotland, I recommend using Clinique’s strangely similar named shade “Alabaster”

    April 12, 2011