Should You Try Cover FX's Oil-Free Foundation?

High coverage with skin-loving ingredients.

I really wanted to love something from Cover FX.

The Canadian makeup company, which was launched in 2000 and originally developed for patients at Sunnybrook Hospital here in Toronto, has an amazing brand philosophy. Their whole raison d'être is foundation—and specifically, clinically-tested foundation that's gentle enough for the most sensitive skin types. Everything they make is free of what they call "the inflammatory five": parabens, gluten, mineral oil, fragrance and talc. They also offer more than 25 different shades, for all ethnicities, which are the same throughout all the products. (Makes you wish other brands would do that, too, instead of having brand new shade charts every time.)

Doesn't all that sound fantastic? I thought so, too, and greedily said yes to test-driving a whole bunch of their products following a media event held a few weeks ago. Of the bunch, the one I liked best was what you're looking at right here—the Natural Finish Oil-Free Foundation.

They describe it as a sheer-to-full-coverage, buildable foundation, but I'd say it's more on the medium-to-full spectrum. Especially if you apply it with your fingers, which I don't really recommend; it's much easier to blend and get a lighter, more even finish when you use a foundation brush.

It is water-based and comes in a 30 mL tube:

What I appreciate most about this product—and the entire Cover FX line—is that they totally deliver on shade options, and make it easy to find which one is yours. The range is divided into Warm, Cool and Neutral undertones, with levels ranging from 10 (lightest) up to 80 (darkest), depending on the undertone. If you don't know which one is your colour, they have a handy shade-finding tool on their website. This is the chart for this product:

I'm pretty sure I would've picked N20 (the second lightest neutral) on my own, but thankfully the brand's R&D guy also matched me at the event, in natural light, and confirmed it was my shade. When I tried it at home, it was the perfect match.

Now, one more thing you need to know about this foundation is that it's pretty thick. Not so much when you first squeeze some out on a finger, like this:

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But you'll definitely notice it once you start blending it out on your skin. It's highly pigmented and fairly creamy, even though it's an oil-free product. (This is why I say to use a brush.) I suspect the reason for the thick texture is because it has extra moisturizing benefits from something called Homarine HCL, along with vitamins C and E and the anti-aging peptide Tetrapeptide-21.

Here's the full ingredients list:

Water, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Diethylhexyl Carbonate, Dimethicone, Squalane,Tribehenin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Triacontanyl Pvp, Butylene Glycol, Ethyl Linoleate, Ethyl, Linolenate, Ethyl Oleate, Erythritol, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Bisabolol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Lauroyl Lysine, Sorbitol/Sebacic Acid Copolymer Behenate, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Tetrapeptide-21, Homarine Hcl. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499).

Maybe it's because my skin is not dry, but in my testing, it never completely sunk in or "set". Instead, it stays a little sticky/tacky to the touch because it doesn't dry down completely. In this next shot, I think you can see how it's sitting a bit on top of the skin. (Although it was definitely not even close to the worst I've tried in terms of sitting on top of the skin; that honour goes to Face Atelier Ultra Foundation.)

I snapped this next shot so you can see how well it fares in terms of coverage. I'm not wearing any additional concealer (or blush) here, and only did one medium-ish layer of the foundation instead of building it up—and already I think it did a pretty decent job of covering up my redness around the nose and chin. I think it looks pretty natural.

Note that I did have to wear powder on top; this foundation is on the dewy side for sure.

So was it love? Nope. It was like. I'd wear this for times—like taking these blog photos!—when I need to have a higher coverage level. (Damn camera brings out every single imperfection.) I find it pretty decently long-wearing, too, giving me coverage for several hours. And I think the ingredients are pretty great, even if they feel (and look) a bit too moisturizing.

I just can't come to terms with the texture enough to use this as my go-to, everyday foundation. Not when I have the completely textureless dry-down and gorgeous sheer finish of Pixi H2O SkinTint! (Reviewed here.) But if you like/need a higher-coverage foundation, I'd say give this a shot. It looks way more natural than the high-coverage Kat Von D Tattoo Foundation, for example.

A quick note on the other Cover FX products I tried:

  • The Cream Concealer in my corresponding N Light shade was nowhere even close to being a match; the colour was orangey and just awful.
  • I wanted to like the CC Cream, as it has a similar high coverage level and feel to the Natural Finish Oil-Free Foundation... alas, there's something in it with a VERY off-putting smell.
  • I do like the Pressed Mineral Foundation, but as a setting powder, not a foundation. I don't think powder foundations in general give you the nicest skin finish.
  • I've yet to test the Total Cover Cream Foundation as I'm a bit scared of it feeling like a greasy, thick cream?! Anyone tried it?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this brand/these products!

Where to Buy

Find Cover FX Natural Finish Oil-Free Foundation online at Sephora.

Have Your Say

Have you tried this foundation yet?

Or anything else from Cover FX?

What do you think of this brand?

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