The Ordinary Foundation Battle: Coverage versus Serum - which is best?

The Ordinary is probably the biggest breakthrough beauty brand of 2017, and I'm just one of its many fans who can’t stop adding items to my shopping cart. It is addicting! They really raised the bar for skincare with their wide range of straightforward active ingredients offered at wallet-friendly prices. If you want to get on the bandwagon but don't know where to start, fellow PV girl Kim has a list of TO must-try's. But even if you're more into makeup than skincare, The Ordinary has also been making the internet buzz about its face primers and foundations - so much so that foundations had a 25,000-person waitlist!

Being the fan girl that I am, I grabbed a bottle each of the Coverage Foundation ($6.90) and the Serum Foundation ($6.70) but locally you can get them from BeautyMNL for P850 and P770 respectively. Each foundation is available in 21 shades and comes in 30ml size. Even with a large matrix, shade selection is pretty easy to understand. Shades that start with 1 is for fair-lighter skin tones, 2 for medium, and 3 for tan to darker tones. It is followed by another number which indicates the lightness of the foundation (0 to 2), and the letter P, R, Y or sometimes G, which indicates the undertone of the foundation. For reference, P is for Pink, N for Neutral, R is for Red, Y for yellow, and G for Gold Highlights.

I got the shade 1.2YG for both foundations, which means that my shade is Fair/Light Skin Tone with Yellow Undertone and Gold Highlights. The packaging for both is exactly the same: a matte, transparent plastic bottle with a pump. Unfortunately, it does not come with a cover, so be careful when dispensing the product because it can get messy. To put them to the test, I layered each formula over a primer on the left side with a brush, and applied it directly on my skin (no primer) on the right side with a sponge.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation claims to be “a lightweight medium coverage foundation in a serum formula that offers a very natural finish”. The consistency is very runny and watery, so it blended effortlessly onto my skin with both tools. Once applied, it offered medium coverage with a demi-matte finish, and really felt very light on the skin.

Surprisingly, the right side (no primer) looked more natural! It did not completely fill in my pores though and I can definitely still see my blemishes peeking through. There is also a bit of sheen due to the Gold Highlights undertone, which looks very radiant from afar. It did not help control oil as I noticed the foundation looking more dewy by the fourth hour. On my last check-in, my forehead and cheekbones looked oily, and I noticed minimal fading on my cheek area. Despite the presence of oil though, the foundation faded gracefully and did not settle or look cakey.

Meanwhile, The Ordinary Coverage Foundation promises to be a “full coverage foundation with a lightweight, creamy feel without a heavy, cakey look”. Unlike the Serum, it has a light creamy consistency and is not as watery. I did not have a hard time blending it out with my brush or my sponge though. The primed side (left) has a more blurred/filtered effect but it did not completely cover my pores or my blemishes.

When freshly applied, it looks very matte with a powdery finish, minus the heavy feeling. After just four hours, the foundation started to fade and I noticed that it did not adhere to my face. It just somehow sat on top of my skin! By my last check-in, my face really looked greasy and the foundation had settled into my pores and fine lines. 

While I initially thought that each one would have its own advantages, the Serum Foundation is a clear winner for me! It looked more radiant and healthy-looking as the day wore on, and gave a “my-skin-but-better” finish that felt very lightweight. Whether you have dry skin or oily skin (like me) and don’t mind a bit of dewiness, you will definitely love this foundation! 

The Coverage Foundation provided more coverage and better oil control but I didn’t like how it sat on top my skin. I think that it may be a good mixer to add coverage to a light face base like BB creams. A word of caution though: the Coverage Foundation list Coconut Alkanes as second on its ingredients list, and it might give you breakouts like I experienced. Unfortunately, this is a pore-clogging ingredient that can trigger pimples in those with acne-prone or sensitive skin.

Have you tried any of The Ordinary Foundations yet? Which one do you like better?