Rave or Hype: The PV Team tests the Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation

What kind of makeup do you love most? Some people collect eyeshadow palettes, while others are lipstick queens who might own the same shade in different brands and finishes! For me, it has always been about perfecting my face base. I love foundation formulas that I barely tell apart from my skin, both in appearance and feel, so when I first saw rave reviews on Estée Lauder's Double Wear Foundation, I added it on my list of must-try makeup.

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This bestseller is known for staying matte and staying long, which totally appealed to someone as lazy about touch-ups as me. It also promises to wear just like second skin! I was definitely drawn in by the hype, but is this foundation really all that? The PV girls and I took on the #DoubleWearorNothing challenge to find out!

Den: Nude Water Fresh in Desert Rose

I was so happy when I heard that Estée Lauder released the Nude Water Fresh formula! I had previously tried the original formula but it just wasn't suited for my dry skin. Nude Water Fresh just hit all the marks for me: lightweight, medium coverage, dewy finish. Coupled with a perfect shade match, the foundation looks just like my skin but better. It gives me this radiant glow that somehow looks matte at the same time, even when I don't set with powder. I also didn't use any concealer but my dark circles don't look so bad! 

I tested this foundation both with and without using setting powder, and though the foundation rubbed off my nose both times (I didn't blot but I touch my nose a lot), it stayed in place on the rest of my face even after 12 hours of wear in a mostly non-airconditioned environment. There was no streaking despite my sweat, and my face didn't turn into a shiny mess. I actually had to ask my husband if what I was seeing in the mirror was real, because my skin remained matte yet glowy 12 hours after putting my makeup on, and it just didn't make sense to me. I don't know how its possible but Estée Lauder made it happen. I'm in love with this foundation!

Angela: Stay in Place Makeup in Tawny

I have normal-combination skin, and found a perfect match in Tawny after checking on Temptalia and swatching at the store! I applied the ELDW foundation after I put a moisturizing sunscreen and primer on my face. It was really easy to apply because it's not super thick. It glides on my skin when I use my fingers to apply it, then I blend with a damp sponge. I then set my base with a powder foundation just on my forehead, nose, and under eye area. It seemed to work well so I didn't use concealer anymore, but I would have if I had a breakout going on.

I feel really happy right now because I finally have calm skin, and currently no pimples. I do have dark spots, though, and I'm glad to report that ELDW has covered all of them up! I love how ELDW sits on my face - matte but not flaky. It lasts the whole day, too! I didn't have much left on my nose though because I have a cold and sneeze a lot. My forehead also becomes oily in warm weather, and my upper lip is really sweaty, so there was also less foundation on those areas. But ELDW was solidly and nicely staying on the other parts of my face! I think I've found a new favorite!

Katsy: Stay in Place Makeup in Rattan

My recent transition to a dehydrated, normal-oily skin type made me go for the ELDW in the original formula. Best known for longevity and a flawless finish, I now understand why this foundation is a cult favorite!

I've been wearing the foundation for an average of 10 hours in a mix of natural and artificial ventilation. With proper skin prep (I use a mist, serum, light moisturizer, and sunscreen combo), I can get away without setting with powder and without blotting the entire day. There's also minimal transfer on clothes or my handkerchief. My "after" photo is sans blotting, which makes it toe the line between glowy and greasy but at 10 hours, that's still pretty good

ELDW provides medium coverage and I don't feel the need to use concealer except on my undereyes on days when I lack sleep. Application is quite easy, too, as I can use a wet sponge or even just my fingers. Getting the pump helps a lot though as the formula is a bit runny. One pump is more than enough for my face. I use around 1/2-3/4 pump. Overall, I am impressed with ELDW!

Tellie: Nude Water Fresh in Warm Vanilla

I have dry and textured skin, and normally find full coverage formulations such a chore to use. It just takes so much work to get my skin foundation-ready! So when I tried the Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude formula, I was so excited to see that it played so nicely with my problematic dry skin - I am just in awe and cannot shut up about how nice my skin looks with it!

Without foundation, my skin already looks dull. Compared to Stay in Place, Double Wear Nude is much easier to apply, but does lack that same full coverage. Nonetheless, the finish is quite something! The formula dries to a very glowy yet.... dry finish. In my mind, this level of dewiness should feel wet, and yet it feels matte. This is considering that I even set it with translucent powder, so it does look even more fresh when left bare. It takes a lot of workarounds to get my skin looking this alive, and they are rarely ever this lightweight or comfortable. It really is some kind of magic that it sustained that radiance for 12 hours because glowy foundations tend to slide, fade, and be generally unreliable in terms of wear time.

At the end of an action-packed, 12-hour day (that included two events, a sauna-nap, and a Youtube filming) my makeup still looked intact and put together. My nose faded at hour 10 - that's pretty normal. More importantly, my cheeks didn't crack; they usually only last 4 to 6 hours!

Frankie: Stay in Place Makeup in Bone

My skin is currently rather dry and flaky due to my use of a topical retinoid to unclog my pores and clear my skin. Because of this, I’ve been rather shy about using foundation at all as I find most formulas turn my dry patches into all-out fish scales, either immediately or over time. This was NOT my experience with the Double Wear Stay in Place at all!

Despite being warned that this was an extremely mattifying formula, I was pleasantly surprised that it did not over-emphasize my dry patches. Though I slathered on a thick, creamy moisturizing milk and a heavy lotion sunscreen before applying foundation, Double Wear neither caked nor thinned out excessively, and did not slide off my face over the eight hours of wear, unlike other liquid formulas I’d tried.

Up close (as in uncomfortably close) you could definitely see my skin texture was far from smooth, but from a selfie-friendly distance I looked flawless. I also liked that the formula played well with my illuminator, allowing me to compensate for the matte finish with some added dew. I also liked that the formula was relatively easy to apply with fingers - no streaking but blended well into the skin. My only issue was that the foundation was not as full coverage as I wanted and betrayed the reddest spots of my retinoid-induced purge, so I still had to go in with a heavy concealer in some places. It is not a true “filter” foundation, so I find there really is no shortcut for working on my skincare!

Crystal: Stay in Place Makeup in Sand

I have extremely oily skin and I find that foundations can never stay put on my face. I really like Estee Lauder Double Wear though because among the long-wearing foundations I've tried, this one applies pretty easily with a wet Beauty Blender. I have a lot of dark spots right now, but this foundie covered a lot of them though I still need to use a separate concealer to achieve a perfectly flawless finish. For the challenge, I applied it at noon on a really hot summer, and arrived home at about 11pm. By then, I had completely no foundation left on my nose, but it held up pretty well on the rest of my face. There was some fading but nothing too bad. It had settled on my pores, though, emphasizing my skin texture but I still had a good amount of coverage left.

Stacie: Nude Water Fresh in Desert Beige

I currently commute about two hours to and from my current clinic rotation, and get direct sun exposure for about 45 minutes of that period, so this was a pretty grueling wear test! I opted to get the Nude Water Fresh variant because the finish is dewier and "wetter" compared to the original formula.

On the day of the test, I did not set with powder and ended up walking a lot because I got lost but overall, it's not so bad! It held well and did not crack on my forehead, cheeks, or under eye area. I noticed that it faded around my forehead and nose where I sweat and oil up a lot though. One good thing to note is that the ELDW foundation is not a "filter" foundation. It enhances what is underneath and does not completely cover my skin. Coverage is about medium - enough to cover light discolorations. Between my check-ins, you can clearly see the amount of fading that took place by looking at the pimple on my forehead and on the side of my nose.

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Marielle: Stay in Place Makeup in Warm Vanilla

I have dry-combination skin, so my biggest concern before trying Stay in Place was that I would suffer from flaking or have my fine lines emphasized. But the curiosity to finally go all the way for a full-coverage foundation got the better of me, and I'm thrilled that it did! With a light primer, I am able to smooth on the liquid formula with my fingers. No dry patches were emphasized, coverage goes from medium to full in two passes, and the redness on my cheeks were completely covered. Light hyper pigmentation pretty much vanishes, leaving only a faded version of my darkest spots visible.

Set with translucent powder, I begin to see shine on the tip of my nose at the 4 to 5 hour mark. By the 9th or 10th hour, my T-zone is fully dewy/shiny without any retouches, and just the tiniest spots of the skin underneath is visible on the tip of my nose. But the shocking thing is that the foundation is definitely still there, and just some blotting or a few dabs of powder is enough to extend the wear time.

I am in love with this foundation! The coverage is consistently good, which gives me peace of mind that my face won't turn patchy as it wears from day to night. I am attending a wedding soon, and Stay in Place is definitely going to be the special event base of choice.

Gett: Stay in Place Makeup in Tawny

My skin is super oily so I went with the original Stay in Place formula. I find that most bases slip and slide away from my face but this foundation can put up with my oily face, the super hot weather, and my daily commute combined! I also appreciate the buildable coverage because I have a lot of dark spots from months of breakout, and I only need to apply another layer of foundation to cover them. I like to make sure my face is moisturized well and use a pore-filling primer beforehand because this emphasizes dry patches of skin and my huge pores if I don't prep properly. I then use a sponge to max the coverage.

On a normal work day I apply this at 8AM before going to work. Freshly applied plus with my T-zone powdered, my face looks suuuper matte so I find this doesn't need to be set with powder if you don't like a super matte finish. As the day passes, my natural oils come through and I get my ideal finish that's more dewy-looking. I usually blot midday anyway, and I find that only a super tiny bit of the foundation transferred on my blotting paper. My work day ends at 9PM when I get home from work after commute. Since this includes long periods of waiting in line, I am usually exposed to heat and get sweaty. I noticed that the foundation wore off my forehead and my nose (areas I normally wipe because of the sweat that gathers there) but I can still see the blush I applied, and it held up well despite the conditions!

Sam: Stay in Place Makeup in Cashew

My skin is normal but I recently experienced a bout of breakouts that have flattened out but left my skin flaky. I chose the original formula because of all the rave reviews throughout the years. I love how you can really find your shade! While I don't think the 24-hour or 16-hour claim is true for everyone, I love how its buildable formula totally evens everything out without caking. Without the correct preparation, however, you can run into some problems. This is one of those formulas that need a little extra effort but with great results.

I got a lot of compliments about how fresh I look, even after seven hours with it on. But even with a mattifying primer and setting powder on, my chin area did not look as good anymore. It started to slide from place, revealing my breakouts and looking cakey. It also started to FEEL like foundation at this point as opposed to feeling like nothing at all in the beginning. When I asked a bunch of people I was with though, they said it looked really good! My takeaway: this is a foundation for 4 to 5-hour events because in this magic timeframe, you will look absolutely flawless!

Kim: Stay in Place Makeup in Rattan

Oil control has always been a problem that I struggled with when it comes to foundations. The Estee Lauder Double Wear has been on my radar for quite a while because of that, and I chose the original formula to confirm the raves for myself. Now I finally get why it's a holy grail foundation for many oily skinned gals! I used it on a swimming trip and it stayed put after half an hour of laps and the subsequent hot shower. Amazed is an understatement really. Not only was my foundation flawless even after my swim, the powder products that I used - contour, blush, and highlight - managed to stay put, too! The foundation lasted on me for a total of 10 hours with near perfect wear, with very minimal oil and no caking. I didn't even have to use a blotting sheet the whole day and still managed to look fresh at bedtime.

Although it's far from being a lightweight foundation, you can thin out the application with a damp Beauty Blender without sacrificing the medium to high coverage. I still need to use concealer to spot conceal blemishes but ELDW was able to cancel out all of my redness and even out my skin tone. I'm glad that I found a perfect shade match in Rattan, too.

One observation that I need to point out though is that ELDW is not a "filter" foundation. You can count on it to cover minor blemishes and discolorations, but it won't be able to hide pores, dark spots, and texture issues. It will not look the best on extremely textured skin, so note that prep work is crucial for making this look good for problematic areas.

Still, this is a formula that I would reach out for during events because of the reliable wear and how beautifully it photographs. I do feel like using a Beauty Blender everyday is just too much work for me so I do have to test out how this applies with different foundation brushes. Overall, I'm really happy I was able to try this out, and I found love with this foundation!

Claire: Stay in Place Makeup in Buff

Putting on makeup in the morning is therapeutic for me because "me-time" is extremely hard to come by for working moms. But while I like taking my time in applying makeup, I dislike having to spend any more effort on it through the rest of the day. Estee Lauder Double Wear's Original Stay-in-Place formula makes sure my makeup doesn't budge, all day long!

I actually like it better a few hours after application. Around the 4th to 6th hour mark, my face looks naturally dewy. Even though I do need to prep my sensitive combination skin extensively (skin care layers + pore-filling primer on oily areas + cream moisturizer on dry patches), the extra effort is worth it! The shade I got is a perfect match so I don't have to put foundation on my neck anymore. This is totally refreshing for me, since most foundations tend to lean either too warm or too cool for my neutral undertone. It doesn't transfer, either. I can cuddle with my kids and husband even with a full face of makeup on! I have even worn it on a day when I had to walk more than a kilometer under the sun, without an umbrella, while carrying a somewhat heavy load (this was an unplanned activity; avoid direct sun exposure whenever possible!). My foundation faded away, but never caked or streaked.

Overall, this foundation is a winner in my book! The medium coverage I get from it looks mind-blowingly natural. It looks decent on my face for far longer than other foundations I've tried. I can see how it works best for normal to oily skin types, but with proper skin prep, those with combination skin types like me can make it work. There are also many shades available, and they continue to release new ones.

Charlie: Nude Water Fresh in Tawny

Instead of the original formula, I took the risk and went with the Nude Water Fresh formula, which is friendlier to those with dry and maybe normal skin. I knew that it was risky as I had oily skin, but I wanted a light foundation - something I'd be comfortable wearing every day because it feels light on the skin. After testing, I have no regrets. As it was watery, I felt like I was just putting on moisturizer with medium coverage. My skin didn't look too matte nor oily, but glowy sans any highlighter. It wasn't able to conceal my dark spots but it covered up the lighter scars and my dark undereyes.

Without setting powder, I started to oil up at the 4 to 5 hour mark. It also started fading along my hairline, jawline, nose, and chin. After 12 hours, my forehead, nose, and chin have very little foundation left. But with a primer and setting powder, I only needed to blot thrice throughout the day, and the foundation stayed put well until the 10 hour mark. I think that with my skin, I'd have better luck with the original formula, but the Nude Fresh version is so lightweight and looks so natural on that I have no regrets. It's something that I'd reach for for a little coverage to survive the heat.

Angeli: Stay in Place Makeup in Tawny

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup is my all-time, high-end favorite foundation! It's my go-to whenever I have to be on-the-clock from 9-5. I usually use a smoothing primer with this foundation because I personally like a more dewy finish. On special events, if you have no time for retouching, a mattifying primer is best for keeping that matte finish. I used a smoothing primer for this challenge.

The foundation did not completely cover my pimple and my blemishes but it did a good job in making my skin look fine and even. It has a medium to full coverage, and feels very lightweight on the skin. I personally use a beauty sponge to sheer out the product because of my preference for a more natural dewy finish. By the 7th hour, my makeup started to fade on my nose and cheek areas, which is normal since I have combi-oily skin. It still sat pretty nicely on my skin though, with no caking or patchiness. There is a noticeable appearance of oil on my T-zone but it doesn't look greasy. Nothing will ever break my love affair with this foundation!


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If you haven't tried any of the Double Wear foundations, we hope our experiences will encourage you to take on the #DoubleWearorNothing challenge yourself! Remember:

  • Double Wear foundations come in a variety of formulations, and an even wider range of shades. You'll definitely find one that suits your skin type and tone!
  • All Estée Lauder stores and counters are equipped with an iMatch Foundation Finder to help you find your shade. This nifty machine is placed against several locations on your face to take snapshots and analyze your skin color. It will then recommend your best shade matches across the different foundation formulas.
  • After shade matching, you can request for a sample of your chosen formula and shade so you can try it out. You can also ask the beauty assistants for tips on proper skincare prep and application.
  • You can purchase a pump for the foundation for P465.

Have you taken on the Double Wear challenge? We'd love to hear about your own Double Wear experience!