The Ordinary Foundation


by Claire

People make such a meal of foundation, don’t they? We are finger-waggingly told that this is the thing to invest in above all other makeup – that it’s the key to a flawless canvas, the gateway to dewy soft-focus angel skin. Delivered with a gravitas usually reserved for things like legal threats or medical warnings, the perils of bad foundation are serious: buy the wrong thing and you will look old and shit and orange and ridiculous. Is that what you want? Eh? Eh?

Finding ‘your’ shade becomes a Tolkien-esque quest. ‘Test a little on your face’ they say. ‘Go out into natural light, and see which one disappears!’. There is no natural light in a shopping centre (presumably so as to trick you into staying there all day in a state of retail catatonia) so unless you expect me to go out and check things in a wing mirror in the Bluewater car park then this is very much not going to happen. If you ever see a woman with a little compact mirror outside the Oxford Street John Lewis, trying to remember which stripe is which on her chin, you will now know that she has been victim to this cruel prank. And frankly, I’ve been there and still bought the wrong thing.

It doesn’t end there. It’s for instance suggested that holding up different coloured scarves to your face or some nonsense and seeing which colours make your eyes ‘pop’ will help you identify your ‘undertones’. An online quiz will help you find your formula. Download the app and ask the assistant and use the match swatches and order six colour samples and if you’re toffee bisque in Estee Lauder you’re a 00121 in MAC and….I’m glazing over, sorry

No wonder perfectly normal people go quite mad and spend literally £100 on a small pot of the stuff.

This is where the Ordinary foundation is so genius. It’s got two formulas: light serum or full coverage. It’s ethnically inclusive and is sorted from light to dark with a number from 0 to 3. It specifies pink, neutral or yellow undertones, which I’m never sure of if I’m honest, but the formulations are sheer and forgiving, so just go with the one you like on the day and you won’t embarrass yourself, I promise. But crucially, brilliantly, it’s CHEAP (£5.95), which very much takes the pressure off. You could have one in every drawer and handbag in two shades (for Winter when you’re pale and Summer when you’re less pale) and still have change left over from £35, which is less that the price of most high-end foundations. It is perfectly nice, but not as nice as Armani or Suqqu or whatever. The price point however, paired with the easy colour organisation and the shelf appeal of the brand really do place it highly in my book. I’m on my third bottle, no scarves or swatches in sight.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation (light coverage), £5.75

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation (fuller coverage), £5.95

Claire Rigby