It fills me with absolute beauty joy when I find an affordable face base that behaves like a much pricier one, so I’m going to plough straight on in with my review of the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover foundation. I was going to do a comparison post and review it alongside the CC Cream from IT Cosmetics, but I’m afraid that could take some time (I like to walk about for a few weeks with half of my face covered in one product, and the other half covered in the other) and we don’t want summer suddenly slipping away from us before we’ve properly discussed the seasonal makeup gems!
And it is a true makeup gem, this foundation. It has the opaqueness you’d perhaps expect from a product with SPF 50, yet it feels very fresh and light to apply and never looks claggy. It’s perfecting, with its full coverage, but it’s not mask-like. The finish also has a definite sheen, which was a pleasant surprise – for some reason I thought that it would be a flat, matte sort of affair. The kind of base that doesn’t sweat off, stops shine in its tracks and requires a brillo pad and Windolene to remove at the end of the day.
Not so, fortunately. I mean the longevity is great, and you do very much need to make sure that you clean your face twice before you go to bed (once over with the micellar water does not remove SPF) but it absolutely isn’t the thick, set-fast foundation that makes you look as though you’ve rolled out a very thin layer of flesh-coloured Play Doh and stuck it to your face. It’s fresh and it’s lightweight yet it manages a full coverage and a long-lasting finish. All with a hint of sheeny glow and a definite lack of cakiness.
Now you could say these things about quite a few foundations – Lancome’s Teint Idole comes to immediate mind – so what’s different about Maybelline Dream Urban Cover? Two thing: the price – it’s £10.99, which is decidedly okay on the wallet – and, more importantly, the SPF. You don’t see many foundations with a broad spectrum SPF 50 added. The only two I can think of are the Clarins Everlasting Cushion and the IT Cosmetics CC cream, most others have SPF 15-25-ish, more of a token sunscreen than anything you would rely on for adequate protection.
But here’s where things get slightly tricky, because for something to have its stated SPF you need to apply it in the recommended amounts and the amount you need for your face is loads. Half a teaspoon, which doesn’t sound like enough to drown an ant in but is, in fact, quite a dollop. Especially if it contains foundation pigment! If you were applying normal foundation and not worrying about having to use enough of it, you’d probably just dispense a little 5p size at a time and work from the back of your hand, and you’d find after a few dollops that your face would be done.
Try putting half a teaspoon of foundation on your face. It’s a lot of product. Amazingly, I can just about do it with the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover* and it doesn’t look ridiculous, but still; I think that the general sensible rule with makeup SPF is that you’re never quite getting what’s on the bottle or tube, especially with UVA protection. Especially if you’re not applying a creamy/liquid formula. For example, when it comes to the aforementioned Clarins Everlasting Cushion I can’t imagine that you’re getting a huge amount of the stated SPF. Not with the dip-dip-dab-dab-dab method of application. It’s a beautiful base, but you’d be hard pressed (excuse the pun) to put enough on to get to half a teaspoon – you’d get repetitive strain injury!
Anyway, it’s a bloody great whack of sunscreen in both the Maybelline and the IT Cosmetics CC, if you apply enough of it. I have to say that applying at that volume doesn’t give so much of a comfortable finish – the more you load on, the more you feel as though – well – as though you’ve absolutely loaded it on. In fairness, I tested with normal (dedicated, single-purpose) sunscreen too and applying the same amount felt less nice than applying the amount you’d naturally, instinctively apply, so it’s by no means a criticism.
I’ve gone off-piste because I was only going to mention the SPF in passing – it’s such a minefield of a subject – but I think that it’s important to point out that products need to be applied (and reapplied) in the recommended quantities to even have a hope of reaching the stated level of protection. For me, Dream Urban Cover applied more sparingly (I think I used around a third of a teaspoon when I did my normal routine) is how it performs best, in terms of makeup feel and finish. And I’d imagine that in those amounts you’re getting the sort of sun protection that would be fine for incidental, moderate exposure – working inside all day but perhaps popping out for lunch or walking to the tube in the morning and evening.
Shall we examine some before and after pictures?
A nice, even-toned result (I use shade 116) that warms up my skin slightly and knocks back redness and dark circles. I have to say that the full coverage is not on the extreme end of the fullness scale – for example, you’d need to go in with a concealer to really get completely rid of spots or dark circles – but it’s definitely more than a medium.
You can see the slight sheen to the finish and the overall velvety softness – not matte, not dewy, just a nice point right in the middle that keeps skin looking flawless all day. So who’s Dream Urban Cover for? People with normal to dry skin (probably not the best choice for oilier skins) who like a very decent coverage, a fresh texture and a slight glow. It’s not as good as L’Oreal’s Pro Glow for actual radiance and a perfect foundation texture (Pro Glow is still my most-used foundation, possibly of all time) but I can imagine that a major draw for many people will be the SPF 50. There are many other foundations at this price point that give flawless-yet-understated results (I’ll throw Max Factor’s Radiant Lift into the mix here!) but none of them have such a high SPF added.
Food for thought. Quick show of hands; how many people choose a face base according to the level of sun protection? Does it make you more likely to buy a foundation if it does have added sunscreen, or do you always wear a dedicated sun protection product anyway?
You can find Maybelline Dream Urban Cover at Boots here* – it’s £10.99 and comes in twenty shades. If you want to see it being applied in real life, the IGTV video is on my channel @modelrecommends on Instagram.