Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Maybelline Superstay 24H Liquid Foundation: Updated Formula Review

Maybelline Superstay 24H Foundation is reaching Singapore this June and will retail at Watsons, Guardians, SASAs, major supermarkets and hypermarkets, selected departmental stores as well as e-tailers where Maybelline has an official presence for $24.90 per bottle.

The Superstay franchise has been buzzed about for a fair number of years now, and many of us in Asia - especially sunny, humid, tropical Asia - have been wondering for years why it never made it here. I'm a pretty big fan of several of the Superstay Matte Ink liquid lipsticks so it's ironic that the foundation from which they derived their name is only just coming into our market now.

The good news is the formula is great. I've given it a good test run the past week or so, wearing it for full 10-12 hour days. It feels lightweight, is velvety and non-transferring to the touch, has medium-to-high coverage and is buildable to full, looks incredibly skin-like (when applied with a brush or damp beauty sponge), controls shine better than most other matte foundations I've used lately, and doesn't clog my pores.

BEFORE Maybelline Superstay 24H Foundation (left), AFTER Maybelline Superstay 24H Foundation (right)
I took the shot above with just a single layer of foundation, no primer, no concealer, no powder. It does a good job of evening out discolorations and veins, even a lot of my dark circles, and almost completely covered recent acne hyperpigmentation scars on my cheek. What I like most is that it looks very real up-close and while it cuts shine and diminishes the look of pores, it doesn't look like a mask. You still see believable skin.

It also held up very well throughout the day. I did not have to reach for my oil blotter until about 4pm (8 hours of wear through a lunch-time trek out of the office for lunch).

Now if you have combination skin or oily skin, you will know all you need is 30mins to an hour for the shine to creep through and for makeup to look like it's about to break down. I like to prevent this irreversible deterioration, so I usually blot about 2, max 3, hours into the day. When I wore Superstay, I pretty much forgot about blotting. And even at 4pm, I didn't look excessively shiny. Just some glow around the T zone and inner cheeks.

I would call the finish a luminous matte. Other products go on beautifully on top of this once it sets. I have gone without powder on cooler days when I knew I wouldn't be sweating much.
Does it oxidize? 
I feel a need to address this specifically as a lot of people get confused about the idea of "oxidation".
 Like many long-wear formulas (Urban Decay All Nighter comes to mind) it's one of those formulas that changes shades completely as the liquid solvents evaporate during dry-down. So it darkens 1-2 shades as it dries after application. But it does not darken much or turn more orange through the rest of the day, which is what happens with foundations that oxidize.
What this means is you need to buy a color 1-2 shades lighter and possibly less warm than you think. Better yet, make sure you test it on your neck or collarbone and give it a few minutes to set before you jump to conclusions about which shade is best.
Examples of the significant shade difference between Superstay Foundation fresh from the bottle and after it dries down

If you've lived in the tropics, you'll know it's the ULTIMATE foundation testing-ground. 

We go constantly from steam-sauna heat to cold, dry, air-conditioned interiors. Not only does makeup need to deal with heat humidity and sebum, it has to deal with bouts of intense sweat followed by rapid drying and cooling indoors. Under such conditions, if it can oxidize, it will oxidize. If it can crack or crease, it will crack or crease. If it can break down like greasy cake batter and bunch around pores, it most definitely will break down like cake batter and bunch around pores.

So it's not easy to find formulas that have enough film-forming agents to stay matte and intact, but still remain fresh and flexible enough to look skin-like and not crack around creases and folds. So I do consider this a gem of a formula from the drugstore, as it provides more coverage than alternatives from Revlon or Rimmel that I've tried, but stays fresh-looking longer than other high coverage offerings from brands like KATE.

In fact, I rank the formula as being comparable with some of my other "luminous matte" favorites like Chanel Le Blanc Fluid Foundation, Too Faced Born This Way, YSL All Hours, and Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation. 

The slightly bad news is the current shade selection is pretty small.

Maybelline Superstay Foundation skin swatches

Of the 16 shades available in the US, only 6 shades are available in Singapore, going from a pink-neutral fair to a medium caramel. BUT the silver lining on the cloud is that the brand has confirmed they will be expanding the shade range and bringing in more colors in the near future.

Below is my best guess-timate of the shade matches based on the MAC numbering system which most people are familiar with. I still advise you test it out yourself and don't just rely on this as I mean it as a rough reference and cannot guarantee it is completely accurate!

112 - fair/light with pink undertones (N2, NW20)
120 - fair/light with neutral undertones (N2-3, NW/NC25)
128 - medium-light with yellow undertones (NC30)
130 - medium-light with peach/pink undertones (NW30-35)
220 - medium with neutral-warm undertones (NC35)
310 - medium-tan with warm undertones (NC40-ish)

112 Natural Ivory is the lightest shade available and what I wore above, even though it's slightly more pink than my shade should be. I can get by with it just barely and I need to use a color corrector on my neck to even out the undertones. I prefer 128 Warm Nude blended with a bit of white foundation and that gives me a perfect match, although that alters the formula slightly as well. But I still get most of the benefits of the formula, without having to wear it down my neck!

In conclusion, I definitely say give this a shot if you can find a reasonable shade match. I have predominantly dry skin with some normal to slightly oilier areas and this formula felt totally comfortable. It didn't cling around pores and didn't break down towards the end of the day. And while it has a matte, perfecting effect, it looked impressively skin-like (although I haven't tried caking it on thick). I do personally prefer it over Fit Me Matte and Poreless, because this one stays matte and poreless much longer.

I did see a couple of reviews where people wore it and got super-shiny through the day despite the mattifying formula. That to me is usually a sign that their skin is reacting negatively to the formula, and not that the foundation makes wearers oily. Just something to be aware of, as it can happen to a minority of people, and no formula is going to suit every single person.


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