Friday, October 18, 2013

Hourglass Cosmetics Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Review

I had been hearing a lot about Hourglass' Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation. There's a video on the Sephora Hourglass page that really sells it (under related videos). I was intrigued after watching it but also very aware of the price tag - $64 CDN for a bottle. So I went to Sephora and tested it and then got a sample to take home. I was half hoping that I loved it because it sounds miraculous and half hoping that I'd hate it because of the cost. 

The description:
Taken from the Hourglass website. 

Consider Immaculate the miracle foundation for oily skin. This breakthrough liquid to powder formula absorbs oil, camouflages imperfections, and delivers a long-lasting velvet matte finish - without the need for touch-ups. In a consumer study, Immaculate's advanced formula was shown to target oily, acne-prone skin. 
  • Breakthrough liquid-to-powder formula delivers an unparalleled matte finish with real longevity that lasts all day, eliminating the need for powder, blotting tissues or constant touch-ups.
  • Cashmere Kaolinite Clay, an advanced new clay, offers exceptional oil absorption - absorbing 75% of its weight in sebum while retaining moisture in the skin. 
  • The oil-free and water-resistant foundation goes on smoothly and dries down instantly to a soft, velvet finish that never looks dull or flat.
  • Unlike matte foundations of old, Immaculate's superfine treated pigments provide unsurpassed coverage without looking cakey or mask-like, or feeling dry on the skin.
  • Ideal for oily or blemish-prone complexions or those seeking a medium-to-full coverage foundation with a velvet matte finish.
  • Research results: Based on a 4-week consumer study on 30 women with oily, acne-prone skin:
    • 100% reported an improvement in overall skin appearance and skin smoothness
    • 100% reported that the product worked without drying skin out
    • 83% reported a decrease in oil production and the need for touch-ups
    • 80% reported a visible improvement in acne scars
    • 70% reported a visible improvement in pore size
    • 63% reported a reduction in a severity of breakouts
  • Also infused with clinical levels of two active treatment ingredients - Phytostem Edelweiss and Lavandox - that have short- and long-term anti-aging benefits.
  • Free of oil, parabens, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, synthetic dyes, nanoparticles and vegan-friendly.

Impressive stuff, right? Considering the reputation of Hourglass products, it's not terribly surprising. And I recommend trying this foundation if it sounds like it'll suit you. For me though, I had some issues with it.

The skin:

My skin is combination - oily in the T-zone area (forehead, nose and chin) as well as on the cheeks closest to my nose. I have pronounced pores here and here is where I tend to break out. My cheeks, temples and jawline are normal in comparison. Pores here aren't visible and I don't tend to get shiny here. I do get breakouts along my jawline, as many people do. 

The review:

I got a sample of Immaculate in Vanilla - and it's worth noting that Immaculate comes in a decent range of shades - Porcelain being the lightest and Chestnut being the darkest. There aren't a lot of dark shades, which is sadly common among makeup lines. Undertone-wise, a decent range. 

I tried Immaculate on three separate occasions. The first time I applied it on clean skin that I'd treated with a primer (Benefit's The Porefessional). No moisturizer as is my practice most days.  I used my fingers to apply it to my skin and a foundation brush to buff it out. It goes on fairly sheer at first, and dries to powder very quickly but you can layer it for areas that require more coverage. I applied it all over my face. It gave me an even, matte complexion which I always find a bit off-putting since I'm quite fair. I look ghostly with a full face of foundation and nothing else on. It looked dry on my skin but still sheer, somehow. So the pink of my skin showed through, even with layers of Immaculate on top.

I applied the rest of my makeup - concealer, setting powder, eyeshadow, brows, mascara, blush - and I since I was still feeling like it was too ghostly pale and flat, I used my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light (my review is here) to soften it and give my skin a hint of a glow.

When examining my face a bit closer, I noticed that Immaculate didn't do a great job on reducing the appearance of my large pores and to make things worse (and weirder), it had settled into pores I didn't know were visible on my lower cheek, close to my ear. As in, made them terribly visible. And any dry patches of skin were highlighted. I also felt like it made my skin look a little too dry and matte overall. 

In terms of the wear, it did do so very well. I got a full day wear out of it and I didn't need to blot as much as I normally do. When touching my face, some product came off on my fingers towards the end of the day than when freshly applied. It held up pretty well though and didn't feel quite as pale and matte over the course of the day. It also looked fairly natural in natural light. 

But I hated that it made visible pores that I didn't realize were visible. Not cool. But I thought maybe my skin wasn't moisturized well enough so I tried wearing it again after a good exfoliating and moisturizing. It was a little better, but still enhanced the drier patches of skin, and highlighted those pores on my cheek as before! And still the dry


But I thought that perhaps it might be my skintone - not oily, problematic enough? I tried wearing it again, but mixing a tiny amount of BB cream (Vichy ProEven - review here) since mixing a drier, thicker product with one with more viscosity can help keep it settling into fine lines and pores. The BB cream may help with the drier patches of skin as well. The application was better in terms of the dry areas and the pores, though the problems still existed, and the BB cream didn't seem to change much about the Immaculate foundation apart from making it slightly less matte.

Still, three tries and still more frustrating than successful for me. 

In summary:

  • Immaculate is matte. Too matte for me.
  • The patchiness - perhaps my skin is dehydrated with the change in season (or in general) but I was disappointed with the emphasis of these dry areas.
  • The visible pores! Immaculate claims to reduce the appearance of large pores and I only wore it for three non-consecutive days, but to enhance what it's supposed to reduce? Disappointing.
If you have oily skin or acne-prone skin you might want to check it out, but if you've got combination skin you might want to steer clear, regardless of whether you've got acne, blemishes, oiliness, etc because you might run into the same problems. If you want to try it, go get a sample at Sephora, don't pay $64 for a bottle. If you have dry skin, stay away!

I tried to take photos, but I struggled to capture the issues I mentioned on film. I can say, in a positive for Immaculate, that it photographs pretty well. I'm wearing it in the photo below, mixed with the BB cream and topped with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. To be fair, it looks very nice on in this photo but not so up-close or in natural light.

Here's a close-up shot of the area where pores that aren't normally visible are visible with Immaculate. Right near my hair, under my cheekbone you can see it. This is worse to the naked eye, my camera's flash evens things out considerably in photos. 

Grade: C


  1. Great review! Sad to hear that it didn't work well your skin. It looks like a great product to try out. I am thinking of trying it out and see how my skin will react on it.

  2. Thanks for the honest review! Do you recommend this for people with dark complexion?
    ~Pauline @Kallony

  3. Hi Pauline,
    The colour range of the Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation doesn't go very far into the darker end of the skintone spectrum. There are swatches of the full spectrum here:

    Hope that helps!