What It Is: Lancôme is changing the makeup game with Le Teint Particulier, a new, state-of-the-art $88 foundation customized for your skin tone. Available at 19 Nordstrom doors across the country and at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City (with plans to expand) the process involves a brief Q&A about your skincare needs and a scientific scan of your skin, before a Instagram-worthy machine mixes up your custom color before your very eyes. With 8,000 shade options, three levels of coverage and a total of 72,000 formulation combinations, it would appear there’s finally a way to leave the often-intimidating counter makeup consultation with a shade that’s actually right for you.
Who Tried It: PEOPLE staffers (from left to right) Jillian Ruffo, Kristina Oliver and Sonal Dutt
Why We Tried It: A foundation shade that’s tailored to your exact skin tone? It sounds way too good to be true. Which is why we had to see for ourselves.
Level of Difficulty: 0, as long as you’re willing to spend $88 on foundation, and can make your way to any of its current locations.
Jillian Ruffo, Associate Beauty Editor
As a beauty editor, it’s safe to say I’ve tried a few foundations in my day. The latest and greatest formulas are constantly landing on my desk, and quite frankly, it’s my job to try them all. But here’s the thing: I’ve never fallen head over heels in love with one formula. Sometimes the shade just isn’t quite right, or the formula’s too matte, too thick, too greasy, or too you name it. Yes, there are some bottles I’ve liked a lot, but I’ve yet to find The One. And then, I tried Lancôme’s new custom foundation.
After making my way onto Saks Fifth Avenue’s new (gorgeous) beauty floor in the store’s midtown Manhattan location, I was greeted by my color expert, Sere – an African American woman who promised me that my foundation-wearing life was about to be changed forever. After years of struggling to find her perfect shade, she had been wearing her custom Lancôme mix for just a few days, and already couldn’t get enough. Skeptical, I listened as she cleansed my skin. And mere moments later, I’d grown to understand (and share) her excitement.
Sere scanned my skin, and we decided on the formula with the least coverage, which contains just enough pigment to hide any imperfections, while being lightweight enough to feel like you’re simply wearing moisturizer. Sere walked me through a series of questions and mixed up my shade, and in less than five minutes, it was ready. But after swatching it on my skin, we decided that it wasn’t quite there yet. While it matched my skin tone, I wanted to try a shade that would match my skin after spending some time in the sun this summer. So with one tap on her iPad, Sere made my formula one notch darker. That’s the beauty of this process: you can add more coverage, or make the formula lighter, darker, warmer or cooler, all after trying it on. (The video below explains it.)
Sure enough, it was perfect. Not just the color, but the look and feel of the formula. It’s sheer enough to leave your skin looking like just that: Skin. But it still provides enough buildable coverage to camouflage the red areas around my nose and mouth. The verdict? I’ve finally found my match.
Kristina Oliver, Head of Brand Business Development – Entertainment
Finding the perfect foundation feels like an endless — and at times a hopeless — journey. I have a limited number of options to select from because, quite frankly, most brands don’t have a shade for me. And even when I do find a close match, I often have to compromise on other preferences. Suffice it to say, I was ecstatic to learn about Lancôme’s new foundation, which not only offers an exact match to your skin tone, but also customization options for coverage and skin type.
I arrived at the Lancôme counter with high expectations, but also a bit of trepidation. I’ve tried similar “custom-blend” foundations in the past and my experience has been far from ideal.
The Good: After an analysis of my skin, I settled on a medium coverage foundation and was surprised to see that it provided the kind of concealment that I typically expect from a full-coverage formula. The foundation applied evenly and effortlessly, and a little bit goes a long way! It also gave my skin a nice glow. Despite having a lightweight feel, the foundation lasted throughout day and only required minimal blotting after eight hours of wear.
The Bad: To sum it up in one word, oxidation. When I first applied my custom blend, it appeared to be a poor match to my complexion. But, as the foundation dried, the color darkened dramatically. Once dry, the color appeared relatively stable, but by then I’d also noticed that the foundation had settled into the fine lines on my face. In response to my concerns, my Lancôme Color Expert suggested using a foundation brush (instead of my fingers) to apply the product. While this helped accelerate the application and drying process, it didn’t prevent the unflattering settling issue.
Ultimately, I was excited to try Lancôme’s made-to measure-foundation, but the final color was a bit off for me. So I leave you with this tip: Because the quality of the color match is dependent upon the areas of skin that the Color Expert tests and a user’s preferences, it’s important to be proactive during the matching process!
Sonal Dutt, Food & Lifestyle Director
I once cried in front of Padma Lakshmi. It’s not my proudest moment, but one that I’m sharing with you, dear PEOPLE Style readers. It all happened on a chilly summer night a few years ago, high atop Aspen Mountain during the Food & Wine Classic. Padma and I were standing by the fireplace, chatting about a new season of Top Chef and, in passing, she said she worked with a wonderful makeup artist who understood Indian skin. She clearly touched a nerve in me because suddenly, tears were running down my face and I was blurting out my all my terrible, failed experiences with makeup. Maybe it was the high altitude or the third glass of champagne I was drinking … or maybe it was because, as an Indian-American woman, I’ve always struggled to find makeup that matches or compliments my brown skin and specific undertones. (For the record, Padma was very sweet about this awkward situation and comforted me by fetching a fourth glass of champagne—and it worked. Back to happy!)
Time for another confession: I have never found a foundation—and I have tried so, so, SO many—that looked right on my skin, either looking too yellow or pink or too light and ashy, or barely helping to minimize my dark eye circles (a common problem for people of south Asian descent). I remember dreaming of a day when I could walk down a drugstore aisle or up to a makeup counter and just, like, pick out my shade and feel confident about how it would look. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I think that dream day may have come.
I recently tried Lancôme’s custom-mixed foundation, on the promise a personalized shade would perfectly match my complexion. First, a Lancôme Color Expert asked me some basic questions about my skin: Was it oily or dry (I’m combination, for the record), was I prone to breakouts (hallelujah, no), and what kind of coverage did I like (light to medium, please). Second, she asked me to identify three areas on my face that I was happy with (we agreed on my forehead, lower cheek and under my chin ). Third, she cleansed my skin with micellar water and placed a small scanning device against those three points to get a “reading” on my skin. And then, the fun part: With all of that data entered into the computer, the advisor placed an empty vial into a glass box and I watched as a tiny spout poured out a specific amount of moisturizer, white foundation base, pigments of red, yellow and black, and a bit of thinner. The machine then whirled the vial around in a powerful spinning motion to mix all the ingredients together. The end result: A one-of-a-kind foundation formula made just for me. (They even added a personalized Lancôme label with my name on it!)
But, did it really match my skin and give me the coverage and moisture I was hoping for—and would it still look good after I left the beautifying lights of the Saks beauty floor? Yes! The results are so impressive! The color match is spot-on. I mean, it’s my exact shade. ME! I HAVE A SHADE! (Even our beauty editor commented on how well it matched my skin, and how there wasn’t a line of demarcation where the foundation ended on my neck.) Plus, the formula feels super-light and lasts a good portion of the day. Guys, I’m now a believer. And the best part: Lancôme keeps my formula on file so whenever I need a refill, the computer can remix my shade anytime and at any participating store. And believe me, I will be coming back for more.