Review: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation

What's The Ordinary Coverage Foundation really like? We tried it to find out.

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The Ordinary is one of the most well-regarded brands in beauty. Its no-fuss, no-nonsense products have redefined our understanding of skincare. And the brand has certainly shown that you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to find high-performance, top-quality skincare. In fact, most of the products by The Ordinary are priced around just $10.

So when the brand introduced foundations into their product line-up, we were curious to see if they were just as game changing as the skincare products. We tried the full-coverage The Ordinary Coverage Foundation and here's what we thought.

Image: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation applied with no other makeup


The application

Applying this foundation was easy. It's not thick, but it's not runny either. It's a water-based formula so it glides evenly and smoothly over the skin. It's definitely the type of foundation that benefits from a well-moisturised face – I can imagine it being a bit stiff on super dry skin.

The quick verdict

Is it any good? It's great, but it needs setting powder

How much is it? $12.80 for 30mL

Where can I buy it? Adore Beauty, MYER, eBay, Cult Beauty and ry.com.au.

I tried the coverage foundation multiple times before penning this review and every time it blended easily with no patchiness and zero streaks. It's also one of those versatile foundations that can be very easily thinned out if you take the time to blend – but if you just pat it on, it stays full coverage.

For the purposes of this review, I applied the foundation a few different ways: with primer, without primer, with powder, without powder, with a toner and without a toner. But all the images feature the foundation applied without primer, toner or powder unless specified.

Applying with a Beauty Blender vs a brush

I'm a brush fan through and through and I'm a ride or die fan of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. But weirdly, I actually preferred this foundation when applied with a Beauty Blender.

Before foundation

Probably my favourite application of this foundation was using a Beauty Blender and a few sprays of the Swisse Rose Toner to dampen. Three pumps was an optimal amount. This particular technique yielded a seamless and very glowy look – it also helped the foundation set a little more effectively.

But for the purposes of this review, I used a brush and no other product (like a primer or toner spray) so I could see how the foundation looks without any performance enhancing aids.

The finish

As you can see from the images, the finish of this foundation is seamless, smooth and full-coverage. In the images, I applied the foundation with a dry brush and the result was impressive. I almost didn't need concealer – that's how effectively this product covers and colour corrects.

Full disclosure, I used a lot of product for this application. This is a coverage foundation and I wanted to see the full effect, and exactly what this product can do. Typically, I use a sheer foundation and maybe one to two pumps of product depending on my mood. But here, I used five pumps of foundation.

Before and after close-up

It is certainly a medium to full coverage formula. As you can see, it effectively covered all my pigmentation issues and hid the redness and fine spider veins I have at the bottom of my cheeks. It didn't entirely cover the freckles I have on my nose – but that's a plus for me. I like a few freckles to shine through, I think it looks more natural and less severe than a one-colour face.

I would describe the finish as an "almost matte". It's not so dull and flat that you look fresh from the 90s, but it's not glowy enough that I would call it dewy.

The shade range

I purchased two colours, 2.1 yellow and 3.0 yellow, and both of them were too dark for me. I'm very used to shopping on the darker end of the spectrum in most brands.

But with The Ordinary Foundation, I was very much on the lighter end of the spectrum and it threw me off. But, it's nice to find a foundation range that has a better colour offering for the medium to dark skin tones.

2.1 yellow was only a half shade or so darker than my skin, so I used this one. The colour mismatch was not significant enough that you would actually notice if you weren't looking for it. And once I applied makeup over the top, it looked perfectly normal. I did find that it was a little bit too yellow, even though I do have warm undertones. But once again, when I applied makeup over the top, it looked a lot more natural and toned-down the "yellowness".

To choose the best colour for you, I recommend using the swatches on The Ordinary website. The way the colours are shown is very accurate and would have helped me pick the right colour if I hadn't been convinced my shade should be darker.

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation with makeup

How does it wear? Does it need powder?

I have rather oily skin so by midday, I was definitely looking a bit too shiny. This is not the kind of foundation that works on oily skin like mine without a bit of help from a setting spray or a setting powder to combat shine and hold the makeup in place. In my opinion, a powder would be preferable to a spray.

I initially tried going without powder to see how the foundation would fare on its own, but by midday, I was very, very shiny and in dire need of some powder.

Even if you don't have oily skin, this foundation needs to be set. Not because it's shiny – as mentioned, it actually has a relatively matte finish. The reason is, this foundation does not set on its own.

No joke. This foundation ended up all over my earrings and headphones. To be fair, I used about five pumps of this product, which is a lot. So, the transfer could be due to how much I used. In any case, there was a remarkable amount of product transfer, especially on the cord of my headphones. So I touched up my cheeks and applied powder.

20 minutes post-application no powder vs 6 hours post-application with powder

This is a bit of a downside for me. I'm not the biggest setting powder fan. I feel like setting powder makes your makeup look cakey – and I'm more of a fan of a natural-looking finish. I used the Nude by Nature setting powder on top, which is one of the few powders I like. Fortunately, the foundation fared well with the powder. It actually made the product look more like my own skin than it did before. You can see the effect in the image above. It toned down the "yellowness", set the makeup in place, calmed the shine and made it look a lot more natural.

The powder definitely helped this foundation last all day. It would have ended up too shiny and patchy without it. But with the little bit of powder I added, I ended up with a fabulous finish that looked great well into the evening. The image below shows the foundation after it had just been applied and then 12 hours later.

This is definitely a product that can last you all day and all night – if you set it.

7:30am no powder vs 7:30pm with powder (powder applied at 12:30pm)

Final thoughts

I actually really liked this foundation. The coverage was as promised on the bottle. The finish was seamless and smooth and I felt that it looked great all day, even after 12 hours.

I also appreciated how kind this product was to my skin. One of the key reasons I don't really wear foundation that often is because many of them make my skin a bit spotty – particularly in warmer weather. But this product didn't cause any congestion or blocked pores.

The one downside was that it doesn't set on its own. You do need a powder to set this product otherwise it ends up everywhere. But that definitely wouldn't stop me from buying it again, especially considering the beautiful finish and the price – it's only $12.80.


Where to buy

You can buy The Ordinary Coverage Foundation from a number of stockists including the following:


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