Review: Paul & Joe Creamy Matte Foundation

By Voxy  

Is there a conspiracy in the cosmetics world against those of us with pink-toned skin?

There is! I knew it! <exasperated sigh>

I’ll give you the tl;dr version up front: this is a lovely, lovely foundation IF YOU DON’T HAVE PINK-TONED SKIN. If you do, you have just purchased a very pretty container, which you will want to empty of its contents as soon as possible so you can repurpose it for something else.

In all seriousness, the product is very nice and I like almost everything about it except its color. But just because it’s wrong for me doesn’t mean it might not be right for you!

Paul & Joe Creamy Matte Foundation comes in 8 shades. I got “Fresh,” which is the lightest pink-toned color (the two shades lighter than “Fresh” being distinctly yellow-toned). Even in the jar it didn’t look too yellow, but on the skin it’s just not right for me. However, the formula is light, with medium coverage that you can layer for fuller coverage on areas that need it, and it sets to a matte finish that is, indeed, creamy. The language of foundations is tricky: you can get products with a satin finish, with a dewy finish, with a matte finish, with a velvet finish, or with an airbrush finish; ones that have sheer, light, medium, or full coverage; and ones that are dewy, creamy, hydrating, mattifying, “invisible,” skin-matching, anti-aging, and my favorite meaningless buzzword, “natural.” For heaven’s sake — buying house paint is easier than this.

This is a liquid foundation that for some reason is packaged in a jar rather than a pump or a bottle. I find this a strange decision, because it makes it virtually impossible to use the product in a sanitary way. With liquid foundation in a pump or regularly-shaped bottle, you can dispense what you need for a single application onto the back of your hand or a small saucer or your personal assistant’s coffee mug or whatever you use for that purpose. (That’s probably why no one wants to be my personal assistant.) The P&J bottle is quite beautiful — another one of those that makes me think of the word “unguent,” which is a word I’d like to think of more often — but it’s very, very difficult to pour cleanly from it because of its shape. The shoulder of the bottle is beautifully curved but very impractical for a clean pour. So what are you going to end up doing? Dipping your brush in the bottle. OK, you could also upend the bottle before use with the cap still on, then sit it right-side-up and dip your brush in the product that clings to the cap or to the little cap liner (if you haven’t lost it, ahem). But unless you’re going to have a new cap or liner every time, this is still not the most sanitary way to dispense liquid foundation. And I’m not a germophobe, as you would discover if you saw the disaster area that is my apartment at present, so for me to say it’s unsanitary means it really has to have some flaws.

All that being said, it applies nicely and is easy to blend out. I found the coverage was solid for a good 6-8 hours, and after that it started to look a little less “fresh” (pun intended) on me. If you love the consistency and are willing to put up with the bottle, you can add other products to it to change its color. I made it work for a few days by adding LUSH Colour Supplement in Light Pink to it, but of course the more extra stuff you add to it, the less it resembles the original formulation in terms of performance.

Unfortunately, I remain entranced by lots of Paul & Joe products, so I think they will still be getting some of my hard-earned moolah in future. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with those. (Or, you know, P&J, you could just make some pinkier shades. Just sayin’.)



Paul & Joe Creamy Matte Foundation (warning: some of you will cringe when you see the typo-ridden and improperly-hyphenated-and-punctuated website): $45 for 1 oz./30 ml at Beautyhabit (you can’t purchase directly from the Paul & Joe website)

Provenance: Purchased (on sale)

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Hard to say. I’m going to go with “fair,” because even though the shade wasn’t right for me, the performance of the product was OK. I’d have liked it to last longer and I really want them to change the packaging.

Purchase again? Not I. But I’ll look at other P&J products.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

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  1. avatar marigolds
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It used to be the other way around–there was ONLY pink-toned foundation available. Then Bobbi Brown came along with her “everybody is flattered by yellow!” outlook and everybody else got on the bandwagon.

    So, Voxy, you’ve heard me say this ad nauseam, but—pro foundations have an ENORMOUS range of colors and are far more pigmented (so give better coverage) AND are far cheaper per use than consumer foundations.

    RCMA is my favorite, and it has TONS of cool shades. Cinema Secrets and Graftobian are good for drier skins; I LOVE Mehron Celebre HD foundation (but that leans yellow in many shades). Face Atelier is marvelous, according to everybody who’s tried it, which is not me.

    Only problem: if you don’t live near a pro makeup store (mostly New York and LA) you have to do hit and miss and there are not a lot of reliable swatches available online. will sell sample sizes of different colors so you can try a bunch of them.


  2. Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have also had my day ruined by the “too yellow” foundation. What’s up with that? It seems like there are a lot of women with cool-toned skin, who aren’t being served by ranges that are yellow and orangey.
    When my current Prescriptives foundation runs out, I’ll be searching for a new one. Perhaps I could write an extended piece. “Pale, pink girl seeks gentle foundation? Greasy, orange pretenders need not apply”


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink | Reply

      Heh. You know you can still get Prescriptives via their website, yes? I don’t know if they have your color/formula, but definitely worth checking out if you haven’t bought it all up already. :)


      • Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink | Reply

        Sadly, mine is gone at Prescriptives. I still have some to last me a little while though.

        But I was thinking of trying a different formulation (I’ve mainly used 2 types of foundation: liquid and then powder, v. traditional look, or stick foundation – I have a lovely Guerlain one but they stopped making that too!). I’d be interested in trialing some different finishes.

        This is going to be a research-article length guest post, I can feel it!!


    • avatar a biologist
      Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Katrina, I would post the same advertisement. I would love to see a post of yours on the topic.

      One of the reasons I moved to mineral powder foundation was that BE’s lightest color is also pink-toned, so it is a perfect match. I would like to try liquid foundation again, but I’ve blown my beauty budget for the near future.


  3. avatar elsie
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That foundation would be too yellow for me too. Story of my life.


  4. avatar chaosbydesign
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love that packaging. I know it’s impractical, but so pretty!

    This may sound odd, but to limit any bacterial growth as a result of continuously exposing the contents of the jar to air and to your brush, you could store the jar in the fridge.


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