We Tried The Sold-Out Foundation With A 25,000-Person Wait List

Lip kits have sold out in seconds, a handmade makeup brush has run up a waiting list, and a palette with a peach on it once crashed a website, but people rarely get excited about foundation. That is, until Colours, the two newest offerings from cult-favourite Canadian brand The Ordinary, came along. That 25,000-person waitlist translated into orders for more than 250,000 units in the first week of launch, which sounds like a few more than the brand had been anticipating. “As such, we have run out of pumps,” a statement on the product page reads, in reference to the unprecedented flood of purchases.
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Eventually, they will receive additional pumps, and when that happens, you’ll probably want to place an order — particularly if weightless foundations that look and feel like your skin but better are the kind of thing you usually go for. With its medium coverage, semi-matte finish, and unique sensation of wearing no makeup at all, the Serum Foundation is everything a person who doesn’t particularly like foundation could want out of one.
That person is me. My skin is inconsistent; I can go from having the clear, unfussy complexion of a nubile young milkmaid who raises grass-fed cows on a farm in Switzerland to as ruddy, blemish-ridden, and visibly exhausted as White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in the same week. I don’t like a ton of face makeup, and while some days I can get away with just wearing a little concealer here and there or a sheer layer of tinted sunscreen, my needs change often and without warning.
What I want is a foundation that feels lightweight, can be used sparingly on good skin days and generously on others, leaves behind a slightly mattified "natural" finish but doesn’t make my skin look dry or chalky, doesn’t somehow vanish by the middle of the day, doesn't streak, doesn’t settle into my fine lines or make me erupt into volcanic breakouts. It’s a tall order, I’m aware, but the Serum Foundation fits the bill. It is also — and this is very important — £5.30.
How does The Ordinary do it? As with its other absurdly low-priced, exceptionally high-quality products, I do not know. The brand's website uses phrases like “lightweight pigment suspension system” and “very low in viscosity,” so maybe it’s black magic, for all I know. But, as the saying goes, one should never look a gift horse in the mouth — especially if you’re one of the lucky few who got in before they ran out of pumps. (We’ll update when they’re back in business.)
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The Ordinary Serum Foundation, available at The Ordinary.
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