Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review: a beauty editor tests the full-coverage favorite

Our contributing beauty editor's Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review talks you through this iconic beauty buy

Collage of Lucy wearing the foundation for this Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review and the packaging
(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)
Woman & Home Verdict

A super duper high coverage foundation that lives up to its promise of staying in place, this iconic beauty buy makes light work of concealing blemishes and uneven skin tone. The coverage may be too much for some for everyday wear, but it keeps skin looking pretty flawless all day long.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very full coverage

  • +

    60 shades spanning a broad spectrum

  • +

    Stays in place

  • +

    Soft matte finish

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Coverage would be too full for some

  • -

    Pump has to be purchased separately

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I'll enter this Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review with the not-unreasonable assumption that Estée Lauder Double Wear is one of the best-selling foundations in the world. Most makeup shoppers who haven’t ever tried it will at least have asked themselves: is it really that good? 

This full-coverage formula first launched in 1997 – before I even started wearing makeup – and still regularly makes best foundation lists among makeup artists, beauty editors, and shoppers alike. 

There are several iterations of Double Wear, including a lighter Sheer edition, a tinted moisturizer, and one of the best powder foundations on the market. But this in-depth guide is all about the original, full coverage real deal. 

Our beauty editor's Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review

Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation packaging

Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundations

(Image credit: Estée Lauder)

Like its reputation, Double Wear’s packaging is classic. We’re talking frosted glass bottle – rectangular with squared-off edges – and a classic gold lid. It oozes chic. 

That said, one of this foundation's big drawbacks is to do with the packaging because it doesn’t come with a pump. You can purchase one separately, which I do recommend if this foundation is likely to be a regular purchase, but it’ll cost you more than five dollars or pounds. It's a nice move for sustainability because you’ll reuse it each time you buy a new bottle, but something you’ll really miss if not. The pump also makes things more hygienic. I tested it sans pump, which wasn’t ideal for dispensing it mess-free or in the right quantity. 

The foundation formula

This is quite a thick formula. It blends well but it is very full coverage – easily one of the best full coverage foundations you could hope to get your hands on. Things like blemishes, redness or uneven skin tone are all easily concealed.

However, I don’t think I’d necessarily describe this as buildable; you get such full coverage from the first application that you’re unlikely to need more. It also dries down quite quickly, so can go a little cakey if you apply much more after your first go. 

The formula also includes SPF 10, which adds very little in my opinion. Not only is this a very low rating, but the expert consensus regarding SPF in makeup – not just for this foundation but across the board – is that we are unlikely to apply anywhere near enough to achieve the protection specified on the bottle. We therefore should not rely on makeup as our sole form of sun protection and use one of the best facial sunscreens instead.

How does it look and feel on the skin?

Lucy wearing Double Wear on its own and with a full face of makeup

Lucy wearing Double Wear on its own and with a full face of makeup

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

First things first, a bit about my skin. It's quite oily and it's normal for foundations to develop a little bit of shine throughout the day. I don't have acne but I'm prone to the odd spot, and at the time of writing had a couple of quite large ones. I chose to see this as a positive while testing foundation because nothing puts coverage to the test quite like a big ol' red blemish. 

Back to the foundation itself, what was noticeable from the off was the way the thick cream blended into the skin pretty seamlessly, yielding a nice, slightly velvety finish. It is on the matte side, but not so much that I’d describe it straight-up as one of the best matte foundations - there's more to it than that.

Double Wear has a reputation for its flawless coverage, which I can definitely attest to thanks to the way it camouflaged the aforementioned spots with ease. Despite such high coverage, and as well as the fact that it’s quite thick, it isn’t that noticeable in terms of how it feels on the skin. I could tell I was wearing makeup, but it didn’t feel heavy and, more importantly, nor did it transfer.

How about after a day of wear?

When Double Wear dries down, it really means business and lives up to its name; it stays in place. It didn’t settle into any fine lines and a few blemishes were still well-covered. My skin developed a very small amount of shine throughout the day, but this is pretty standard for me. It had otherwise retained a great level of the initial coverage and my complexion looked nice and even-toned – there was no patchiness or migration even in those areas where I am super oily, like my forehead, around my nose, or my inner cheeks. It also didn't change color throughout the day and remained true to the shade. 

Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review: My verdict

There’s no arguing with this foundation’s staying power. It makes light work of covering imperfections and fulfills its promise of staying in place. Its price tag definitely veers into premium territory, but because the coverage is so good you don’t need to use a lot at a time. Depending on how often and how much foundation you wear, my conservative estimate would be that a bottle should last at least a couple of months, if not longer.

While I personally wouldn't use it on a daily basis (I’m a medium-to-full cover kind of girl on your average workday), that comes down to preference rather than this foundation’s quality. I have friends for whom Double Wear is the go-to base seven days a week and I can totally see why they love it so much. I have foundations that are go-to's for filming or for special occasions that call for something heavier-duty, and this would definitely be in their gang.

All in all, what's the verdict of my Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation review? If your priority from your foundation is flawless, all-day wear and you like full coverage, this best-selling buy will be right up your street. You can't argue with that coverage!

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.