Reviewing an old favorite: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

I’ve talked and recommended this foundation on many occasions, but I don’t actually have a post dedicated to it. It’s been requested on a few occasions, and since I’ve been wearing it almost every day lately, it’s reminded me of how much I love this foundation and figured it’d be the perfect time for a review on it!

My love for this foundation dated back six years ago when I was in the market for a full coverage foundation. I was recommended Estee Lauder Double Wear and haven’t looked back!

This miracle in a bottle claims to provide flawless, lasting coverage that will withstand heat, humidity and sweat while feeling lightweight on the skin and looking completely natural throughout the day.

It’s also smudge-proof, oil-free, Non-acnegenic and fragrance free.

There are 21 shades in total, and the shades are broken up into three categories, making it easier to find the right shade for your undertone. *As a side note, neutral in the Estee Lauder Double Wear line refers to peach.

W = Warm (1W1 Bone, 1W2 Linen, 2W1 Sand, 3W1 Tawny, 4W1 Shell Beige, 5W1 Bronze, 6W2 Spice)
N = Neutral (1N1 Ecru, 2N1 Desert Beige, 2N2 Fresco, 3N1 Ivory Beige, 4N1 Wheat, 5N1 Soft Tan, 6N1 Truffle)
C = Cool (1C1 Shell, 2C1 Dusk, 3C1 Pebble, 4C1 Suede, 5C1 Rich Chestnut, 6C1 Rich Cocoa)

*Warm = red, yellow undertones, Cool = pink/rosy undertones. 

When I have no tan (MAC NC15-20 coloring) I use shade 1W1 Bone. When I’m tan (MAC NC35-NC40 coloring) I use 3W1 Tawny. Tawny is slightly light when I’m NC40, but the next shade up (Shell Beige) lacks enough yellow.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Bone and Tawny


Here’s a comparison photo of 1W1 Bone with MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC15 and 3W1 Tawny with MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC40.

Can you tell the difference? They’re incredibly similar. The only noteable differences is that 1W1 Bone is slightly darker than MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC15 and Studio Fix Fluid in NC40 is slightly darker and more yellow than 3W1 Tawny.

It’s pretty crucial to find the right color match with this foundation because of the opaque coverage. Sheer foundations are usually more forgiving, but with full coverage foundations, to avoid looking like you’re wearing a “mask” of makeup, you really need to take the time at your local counter in finding the closest shade to match your skintone.

If I’m looking for a very full coverage, I’ll opt for a standard paddle foundation brush. But on most days, I like using a duo-fiber/stippling brush for a less opaque, yet still flawless look. For a lighter coverage, a dampened beauty blender sponge is said to work very well.

This foundation dries quickly once applied to the face, but it’s not difficult to work with when dry. I find that it layers well (although I’m always good with one layer) without looking blotchy. Once the foundation has set, your skin should feel dry to the touch. If you find this difficult to work with, applying a moisturizing base prior to the foundation can help.

It provides medium to full coverage. With one layer it covers just about everything, including light sun spots and blemishes.

In the below (left) photo, I wanted to display how opaque the foundation is with a couple swipes of a standard foundation brush.

Estee Lauder Double Wear has a semi-matte, soft-focus finish that doesn’t look dull. I rarely ever have to set with a powder and my skin barely gets any shine throughout the day (my skin type is very normal).

It holds up incredibly well throughout the day. From morning till the time I go to sleep, my foundation is still in place.

Now that I’ve said everything good to say about Double Wear, here are the draw backs.

Because this foundation initially blurs out all imperfections, it can make your skin look very one-dimensional. Bronzer and blush are necessary to add shadows/dimension back into your face. (This isn’t necessarily a drawback, but it’s something to keep in mind.)

I have tried and owned several foundations. Some photograph well, and some don’t (usually due to the Titanium Oxide in the ingredient list). This one is probably one of the worst. For photos outdoors in natural light, it isn’t too bad. But for indoor photos and flash photography, it really washes me out and sometimes gives my skin a grey-ish cast. If I look back at old photos and my face is white and my neck is tan, I know that I wearing Double Wear. This is an absolute fabulous foundation, but avoid it if you’re going to be photographed.

Lastly, because this foundation is water resistant, some may find that it’s difficult to remove. A cleanser containing oil works best (or you can add a drop of any oil to your cleanser – olive oil, jojoba oil, baby oil, etc.) My favorite makeup remover wipes; Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleaning Towelettes work perfectly.

Overall, the pros outweigh the cons, which is why I’ve continued re-purchasing this foundation again and again throughout the past few years.

Price: $35, at your local department store that carries Estee Lauder.

PROS: This foundation lives up to all of it’s claims (in my experience at least). It provides medium to full coverage that looks natural when it’s not over-applied, it endures heat and sweat like a champion and doesn’t transfer as easy as most of my other foundations. It also stays in tact till the moment I go to sleep, so it deserves an A+ for lasting power.
CONS: The only real cons with this foundation is that it doesn’t photograph well (gives a white cast in flash photography). Also, even though there is a good range of shades, the color selection still isn’t all that great. I found that the cool shades are very pink and the neutral shades leaned pretty orange. Also, if you apply too much of this foundation, it can look unnatural (less is more!).
PACKAGING: I’m not a fan of the packaging, but I’m not a fan of any of Estee Lauder’s packaging, for the records. It’s pretty simple and standard, which is fine, but because of the pour-bottle design, the top and cap can get very messy. **The MAC Foundation Pump fits on this bottle, so if you use this foundation often and you prefer a pump, it may be something you’d like to look into. You can purchase it separately from MAC for $7.
OVERALL: If you can find your color match in this foundation, I won’t doubt that you’re going to love this foundation. I think some are quick to label this foundation as too heavy or too fake, but with any pigmented foundation, you have to take in consideration that you’re not going to need as much product as with a lighter coverage foundation. Start out with less than you think you’re going to need, and build if necessary. Starting out with too much at once will only set yourself up for disaster. This foundation has high rating for all skin types, and it’s especially beneficial for combination oily skin types because of it’s close to matte finish and long-wearing abilities. 

94 thoughts on “Reviewing an old favorite: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation.

  1. Hi Natalie,
    I just found your blog and really love the tips! Would you recommend this for skin with acne scars? If not, is there a good foundation or concealer you could recommend to even out skin from acne scars? I am using Mac NW20 now and I am looking for something new to try.
    I really appreciate it!


  2. I really like this foundation but cosmetics are soo expensive here in Australia…for example…Revlon colorstay is $40 us….and double wear is $50…that's why I get sad when I read American sites talking about how cheap drug store foundations like Revlon are lol.


  3. I want to love this…but the colour selection is so strange! They have one of the widest shade ranges I've ever seen, but the “Cool” is far too pink, “Warm” far too yellow and “Neutral” looks like fleshtone poster paint. To top it all off, 1N1 and 1C0 (Shell) are both too dark…


  4. Using honey bronze at the moment, want to change shade bit lighter and yellow toned, tried tawny found it too light and cashew too dark! Please help x


  5. I wear desert beige 2n1 in Estée Lauder and I'm looking for different foundations in other brands that I can try out that are the same color I am willing to look at high end and drugstore as well if anyone can help that would be amazing!


  6. I used to work at Lauder. Many people were devestated when they discontinued that shade. Another good full coverage foundation is Lancome's 24hr line. I used it and was impressed. That foundation and DW have been the only 2 that I have liked and I have tried many…and I mean many!!lol


  7. I used to work at Lauder. Many people were devestated when they discontinued that shade. Another good full coverage foundation is Lancome's 24hr line. I used it and was impressed. That foundation and DW have been the only 2 that I have liked and I have tried many…and I mean many!!lol


  8. They are still making the Double Wear in Soft Tan. I've been wearing it since 2003. I was a SA for Lauder for several years. I've actually been online and checked out several stores to see if anyone is in gwp this month. Macy's, Nordstrom, Dillard's, Lord & Taylor all had it in stock. Hope this helps!


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