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. Great review! Double Wear is my absolute favorite foundation! I agree that it doesn't photograph very well indoors but I think my skin looks flawless under natural lighting in photographs.

    Thanks for explaining the Tone Chart. I had no idea that what the numbering meant.

    Thanks! 🙂



  2. Great review! But yes, avoiding flash photography is a must with this foundation. I wore this foundation religiously last year. Looking back at the pics, especially from the summer I look like a freak- tan neck, pale face lol

    I really like applying this foundation with the BB to avoid it looking mask-like. I'm also 3W1 Tawny in the summer


  3. I love this foundation! It'd be the perfect “wedding day” foundation if it weren't for that awful white cast. I love wearing this to work since it doesn't budge, it literally can withstand everything 🙂


  4. Natty, I have a foundation question. How many days a week do you wear foundation? I know you have many foundations, but if you had to estimate, how long would you say a bottle of foundation lasts you with daily use?


  5. This foundation is great for a full coverage but it seems to dry my skin out a lot! I hate getting a ghost face in flash photography with it, it looks so funny! Great review!! xx


  6. Have you ever tried Doublewear Light? I went to the Estee Lauder counter wanting to try the normal Doublewear for a wedding day foundation, they told me how it didn't photograph well, and recommended the Light version for photography. Do you have an opinion on it?


  7. Hey Natalie! I use to LOVE full coverage foundation and about a good year and a half go I'm sold to Light/Med coverage. If you LOVE the EL Double Wear Full Coverage, I know you will LOVE the EL Double Wear Light! A little goes a long way! The coverage and staying power is AMAZING! It's light weight and water resistant as well! It gives you a nice natural (somewhat matte but not flat) finish! it's amazing you should really try it out!! -Leslie


  8. Thanks for this post, I have this foundation in Fresco and I never use it b/c I always thought it was too peachy/orange on me. Now i know why. I think I'll give it another try though and just use very little.



  9. All Estee Lauder counters give generous (1 week) sized samples so you can find your perfect colour match. The SA gave me a sample of this foundation, and although i find it too full coverage/mask-like for a full face, I find it is an AMAZING CONCEALER! the sample bottle is squeezable and squeezes out the perfect amount for undereyes and blemishes. The coverage beats any drugstore concealer and its free 😉


  10. I really wanted to try this too but i have so many foundations to go through already Im waiting…and I wana try chanel perfection lumiere too lol


  11. I think this foundie lived up to its hype! I finally caved in and drove all the way to Old Orchard and got me a sample. I even had a sweet SA color match me and surprisingly she showed me that I was a perfect 2N1 Desert Beige. I never thought I would be a Neutral since I'm an NC20 with no tan, but was always told I have strong yellow undertones (Half Italian roots). The SA also told me that since it is SO full coverage the warm shades can look way too yellow and make you look sallow if you are pale. Are your sure your the right shade too?


  12. I wanted to love this! It was the perfect color match, I was match to Tawny and usually use NC35.However it made me brake out, sad because I really liked the coverage.


  13. Hi , you should try the new benefit hello flawless oxygen wow. I am absolutely in love with this stuff. My skin is an nc37/40 sometimes nc35 in winter and the color match is spectacular. I got the beige color. The texture is similar to vitalumiere aqua but better, it is more flawless , and it lasts more in the skin if you set it with MUFE HD powder. I could say it has more coverage if applied with fluffy brush. This is my new HG. Of course we cannot compare the coverage with ELDW. Since I noticed we have very similar skin and taste for foundations I though I could give you this hint.


  14. I've been wanting to try this foundation since last year, but I always end up buying other foundations lol :p

    After I finish my favorite at the moment (smashbox studio skin) and what I just ordered which is the Lancome ultra 24 hr. I'd really get this one in Tawny. Hope it will be a good match for my nc30-35.


  15. I found this so useful thanks so much! I had my colour match done today and my shade is bone too 🙂 I have a sample so hopefully I'll like it and buy a bottle this review has been really useful again thanks! Xoco


  16. I have to admit I tried this foundation and absolutely detested it. It made my face look strange and “made up” and it seemed to come off on everything. I've moved onto MAC Tinted Moisturizer and am also using Laura Mercier TM. I'm much happier with either of them, though I probably like the LM better.


  17. Since it's a full coverage foundation, it can definitively give you the very made up look. If you're using a tinted moisturizer, you probably don't need as much coverage as EL DW provides.

    If you still have the bottle, try applying your favorite moisturizer all of your face so your skin is slightly damp. Then apply a dot of the foundation on each of your cheeks, chin and forehead. Blend with a flat top brush and your face will look flawless without the cakiness.

    I agree LM is an amazing TM!


  18. On the Temptalia Foundation Matrix the match for NC25 is either Sand or Desert Beige. Sand might be a touch too light though. It seems there isn't a perfect match. :/


  19. I have been using 4C1 Suede for years and found out last night at the Belk counter they have revamped their line of Double Wear and no longer carry this shade 😦 What am I going to do?


  20. Help! Double Wear Linen is discontinued, gone, no where to be found…. I have worn it for years, and it is perfect for my hard-to-match complexion.

    I bought a bottle of Ecru at the Nordstrom counter as an emergency backup, and don't really like the color or the new feel.

    Any suggestions for a new long-lasting, full-coverage foundation in a similar shade? 1W2Linen? Doesn't have to be Estee Lauder. Thanks so much.


  21. I used to work at the EL counter when I was in college, and loved the DW Foundation…I had to mix two colors together to make my color though. I have since moved onto MAC Studio Fix compact just out of laziness. I may need to revisit the EL counter. I did like it a lot.


  22. do you still rate this foundation since they changed the formula……? i loved it and now hate it. Its lost its longevity, its not oil controlling the coverage is rubbish, i have to use concealer when i didn't have to..its thinner…i wouldn't pay £1 for this rubbish now. xx


  23. Great review, thank you!!
    I really like the formula as it covers my acne scars and I can even use it around my eyes to disguise some of my dark circles!!
    I thought I was shade 2n2 Fresco, but that leaves a grey tone to my skin. The assistant matched me up to Tawny which was too dark for me! I tried a sample of Rattan which I thought would be a good match but my sister told me I looked ornage. I'm really wanting to try Dawn 2W1, one of the new shades but they never seem to have it?! For now I stick to mixing fresco and rattan with a sample of ivory maybelline foundation….


  24. The after photos look great. Is it true that this product withstands sweat? It looks like it can create 'caking' though when put on too much.


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