Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12 – Review & swatches

Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12 – Review & swatches

Friday, July 26, 2013 Sara Hassan , 23 Comments

This has got to be the best foundation I have come across so far.

Lasting Foundation SPF 12
For Oily skin types. This lightweight foundation glides on and stays put, for over 7 hours of lasting beauty. Formulated with Pro-Retinol, it helps minimize the appearance of fine lines, plus SPF 12 and Vitamins C and E derivatives to help protect skin. Ophthalmologist tested.

Safe for contact lens wearers. Fragrance-free. Oil-free. Non-comedogenic. Comes in 17 shades.

Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12
Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12
Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12 in Alabaster Beige
Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12 in Alabaster Beige - Swatch
Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12 in Alabaster Beige -Before & After Application
My thoughts
For more than a year, I have been dedicated to Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation which I believe is one of the best drugstore foundations for combination/oily skin. I am so glad I have come upon something even better. Yes, this is it! Merle Norman Lasting Foundation is a dream come true especially for oily skin.

It comes in a 30ml tube which is not my favorite packaging. I prefer a pump bottle instead – that’s much easier to handle and use. Before I begin with the review, I would like to share about my visit to the Merle Norman store located at The Forum, Karachi. Usually when I go pick a product, I do extensive research of my own as I absolutely do not enjoy my money going to waste especially when it’s a high-end brand. So I did my research and decided on a shade for my fair-medium skin tone (NC30 in MAC). When I went there with my sister, we tested the shade ‘Natural’ that we had picked however we were disappointed because it turned out to have a peach undertone that looked off on my skin. The sales assistant at the store helped us pick our perfect match which was ‘Alabaster Beige’. I must say the staff at the store seems very well-trained.

Alabaster Beige has a yellow undertone that matches my skin perfectly. The consistency of the product is thin but not runny. It won’t spill or create a mess when you squeeze product out of the tube. It gives a medium coverage which can be built. The formulation is concentrated so it is easier to achieve a full coverage. It has a mild scent which isn’t pleasant in my books but doesn’t bother me either for it fades upon application. The scent is reminiscent of a milder version of Revlon Color Stay foundation to be precise. About the application, I'd say it's a bit tricky. It blends flawlessly but sets quickly so I suggest doing your face in sections. I’ve noticed that it gives a slight tight feeling to my skin similar to what I get with Revlon Color Stay foundation. To solve the issue, I suggest wearing a good primer underneath.

I love that it gives a true matte finish. No siree! There’s not a single hint of shine on my face when I apply this. Also, it doesn’t appear cakey no matter how much your layer it on. I was staggered the first time when I applied it; my skin looked so even and natural. I cannot emphasize enough how natural it appears on me – almost undetectable, so genius! Also, this foundation lasts a long time. Normally, foundations begin to wear off on my nose first and then my T-zone. This, however, lasted so well on my combination skin. My sister with oily skin feels the same way about it. The oil control is very good. It keeps my face shine-free for four hours after which I can see minimal shine peeking through. If you set it with a setting powder, it will keep your shine-free for the rest of the day. It comes with SPF 12 protection which is a plus. However, there is one problem. It accentuates any dryness on the face so I suggest exfoliating and moisturizing your face prior to application.

This foundation, as mentioned previously, sticks to my face like anything and stands heat and humidity very well therefore it should be removed with a good makeup remover or cleansing milk. Because if you don’t, it might sit in your pores and cause break outs. So taking it off properly is imperative. I say double cleanse, that’s even better!

I am totally digging this! If you have oily skin or combination with oily T-zone, you should try this once. I bet you’ll like it. I certainly do not think it would suit dry/normal skin types. A close drugstore dupe for it would be Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation.

You might like it if…
  • You have combination/oily skin type
  • You live in a hot and humid climate
  • You expect medium to full coverage
  • It gives a true matte, non-cakey and natural-looking finish
  • It covers imperfections very well and evens out your skin
  • It doesn’t wear off and stays put all day
  • It keeps you shine-free up to four hours
  • It comes with SPF 12 protection
You might not like it if…
  • You have dry/normal skin type
  • You live in a cool and dry climate
  • It highlights dryness on your face
  • The scent bothers you
My rating

Merle Norman Lasting Foundation SPF 12 is priced at PKR 2995. You can purchase it from Forum Mall Clifton Karachi. Merle Norman Pakistan also offer home delivery nationwide. Visit them on Facebook for more information and updates. For folks abroad, go to Merle to locate a store near you.

What do you think about this foundation? Have you tried it?


  1. this sounds amazing! I hate how my t-zone gets oily after just a few hours after my makeup application. The price is a bit steep for me thou :(

  2. Superb coverage i heard so many good thing about dis foundation nyc review thanks for sharing :)

  3. Its pretty expensive but looks like its worth it.. Nice review :)

  4. looks like a keeper. Finding the right foundation is the best feeling in the world :) lol

  5. Sarah, please suggest a good foundation for dry/combination skin

  6. Your face looks flawless in after shot! Added this foundation in my wishlist. :) xx

  7. Suits your skin tone perfectly! Well reviewed

  8. Sounds great! Looking perfect for your skin but I think it's not for me as I have a normal/dry skin <3

  9. It looks good! It's actually the same price as Loreal True Match! I might just try it out. x

  10. once again sara i love you <3 <3 you hooked me up with bourjois 123,the best my skin ever got and seems like this one,too, would work great for me.Have a vairtuos ramazan.stay blessed. <3 <3 xoxo

    PS:you look great

  11. Nice review :) from which shop in Forum i can get it from?

  12. Sounds like a great foundation. It looks flawless on your skin. x

  13. Wow You skin looks flawless . Great review xx

  14. My my, sounds amazing! I'd love to give this a go. It sounds like it will provide value for money. Your skin looks radiant!

  15. My pocket is gonna hate you ! When I just bought bourjois 123 foundation , now you give this a great review :)

  16. Nice review sara . looking flawless. .. would u like to tell which lipstick u applied on ur lips . love this pink color ^_^
    waiting for ur reply

  17. It looks matte even in the swatch! You look flawless! Glad that you found a new HG foundation! :) x

  18. Oh how I would love if you review one of their foundations for dry skin- you being combination skinned always leaves me reeling for some very good blogger like you who has dry skin, but uptil now I found none! *sigh*

  19. Allot of e-hugs n kisses for you sweety thanks for investing in it and sharing in detail... Will get it as I am searching a foundation that can bare with the sweat n oil of my
    Sara you are the best n u deServe all the best in life.

  20. Wow,, gives you a perfect coverage :) Nice review :)

  21. hi Sara! ur work is always great..doll! i wanna ask which shade of this foundation will go with asian skin? u know usually v ve different complexion but it tends to get tan while working outdoors n in keeping this thing in mind,which shade should i select?
    n Sara ! kryolan color corrector paint stick 303 n tv paint stick 303 r the same things..
    kindly ket me know
    thanks a lot

    1. Hey Saria, I'm afraid I don't know much about other shades. I only tried two at the store of which I found this shade to go well with my NC 30ish skin tone. Yes, the paint stick in 303 is a corrector. :) xx


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