My Holy Grail Base Makeup for Combination Skin

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Picking my holy grail makeup products was three years in the making. I have combination skin (oily on the t-zone and normal to dry on the perimeter of the face) which made it difficult for me to find the perfect foundation that doesn’t easily melt on the face, especially under the hot and humid weather of the Philippines. In addition to that, I have yellow undertone so it was difficult to find a drugstore foundation that matches the color of my face and neck.

benefit, innisfree, l'oreal

Being a makeup enthusiast, I’ve been trying out and collecting makeup for years. I think it started about two years ago when I began to seriously collect drugstore, high-end, and Korean makeup. I got a lot of help from watching beauty vloggers on YouTube and made a handful of trial and error myself. Right now, I seldom test new makeup anymore because I find myself gravitating to these holy grail base makeup products I swear by.


I use the Benefit POREfessional Matte Rescue Invisible-Finish Mattifying Gel as my primer (that’s a mouthful!). It’s actually marketed as a mattifying gel for those with oily skin and meant to be used before a primer. I find myself gearing towards this instead of the cult favorite POREfessional Face Primer because the latter doesn’t seem to hold my makeup longer under humid weather.

The POREfessional Matte Rescue Gel has a lightweight gel texture with a cooling effect and smells like cucumber. However, it doesn’t do well on covering large pores but in my experience, it does keep my makeup longer. It also keeps the shine away from my face for about 5 hours before I feel the need to blot with an oil control film. On days when my skin is dry (i.e. when traveling abroad during fall or winter), I use the Benefit Porefessional Face Primer instead.

To make my foundation last longer (i.e. for weddings or special events), I spritz some MAC Fix+ on my clean and moisturized face. After letting my face dry, I then apply a tiny bit of the mattifying gel only on my T-zone.

Benefit’s POREfessional Matte Rescue Invisible-Finish Mattifying Gel is quite expensive, but it lasts for a long time because I only need a tiny amount everytime I do my makeup. I haven’t even finished my first tube yet.

Price: Php 1,800 at Benefit Philippines counters, Php 2,000 at, US$ 28 at


My go-to foundation is hands-down L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte. Many people with oily skin have raved about this product and now I can definitely understand why. It has a demi matte finish with a medium and buildable coverage that can last up to 24 hours. What I love most about this foundation is that it’s drugstore and it has yellow undertone suited for Asians with medium complexion.

In my years of collecting and wearing makeup, getting the right foundation shade and formula is the most difficult thing to accomplish. Most drugstore foundations only offer neutral or pink undertones which oxidize so badly on my acidic, yellow undertone and medium skin. High-end brands such as MAC, NARS, and Estée Lauder have a wide selection of foundation shades for various skin tones, but they’re very expensive.

I tried the popular Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation and it does give a full coverage. I was matched with the shade 3W2 Cashew but after an hour, the shade oxidized and became a bit darker. The next shade lighter was 3W1 Tawny which is a tad bit lighter than my skin and has less yellow pigments. In order for me to get a perfect match, I will need to mix the two shades which will set me back to about Php 5,000 (US$ 100) for foundation alone. Plus, I didn’t like how the Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation felt on my skin as it felt too drying and heavy, as if my skin couldn’t breathe. On the other hand, I like how this L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte one doesn’t dry full matte, making your skin look a bit natural and not cakey. It’s also transfer-proof. The only downside I could see in this foundation is that it settles on your fine lines so you really have to moisturize your skin and blend the foundation with a damp sponge as fast as you can.

I tried six different foundations in the past and I never got to finish them, because they either don't match my skin tone or they broke me out. Now I keep two back-ups of the Infallible Pro-Matte which I bought from our local L’Oréal counters during their 25% off sale.

Price: Php 700 in L’Oréal Philippines, US$ 12.99 in L’Oréal USA
Shade I use: 105 (NC30-NC35 in MAC for reference)

Tarte Shape Tape_Medium, Light Medium Honey, Deep
Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer in Medium, Light Medium Honey, and Deep


If you haven’t used Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer yet, you’re missing out on your makeup game. I was able to get my first Tarte Shape Tape last August 2016 through Tarte’s website when they still deliver internationally to the Philippines (*nudge* *nudge* Hello Tarte. Please ship to us again SOON). During the first few months of its release, it was so difficult to get hold of this concealer because they’re always sold out. It’s that good! Now there’s a limit on the number of pieces you order from Tarte.

I mainly use Tarte Shape Tape Concealer on my under eye area and it just magically corrects and covers my dark circles and brightens my under eye. In addition, I put this concealer on my T-zone and it REALLY does a great job in controlling my stubbornly oily T-zone. It covers my pores, too. The first time I tested out this product, I went out for a couple of hours walk under the blazing Manila heat (in BGC at early afternoon!) and it didn’t budge. I didn’t even have to set my face with powder, but my foundation and concealer are still intact. While it helps control oil, Tarte Shape Tape hydrates as well. It’s vegan and cruelty-free and contains shea butter, mango seed butter, and licorice root extract.

Because the formula is a little thick than usual liquid concealers, some people with dry under eye area and fine lines find that the Shape Tape settles and creases. What I do is I put eye cream and less to no foundation on my under eye area, then apply several dots of concealer to avoid creasing.
Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer is pricey, but you only need the tiniest amount. One tube can replace about 3 to 4 tubes of your regular drugstore concealer and works WAY better. The closest dupe I can find for the Shape Tape is Club Clio Kill Cover Concealer. However, the Kill Cover one has limited shades. Tarte Shape Tape is made in Korea.

Price: Php 1,600-2,500 (Shopee, online resellers), US$ 25 on, US$ 27 on Ulta
Shades I use: Medium for brightening and concealing, Deep for contouring (NC30-NC35 in MAC for reference) 

Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder
Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder

Setting Powder

The first time I used it, I instantly feel in love with Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder. This Korean makeup powder comes in a very tiny container with a small puff. It’s a finely-milled white powder that turns transparent when applied to the skin. As compared to other setting powders in the market, this No-Sebum Mineral Powder from Innisfree contains only 5g of product which is a bit of a letdown. However, the good thing about this small container is that it fits your cosmetic pouch and you only need a small amount to set your face.

The name stands true to itself as Innisfree’s No-Sebum Mineral Powder does a great job in absorbing oil. I use the Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder right after I apply my concealer and I immediately noticed how it smoothens the skin and lessens the appearance of pores. The powder also has a cooling sensation. I personally like applying a tiny bit of powder because I find baking on the face time-consuming. Plus the more you pack on products on the oily parts of the face, the more your foundation will cake up.

On normal days when I just have to run errands or leave the house for a maximum of four hours, I use the powder puff to set my face. For special occasions, I use a damp BeautyBlender to push the powder onto the skin to make it look more natural.

Price: Php 260-320 (Shopee, online resellers), US$ 5.38 (StyleKorean), KRW 6,000 (Innisfree Korea)

Benefit Porefessional Matte Rescue, Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder, L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte in 105, Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in Medium
Benefit, Innisfree, L'Oréal, Tarte
Which of my picks are your holy grail base makeup, too? Share this post if you enjoyed reading it. Also, check out my next post on my go-to eyebrow products!

Interested to see my new base makeup collection for 2019? Read it here.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I bought these makeup with my own money and my thoughts on these products are 100% honest and based on my experience.

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