Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick Review & Swatches

I've been blogging for almost 2 years now and it's hard to believe that I haven't once talked about a cream foundation stick! This changes today, though! I have a couple of them from different brands but for this post I'll start off with one of the more popular ones — the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick!

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

From my understanding, the tube that I have is a reformulated version (launched in 2014). The old version was introduced to the market back in 1992 (almost 23 years ago!) and it was supposedly the first-ever cream foundation stick of its kind formulated to skin tone correct while providing a natural finish. Unfortunately I don't have the original formula with me so I cannot compare them for you. My review today is based on the 2014 version only.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is a cream foundation packaged in a stick format. The product is released upon twisting the base of the tube and is retractable. Upon seeing the tube for the first time, I gasped at its small size! I mean, for the price I expect it to be slightly chubby (like Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick chubby) but I suppose this way it's more portable and I imagine it would fit even in the tiniest makeup bag!

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

There are 24 shades in the line-up (wowza, I'm pretty sure anyone will find their match!). The color I'm using is 4 Natural which I think is a decent match for me, although I can probably get away with 3.5 Warm Beige, too. Natural has nice, not-too-yellow undertones that once applied, looks absolutely natural on me, and it matches the color on my neck really well. The stick has no scent that I can detect and contains key ingredients as listed below:

  • Shea Butter to retain moisture
  • Silica to control oil and reduce shine in oily skin, but doesn't dry out dry skin
  • Olive Extracts to moisturize the skin leaving it soft and smooth

The cream formula is on the thick side but it glides on the skin amazingly well without tugging. It also doesn't take any effort to blend to a seamless finish! I was actually surprised to see how light it felt on the skin. Having said that, if you experience tugging, or if the product happens to dry out, you may want to warm it up with your fingertips first to melt the texture a little bit before applying.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in 4 Natural swatched (L) and blended (R)
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in 4 Natural swatched (L) and blended (R)

I start the application by applying the product directly on my skin. I like to apply it in short strokes across my forehead, down my nose, on the inner and outer cheeks, chin, and jaw lines, then buff it all in with a buffing brush such as Tom Ford (review) or Cover FX Cream Foundation Brush, or Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. Fingertips work OK, too, but I find the coverage a little cakey sometimes. With a buffing brush, or even a damp sponge, I always get a nice, soft and smooth, more skin-like effect than fingers. I'd describe the finish as a soft satin-matte with very little powdery feel. You can skip setting but I always at least dust loose powder over it. It doesn't provide any obvious glow or illuminating effect. It just makes my skin appear more even-toned, softer, smoother, and overall just looks better, while still feels like skin. I suppose it has something to do with the “clear base” used in the formula (as opposed to white base) to allow for ultimate skin match while placing a thin veil of color-correcting pigments over the skin. It doesn't feel greasy, tacky, or oily afterwards, either. Very nice!

And another nice thing about this stick is, it's so easy to customize the coverage! You know, some days you just want a sheer coverage to even out your complexion a little while still letting your skin breathe, then you can apply the product lightly all over the face, or only on problem spots. But if you want to go all full coverage, just build up! I have quite a few sun spots and acne scars on my cheeks and 2-3 layers of this product takes care most of the concealing for me. I'll still need to go in with a concealer to complete the look but for normal days, 2-3 layers is perfectly enough for me. If you only have just slight redness and/or dark circles to conceal, I'm happy to report that this product cancels them out really well!

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

As for pores, well, unfortunately it doesn't do well on pores. I find that without using some sort of pore-minimizing primer first, this product has a tendency to pull into pores making them much more visible! I'm not very fond of this but I always prime my face prior to foundation application anyway, so I have no complaints. Also, if you have dry/flaky patches, this product will cling on and highlight those. My advice is to always start off with a fresh, preferably perfectly moisturized skin if possible. It doesn't oxidize during the day and the wear time I'd say is about 6-7 hours before I notice signs of fading.

Now for the major drawback. On my combination to oily T-zone skin, this product does not control oil at all. In fact, it makes my T-zone become so oily much more than usual! I have to blot within a few hours of application or otherwise my nose would become overly oily while the rest of my face is dewy. Those who have oily skin, definitely try a sample first. Maybe have it applied at the counter and walk around the mall for a few hours to see how your skin holds up. My guess is probably the Shea Butter in the formula that contributes to the oily factor. Those with dry skin will probably appreciate this more. The product also touts “water-, sweat-, and humidity-resistant“, well, it's somewhat true! Because when I blot, only a slight amount of product transfers to the blotting sheet.

Wearing Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick (R)
Wearing Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick (R)

Despite its inability to keep oils at bay, I still enjoy using the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick due to its extreme ease of use (and it's very fun to use in fact!). It's a swipe-and-blend product so it's never messy or fussy. It's highly portable, perfect for touch-ups, provides excellent coverage, and also doubles as a concealer. I say a product that does all these is totally worth blotting for! ;)


US$44 at SephoraNordstromSaks ○ Macy's

฿1,900 at Central


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  1. Hi Jaa,
    this one is really intriguing. If you are blotting probably it doesn’t dry me out which is good news ;-)
    I wonder how it compares to the Tom Ford Stick foundation.

    1. says: Jaa

      It might work better on your skin then! :D I find the Tom Ford one a bit thicker in texture, a bit harder to blend, and also leaves a tackier finish. It has higher coverage, though.

  2. says: Natasja

    Pretty result. Sucky about the blotting. Maybe you should give their liquid foundations a try? I haven’t tried their foundation stick yet.. but will eventually :-)

    1. says: Jaa

      I try to apply makeup on clean skin only and I do wipe off the tip with a tissue or disinfecting wipe after application. :)

  3. says: Erin

    I haven’t tried their stick foundation. The “Skin” foundation and I didn’t get along, but I liked the TM when it first came out.

    I have a love-hate relationship with Shea on my face, so I’d certainly have to sample.

  4. says: Lena L

    I believe the first cream foundation stick would be Max Factor Pan Stick since it was introduced in 1947, but that one rather works like a concealer. I still have a fond memory using a Pan Stick, though.
    As warmer weather approaches, and since my skin is not as oily, I feel like trying a high coverage stick foundation only on ruddy parts of my face and be done with it. Thanks for another foundation lemming, Jaa! ;p

    1. says: Jaa

      Ahh thanks for the info, Lena! 1947 is a LONG time ago. Is it still on the market? I bet you’ll love this Bobbi Brown version if your skin isn’t oily! Oh lucky you! :)

  5. says: Liz

    I have the same shade #4 and find it a tiny bit too yellow at times. But otherwise it’s a good match for my skin during late-spring-summer-early fall. And I agree with your assessment fully! Lovely finish and natural-looking but not so great on oily T-zones.

  6. Great review as always, Jaa! This one looks like a great color match. I’ve only tried one stick foundation and wasn’t impressed by the oil control and felt like it never truly “set” around my nose and mouth. After discovering the joy of serum foundations, I’m not sure I could ever go back! :)

  7. says: Lily

    I was curious about this, and truth be told, I never tried any stick foundations before. Ever. If it emphasizes pores then it’s not for me. I’m usually pretty lazy with using primers, so blah :-P

    1. says: Jaa

      Haha well, primer is a must for me so I guess I’m not too worried about it setting into pores. I’m surprised you haven’t tried this one before considering your massive foundation collection! :D

  8. says: Cindy

    I loved this Foundation during the drier months! It did show dry areas but after a while, my skin looked fully moisturized and not dry. I liked how buildable it is. Color match was spot on. Yellow tone products are hard to come by yet this one was perfect for me :) I’ll stick to just the one since I wouldn’t use this myself in the hot summer months xD

  9. says: Jen

    Thanks so much for this review- I’d been super curious about it! While the texture and finish sound lovely, I think my oilier complexion would prefer something more mattifying!

  10. says: GlossBerry

    I bought this for my sister, who is not a makeup person unlike me, and she loves it! It provides a very natural coverage, which is exactly what she was looking for :)

  11. says: Rae

    I had the old one, and I’m number 4, too. But I match with 4.25 more.

    The old formula has more of a waxy feel. So, I like the new one better. This was my favorite foundation for special events (before I got Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer).

    I might still get it once I finish Kevyn Aucoin.

    1. says: Jaa

      Nice! Do you find it turning your face a little oily in the afternoon? I will check out the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer! :)

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