Review: Ulta Double Duty Foundation & Primer

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I’ve been itching to try some Ulta brand products ever since I noticed that they’re on Logical Harmony’s cruelty-free list. This is a pretty affordable brand but it’s hardly ever talked about in the beauty community. When I needed a new foundation, I took the opportunity to test out a product from the brand. The foundation I chose is their Double Duty Primer & Foundation, which retails for $12.50. I actually scored it for around $9.50 because I had some Ulta rewards that I used towards this purchase.

Shade range: There are 12 shade options with varying cool/neutral/warm undertones, ranging from paler shades to a deep “Rich Mocha.” (The full shade range can be seen here.) Mine is in the lightest shade, “Classic Ivory,” which the website describes as “light cool with pink undertones.” Since the whole undertone thing is all nonsense to me, thankfully Ulta had testers for all the different shades so I was able to swatch and pick the one that matched me best. I find that Classic Ivory is a nearly perfect match for my skin – if not just a little bit too light, at least during the summer months.

Packaging: The packaging is very simple – a typical squeeze tube, which is honestly the type of packaging I tend to prefer for a foundation. However, every now and then I get an air bubble and a little of the foundation squirts out and lands on my shirt or my mirror, which can be a little annoying.

Claims: The website’s description claims, “Double Duty Foundation does double the work with coverage of a foundation with benefits of a foundation primer in one product. Medium to full coverage foundation combines silicone and soft focus complex that is used in foundation primers to smooth, mattify and provide lasting coverage. Formula is paraben free, oil free and fragrance free. Dermatologically tested.”

The amount I typically use all over the face

Texture & finish: I chose this foundation because of the mattifying claim, since I have oily skin and really wanted something that would control the oil throughout the day. It claims to also perform as a primer, and I can definitely tell is has a very smooth, silicone-feeling consistency that a lot of primers have. I don’t find that the lasting power is any stronger than that of a typical foundation, though. This foundation has a very thick (though not heavy) feel, and although it’s a cream it almost feels…dry, for lack of a better word. I don’t mind the dry-ness of it, but then again I have naturally oily, moisturized skin. Regardless of your skin type, I would recommend applying a moisturizer prior to this foundation. Upon first applying it, it has a very matte finish, though it also has a tendency to look a little bit dry or cakey if you aren’t careful. If you have dry skin, I wouldn’t suggest going anywhere near this foundation. I’ve also noticed it accentuating my pores, but some extra buffing with my brush can help to reduce the look of that.

Before & after: Below is a side-by-side comparison of my face with no foundation (left) and a layer of the Double Duty foundation (right). You can definitely see a difference between the two in just how matte my skin looks immediately after application. Coverage wise, I’d say this has a solid medium coverage with the amount that I apply (the amount shown on my hand in the picture above.) It does a good job evening out any redness, discoloration, and blemishes.


Application method: I’ve tried a few different methods of applying and blending out the foundation – my Real Techniques sponge, the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, my fingers, and most recently the Wet n Wild Flat Top Brush. My favorite out of all those has been the Wet n Wild brush. I LOVE my Real Techniques sponge, but I feel like this foundation is just too thick for the sponge to work well with it, and the product seems to collect on the sponge rather than blending into my skin.

Lasting power: As far as how well this foundation wears throughout

Settling into laugh lines after a few hours of wear.

the day, it’s decent but not what I would expect from a product that boasts its primer-like qualities. While it goes on looking matte (which is a look I personally enjoy) and I always set it with a mattifying powder, within about 4 hours of just staying indoors, I still get pretty oily in the T-zone. That’s nothing a little blotting and re-powdering can’t fix, but I also am not in love with the fact that it settles into the laugh lines around my mouth a few hours after application. The picture to the right shows how the product has creased after just 3-4 hours of being indoors with air conditioning. This is something that happens to me a lot especially with thicker foundations, but I was hoping this one would be different. Bummer!

Overall, I have very complicated feelings about this foundation. It’s a pretty good foundation for MY skin, but I can see it going very wrong for anyone who doesn’t have normal to oily skin.

Here’s a quick rundown:


  • Relatively affordable price
  • Decent shade range (although I can’t tell by the website how truly dark it goes)
  • Instantly matte finish
  • Medium coverage (but buildable)
  • Simple squeeze tube packaging
  • Cruelty-free
  • Oil free, fragrance free, paraben free


  • Can look cakey or dry (dry-skinned folks, beware!)
  • Tends to accentuate pores
  • Settles into fine lines throughout the day
  • Oil shows through within several hours
  • Air bubbles in the tube can cause splatters and create a mess at times

Have you ever tried this foundation or any other Ulta brand products? I’m still eager to try more products from this line!

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