An ode to Double Wear Light

Confession time. For years and years I’ve quietly classified women’s makeup application according to Estee Lauder foundations. They’ll walk by and I’ll think (sometimes out loud) “Maximum Cover!”; “Double Wear!” or just some other snide thing like “Too much powder!” or “Getting your shade matched is free, Bananarama”.

Judgemental, aren’t I? But there’s method in the madness.

You see, many moons ago I had a job with a cosmetic house that required a couple of days of counter work in a cosmetic department every week. I hated it, because smiling and waving for 8 hours at a time kind of sucked, and the brand I was with belonged in salons, not department stores – so there were tumbleweeds rolling past my shelf most of the time.

But a little way down was the always-buzzing Estee Lauder counter, and I loved listening to the oh-so-serious but very knowledgable consultant as she advised customers on skincare and makeup. We all also filled in for each other during breaks which is how my Lauder foundation theories began – to amuse myself, I would guess which type of foundation the customer was going to ask for when they went to stand in front of the display.

There are your standard Double Wear girls, who are after looooong wear and good cover. Most of the time there wasn’t much to cover, but there’s not much you can do to convince someone with a pasted face that they don’t need it. They’ll point to an imaginary blemish and tell you how they can’t live without the stuff. I know this because I was one of these girls in my early 20s – I was all about the pasty porcelain face (note: no blush or bronzer, people had to NOTICE my porcelain-ness) and nobody could convince me otherwise for years. To this day, if you ask me for a foundation that covers just about everything, sticks around all day but doesn’t make you look too OTT ‘made up’, this is probably the one I’d recommend.

Then there’s the Double Wear Maximum Cover cult. After that first time I made an alternative suggestion to a member of the cult; I learnt the error of my ways and never, ever dared to do so again. Maximum Cover is a brilliant product – if you need to cover up severe acne- or surgery scars, birth marks or varicose veins. Regular pigmentation, ruddy cheeks or a minor scar? Some concealer and regular/light Double Wear will do. I won’t lie, I find recreational Maximum Cover users a leetle bit frightening.

Lisa Lampanelli (who, by the way, lost in the region of 45kg in the past year according to the tabloids) is definitely a Maximum Cover kinda girl, I can tell at first glance.
Lisa Lampanelli (who, by the way, lost in the region of 45kg in the past year according to the tabloids) is definitely a Maximum Cover kinda girl, I can tell at first glance. Image liberated from here.

During the time that I did my (part time) stint in cosmetic retail, Double Wear Light was a newly launched product. I couldn’t be swayed to even try it at the time because I was happy to be a DW girl, but I remember it being so popular that shades were constantly sold out. And now, finally, I’ve tried it – it was recommended to me by Estee Lauder’s national makeup artist, Chris Williams, on a gorgeous press day arranged by the brand in November last year.

Double Wear Light feels as smooth as a serum on application, and it has a medium coverage level that mattifies without robbing skin of its radiance. On my dehydration-prone skin it doesn’t have the drying effect I associate with long wearing foundations, and if you want/need to you can build to a higher coverage level.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light


I’m very much in love with Double Wear Light, and I’m incredibly impressed with Intensity 1.0 – it’s a pale beige shade that will suit plenty of light skin tones – this looks like a good indication of the versatility of the six shades in the range.

I stopped wearing super-duper-lasts-for-3-days foundation many years ago. The irony isn’t lost on me, I wore them when my skin was so flawless I hardly needed a tinted moisturiser. I’ve come to like and love my actual skin, even though my cheeks go red and I have some blemish marks and a couple of spots of pigmentation.

Understand that I’m not faulting any cosmetic company for my dislike of heavy foundation, they’re giving us plenty of options – we’re doing the choosing. It’s about enhancing, not completely masking. I’d just love to say “Double Wear Light” or “BB Cream” more times than “Maximum Cover” and “Double Wear” when I play my warpaint games. Fortunately dewy and natural seems to be the trend now, so a whole generation of girls are growing up this way and a whole other generation have laid down their heavy weaponry *coughs*.

You can get Double Wear Light foundation at Estee Lauder counters or online, R415 for 30ml. And if you really need the others, they’re there too.

C x




  1. Anye
    Jan 23, 2014 / 1:13 PM

    Great post! I am convinced that Double Wear Light is the best foundation, well for me. I have a very oily skin and this is the only foundation that conceals my pores, lasts the entire day and is still “light” on my skin.

  2. Jan 25, 2014 / 10:35 AM

    One of my all time favourite foundations.

  3. Michelle
    Mar 4, 2016 / 11:11 AM

    When you get older should you not rather use the Double Wear and not the light – ??
    No blemishes to cover but the wrinkles OMW 🙁

    • Chantelle Bester
      Mar 4, 2016 / 11:14 AM

      I don’t think so at all – foundation doesn’t really cover wrinkles, in fact it has a habit of settling in them and making them look way worse than they are. Your best bet is to use a dewy, light-reflecting foundation to make them appear softer 😉

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