Today's foundations are so much better than what was available even five years ago. The days of masklike foundation are pretty much over, and now you can actually score shades that look like skin rather than makeup. Napoleon Perdis Light-Diffusing Makeup ($42) is one of my recent finds; it contains particles that reflect light, which helps mask imperfections. It makes my skin look eerily perfect, but it looks so natural that an esthetician recently assumed I wasn't wearing makeup. All in all, it's great for those days when you want to look a little more polished than usual.

And yet, after digging around a bit, I'm terribly disappointed at the same time. To find out why you'd be overpaying for this product,


I genuinely do like this foundation, but as it turns out, Napoleon Perdis doesn't formulate its own makeup. This is common in the cosmetics industry; many of the same brands are created and packaged at the same factories. In the case of Napoleon Perdis, it looks like the entire line is from Your Name, a business that creates makeup and allows buyers to slap their own name on the package. After browsing Your Name's online catalog, it's pretty clear that everything from the shade names to the packaging just has the brand name slapped on it. I did a little sleuthing, and found the same foundation at many small, independent online shops — for about half the price. For instance, at DermUs, the same foundation is $20 instead of $42.

This isn't shocking, but it is disappointing. While the product is good, unsuspecting women will be paying so much more for it than they need to. And unless it's on sale, Napoleon Perdis is quite pricey. So while I wholeheartedly recommend this foundation, I can't recommend paying twice as much simply for the brand name.