Product Review: Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation

Beauty, Cosmetics, Reviews, Skin Care
Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation

Once upon a time, in a Sephora far, far away (bear with me, that might not be accurate), there was moisturizer. Then, there was tinted moisturizer. And then, BB and CC cream were born.

It seems it was only a matter of time before someone came up with tinted serum. And, lo and behold, Perricone MD has done so with the new Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation ($59.50, Brimming with PEGs, this foundation is designed to be lightweight but provide medium coverage. For the full review, read on…

“Neuropeptides” = Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5

Palmitoyl oligopeptide is a fantastic ingredient. What is great about palmitoyl oligopeptide is that it significantly stimulates collagen production in human fibroblasts, as shown in a 2007 study in Dermatologic Therapy When used twice daily for a significant period of time – about six months – this means firmer skin, provided that other factors remain the same (i.e., weight, sun exposure, etc.).

Another ingredient Perricone No Foundation Foundation has to its benefit is palmitoyl tripeptide-5. This peptide sends a synthetic signal that indirectly promotes collagen formation. Specifically, Perricone No Foundation Foundation mimics like the throbospondin I tripeptide sequences and activates TGF- β, resulting in increased collagen production (Journal of Cosmetic Science). This is not just in theory, folks: In a study where participants were given a cream with 2.5% palmitoyl tripeptide-5, the cream benefitted users, even besting the cream it was compared to with a formulation of 10% palmitoyl pentapeptide-3.

Unfortunately, compared to other products out there with palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tripeptide-5, they are listed last on the ingredients list in Perricone MD products. Which, as savvy FutureDerm readers know, mean it is probably far less than 2.5% in concentration. Therefore, if you wish to try palmitoyl oligopeptide, I recommend Complexion MD Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Cream and theDERMADoctor Wrinkle Revenge Duo. This product? You might get a tiny twinge of benefit, but not much.

Alpha Lipoic Acid — No Proven Benefits

As far as skin care ingredients go, ALA is no AHA.

Alpha lipoic acid, or ALA for short, has been shown to improve skin roughness at 5% concentration when used versus a placebo (British Journal of Dermatology, 2003). Other than that, the benefits for ALA have been limited. Unlike retinoids or AHAs, there is no documentation in peer-reviewed independent studies that show the ingredient is effective against fine lines, wrinkles, skin sagging, or age spots.


In fact, in a direct comparison study of ALA and vitamins C and E, ALA performed so badly that the researchers titled their paper “Alpha Lipoic Acid is Ineffective as a Topical Antioxidant for the Photoprotection of the Skin.” Whoa.

Nonetheless, it’s not the end of the world if you use ALA, especially if you have rough skin. Just don’t go expecting any miracles.

Not Racially Diverse — Yet

Perhaps my biggest gripe with Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation is that it comes in just one color. Yes, the company says that you can “make it right for you” by adding bronzer, but I can tell you, there are shades of olive, brown, and yellow that an orange-tinted bronzer cannot match, no matter how precisely you try to layer it. Furthermore, I can also tell you that this foundation will not work for very pale women, either. Instead, this is only right if you’re right in the middle — say, medium-tone Mediterranean or East Asian, light Indian/Middle Eastern, or from Northern European descent with a bit of a tan.

SPF 30 — Sort-Of

With perfect application, an SPF 20 formula layered with an SPF 50 formula = SPF 50.

Futurederm Layered 20 and 50 SPF Diagram 2

With perfect application, sunscreens do not have an additive effect. Instead, think of sunscreens more as having a limiting effect — they limit the number of rays that get through, but you can’t increase above the limit of the highest number.

For instance, if you apply a very thick application of an SPF 50 formula, it will allow 1/50 UVB rays through, or about 2% (source).

If you apply a very thick application of an SPF 20 formula, it will allow 1/20 UVB rays through, or about 5%.

If you apply both formulations perfectly at the same time, the SPF 20 formula allows 5% of rays through. The SPF 50 formula will block some of those, but 2% of the overall rays will still get through. This is regardless of which formulation you apply first.

But this is for a sunscreen. Liquid and powder foundation formulas tend to provide less UV protection, because people simply don’t apply enough:

Average Application of Sunscreen by Catagory- FutureDerm Chart Table

Formulations undergo rigorous testing to achieve SPF that involves very thick application of product — 2 mg/cm2 of skin, or about half a 8 oz. bottle to cover the average body. It covers a grid until it appears almost white, and light is reflected onto the grid to measure absorbance capacity to determine the overall effectiveness of the product. This is how the SPF rating is achieved for all sunscreens.

Unfortunately, the average person only applies 1/3 to 1/2 of the amount of sunscreen needed to achieve the SPF rating on the bottle. So your SPF 30 sunscreen is more like an SPF 10-15 with the average application.

It’s even worse with powder formulations. The average consumer only applies 1/14 of the amount of sunscreen needed to achieve the SPF rating on the bottle, so your SPF 15 powder formula is more like an SPF 1 formula. So I wouldn’t make this product my sole source of sun protection.

Bottom Line

If you have medium skin and a solid skin care regimen otherwise, Perricone No Foundation Foundation is a solid enough product. On the other hand, if your skin is lighter or darker than medium, and you are looking for an anti-aging product, you’d be best to avoid this one. Product Rating: 6.5/10 (High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients: 1.5/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value: 1/3. Sunscreen: 1/1.)


Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Water, Titanium Dioxide CI 77891), PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Trimethicone, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Silica, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Ethyl Ferulate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Lactate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phoenix Dactylifera (Date) Fruit Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Thioctic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Hexylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Dimethyl MEA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5.

Check our bestsellers!

  • I’ve yet to hear any bad reviews about this product, sounds great!

  • Marina

    My bottle says it contains 12.2% ZO and 3.2% TO

  • pia

    Hello, it is unfortunately not rely a solid ss, as Titanium Dioxide doesn’t cover the whole ova-rays spectrum. therefore, it is difficult to feel protected from the sun if we thing of the aspect of anti ageing.

  • Very thorough review as always! Thanks for the honest thoughts. I’m still curious to try this line, as a makeup and skin care lover! 🙂

  • Nicki Zevola

    Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Marina

    I think you reviewed the no foundation serum which come in one colour. The no foundation foundation is available in fair to light and light to medium. I agree that darker skin tones won’t find a match, but the fair one works for light skins. Also the bronzer is meant to be mixed with the foundation. Thankfully it also has the same SPF so you’re not diluting it.

Recent Posts