Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Sticks ($78 each for .5 oz/15g) are a twist up cream foundation that comes in twelve different shades. I've been using this for over a year in Natural 05 and more recently Bisque 04. For me, this is an exceptional product. I tested this on three different occasions at the Tom Ford counters before deciding to purchase. Each time I had the Traceless Foundation Stick on one half of my face with the Traceless Foundation (liquid) on the other. I worked with a few different artists. I asked if they could pick only one which one would they recommend and all of them recommended the stick.
The Traceless Foundation Sticks are a medium to full coverage foundation. It is a creamy kind of stick but blends out to a flawless streakless coverage. The Tom Ford Cream Foundation Blush is amazing with this in that it buffs out the foundation to a perfect finish without any visible streaks. For me anytime I use a foundation brush I end up having to blend a little with a sponge to erase any streaks or lines. The brush + foundation is really phenomenal and worth every penny. It's on the more emollient side but a little goes a long way and it blends out to a perfect finish for my normal/combination skin. I even like to use it under the eyes as an alternate to concealer. It is a bit too emollient to use as a regular concealer but the coverage can be layered to have a similar effect.
Natural 05 is a lighter color than Bisque 04. Both are neutrals with Natural being a bit more olive/yellow. Natural used to be a perfect match but I got a bit of a tan so the artists matched me to the next darkest shade which is Bisque 04. I'm usually the 3rd or 4th color in foundation lines: Chanel B30/NARS Groenland. It's been over a decade since I've used a MAC foundation (they don't work well with my skin), but I've typically been in between NC30 and NC35. (See all shades swatched at The Beauty Professor.)
I use the foundation stick two ways. One is all over the face mixing both Natural 05 and Bisque 04 together. Sometimes I use the darker color Bisque in the center of my face and blend outwards and use Natural around the edges and blend inwards. Other times I just mix the two and blend. On good skin days I use a tinted moisturizer and then the foundation stick for extra coverage in certain spots.
Here are swatch comparisons to other foundations I have in rotation. Note that a couple of the shades are too light for me now but I still had some left over since I went to the next shade up. Left to right: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B20 and B30, Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick in Bisque and Natural, Chanel Perfection Lumiere 30 Beige, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Compact 30 Beige, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland.
Indoor lighting without flash:
Outdoors at dusk, with flash:
Overall I find the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Sticks to be a workhorse staple in my weekly beauty routine. If I were to compare this to other foundations I've tried, most foundation sticks I've tested during makeovers and at the counter left me feeling extremely greasy and oily after a few hours. The Tom Ford lasts longer without getting greasy. I would say it's similar to the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Compact but works better for my skin with a flawless finish, more controllable coverage. For me I cannot wear the Chanel compact foundation for more than two days in a row because it breaks out my skin.
This is extremely pricey but a little bit goes a very long way. I've been using the Natural 05 for over a year and have not used it up with regular use. Comparing the two Tom Ford foundations, I found the stick to have more coverage and be less dewy once blended. I still really liked the liquid and may eventually purchase once I've used up my other liquid foundations (probably not for a while).
If you've tried Tom Ford foundations - what did you think? If you can share what shades you use to help other readers who can't get to a counter pick out their match I'm sure everyone would be incredibly grateful for your input and advice.
You can find the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick for $78 each at Tom Ford Beauty counters. Online at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales.