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Throwback Smackdown: Discontinued Beauty Products & What to Use Instead

Throwback Smackdown: Discontinued Beauty Products & What to Use Instead

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

I’m sure you’re still settling into the new house, and would love to have an easy beauty question lobbed your way. Throwback to the old days.

I’ve been using Sue Devitt’s triple seaweed foundation ever since you recommended it several years ago. You know where this is going–it’s been discontinued. Now even the Amazon third party sellers who have stocked it for the last year or two are out of the shade I use.

Can you recommend something even better before I reach the bottom of my last jar?


Things really ARE settling down here at Yellow House Central — we’ve been here just over three weeks and we’ve made excellent unpacking progress, the kids are all enjoying their new schools, we even found some babysitters (shout-out to SitterCity!), and my husband isn’t spending multiple hours every night yelling at Verizon.

But it’s still proving to be difficult to sit down and focus on my laptop screen for hours at a time when I’m so aware of ALL THE THINGS left to do. Rooms need painted, final stray boxes need dealt with, storage room needs to be search for a few things that still haven’t turned up in any logical place…not to mention my regular to-list for maintaining some semblance of order in a household of five human and two pets. (You want clean pants, children? Really? But I just spent all day looking up “MINECRAFT BEDROOM IDEAS” and vacuuming up stray Cheerios on your behalf. Find something semi-clean from the hamper, I’m wiped.)

ANYWAY. At one point, during the past three weeks, I also went down an Internet wormhole in search of  the Sue Devitt foundation. Because no, I haven’t found anything better. I miss it SO MUCH. It really was an amazing product, and alas, like so many other amazing products (Philosophy Hope in a Bottle!), is no more. I’d pour one out for it, IF I COULD STILL FIND IT. (No, I would not pour one out. I would hoard it like Gollum.)

And I’m all for stockpiling discontinued products…to a point. I don’t generally follow the brand’s recommended expiration dates to the letter, but at this stage of the game the Sue Devitt line has been discontinued for SO LONG that it’s doubtful even the unopened stray inventory still floating around out there is any good. So even if you FOUND your shade on eBay or Amazon, the product is more and more likely to arrive separated or smelling “off.” (If you note product reviews from the third-party sellers, you’ll notice that the reviews have shifted over time from “OH THANK HEAVENS I FOUND IT!!” to “Yeah I knew it was a risk buying a discontinued product but it arrived gross and separated and basically unusable.”) I also noticed that a LOT of the Sue Devitt products out there — particularly on eBay — are clearly fakes/imposters, if you look closely at the packaging and logo.

So I exited my wormhole without purchasing anything. (Couldn’t find my shade, either. Tanami sisters unite?)

I’ve tried a couple other foundations that I do like quite a bit: NARS, Bobbi Brown and MAC all make really nice, full-coverage foundations that I can wear without breaking out or feeling like I’m wearing heavy clown makeup that’s slowing seeping into my face lines. Bonus points for having super helpful employees at various department store counters who will help you pick the correct shade and formula for your skin, and if you’re nice (and buy something or two) they will also do your makeup really fancy and send you home with a bunch of free samples. Whenever I’m left to my own devices at foundation-picking, I never seem to walk away with the right shade or the right coverage amount. So I’ll spend more money at a counter to get it right the first time, and ensure that I’m not cluttering up my makeup drawer with a bunch of cheaper but useless bottles.

But the key with those brands is “full coverage.” The Sue Devitt was a lovely middle ground between a true “full coverage” foundation and something along the lines of a tinted moisturizer. So on MOST days, I skip the full-coverage product (currently MAC) and use an oil-free tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier. I feel like the shades of the Laura Mercier line remind me of the Sue Devitt palette the most, and the tinted moisturizer has a similar texture to the triple seaweed.

HOWEVER, it does NOT mimic the coverage. I’m 37 years old, so there is no way I can use a tinted moisturizer as a stand-alone product. I actually layer it over a “regular” moisturizer (Enzymion from LUSH, for combo skin), and sometimes add in a primer in-between. I touch up imperfections and dark spots with the Laura Mercier Undercover Pot. Then I use the tinted moisturizer and follow up with blush or bronzer. LASTLY, I use Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser on my t-zone, just before applying my final translucent powder. The Baby Skin product is TECHNICALLY a primer, but I found that it works much, much better as a finishing product on my pores. It’s not going to heal or treat anything, but it provides excellent camo on visible pores for an EXCELLENT price. (Compare it to Dr. Brandt Pores no More or Benefit PoreFessional.)

Oh! And while the jury is still out for me personally, just because I’m still kind of obsessed about hearing about new/different products: I recently purchased Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream. IT’S MADE OF SNAIL MUCUS, PEOPLE. That should probably tell you exactly how much wine I’d had when I found it on Amazon Prime. To be fair, I’d been reading rave reviews about Korean snail gel products being some holy grail magic bullet of skincare all over the place, and while I’m typically wary of anything that promises to be Everything to Everybody, the price was right in that “eh, what the hell” sweet spot so I bought some. It’s been about two weeks and while my 37-year-old face hasn’t fallen off and regrown back as a 27-year-old face, I can attest that the fine lines around my eyes look  a bit better and my very deeply congested pores are definitely (slowly) starting to improve. (Note that the improvement started out with some mild break-outs as all the crud worked itself out, but it doesn’t seem like the gel cream is causing any additional problems. I think I just had to suffer through some early skin detox.) No, the gel isn’t slimy or smelly or snail-y. It really reminds me of any run-of-the-mill primer type product, although definitely less drying. It promised to also correct dark spots and hyperpigmentation but I’ve seen zero improvements there so far.

Hit it, ladies. What are you using? And loving? Or hating? Let’s have a #ThrowbackSmackdown because it’s almost fall and we all need to make Serious Life Decisions about lipstick and nail polish shades too.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Liz

    September 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I like the Clinique Even Better because it is somewhere between full coverage and tinted moisturizer. It doesn’t have any fragrance and is very nice on my sensitive skin. I’ve been using it for years and love it.

  • Katie

    September 16, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I am really liking Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation. It has great coverage, but doesn’t feel heavy.  I bought it at Sephora so they could find me the right color.  I have major acne issues and my skin has gotten better since I started using it (I was using Bare Minerals powder before). I still set it with translucent powder because I have shiny isues always & forever.

    • Susannah

      September 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Have you tried the Amazonian Clay Mascara? It is EVERYTHING.

      • Katie

        September 16, 2015 at 11:11 pm

        I haven’t!  I am using Josie Maran’s Black Oil Mascara right now.

  • Mar

    September 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Has anyone tried urban decays naked foundation? It sounds like it might hit the sweet spot between full coverage and tinted moisturizer. I use their bb cream and it’s a bit heavy for me. I’ve got freckles so anything above light coverage is super hard to skin match and always looks a little off, so I’m not the best person to make suggestion.

    • Jean

      September 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      MEMEMEMEMEME!!!! I have been using the Urban Decay Naked Foundation for about 2 years now and it is fabulous!!!!! Not cakey or heavy…use with a foundation brush and it is perfection. A little goes a long way and I feel like a bottle lasts me like 8 months. I highly recommend it 🙂

  • Carolyn Allen Russell

    September 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I actually really like the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation (I USED to love their oil-free foundation, but they reformulated things a number of years ago, and now that one doesn’t seem as good). But I use a damp sponge with the foundation and I find the coverage really flexible – you can use less product/more damp sponge and get very light coverage, but you can also build it up on areas where you need more coverage and it doesn’t look all cakey and gross. And it’s easy enough to go to the counter and ask them to help you find the right color 😉 I’ve been using their foundation and tinted moisturizer for 15 years now and can’t imagine switching to anything else (please please please don’t discontinue anything!) 🙂 

  • clare

    September 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Tanami sisters! Yes. I’m also digging the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. But I think I might still be working with an ancient bottle of Sue Devitt for full-coverage fancy-pants times. Whoops.

  • Ros

    September 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I have a slightly unusual issue, in that every single liquid foundation I’ve tried makes my face break out in under 3 hours.

    Chanel has a semi-matte powder that’s basically a crossover between powder and liquid foundation, evens things out but doesn’t look like a mask, and works for my skin. It is PERFECT.

    it is also 80$, but lasts almost 2 years, so… investment upfront but less money than most liquid foundations over that time period.

  • PB

    September 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I love Make Up For Ever’s HD Invisible Coverage liquid foundation.

  • lynn

    September 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    What kind of translucent powder is everyone using? I am thirty and ready to make the change to grown up products finally.. It looks like some that say they are translucent are colored and then some are whitish, please explain!

  • Susannah

    September 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I don’t wear foundation, I still just wear a pressed powder most days but I’ve recently added Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield and I’m OBSESSED with how it kind of softens my skin. However when I do want more coverage than my powder gives me, I’m all aboard the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer train.


  • Angela

    September 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Yikes, I wonder if I should up my facial care game. I would have no idea how to put 5 different products on my face. Am I supposed to be doing that? I have pimples and lines and such, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about covering an “imperfection.”

  • Niki

    September 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Angela, I am with you. I am enjoying reading these, but I feel mystified.

    My issue is that I have a real sensitivity to petroleum products and chemicals generally, and have spent the past few years getting rid of all beauty products which contain phthalates, etc. I am also really sensitive to perfumes. Are there any all-natural lines with minimal smell?

  • Suzy Q

    September 16, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Yay for Throwback Smackdown!

    I have tried both high-end and low-end foundations. Currently, I aM using CoverlGirl TruBlend because I like medium coverage. I also have skin tone issues for foundation because I’m a redhead and have pink tones to my skin that most foundation can’t match (or cover well). 

  • Rachel

    September 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I’d recommend Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless for something with medium coverage (I think it has more coverage than the name implies). I was skeptical about Buxom because I haven’t had good experiences with their sister company Bare Minerals, but it’s actually really great. I use this some days and NARS Sheer Glow on days when I want full coverage.

  • Suzy Q

    September 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Oh! And also! I absolutely love the Hourglass Ambient Powders. I use Etheral under foundation, over primer, and it gives a soft glow and also makes foundation last longer without melting (a problem where I live). A tiny bit of Dim Light powder is a finisher. No glitter, I promise! Am waaay too old for glitter.

  • Melinda

    September 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Foundation primer covered by cc cream covered by powder foundation.

    I’m currently using Mary Kay stuff but that’s because I maybe got suckered into a bunch of it :-/ people pleaser problems.

  • Wendy

    September 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Another vote for Urban Decay, Naked! it’s a perfect medium coverage and doesn’t have a made-up feel at all. A primer underneath gives it a bit more coverage and if I really need to go all out, I just brush a little bare minerals lightly over the top like a finishing powder. Last winter, I used an Hourglass foundation (Illusion I think?) that was very full coverage but I loved it. Made my skin look like porcelain. It was too heavy for spring and summer but nice in the colder months when my skin needs a lot of moisture and attention.

  • Sarah

    September 16, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I would 100% recomment Younique!!! I just ordered some this summer because I have a friend who’s a consultant and figured what the hell, I need new makeup anyways. It is amazing! I use their BB cream, which is like a tinted moisturizer, but with more coverage, and their pressed powder foundation works great. 

    My absolute favourite though is this: 

  • Kendra

    September 17, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Anyone have any recommendation for spot coverage? I am currently using Makeup Forever Full Cover for the dark spots or acne spots and it seems to fall off my oil slick skin within hours.

    • Rachel

      September 17, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      I have combination rather than oily skin, but I’d recommend either Dermablend or Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. These are both technically foundations, but very very thick ones that are more of a concealer consistency. Kevyn Aucoin is especially good for pale people.

      • Kendra

        September 18, 2015 at 7:25 am

        Thanks for the recommendation! I will have to give them a try. I am extremely pale so Kevyn Aucoin might work!

  • Amy

    September 17, 2015 at 8:17 am

    HIGHLY recommend the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation. It’s expensive, but oh so worth it. It provides great coverage but is so light and never cakey and feels like you aren’t wearing anything. Worth every cent. 

    I do also love the Chanel Aqua Lumiere in the summer when I can get away with a bit less coverage. More like a heavy tinted moisturizer than a real foundation. Not nearly as good as the Luminous Silk and I think other less expensive ones are just as good. 

  • Victoria

    September 17, 2015 at 8:36 am

    For anyone that can’t figure out to put on makeup – I missed that training somehow – the Bare Minerals stuff is great. Use the fine brush to cover up spots, your finger for undereyes, and the overall brush over everything, and it blends really easily. For ‘fancy’ nights, putting it on over my plain old Aveeno moisturizer with SPF keeps it in place.

    Now, if only someone could teach me how to put on eyeshadow…

  • Danielle

    September 17, 2015 at 9:29 am

    IT cosmetics CC cream. Best of all worlds! Full coverage, moisturizer, spf 50, pump applicator, covers my rosacea, doesn’t slide into my late 30’s face lines. Buy online or at Ulta. Ulta has an excellent return policy! Try it and if you hate it they will give you your money back! Around $38 but worth it!

    • missie

      September 20, 2015 at 1:00 am

      I am loving the IT powder foundation. It offers great coverage for this 44 year old face. For my skincare, I am using Derm Exclusive and LOVING it. The Fill and Freeze is my spirit animal.

  • Jilly bean

    October 1, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    My all time favorite mascara is Lancome Deficinils.  Nothing compares!!