Foundation Review: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover

maybelline dream urban cover

It fills me with absolute beauty joy when I find an affordable face base that behaves like a much pricier one, so I’m going to plough straight on in with my review of the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover foundation. I was going to do a comparison post and review it alongside the CC Cream from IT Cosmetics, but I’m afraid that could take some time (I like to walk about for a few weeks with half of my face covered in one product, and the other half covered in the other) and we don’t want summer suddenly slipping away from us before we’ve properly discussed the seasonal makeup gems!

And it is a true makeup gem, this foundation. It has the opaqueness you’d perhaps expect from a product with SPF 50, yet it feels very fresh and light to apply and never looks claggy. It’s perfecting, with its full coverage, but it’s not mask-like. The finish also has a definite sheen, which was a pleasant surprise – for some reason I thought that it would be a flat, matte sort of affair. The kind of base that doesn’t sweat off, stops shine in its tracks and requires a brillo pad and Windolene to remove at the end of the day.

Not so, fortunately. I mean the longevity is great, and you do very much need to make sure that you clean your face twice before you go to bed (once over with the micellar water does not remove SPF) but it absolutely isn’t the thick, set-fast foundation that makes you look as though you’ve rolled out a very thin layer of flesh-coloured Play Doh and stuck it to your face. It’s fresh and it’s lightweight yet it manages a full coverage and a long-lasting finish. All with a hint of sheeny glow and a definite lack of cakiness.

Buy Dream Urban Cover online*

Now you could say these things about quite a few foundations – Lancome’s Teint Idole comes to immediate mind – so what’s different about Maybelline Dream Urban Cover? Two thing: the price – it’s £10.99, which is decidedly okay on the wallet – and, more importantly, the SPF. You don’t see many foundations with a broad spectrum SPF 50 added. The only two I can think of are the Clarins Everlasting Cushion and the IT Cosmetics CC cream, most others have SPF 15-25-ish, more of a token sunscreen than anything you would rely on for adequate protection.

Foundation Review: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover

But here’s where things get slightly tricky, because for something to have its stated SPF you need to apply it in the recommended amounts and the amount you need for your face is loads. Half a teaspoon, which doesn’t sound like enough to drown an ant in but is, in fact, quite a dollop. Especially if it contains foundation pigment! If you were applying normal foundation and not worrying about having to use enough of it, you’d probably just dispense a little 5p size at a time and work from the back of your hand, and you’d find after a few dollops that your face would be done.

Try putting half a teaspoon of foundation on your face. It’s a lot of product. Amazingly, I can just about do it with the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover* and it doesn’t look ridiculous, but still; I think that the general sensible rule with makeup SPF is that you’re never quite getting what’s on the bottle or tube, especially with UVA protection. Especially if you’re not applying a creamy/liquid formula. For example, when it comes to the aforementioned Clarins Everlasting Cushion I can’t imagine that you’re getting a huge amount of the stated SPF. Not with the dip-dip-dab-dab-dab method of application. It’s a beautiful base, but you’d be hard pressed (excuse the pun) to put enough on to get to half a teaspoon – you’d get repetitive strain injury!

Foundation Review: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover

Anyway, it’s a bloody great whack of sunscreen in both the Maybelline and the IT Cosmetics CC, if you apply enough of it. I have to say that applying at that volume doesn’t give so much of a comfortable finish – the more you load on, the more you feel as though – well – as though you’ve absolutely loaded it on. In fairness, I tested with normal (dedicated, single-purpose) sunscreen too and applying the same amount felt less nice than applying the amount you’d naturally, instinctively apply, so it’s by no means a criticism.

Buy Maybelline Dream Urban Cover foundation online*

I’ve gone off-piste because I was only going to mention the SPF in passing – it’s such a minefield of a subject – but I think that it’s important to point out that products need to be applied (and reapplied) in the recommended quantities to even have a hope of reaching the stated level of protection. For me, Dream Urban Cover applied more sparingly (I think I used around a third of a teaspoon when I did my normal routine) is how it performs best, in terms of makeup feel and finish. And I’d imagine that in those amounts you’re getting the sort of sun protection that would be fine for incidental, moderate exposure – working inside all day but perhaps popping out for lunch or walking to the tube in the morning and evening.

Shall we examine some before and after pictures?

Foundation Review: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover

Foundation Review: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover

A nice, even-toned result (I use shade 116) that warms up my skin slightly and knocks back redness and dark circles. I have to say that the full coverage is not on the extreme end of the fullness scale – for example, you’d need to go in with a concealer to really get completely rid of spots or dark circles – but it’s definitely more than a medium.

Foundation Review: Maybelline Dream Urban Cover

You can see the slight sheen to the finish and the overall velvety softness – not matte, not dewy, just a nice point right in the middle that keeps skin looking flawless all day. So who’s Dream Urban Cover for? People with normal to dry skin (probably not the best choice for oilier skins) who like a very decent coverage, a fresh texture and a slight glow. It’s not as good as L’Oreal’s Pro Glow for actual radiance and a perfect foundation texture (Pro Glow is still my most-used foundation, possibly of all time) but I can imagine that a major draw for many people will be the SPF 50. There are many other foundations at this price point that give flawless-yet-understated results (I’ll throw Max Factor’s Radiant Lift into the mix here!) but none of them have such a high SPF added.

Food for thought. Quick show of hands; how many people choose a face base according to the level of sun protection? Does it make you more likely to buy a foundation if it does have added sunscreen, or do you always wear a dedicated sun protection product anyway?

You can find Maybelline Dream Urban Cover at Boots here* – it’s £10.99 and comes in twenty shades. If you want to see it being applied in real life, the IGTV video is on my channel @modelrecommends on Instagram.

DISCLOSURE POLICY. Posts published after 24th January 2019: if the post contains gifted items or affiliate links then it is indicated clearly beneath the title. Posts published prior to this will have a disclosure within the body of the post and then an asterisk * marking all affiliate links. If the content is a paid-for AD then it is marked as an AD in the title. For more information on disclosure please read here. 



  1. March 3, 2020 / 3:03 am

    Hi, I’m looking for something to take on holiday where we have to restrict baggage weight. I have an SPF product for body use but was wondering if this Maybelline dream urban cover could be used directly on the face without a moisturizer. Skincare products take up so much room in a small suitcase that there’s no room left for any clothes. As for shoes… forget about it! So am trying to save space. Thanks for any advice.
    Love your sense of humor by the way.

  2. August 6, 2019 / 2:49 am

    I love maybelline is really affordable! Feel free to join to my blog to !

    • Kpic
      August 19, 2019 / 11:48 pm

      Why does it smell like perfume? I can’t handle the smell.

  3. Margaret
    August 5, 2019 / 11:42 am

    This is a FABULOUS product. I’ve been a slave to Teinte Idole for 8 years and this is SO much lighter but still gives great cover. A showstopper. Thank you for the rec!

  4. August 3, 2019 / 12:35 pm

    A lot of people brush off Maybelline, but I find some of their products just as good (if not better than some!) high end ones. Interesting for them to incorporate an anti-pollution factor in their foundation, as I’ve only ever seen those in masks and toners.

  5. Judy
    July 7, 2019 / 10:32 pm

    Hey Ruth,
    Concerning SPF, I’m quite torn. I do think it’s important, so as to prevent sunburn/skin cancer or what most people seem to be more concerned with: signs of ageing. What nobody seems to be talking about though is the fact that most people lack the very essential Vitamin D. This vitamin is only produced when you are exposed to the sun without wearing any SPF.
    So, I like to choose daily skin care and foundations without any SPF. I apply SPF separately and only when I’m at the beach or outside for longer (more than 15-30 minutes) periods of time.

  6. Lulu
    July 7, 2019 / 6:24 am

    How do you know which colour to buy?
    I always seem to get the wrong colour foundation unless I’m colour matched and there is no one in boots to do this

    • July 7, 2019 / 1:31 pm

      You have to test on your jawline and go outside to look at it in natural daylight. I’d find the two shades you think are the best match and do one on each side!

  7. Sevda
    July 6, 2019 / 9:39 pm

    Thanks for the review. I have my eye on it but my local boots stand was really messed up and couldn’t seem to find my shade. So I said i’d try another time when the stand is tidied up and ready stocked.

    I finally got my hands on IT cosmetic your skin but better was so underwhelmed by it. I seem to be the only person in the universe who didn’t love it. I’d be very interested to hear what you thought.

    • July 7, 2019 / 1:32 pm

      Yes I’ll come back to that one when I’ve given it a good old test! x

  8. Jan K
    July 6, 2019 / 6:18 pm

    As far as I’m concerned companies can leave the SPF out. I always apply SPF to all of my exposed skin (face, ears, neck, upper chest, arms, legs, feet and hair part), prior to makeup. I do this every day. I am a bit OCD when it comes to sunscreen. This new Maybelline product is really pretty. I bought some yesterday and can’t wait to try it. Thank you for your wonderful posts.

  9. Claire
    July 6, 2019 / 12:49 pm

    Hi Ruth, I just bought this because of the high SPF – It’s very important to me and I had to search through a lot of products to find one over SPF25. Bourjois also does an SPF 50 foundation. I mix it with straight SPF to create a tinted sunscreen as I don’t like wearing full coverage foundation, which seems to be working well!

  10. Elena Yeates
    July 6, 2019 / 10:27 am

    Great review, Ruth!! I look at SPF when buying foundation even though I wear SPF50 as my daily cream (thanks Nadine and Caroline :) I bought this base when it came out, it was too full coverage for me, I passed it to a friend who loves it. I much prefer Chanel Aqua coverage and it has SPF15.

  11. July 5, 2019 / 9:40 pm

    Hi Ruth, thanks. No, I don’t check for spf in my makeup. for me it is final stage of routine BEFORE makeup. i always use “australian gold tinted mineral spf 50”. Try it, review it, I think you’ll love it! It is fantastic on it’s own– doesn’t add colour to your face but is blurring and perfecting, skin looks perfect. Sometimes I forego makeup altogether. When I do decide to put makeup over it, foundation works beautifully, as the spf acts almost like a primer. Anyways, try it and let me/us (we web people :-) ) know your thoughts. Thanks for the review, I was curious about this one. xxx from italy

  12. July 5, 2019 / 5:12 pm

    i can’t wait to try this one – love an affordable foundation the meets all my criteria! I’m currently loving the IT cosmetics CC cream so I can’t wait to compare the two.

    Angela |

  13. Helen
    July 5, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    Hi Ruth, please can you recommend an spf that is good under makeup? I am using anthelios shaka fluid at the moment, but it still looks shiny even though I have slightly dry skin.Also, do you know of any makeup that would be good to wear on holiday around the pool or at the beach? I hate going Completely bare faced.
    Thanks Ruth

    • Mobeen
      July 8, 2019 / 1:26 pm

      Paulas Choice have a brilliant moisturiser with spf50. One for drier skin and another for oily types

    • LMG
      July 14, 2019 / 2:54 pm

      Clarins UV Plus SPF 50 is really good – milky and runny, no smell or white cast and you can pile it on to get enough coverage

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