Foundation is the one beauty item women are most likely to get wrong - and they often buy dozens before finding the right shade. We all know there's no such thing as one foundation to suit all skin types, so ELSA McALONAN and her team of testers tried out the biggest brands, to help you find the perfect base.
Base instincts: Foundation is the one beauty item women are most likely to get wrong
L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets High Definition Smoothing Foundation
CLAIM: This has a precision brush to blend the foundation into the skin, for perfectly even coverage. It gives a soft-focus effect that leaves skin beautifully smooth, provides luminosity and makes skin look radiant and glowing.
TRUTH: A pleasure to use; the brush applicator is built into the wand, making it easy to blend into skin, allowing you to almost paint away flaws.
This formula gave the complexion a smoother look and with little effort ( some require endless blending). Our tester has dry skin, but this foundation gave a moisturised finish so didn't highlight lines and wrinkles.
Une Skin-Matt Foundation
CLAIM: Evens out the complexion with subtle matte results. Its light, melting texture is applied as easily as a cream and blends into the skin for a flawless finish. It is certified organic and its moisturising skincare formula, enriched with sweet almond oil, maintains skin suppleness.
TRUTH: This new formula from Une produces a matte finish, which provides more coverage than the original, lighter, radiance-boosting formula. Our tester found it gave good coverage of blemishes and marks. She also liked the smooth finish.
Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF15
CLAIM: A luxurious, oil-free makeup that helps mend the look of lines instantly. It gives a natural line-smoothing finish where skin looks flawless and vibrant.
TRUTH: This reminded our tester of Sudocrem, (the nappy cream) due to the thick texture and powdery aroma. It swept over skin easily and blended instantly but was a little too cloying for her complexion. The texture made the few lines she has more visible, despite being anti-ageing.
From left: GOSH Natural Touch Foundation, Bourjois Foundation Bio Detox Organic, MAC Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
No7 Lift & Luminate Foundation
CLAIM: 'A facial in a foundation', it gives firmer, even skin with a youthful glow, while visibly lifting and illuminating. Contains three key components - moisturisers, firming and brightening complexes. Leaves skin with a youthful look, minimising imperfections.
TRUTH: We liked the consistency, which wasn't too heavy and didn't sit in facial lines. It manages to cover flaws without looking unnatural and even disguised some red patches.
It may be because it has added moisturisers, but it feels as though skin is bare and not coated in foundation. It also brightens, which wakes up tired-looking skin, and it is this that gives the illusion of a lifted face.
Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Skin Tint SPF20
CLAIM: This contains the secret of new, intense hydration that helps to actively preserve youthfulness by diffusing moisture. Contains three pure plant extracts derived from Dior's gardens - Jisten, Centella, and Black Rose. The tint offers light-diffusing pigments that create a natural and visibly enhanced 'healthy glow' effect.
TRUTH: Having used Dior foundations in the past this one didn't disappoint, even though it is really a tinted moisturiser. Anyone who prefers ultralight cover for an age-defying boost will like this skin tint. My face looked fresh and glowing, and therefore more youthful.
Rimmel Renew & Lift Foundation
CLAIM: A powerful combination of peptides and ceramides with natural minerals help protect the skin and make it look up to eight years younger in just 12 days. It gives even, flawless coverage.
TRUTH: It took time to rub into the skin as it is surprisingly thick and our tester wasn't keen on the texture as it leaves the skin feeling sticky. It did leave the complexion with a good overall tone and hid blemishes efficiently.
However, there are no clear signs it makes skin appear eight years younger in 12 days.
From left: MyFace MyMix Foundation (Medium), Clinique New Redness Solutions Make-Up SPF15 with Probiotic Technology, Une Skin-Matt Foundation
Max Factor Age Renew
CLAIM: Gives full coverage that diminishes the appearance of fine lines for an instantly younger look. Contains a patented technology that can take five years off the appearance of the face by creating a warm light effect around the skin, restoring its inner warmth and deep translucency.
TRUTH: Max Factor know a thing or two about foundations - most make-up artists keep a selection in their kit bags. This formula had a nice feel; it wasn't too heavy and made our tester's face look fresh and even. Once applied, it lasted all day, so there was no need to keep re-applying.
But did it take five years off her face? She felt it almost did thanks to the 'warm light effect' and intends to carry on using it.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
CLAIM: Use for a flawless, luminous complexion that lasts for up to 16 hours. With fruit extracts for a radiant skin it forms part of the 'anti-dull complexion' range.
TRUTH: Dull skin can be ageing, so achieving a healthy-looking complexion is key. Our tester found this skin- illuminating formula easy to apply, providing excellent, long-lasting coverage. She played tennis twice with it on and it didn't rub off at all. She says 'it felt light as air' on her skin.
More like concealer: The Balm Time Balm Foundation
The Balm Time Balm Foundation
CLAIM: A Vitamin-packed, rejuvenating formula that is perfect for all skin types and for all hours of the day (and night). It will craft a flawless face by smoothing out imperfections, leaving a perfect canvas for further beautification. Moisturises, evens tone and boosts the skin's metabolism, for a dewy finish.
TRUTH: Some experts say we should apply foundation more like a concealer, putting it only on areas that need coverage, such as under eyes and on uneven patches. You can do this with this compact-style foundation, either with fingers or the sponge provided, but it is a little dry.
Our tester dabbed under eyes, over pigmentation spot s and creases before blending. The result was, smooth skin that will benefit from anti-ageing vitamins over time, but the formula needs more moisture to ease blending.
MAC Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation
£22 (0870 034 2676 and maccosmetics.co.uk)
CLAIM: Available in 15 shades, this provides creamy, buildable coverage and a flawless, natural finish. The formula will give you more than 15 hours of high performance. It is light enough to make you look like you're not wearing a heavy base, but still gives excellent coverage.
TRUTH: This is deceptive - the formula seems thin and runny in the bottle, yet glides on smoothly and provides better coverage than you'd imagine. It dries to a smooth, polished finish (the formula contains medical - grade patch polymers) and, true to its word, it did last all day and well into evening. Our tester used a brush to apply for a more even coverage.
Bourjois Foundation Bio Detox Organic
£11.99 (Boots and Superdrug)
CLAIM: This has a formula, which is 98.8 per cent natural and certified by Ecocert as an organic cosmetic, for a flawless finish. It gives a fresh, velvety look - with the perfect dose of ultra-finely crushed powders and rice powders. Its texture mattifies the skin without creating a mask-like effect. Light- diffusing mineral pigments conceal imperfections.
TRUTH: Perfect for anyone with blemishes, or for anyone who wants to cover up small areas of pigmentation. It is available in seven shades and gives excellent coverage, but is slightly drying and would be more suited to someone with an oily skin.
From left: Rimmel Renew & Lift Foundation, Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Skin Tint SPF20, Max Factor Age Renew, L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets High Definition Smoothing Foundation
GOSH Natural Touch Foundation
CLAIM: An amazingly light foundation to even and protect the skin. This formula includes mineral pigments and nourishing ingredients such as organic sweet almond oil, hyaluronic acid and vitamins A and E. It also has an SPF 8.
TRUTH: There are ten natural shades to choose from to suit all skin types. It has a lightweight texture and is almost invisible once on, but still gives a natural and flawless finish. It covered small blemishes, but was still moisturising and protecting, and felt like velvet on our tester's skin.
Clinique New Redness Solutions Make-Up SPF15 with Probiotic Technology
CLAIM: This unique foundation is formulated to instantly relieve inflammation and irritation. It is ideal for anyone who suffers from mild to moderate redness and contains neutralising pearls that have a yellow-green undertone to instantly camouflage redness. It leaves skin looking calmer and less blotchy.
TRUTH: As you'd expect from the name, this gives great coverage and works very well on any red or inflamed skin, triggered by any number of things.
Our tester, who is experiencing hormonal changes, found it instantly calmed her flushed skin, especially on her cheeks and neck, which had been causing her great embarrassment. It won't suit everyone, but if you suffer from red or blotchy skin, this is for you.
Fresh, dewy glow: Origins Youthtopia Skin-Firming Foundation with Rhodiola glides on easily
Origins Youthtopia Skin-Firming Foundation with Rhodiola
CLAIM: Origins' proven, patented Rhodiol a Rosea anti-ageing technology, plus natural collagen-boosting soy peptides do the heavy lifting, while flawless coverage and stay-true colour create a super- smooth, radiant finish. It won't settle into creases or magnify flaws. Worn over time, skin actually becomes measurably more youthful.
TRUTH: Glides on easily and blends naturally into skin without making it look made up. When our tester glanced in the mirror throughout the day she claims her face definitely appeared younger, with a fresh, dewy glow. It didn't show up lines or lose its radiant power, even by the end of the day.
Avaha Dead Sea Algae Light Foundation
£18.75 (0145 286 4574)
CLAIM: Provides a light, natural-looking, long-lasting matte finish. Avaha's special combination of Dead Sea algae, minerals, and nourishing plant oils provides nourishing and moisturising properties to the skin, alongside amazing anti-ageing benefits.
TRUTH: This is light and oil free and our tester thought it might be too drying for her combination skin. She was concerned about large pores, but this covered them up effectively and she also found it moisturising, due to the combination of nourishing plant oils and extracts of macadamia, avocado and jojoba oils.
However, she had to combine two shades for the best colour match which meant buying two tubes.
Clarins Extra Firming Foundation
£26 (0800 036 3558)
CLAIM: Fighting the effects of ageing, this light-reflecting foundation packs a powerful punch.
It contains natural oat sugars, which generate tension beneath the surface, helping to tighten slack skin.
TRUTH: It certainly does a great job of tightening the skin - it feels a bit mask-like. It also covered up everything, including fine lines and pigmentation marks. It stays on well, and takes a lot of work to get it all off, too.
MyFace MyMix Foundation (Medium)
CLAIM: This light, ethereal formula creates a naturally perfect canvas. This is 'synched to perfection' with your complexion.
TRUTH: It seems as if it's going to be too light in texture, but glides on beautifully and gives a soft, dewy finish which makes skin look natural. Our tester tried the Medium, which was recommended for her skin tone and found it gave good coverage and thought it made her look like she'd had a facial.
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