I’ve been inundated with texts from friends over the past few weeks asking after foundation. The seasons are shifting, so it’s time for many to rethink their coverage, taking on the ubiquitous advice that you MUST switch to tinted moisturiser immediately because it’s better for your skin in the heat. RUBBISH! IT ALL CLOGS PORES TO THE SAME EXTENT! But nonetheless, I shall proceed…
The general gist of the text is always, I want something light that won’t cost a fortune. And I wish I could text back with a simple, BUY RIMMEL FOUNDATION, IT’S THE BEST! But actually getting the right foundation is way more complicated than that, and you DO get what you pay for. So here goes: my guide to what’s good, what’s cheap and what actually works…
- YOUR FOUNDATION IS ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR CLEANSER. If you’re not using the right cleanser or cleansing thoroughly enough, your foundation will not sit in the same way, plus it will have a whole myriad of problems to cover. If you want to scrimp on foundation, PLEASE invest in Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm first. A weekly or even b-weekly enzyme exfoliant would be good too – I like Indeed Labs and Peter Thomas Roth.
- YOU NEED TO HYDRATE YOUR SKIN BEFORE YOU APPLY FOUNDATION. I only know of one foundation which effectively hydrates while it covers (Hourglass Hyaluronic Skin Tint) but even under that I always need moisturiser. I swear by Pestle & Mortar Hydrate, and focus it around the eyes, chin and lines.
- DON’T RELY ON FOUNDATION’S SPF AS SOLE PROTECTION. You’d have to wear a shit-ton of makeup to actually get the protection of a sun cream. I really rate Darphin Intral Environmental Lightweight Shield SPF50. But remember: the time it protects you for is the time is usually takes you to burn (usually around 10 minutes) multiplied by the SPF number, so for example SPF50 gives you approximately 500 minutes of protection. And you should still avoid direct exposure to strong sunlight.
- OK, now you can apply it. I don’t have time for primer on top of all that other stuff (see points 1-3), so I am very demanding of my foundation. It must be long-lasting and comfortable without a primer. So, no – I don’t often scrimp on foundation. My current favourites are:
- NARS PURE RADIANT TINTED MOISTURISER £30 – it’s excellent for drier skin, but for me it skims over lines and gives the appearance of plumped up skin with a healthy sheen. This is a high summer choice for me when I’m not after quite so strong a coverage.
- GIORGIO ARMANI POWER FABRIC £36 – this is AMAZING – definitely light and seamless on the skin, but it also covers properly. I have a mammoth hormonal spot right now and haven’t used concealer once thanks to this souped-up base. It’s imperceptible to the touch once it’s on – just a genius formulation, possibly witchcraft actually. Plus, a little goes a hell of a long way so you get your money’s worth on a cost-per-wear basis. And I repeat: you will NOT need a primer.
- IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO SCRIMP – I would recommend BOURJOIS HEALTHY MIX FOUNDATION £9.99 mixed with a dash of serum for added glow. L’OREAL TRUE MATCH GENIUS 4-IN-1 COMPACT FOUNDATION £12.99 is a brilliant base but I use it for touch-ups rather than an all-over job. If you did want to use it like that, make sure you moisturise well first, give the cream time to cook and settle, then apply with a clean sponge (not the one in the compact – harbinger of germs).