Beauty Call: Move over matte, foundations are lightening up

Foundations have come a long way since the beige face pastes of yore

New foundations work with skin to even it out and enhance natural tones

New foundations work with skin to even it out and enhance natural tones


Sing hosannas: we’ve moved on from the flat, matte days of Rimmel Pale Biscuit and green corrective creams that conspired to make us look us look pale, pasty and completely hid our natural skin behind a thick wall of beige paste. Foundation has learned from the horror of the past and has literally lightened up.

Instead of smothering skin with a full coverage, mask-like base, the new formulas work with skin to even it out and enhance natural tones. These are foundations that look and feel like skin – light, bright and more reflective.

gorgioThe new bases often don’t even call themselves foundations any more. Maestro from Giorgio Armani (€45) is a “complexion perfector” that’s so fluid it is applied by dropper. Drip the foundation on to the palm of your hand and spread the liquid with your fingertips.



Brand new Lancôme Miracle Air de Teint – a blend of oils and high-quality pigments that provide long-lasting wear and feel comfortable on the skin – works in roughly the same way. It is perfect for oily and combination skin, and even my dry skin got on well with it. Get a sample before you buy, however, to make sure it’s for you.


no 7The technology has trickled down to less expensive brands: foundations such as No 7 Stay Perfect Super Light (€18.95) and L’Or éal Nude Magique Eau de Teint (€14.99) are sheer but can be built up to provide medium coverage while still retaining that all-important glow. The processes used mean that, although the formulas are thin and seem watery, the pigment is concentrated enough to cover well.


This type of base works well for good skin, or good skin days (those blessed days when an angry red Vesuvius-style spot is not threatening to erupt) and a dab of concealer will cover minor blemishes (try Clarins Instant Concealer , €24). These light foundations won’t suit you if you prefer full-coverage foundation, but don’t run screaming and discount the notion of lightening up altogether: CC creams can help.

cc max

CC (colour corrector) creams should not be confused with BB (blemish balm) creams. In many cases, BBs are just tinted moisturisers and vary hugely in quality from brand to brand (with most falling on the rubbish side of the fence), but they do serve the purpose of demonstrating to the cosmetics industry that there is a huge demand for lighter bases.

cc perfectCC creams are moisturising and a cinch to apply (use your fingers), they easily achieve a light, fresh base and SPF protection, and they use magic light-reflecting particle tricks to impart a glow. They will take years off you. Good ones to try are Clinique Moisture Surge CC (€35), Max Factor CC (€ 15.25) and Bourjois 123 Perfect CC (€1 3.99).

In addition CCs often come in a range of colour-correcting shades to even out skin tone (yellow will counteract redness, for example). The coverage will still be quite sheer, so if CC coverage alone isn’t enough for you, mix a blob with your full coverage foundation to instantly lift a heavy look.

There are no rules. It’s all about mixing and matching: use different types of base in a combination that suits you – and move on from the matte face.

yslWatch out for . . .
Wear Mac Prep and Prime CC (€39) under your foundation to even out skin tone and brighten. With two shades and an SPF30, it’s smooth, lightweight and will help your foundation to last longer.

Launching in April , YSL Forever Light Creator CC (€3 4) is available in apricot, lavender and rose to correct skin-tone concerns. YSL calls it an instant colour reset – I like it mixed with foundation to provide an instant skin brightener.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.