Beauty writers exhibit high levels of product promiscuity. There are always new products to try, and old favourites need to be really good to fend off the lure of newer rivals. Since human skin tones range from very light across a spectrum all the way to very deep, it stands to reason that there are more people in between than there are on the polar ends of the colour spectrum.
As one of those on the polar end, my sympathies lie with paler and darker people who often struggle to find foundations to match them. I’ve been mixing my own colours for some years, but there has been definite improvement in shade availability in the last few years. You may have to pay that little bit more and purchase from a brand used by makeup artists, but the shades are out there.
Makeup For Ever Ultra HD Foundation (€43 from makeupforever.ie or MUFE's Clarendon Street Store) and Ultra HD Stick Foundation (€39): This made-for-filming professional formula comes in a staggering 40 shades in the liquid version, and 15 in the stick. The coverage is medium, buildable to full, and there is no one who won't find a shade match in this range.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation (€40 from Brown Thomas): This foundation comes in 15 high coverage, semi-matte shades from light to dark, and works on all but very dry skins. Skin looks perfected and radiant, and though the range isn't enormous, the lightest and deepest shades work for people who won't be catered for most of the time.
The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops (€17): Mixing your own foundation is easier than you'd think, and these drops can turn a foundation that's a couple of shades off into a perfect match. I'll use these when I find a foundation that looks great on my skin, but doesn't match it.
Mac Face and Body Foundation in Shade N1 or N7 (€31.50): Light, classic and available in 13 shades, this foundation can be used anywhere – as the name suggests – and looks dewy and natural. The darker shades are particularly good. If the lightest shade, N1, is not light enough (it isn't for me), then try Mac's Studio Finish Foundation in N10, developed especially for the Irish market. The formulation is heavier, but the finish is beautiful and it comes in more than 30 shades.
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation (€28.75 - €30.50 from Debenhams): Illamasqua's Skin Base foundation is a cult favourite, available in 25 different shades of pink and yellow undertones starting at extremely light shades. Their deep shades are also fully inclusive. This formulation is better on balanced skin which isn't too oily or too dry, but they offer other foundations with a similarly excellent shade range.
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Age Support Instant Radiance Mask (€45 from M&S Beauty):
With moringa seed oil and hyaluronic acid, this gives instant results. I like to pop it on before my morning shower, but it’s just as good as an overnight treatment.