Five of the best foundations to try as the world comes back to life
Foundation had fallen out of fashion during lockdown, but now it’s back with a bang
Foundation has fallen rather out of fashion through the last few months, and it isn’t very hard to understand why. Even avid foundation devotees take days off, but if applying foundation has always been more of a functional means to an end than a meditative act for you, it’s likely you’ll have worn it less often while spending more time at home. The world has come back to life a little, and with the return of special occasions like restaurant dinners and going ‘out out’, foundation – as the base of a full makeup look – is back.
As textures and staying power get better and better, there are so many excellent foundations that will last all day, stay fresh looking, and give the tailored level of coverage you want – anything from a sheer veil of pigment to a fully buildable base. This week, I’ve been testing the foundations that look great and last well, along with one powder which will drastically improve the wear time of any foundation you already own.
If you enjoy a true matte finish, seek no further than Bobbi Brown Fluid Powder Foundation (€32.50 at Arnotts). It’s exceptionally good on oily skin, and is oil-free if you’re breakout-prone. It goes on as a fluid but sets to a comfortable, velvety powder finish. Bobbi Brown has always been a brand that is truly inclusive of skin tones on the margins, including paler Celtic complexions. If you generally have a hard time finding a foundation that is an exact skin match, one of the 28 shades of this foundation will certainly work for you.
If a matte finish appeals to you but you’re a little nervous of the word’s chalky connotations, try Chanel Ultra Le Teint Foundation (€50 at Brown Thomas). Chanel has traditionally only offered shades that work for warmer European skin tones, but thankfully things are changing - this new base comes in an impressive 30 shades with true-skin undertones. It offers a sophisticated modern matte finish that makes skin look airbrushed and expensive with medium buildable coverage and serious lasting power. For something with much less coverage but a similarly radiant matte finish, Giorgio Armani Neo Nude Foundation (€46 at Armani counters nationwide) is beautiful. Water-based, it’s feather-light and feels like nothing on the skin, just evening the complexion.
A good powder is invaluable for setting make-up, mattifying where needed and holding a glowier, moisture-rich foundation in place for longer, especially in oil-prone areas like the nose, chin and forehead. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder (€42 at charlottetilbury.com) is now available in four shades. It is buttery, blurring, and generally beautiful. Pair it with the deliciously glowing Revlon Photoready Candid Glow Anti-Pollution Foundation (€13.99 at Boots). This is available in 16 shades, which is respectable for a pharmacy brand. The medium coverage is buildable, and the finish looks far more expensive than it is. A touch of powder in oilier areas will ensure it is still in place hours after you’ve applied it, while maintaining light reflection where it is most desirable, on cheeks and cheekbones.