Beauty Clinic: What foundation do you recommend?

Q. I've been trying to find the best foundation for my skin for years. I've brought the expensive ones, medium-priced ones and even cheaper options.  I have tried primers.  At the moment I’m using a BB cream, which I like as it gives a bit of sheen but it goes greasy and there’s nothing left by the end of the day. I don't want to go back to expensive ones and feel they’re not working either!  Can you help? A. So: finding the best foundation.  We will tell you the foundation we find knocks spots off anything else but first – a little prep talk.

The really key thing to getting a good finish that lasts is not just down to the foundation you choose:  it is just as much about the state of your skin, the care you give it day in day out, and the prepping before you apply your foundation.

In your situation, we suggest going back to basics.  We don't have enough information about your skin, age and your cleansing/prepping routines to pinpoint problems but we can suggest a few things:

For foundation to go on smoothly and stay put, it needs a good surface.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 15.03.38So cleansing and moisturising are key - with products that are suited to your skin type – and so too is exfoliating (gently but regularly) to remove surface debris.  We always recommend Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator

Follow with a suitable mask to keep your skin well nourished and well balanced.   (You could try the options offered on Liz Earle’s website,, if you don't already have a favourite.)

When you moisturise in the morning, let it sink in for several minutes (while you have your breakfast, say) before applying your foundation.

If you are using a primer, give that a few moments sink-in time too.

Then apply your foundation, either with clean fingers or a special foundation brush.  (We prefer these.) With liquid foundation, apply from the centre of your face outwards; with mineral powder make-up experts recommend starting at the sides and working in so you don't get cakey-ness on cheeks etc.  But apply it lightly, and build up in layers if you need.  Dot or stroke concealer where you need it.

Why not go and have a make-up makeover with a few good brands at a local department store?  The foundations we like best are Shiseido, Giorgio Armani, By Terry (at Space NK) and don’t dismiss the Lauder brands particularly Clinique, which has a fantastic range of bases.  At the affordable end we are big fans of Bourjois.

With your 'greasy' problem, you might want to consider a mineral powder make-up.  For instance bareMinerals, which you can find at most big stores, does a good makeover service (  Mineral make-up seems a bit fiddly but a little bit of practice and you can whisk it on in a trice, once on it melds with your skin as it warms, and it has the advantage of being easily touched up without looking cakey.

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 14.06.18PS.  That perfect foundation? Okay, we will never be parted from the new By Terry Terrybly Densiliss and worth every penny if you can spring for it.  It combines a serum with an ultra-smoothing compact powder foundation, which is both luminous and mattifying.  It covers flawlessly, doesn't cake in wrinkles – in fact we find it softens lines and furrows – and lasts day-long.  You can read our full review here.

Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator/£14 for 70ml pump at - buy here

• By Terry Terrybly Densiliss/£75 for 30 ml at - buy here