There are foundation-phobes – and there are those, like us, who love, love, love the way that foundation can make a tired face look wide-awake, even out skintone or even turn back the clock a bit. Indeed, contrary to received wisdom, there’s no reason not to use foundation on mature skin – and as it happens, testers for all of these foundations were all over 35. Every one was trialled in its lightest shade, since colour-matching everyone is seriously tricky – but we always applaud any brand which offers a diverse shade range – and happily, these all really do.
GOLD AWARD Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation
From probably the world’s most famous make-up artist, this is a serious treatment product, as well as working brilliantly to disguise imperfections. There’s vitamin C, a firming extract from mushrooms and an SPF15, and it actively sets out to target not only age spots, but also to combat the appearance of acne. There are also hyaluronic plumping spheres, to help ‘fill’ wrinkles, and Charlotte recommends it for anyone wanting ‘flawless, poreless coverage, especially if you suffer from melasma, acne or rosacea.’ (And we know what a challenge that is. There are 25 shades (including some brilliant dark tones); our testers got a mixture.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'I have never known a foundation to blend into my skin so easily, sheer magic as it disappears easily but leaves a lovely coverage! Great for blending and building layers if you want heavier coverage. Gave a perfect flawless natural finish and absolutely made skin look younger and more radiant. The first day I wore this a colleague said ‘your make-up looks really good today, really flawless; I would buy this by the pallet load! It’s my happy ever after - perfection!’ • ‘A really beautiful foundation, which blended smoothly and felt good on my skin. It wasn't cake-y or powdery looking. Covered thread veins very well and small blemishes without concealer’ • ‘A smooth silky foundation that was easy to apply with a brush, and blended well and evenly, no settling in creases or sticking to dry patches. Gave medium coverage, so covered minor blemishes and open pores well but not angry red spots. Skin looked radiant, smoother and even. Covered my natural pink/red cheeks well but not enough for the dark circles under my eyes’ • ‘Leaves skin looking matte but not dead looking, easily covered larger pores on my nose without settling in and small blemishes. I needed extra concealer under my eyes for nights out but worked well on its own for everyday coverage’ • ‘Great product for people who want medium to full coverage, lasts a long time, is stable, stays matte and makes skin look great’ • ‘Pump action meant you weren’t spilling any of the foundation, though you had to be careful how hard you pressed!’ • ‘Very easy to get out from glass bottle (not good for travelling though) with pump dispenser; tired it with sponge, brush and fingertips and was easy with all three. It felt thicker than my usual foundation but not heavy, gave full coverage and natural finish. Covered my acne scars and spots. I used a little bit of concealer too,’
£32 for 30ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD Clinique Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup SPF15
For 2019, this has graduated from Bronze to Silver position in the Awards. With luminising pigments that deliver a subtle, flattering glow, it evens out skintone brilliantly, observed the testers, disguising both redness and age/dark spots. Designed to target pigmentation with a vitamin C complex, it also offers an SPF15 – and the formulation is long-wear, so it shouldn't need frequent reapplication. If you do want to take it with you? The plastic bottle’s lightweight and ideal for touch-ups on the go.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'10/10! I love everything about this product. Creamy texture that is easy to spread and blend with a brush. Coverage is natural looking – a friend didn't realise I was wearing foundation - but it covers skin problems and blends in naturally. It makes me look more healthy and younger’ • ‘I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of coverage it gave for a sheer to moderate coverage foundation. I used a stippling brush to apply and buffed it into my skin. I have quite a lot of redness in the centre of my face/nose and this evened out my complexion, without looking heavy or cakey. I would buy this for summer months as a daytime foundation that’s lightener than my usual one’ • ‘Made my skin look dewy and glow-y – not younger but more radiant. One for good skin days as it didn't really cover blemishes but I would buy it’ • ‘Very easy to apply with fingers and it blended quickly and simply, giving sheer coverage that looked natural and healthy and glowing – which made me look younger. It is oil-free so hasn't clogged my skin and I have fewer blemishes and healthier skin than before’ • ‘The optical pigments did enhance my skin so it looked more radiant’ • ‘A lovely product and a step up for days when I need a little more than my usual tinted moisturiser. Brightened my skin and gave it a nice glow and colour. Good price as well.'
£28.50 for 30ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Hoorah for Rihanna! She’s set out to create a truly, truly inclusive make-up collection, and it’s been as much a hit as her songs. (The queues at Harvey Nichols have just about subsided, but they snaked impressively around the block for months and months. Can’t remember that happening before.) Obsessively, she enlisted skin boffins to ensure that the texture and tone of the 40 – yes, 40 – shades of this (albeit slightly annoyingly-named) worked on every skintype, delivering a finish that’s not matte but not shiny, designed to be long-lasting yet comfy on the skin. It’s oil-free, said to be sweat-proof, and won’t clog pores.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'I found a Beauty Blender is the best application method for this runny, slightly watery foundation. I was surprised how well it covered; it gave a medium to full coverage but the finish was still natural and gave a very balanced even looking skin tone, more photo-finished – so yes I would say younger and more radiant’ • ‘Provided really good coverage for open pores on nose, small spots and didn't need concealer. Gave a flawless natural finish. It felt lovely on my skin, really lightweight and I didn't feel my face was caked in make-up’ • ‘Very easy to apply although you need to work quickly as it thickens and dries fast. The coverage was much better than my previous foundation. I didn't need powder to make it last though I sometimes used a setting spray on nights out. It didn't cause breakouts; in fact my skin is looking clearer’ • ‘I am really impressed overall. It comes in a huge range of shades and is a very good price, compared to other popular ones on the market’ • ‘This worked well on my oily skin and covered well. A good foundation, which covered thread veins and small blemishes with no need for concealer’ • ‘A great foundation with a fantastic colour range, best suited for those who want a matte finish – it’s amazing for that so would be good for an oily skin. The coverage was really good for thread veins, blemishes and open pores so I only really needed concealer under my eyes to give a lighter brighter look’ • ‘As someone who has always hated the feel of liquid foundations on their face, I was really very surprised about this foundation. It blended seamlessly on my face, definitely helped to make my pores look less noticeable, and after a long day in the office my foundation was still in place and it had kept my usual oil slick at bay. I think this foundation would be best for those with oily/combination skin.’
£27 for 32ml - click to buy