A Guide to the Best Foundations

Tuesday, January 6th 2015 4

From base to powder and concealer

Every single day at work I get asked the same question: "what would you say is the best foundation?"

Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, there are a number of foundations that I go back to time and time again. Do you love a velvety, matte finish? Are you after more of a glowing skin finish that still offers some coverage? Whatever you need, here are a few of my favourites, with notes on the powders and concealers to team them with.


Naturally glowing skin for all ages 
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation
Best for: light coverage, all ages including mature skin, a very fresh skin finish

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation

The illusion of youthful skin  
By Terry Terrybly Densiliss
Best for: light to medium coverage, mature skin, a fresh finish, a skincare infusion

Terrybly Densiliss

Great skin on a budget 
Bourjois Healthy Mix
Best for: cost effective, a glowing skin finish, medium coverage

Healthy Mix Serum

Flawless, glowing skin in a bottlemy personal favourite 
NARS Sheer Glow
Best for: medium coverage, a glowing skin look that still covers any uneven skintone, long lasting power

NARS Sheer Glow

Flawless photos  
Illamasqua Skin Base
Best for: buildable coverage, flawless photos, glowing skin finish, no SPF and therefore no flash-back

Skin Base Illamasqua

‘No Make-up’ Foundation 
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Best for: light to medium coverage, designed to mimic a velvety matte skin finish, ‘no make-up’ make-up

Maestro Foundation

Completely full coverage 
Estee Lauder Double Wear
Best for: full coverage, concealing imperfections or uneven skin tone, lasting all day, a matte finish

Double Wear

Setting Powders 
You can wear the best foundation in the world, but for it to last the day you’ll need to set it with a great powder. Here are a few of my favourites.

Classic, no-nonsense powder 
Urban Decay Ultra Definition Naked Skin Powder, available Loose or Pressed
Best for: a silky finish, barely-there coverage, very slight pigment to avoid an ashy/dull skin finish

Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder

Luminous, illuminating powder
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
Best for: giving your skin a natural glow without any shimmer or glitter

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

Coverage and guaranteed staying power
Laura Mercier Powder foundation (it’s actually a foundation but I use it lightly to seal in my base)
Best for: working all day, staying out all night, a flawless matte finish

Laura Mercier Powder Foundation

Even if you’re a full coverage kind of girl, a great concealer is still essential. Use it alongside your foundation for a completely flawless finish or on it’s own on barely there days for a quick tidy-up. Whichever concealer you choose, my favourite brush for working it in is the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush, available in the set of four eye brushes at Boots.

Counteracting redness 
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in 02, the yellow half
Best for: natural redness in fair skintones, redness from spots, a red nose with a bad cold

Colour correcting bags under the eyes
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in 02, the peach half
Best for: counteracting blueness in bags, brightening the eyes

Secret Camouflage Concealer

A general all-for-one 
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Best for: under eyes, blemishes, using lighter and darker shades to contour

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Full coverage concealer
Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer
Best for: breakouts, that time of the month, a flawless finish

Double Wear Concealer

Still not sure? E-mail me – [email protected] – and tell me what you’re looking for from your foundation. I’ll help you to find it.

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Liz Ó'Neill says:

Would you say Nars Sheer Glow is comparable in terms of coverage with Armani Luminous Silk?! Is it better/different enough to warrant trying it?! Love my Luminous Silk but also would like to try Nars.

Great blog post by the way! I’m new to your blog it looks fab.

rosaleengallagher says:

Hi Liz! I love Luminous Silk too, I nearly included it here actually. Sheer Glow I’d say is slightly more coverage, and if you like LS you will LOVE Sheer Glow. Definitely try it – you’ll love it! Rose x

Love love love CT Light Wonder! Great post Rose xx

[…] will look ten times more expensive. I’ve got a huge guide to foundations that you can read here, featuring reviews of everything from full coverage bases to something soft and […]