Beauty notes

Take a foundation course

Enhance your complexion with Sali’s pick of this season’s innovative foundations

Sali Hughes

Beauty Editor
Sali Hughes

My passion for foundation is such that no sooner has a new base plopped through my letterbox than it’s whisked up to my dressing table for rigorous testing. I’m pernickety, to say the least. Foundation covers the largest area of facial real estate, where there’s nowhere for an inferior product to hide, and so it absolutely must be right, from colour (the perfect shade neither lightens nor darkens the complexion) to finish (oily types generally want matte, while drier skins look softer with a satiny finish; neither should be uneven or cakey).

On formula, I’m flexible – each type has its advantages. The most versatile, easy to use and downright underrated is the stick, and I hope the new offering from Nars will convince many women to make the switch.

Nars Velvet Matte Foundation Stick, is a creamy, solid, medium-coverage foundation (in an ethnically inclusive shade range) that melts and blends beautifully all over with either fingertips or the attached sponge, or can be patted only where you need it. I also love sticks for their portability – as long as I have one in my handbag, I can quickly upscale my daytime make-up for an evening event, no mess or brushes required.

If, like many women, you don’t much enjoy the feeling of wearing foundation, then Estée Lauder’s new one might just convert you. Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup, is an extremely lightweight, light-to-medium-coverage base with an instantly cooling, comforting sensation and a high SPF protection. The colour choice is characteristically excellent from Lauder, with multiple undertone options as well as shades from light to dark, and as long as you give the bottle a good shake, application is a breeze. It’s entirely possible to forget it’s even there until one looks in the mirror and sees smooth, even coverage for many hours on end.

Even longer lasting but entirely different in texture is the eagerly anticipated new Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Foundation, a liquid base for those who need full, matte coverage around the clock. Ideal for oily, combination and blemished skin, All Hours is oil-free and non-greasy. With careful application (I’d suggest blending with a damp sponge), it stays smooth and streak-free for hours and camouflages everything.

On my own 40-something face, which is clear but prone to dullness, I’m less interested in coverage, more drawn to increased radiance and glow. Enter Clinique Even Better Glow, a sheer base with light reflectors that gives a flattering sheen and almost luminous glow to tired, hard-working faces. It’s the next best thing to a brisk walk and a power nap.

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