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Back to the base

I know you're aware of the concept of friends with benefits, and the idea has trickled down into the world of beauty, too. For years our skincare and colour cosmetics stood poles apart.

Creams and lotions were for hydrating, lifting and illuminating, make-up was for colouring. But the lines have blurred: Garnier has just released a new-generation version of their best-selling Nutritionist Caffeine Eye Roll-on, which contains the same skincare benefits as the original as well as some dark circle-hiding pigments. And foundation has gotten in on the act, too. It makes sense: who doesn't want the flawless skin we see paraded on red carpets? Keira Knightley, Rachel McAdams and Jennifer Aniston are all poster girls for that clean, dewy skin appearance so many of us aspire to. So, 2010 is the year for base with benefits: think products with anti-ageing, illuminating, colour-adapting, hydrating and nourishing properties. Here are 10 you need to know about.

1 Five a day

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation contains apricot to brighten, ginger for tone, apple to provide antioxidant benefits and melon to keep in moisture. That's not all: Bourjois boast of 16-hour staying power, with eight hour moisturisation. And the eight shades on offer will be appreciated by pale Irish lassies.

Suitable for: Younger skins and those looking for staying power.

Price and availability: €15.99, pharmacies and Boots.

2 Doctor's orders

Dr Nicholas Perricone is a god in the ladies-who-lunch world and he has a fan in The Apprentice's Jackie Lavin, who stocks his high-end quasi-medical Perricone line at her Kerry spa, Cloisters. New to the range is the No Foundation Foundation, a product packed full of antioxidant and anti-ageing benefits. Designed to correct skin undertones, this veils rather than covers.

Suitable for: Mature skins that don't require a lot of coverage; women in their 30s who want to stem the ageing tide.

Price and availability: €50, Harvey Nichols, Dundrum.

3 Spot tactics

This could be the answer to your dreams if you're sebum-prone. Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup takes a clinically proven, four-pronged approach to tackling the issue: it contains salicylic acid to exfoliate, laminaria sacharrina extract to purify and balance, hydroxydecanoic acid to control blemishes and caffeine to minimise irritation and visible redness.

Suitable for: Oily skinned, spot-prone gals will adore this one.

Price and availability: €28, pharmacies and department stores from April 1.

4 Make it matte

We're seeing a return to more matte formulations, and that's good news for anyone who finds it hard to keep foundation on after 11am. Lancôme Teint Idole Silky Mat Mineral Foundation with SPF16 lands next week and trials have proven that skin will look smoother with imperfections less visible with prolonged use.

Suitable for: oily and combination skins and anyone who likes a matte finish.

Price and availability: €30, pharmacies and department stores, from March 1.

5 Sci-fi splendour

This Dutch make-up artist Ellis Faas has a line of cosmetics using shades based on those found in and on the human body, such as a trio of lipsticks based on the colour of blood. The theory is that you'll definitely find a shade to suit as a result. Ellis Skin Veil comes in eight shades and literally provides a wash of cover, so best for those with skin that's in relatively decent nick.

Suitable for: Niche beauty fans.

Price and availability: £34 (€38.70) from www.misebeauty.com

6 Powers of transformation

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation comes in five shades but each is engineered to adapt to your own skintone, thanks to smart-tone technology and blue sapphire pigments. These, along with an oxygenating complex, help to deliver truer colour that lasts.

Suitable for: Budget fans looking for a long-wear solution, and the fact it's oil-free may mean it's good for combo-skinned gals.

Price and availability: €11.70, pharmacies and supermarkets.

7 Nearly nude

A lot of women were underwhelmed by Max Factor Second Skin Foundation, but its secret lies in its subtlety. It delivers a my-skin-but-better effect that fans of medium-to-full coverage won't like. Super lightweight, you can set it with a little powder and the fact there's 60pc water in the mix means it's nicely hydrating.

Suitable for: Tinted moisturiser fans and anyone who doesn't like much coverage.

Price and availability: €21.50, pharmacies and Debenhams.

8 Lift and firm

A skincare-like formulation combined with a medium-coverage finish makes Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme Radiant Lifting Makeup SPF 15 a winner. Peptides help to plump skin and promote collagen production for a firmer appearance. The water-based formulation keeps skin feeling moisturised.

Suitable for: Mature skins will drink this one up.

Price and availability: €42, from department stores.

9 Nicely natural

Origins return to make-up with the new Youthtopia SPF15 Skin Firming Foundation with Rhodiola. I love their science-meets-nature approach and naturals fans will appreciate the skincare benefits plus nice, medium coverage in this multi-tasker.

Suitable for: For those who want to fight first signs of ageing.

Price and availability: €27, at Arnotts, Clerys, House of Fraser, Dundrum and Boots, Liffey Valley.

10 Long-last lovely

Hate touching up and want something high-performance that'll stay in place all day? Yves Saint Laurent Teint Resist comes in 10 shades and promises to stay put for 14 hours. Not for the dry skinned, this foundation contains a film-former which ensures longevity and nylon micro-sponges to mop up excess shine.

Suitable for: long-wear fans and the sebum-prone.

Price and availability: €28, at department stores.