Wednesday 21 March 2018

A firm foundation - five pretty fixers

An ace base is the foundation of any make-up bag, says our beauty expert, who has five pretty fixers for a fabulous face

Pictured, from left, Lov Evenelixir Serum Foundation; Catrice 24h Made To Stay Make Up; Lancome Liquid Cushion Compact; Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue Ultrawear Flawless Foundation; Fuchsia High Definition foundation
Pictured, from left, Lov Evenelixir Serum Foundation; Catrice 24h Made To Stay Make Up; Lancome Liquid Cushion Compact; Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue Ultrawear Flawless Foundation; Fuchsia High Definition foundation

Sarah Caden

There was a time when your underwear was known as foundation garments, as they were the scaffolding around which the rest of your rig-out was built. And they really were scaffolding - restrictive and rigid and uncomfortable to wear, but effective in terms of doing their job. They held everything in, even if you suffered in the process. Cosmetic foundation has that name because, basically, it is designed to create a solid basis for whatever else you apply to your face. If the foundation is sound, the rest will work beautifully. It's an idea that's almost as old-fashioned as your 18-hour girdle, when you consider how far foundation has come since solid bricks of pancake and creams that not only covered imperfections, but deleted all vitality from your face in the process.

These days, the big promises made by your face base are that it will cover, but not too much, and that it will be light, but also last all day. These are big promises, but there are foundations that come close to delivering on them. This week's five favourites are foundations that say they will last and manage to do so, while also offering mattifying or dewy effects according to skin type. They hold up well, like a good foundation should.

Best Overall

Lov Evenelixir Serum Foundation, €12.95, Shaws; selected pharmacies nationwide

In case you missed its arrival on to the market late last year, Lov is the big sister of good-value, youth-market brands Catrice and essence. It's less trend-driven than that pair and aims itself at customers aged 30-plus who want quality at a good price. It delivers on quality, and the packaging is sleek and chic, too. This bottle contains a separate serum and foundation, which blend in the pipette dispenser, and together offer a dewy but long-lasting finish. "This feels like a far more expensive product," said a panellist. "It stays well, but with a very silky feel."

Best Value Fix

Catrice 24h Made To Stay Make Up, €7.90, Dunnes Stores; Penneys; Sam McAuley pharmacies

Without doubt, anyone with dry skin may have to add a moisture boost to this foundation, in the shape of a drop of facial oil or even a serum. However, Catrice is very much aimed at a younger customer, so it's to be expected that this is better suited to oily skin. It's terrifically mattifying, if that's what you seek, and it lasts and lasts. It's "action-proof" as it says on the label, with added antioxidants, and it's available in four, pale-type shades. "This works well on my oily skin," a panellist said, "but possibly hasn't enough slip to apply evenly if you're a dry type."

Best Sponge Set

Lancome Liquid Cushion Compact, €39, Lancome counters nationwide

If you like Lancome's Miracle Cushion foundation, but find it too sheer, then this is worth a look. It's basically a long-lasting base that isn't too thick to soak through the 'cushion' in the compact and onto the sponge enclosed. You get just enough foundation, which smooths on beautifully and stays really well. Also, once you have the compact, you can then buy refills of the foundation (€26). "The refills are a great bonus," said one panellist, "This is perfect for switching shades seasonally."

Best Shade Range

Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue Ultrawear Flawless Foundation, €50, Chanel counters nationwide

This long-wear foundation is aimed at older skin types, who struggle to find a product that will last without looking powdery. Which is to say that it will endure without settling into lines and making the wearer look old. This glide-on liquid contains two different powders for a radiance that is matte and not dewy. It comes in 15 shades and also a handy powder compact form (€54). "This applies like a dream, which is not always the case with my 50-something skin or with foundations that last," a panellist said. "I'm impressed."

Best Smart Selfie

Fuschia High Definition Foundation, €30, selected pharmacies nationwide, or see

Available in an impressive 10 shades, this mattifying foundation promises that it won't go cakey, which is the common problem with a lot of long-stay or oil-absorbing bases. Light-diffusing particles lend a soft-focus effect that leads to the HD of the name. The brand's top tip for people with dry skin is to spritz a hydrating spray over the foundation. "This applies very smoothly but then sets quickly to a truly matte finish," a panellist said. "It's just right for my oily skin, which stayed shine-free for hours."


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