The Panel: 5 best foundations
This spring, all make-up trends are set against a backdrop of perfect skin — if that news makes your heart sink, then think again.
Whether your obstacle to a flawless complexion is adolescent blemishes or the ravages of ageing — and we all know that the time in between these is all too brief — then there’s something out there for you.
In fact, there are so many new foundation launches this season that there’s more than one product out there to fit your needs.
This glut of goodies, however, made our efforts to pick just five a bit tricky. So, while we’ll return later in the season to less expensive products and those aimed at a younger market — which are sometimes the same thing — this week’s top five are unashamedly high end and equally high performance. We accept that they’re a bit dearer, but if there is one piece of advice that covers all the cosmetics on this page, it’s that you really only need a dab to work wonders.
Look on it as an investment, one which, used judiciously, will endure well past this skin-focused season.
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H, €35,
Lancome counters nationwide What made this the outright winner was the fact it lasted incredibly well and was utterly without any of the usual downsides of an enduring foundation. For older skins in particular, the dry, powdery appearance of most long-wear foundations is a big drawback, but the velvety finish of this foundation is flattering and it will not accentuate flaws. And for all ages, the fact that it doesn’t oxidise and change colour on the skin is a huge bonus. It’s available in 18 shades, with an SPF 15. “It’s remarkably lightweight, so you look made-up without feeling made-up, rare with a hard-wearing product,” said a panellist.
BEST FOR DRY SKIN
Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Foundation, €52, Brown Thomas; Arnotts; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
Available in 14 shades, this thick balm foundation is wonderful for dry skins and — unless you are absolutely desiccated — for a dewy effect that is not slippy or sticky, apply it without advance moisturiser. Be warned, though — the shades look dark in the pot, so get a skintone match before buying. “I was sceptical of the no-moisturiser advice,” said one panellist, “but my complexion looks nicer cosmetically as well as seeming plumped out.”
BEST SMOOTH OPERATOR
Giorgio Armani Designer Lift, €50, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork
Designed specifically with older skin in mind, this foundation promises a flawless finish and an immediate lifting effect, thanks to an “elastic matrix”. Certainly, it makes skin seem refreshed, with an exclusive Prussian-blue pigment creating that sought-after luminosity that eludes all but the very young. “I loved the velvety texture, and best of all for me — a person who puts on her face then completely forgets it for the whole day — it really stays on,” a panellist said.
BEST GENTLE GLOW
Chanel Perfection Lumiere, €44, Chanel counters nationwide
Long-wear perfection is where it’s at this season. Chanel’s offering promises 15 hours with no touch-ups, no oiliness but no dried-out effect either. The finish is semi-matt, and a bit more glowy than the Lancome foundation. It’s beautifully flattering and polished. “I found the application very impressive,” said a panellist. “Often long-wear foundations dry very quickly and you have to work fast, but this glides on and it endures immaculately.”
BEST LIGHT LIFT
Sisley Skinleya Anti-Aging Foundation, €123, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork
While we accept that this is very, very expensive, if you’re someone who will make a little go a long way, it will last and last. Almost gel-like in texture, Sisley swears that there’s as much anti-ageing skincare technology in this foundation as in their best serum. It comes with a good-quality brush for a really flawless effect. “This reminds me of a tinted moisturiser, but with a more perfecting finish with no slippiness,” a panellist said. “A me-but-better product.”