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Budget Beauty: Are cheap foundations any good?

July 2nd 2013 / Hannah Rochell

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Hannah Rochell picks the foundations that give you the perfect base without breaking the bank

Your face is the part of your body that gets looked at the most by other people. There is skin covering your whole face, and that skin deserves the best. All this attention has made my skin a bit of a diva at times, though. It can be difficult and contrary (dry AND oily at the same time). Sometimes it parties too hard and needs a radiance boost. It's battling age in certain areas, though it's pained to admit it. And if it doesn't like a product, it throws a strop and gives me a break out of spots, which then need concealing.

With this in mind, I don't mind spending money on a foundation that I know and trust to keep my demanding skin happy (I love both Dolce & Gabbana's Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation and YSL's Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation) - so I was a little dubious when given the task of trying cheap foundations. "My poor face!", I thought. "It's going to give me some shit for this."

YSL Touche Eclat Foundation

Turns out I was right to be cautious. I tried a couple that weren't all that great. No7's Beautifully Matte Foundation, £12.95, was chalky and dry, and although it gave good coverage, I won't be using it again for the fear of all the money I will spend on extra moisturiser as a consequence. This was a shame as I think No7 is generally a really good brand for cheap beauty products. Meanwhile B. Flawless Complete Coverage Foundation, £9.99, did exactly the opposite of what it said on the tin, with barely any coverage at all.

MORE GLOSS: The Glossy team test the best foundations

The worst of the bunch was Revlon's Nearly Naked Foundation, £8.99. Every other foundation I tried for this test had a neat pump action dispenser, making it simple to extract from the bottle and apply to the face. This isn't much to ask in a product, right? Wrong. Nearly Naked required a massive tug to remove the lid, and it wasn't until large dollops of foundation were flying towards me that I realised there was no pump action on this bottle. Given the dark stains left on my duvet, jeans and jumper, I was surprised at how little coverage I got from this product; it was more like a light tinted moisturiser. It did go on nicely, but this was little consolation when I was late for work because I'd had to change my outfit and apply extra concealer in the areas that weren't covered properly.

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It wasn't all bad news though. Both Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, £9.99, (this one smells lovely and fruity too) and Maybelline's FIT ME! Foundation, £7.99, were really nice; moisturising, long lasting and with good coverage that looked natural.

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The best by far though, was L'Oreal's Lumi Magique Foundation, £10.99. The first time I realised just how good this one was, was when I came to work with a hangover and a colleague commented on how great my skin looked (I think she used the word 'radiant', but my memory might be getting carried away).

Then my mum came to stay and wanted to borrow some foundation. She tried this and liked it so much she promptly stole my spare bottle. She's been using it every day since and says it's great - better than a concealer - for covering age spots and other blemishes like thread veins. I too have been using it every day since I first tried it (well, every day other than the days I was trying the other foundations!) and am a complete convert.

My beloved Dolce & Gabbana ran out recently, but my diva skin is so chilled out since I started using Lumi Magique, I'll save my money and buy L'Oreal from now on.

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