8 best powder and cream foundation compacts

Anna Hunter 27 July 2015
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The best foundation compacts

There’s something very elegant and ‘old skool’ about a foundation compact. Neat, clicky and portable, compacts feel decadent and grown up, but that doesn’t mean that the product within them need be old fashioned. Within modern day compacts you’ll find the latest and greatest foundation formulations and options for every skin tone and type out there. Compacts allow you to cart your favourite cream or powder foundation along with you wherever you go, do your makeup on the go (most have mirrors), eliminate the need for fiddly brushes, minimise the potential for spillage (nothing irks me more than a £40 foundation all over the floor) and do away with heavy, clunky packaging. There’s literally nothing not to love about this lot…

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Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Powder Foundation

Lingerie seems like a good place to start, and like a silky, flattering, supportive bra, Lingerie de Peau Powder protects and boosts your assets while remaining impressively undetectable as you wear it. I was initially concerned about the product making my skin look dry and mask like, but the foundation texture is very light and blendable; far from my chalky fears. For a powder it feels moisturising and it veils skin effectively with no cracking, flaking or smearing throughout the day, although you might want to top up if times are particularly shiny. Finish wise it’s matte with a bit of ‘juiciness’, which is perhaps owing to the added hydration powers of hyaluronic acid in the formula. As compacts go it’s sizeable, but you shouldn’t need to refill for a while, and it’ll present you as both very chic and put together, even if you feel far from it. In short, this is underwear you’ll want to flaunt.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Powder Foundation , £41

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Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Cream Compact SPF 15

If you’re going to do your makeup in public, flaunting a shiny, sleek compact brandishing the coveted interlocked ‘C’s is the way to do it, and thankfully this foundation doesn’t rely on its sharp presentation alone; the product itself is a top performer. On first application it feels refreshing and creamy; moisturising but very light and airy compared to the waxy textures of old. When blended into skin (it does so seamlessly), it transforms to a more powdery finish, although it’s by no means matte; think velvety with a glow. Coverage wise it’s buildable and corrects uneven patches convincingly, but you’ll want to anchor it with a primer or have the compact to hand if you’re especially prone to oiliness. The combination of antioxidant vitamin E and high quality UVA and UVB protection make it particularly parfait for the purposes of protection and anti-ageing, and the fact that it makes you look so polished, and that there’s a fairly diverse shade range to choose from, means that it’s ticking a lot of face base boxes.

Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Cream Compact SPF 15 , £40

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Lâncome Miracle Cushion Foundation SPF 23

Not a compact foundation as you may know it, Miracle Cushion takes it’s cue from popular Korean ‘cushion’ makeup  and boasts higher than average SPF for a foundation with additional anti-ageing and hydrating benefits. It’s more ‘liquid’ in consistency than any of the other compacts featured here, and glides over skin beautifully to impart the promised ‘fresh glow’. The end result is quite sheer, so well suited for those after a ‘no makeup makeup look’, but despite the au naturel finish it does in fact disguise redness and small blemishes. For anything angry or volcanic, you’ll need to layer on a concealer . Miracle Cushion would be a warmly welcome travel companion for me; the compact is nifty, the foundation would guard skin from the harsh effects of aircon and the luminous, plumping effect is a great foil for fatigue and jet lag. The colour options cater for a wide range of skintones too, unlike the majority of Korean cushion counterparts. Bravo Lâncome!

Lâncome Miracle Cushion Foundation SPF 23 , £29.50

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MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation

From a fresh innovation to a backstage classic, Studio Fix is as pigmented as you’d expect from the MAC pros; there’s no wishy washy, ‘white out’ effect here. The shade range caters for almost everyone, and the finely milled powder delivers extremely even coverage, with the inclusion of silica to ensure that skin remains matte and ‘soft focus’ without looking flat or wan. If you’re in a rush, hate using more than one base product but still want a photo ready result, Studio Fix is on the case. It also blends away blemishes and takes care of shine better than many a powder product on the market, so if you’re skin has troublesome tendencies, it’s worth the splurge.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation , £22

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Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Powder Makeup

On the subject of problematic skin, often camouflaging the problem isn’t enough. If masking skin ends up causing more skin issues than it’s aiming to cover up, a vicious circle of skin battling can ensue, and it’s rarely pretty, or more importantly, fun. Gentle makeup that doesn’t aggravate acne  but conceals inflammation and minimises the build up of sebum throughout the day could well provide the answer, and this fragrance-free foundation is indeed a great solution. It can be worn alone or used as a finishing powder over your regular liquid foundation, dusted over skin with a powder brush, but either way it provides base insurance that’s especially comforting for those that feel that their makeup often bails on them throughout the day. This won’t- it does its job cooly, calmly and without any fuss or fancy, potentially irritating ingredients.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Powder Makeup,  £25

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Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Compact Foundation

Convincingly ‘skinny’ yet long lasting (the two aren’t always the best of friends foundation wise), this compact version of BB’s much loved long-wear lives up to the flattering coverage of its big sister. It’s just so REAL and radiant looking, but it doesn’t slip about or proofer weedy imperfection disguising- it matches well with a lot of skin tones to make skin look naturally peachy and uniform. It remains in place without creasing throughout the day, although those with oily skin will need to set it with a powder to guarantee the promised 12 hours of wear. I also found this one the most versatile to use in terms of using fingers, brushes and sponges; all application methods delivered pretty flawless results.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Compact Foundation , £33.50

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Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Monsieur Nars  and team make my favourite foundations; if I ever receive a ‘you look healthy’ compliment or something of the like, it’s invariably when I’ve slipped on a little Nars base. This foundation should garner you praise in particular if you have dry or dehydrated skin, as the texture feels rich and restorative, yet it appears to sink into skin rather than sit on top of it. 93% of dry skinned women surveyed by Nars felt that it improved the appearance of their skin, and it also claims to boost moisture levels by 80% during wear, which is quite something for those that feel that traditional foundations can look heavy and make skin feel parched. Radiance wise, it goes big on dewiness and will definitely be a bit much for combination to oily skins, but for dull, depleted skin, it’s frankly delicious. The packaging protects the product (no handbag fluff is creeping into this compact), and as usual from Nars the shade range is commendable. P.S, the mirror is massive.

Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation , £28

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The Body Shop All-in-One Face Base

If saving money and time are top of your list, all-in-one is a very savvy buy. A powder compact that can be built up to reach foundation level coverage, it works well just smoothed onto skin where you need it. It subtly blurs enlarged pores, dark spots and other skin gripes without caking, and when used with the enclosed sponge the base looks far more natural than more flimsy powders. The fragrance-free formulation is a plus, and I’ve heard it practically lasts a lifetime, therefore on the economy front The Body Shop will be as good as paying you to wear it by the time you’re scraping out the final flecks of powder. This logic doesn’t quite work I know, but what I’m trying to say is: good deal people.

The Body Shop All-in-One Face Base , £14