We took to Instagram Live with Mary Greenwell to discuss all things base - from the best the foundation for mature skin to the most natural light finish – and the one to sell your granny for

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Mary Greenwell has painted the faces of everyone from Cate Blanchett to Lily Collins to Princess Diana, so we just knew she'd have an impressive arsenal of foundations to show us when we caught up with her in Instagram Live.

Mary's kit is unapologetically high-end and this is reflected in her foundation choices, but the application tips and coverage advice she gives are something we can all follow, as they apply to  high street foundations  too. She is quick to point out that no foundation is for everyone. She advocates that choosing a foundation is all about finding the right texture for your skin and the coverage you want.

Mary's tip for making your pricy foundation last longer is to apply it with fingers to avoid losing precious droplets to your brushes and sponges.

We received many questions from readers about the best foundation for mature skin."No foundation has an age limit on it, but lighter foundations tend to be better for older skin," Mary says. She added that any of her choices would suit older skin, it's just a case of using more moisturiser underneath. Her top pick is  111 Skin's day cream  as a failsafe.

Here are her recommendations for the best high-end foundations for every coverage. We've listed them in order of coverage from light to full.

Best light coverage foundation

Chanel Les Beiges Eau De Teint, £48 for 30ml

Shades: six
This flew off the shelves when it launched last year and for good reason. While the texture looks unusual in the bottle because the encapsulated pigment droplets suspended in a hydrating gel need to be mixed in your palm or on the back of your hand before you apply. It's actually very satisfying and it comes with a beautiful little foundation brush for flawless application.  It ike a splash of water applied to the face and is extremely light. Mary adds that it's also a great foundation for men thanks to how undetectable but perfecting it is.

Sisley Phyto Hydra Teint, £76 for 40ml

Shades: three
This is a favourite in the GTG office too, and Mary praises this tinted moisturiser, which like all of Sisley's colour cosmetics range has skincare at its heart. With SPF 15, the coverage is more than you get from the Chanel.

Giorgio Armani Prima Colour Control Glow Moisturiser, £38 for 30ml

Shades: five
This foundation is also a tinted moisturiser, delivering very light coverage for a luminous finish. This one has a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 35.

Best medium coverage foundation (and what to put underneath)

When using a heavier foundation a primer can help it to last longer and sit better without emphasising lines. Mary recommends  Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer , £30.60 for 30ml and Hourglass' Veil Primer , £18 for 8.9ml.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £43 for 30ml

Shades: 40
Found on the desert-island list of many a MUA, this cult Armani medium-coverage glowy foundation receives praise from Mary for its fluid texture that delivers seamless skin.

Surratt Dew Drop Foundation, £70 for 19ml

Shades: 20
Expensive for a small size, but we do trust Mary's taste... Available in 20 shades this medium-coverage foundation sinks seamlessly into the skin of a dewy complexion that lasts all day long.

Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Foundation, £63 for 30ml

Shades: 12
From first glance, you can tell this is going to look heavenly on the skin. It contains 24-carat gold particles to give a luminous glow and has a heavenly scent. This a long-wear option that covers blemishes well.

Best heavy coverage foundation

Estee Lauder Double Wear, £30.60 for 30ml

Shades: 55
You'd be hard pushed to find an MUA without this in their kit. It's like an old reliable friend you can count on to do what it says - extended wear that covers all manner of imperfections and has an impressive shade range.

Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation, £43 30ml

Shades: 15
Long-wear and full coverage but without forsaking a silky, lightweight texture, this is a full-coverage foundation for those of us who don't want that overly 'done' look.

Cle de Peau Beauté The Foundation, £250 for 27ml

Shades: 14
Possibly the most expensive (and most divine looking) foundation we've ever laid eyes on. Mary calls this her favourite of all time, it's highly moisturising - thanks to the veil it lends the complexion and how it minimises signs of ageing.

MORE GLOSS: Mary Greenwell's favourite buys for eyes