The best full-coverage foundations for a flawless finish
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The best high coverage foundations for a flawless finish
Some days call for a seamless, skin-evening base layer, whether on account of a special occasion, due to an unwelcome blemish outbreak or to veil pigmentation, rosacea or any other skin situation that cropped up and can frankly take a hike.
There are too many marvellous full-coverage foundations out there to let your skin condition win: the following nine skin-savers pack a punch where colour payoff and longevity is concerned while still remaining impressively ‘skinny’ in finish. Think immaculate rather than mask-like. Looking for something on a budget? Check out our pick of the best high street foundations here .
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Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, £32.50
The UK’s number one selling foundation, and for good reason. More blendable than the Maximum Cover Camouflage edition, although by all means go for that if you’re aiming to disguise scars and dark spots, Double Wear has reached cult status thanks to its tenacity (I can verify that it survives everything from surfing to sobbing through weddings), skin tone adaptability (I counted 49 shades on the UK site) and creamy texture combined with a high level of coverage. Refreshingly it feels lightweight rather than clay-like, and while it has a matte finish, it’s by no means flat or cakey. If you need a reliable all-rounder in your kit, this is it.
3 / 10
Revlon Colorstay Makeup for Oily/ Combination Skin, £12.99
The closest thing to a Double Wear dupe on the high street, Colorstay is also a classic choice for those wishing to knock back redness and smooth out surface texture without suffocating skin. Oil-free, lush of texture and demi-matte, the colour range is impressive and duration of wear ain’t bad either, although you’ll need a concealer and setting powder as an additional insurance policy.
4 / 10
Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/ Concealer, £66
If carting around a separate concealer and foundation is just too much of a faff, and you have cash to splash, this budge-proof yet breathable base could well earn its keep in your cosmetics bag. Despite the full-coverage effect, it blends into skin beautifully without settling into fine lines or creases, and while I’d waiver that it’s unlikely to gloss over port wine stains and tattoos as promised, it stands up impressively to zits, rashes, pigmentation and general blotchiness. Buff well into skin with a sponge or brush to use as foundation or dot on where you need it for more targeted concealment. Just endeavour to get a tester before you purchase- for near-on £70 you need this to be a perfect fit for your skin (as you ideally do with all foundations but...bank manager rage if this is wrong).
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L’Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Foundation, £9.99
Back down to earth on the pricing front, don’t be put off by the thick texture of this foundation- its whipped consistency does have glide and give, especially if you work it with a brush, and the fragrance-free formula offers brilliant coverage that won’t flake or migrate during the day. Suitable for all skin types, while the finish is matte, it’s certainly not chalky, and if you’re keen to minimise the appearance of pores i n particular, the blurring effect will be most welcome.
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Laura Mercier Silk-Crème Oil-Free Photo Edition Foundation, £35
Speaking of blurring, makeup artist Laura Mercier knows a thing or two about perfecting skin for the camera, and this full-coverage foundation enhances skin while softening the appearance of imperfections- essentially cosmetic wizardry. This is probably the most sheer-textured of the lot, but smart silicones and intense colour pigments ensure a polished finish, while Mercier nails natural looking undertones. Set with a light powder over the t-zone if you’re prone to oiliness, but otherwise revel in the future of full-coverage (it's light and bright if Photo Edition is anything to go by).
7 / 10
NYX Total Control Drop Foundation, £14
Also on the futuristic side of foundation developments is this fluid customisable base. Tailor your coverage by choosing how many drops of this highly pigmented makeup you use, going sheer or denser where you need more evening out (four drops plus for full coverage). Featherweight of consistency and equally light on the wallet, the commendable shade range (24 convincing colours on offer) is also a major pro. Just one pointer: be sure to blend quickly as it does “set” shortly after contact with the skin.
8 / 10
Armani Power Fabric Foundation, £40
Given that this is Kim Kardashian’s foundation brand of choice, it should come as no surprise that this Armani base has full-coverage...um...covered. A newbie to the brand’s foundation family, if you like a bit of radiance with your daily base this should tick your boxes, and the fact that Lisa Eldridge opted for Armani to beautify a bride suffering from vitiligo in a recent video speaks of the brand’s prowess where highly pigmented yet natural-looking foundation is concerned. Power Fabric takes skin-perfection up a notch- think “real” looking skin in soft focus, with discolouration and other skin gripes artfully dealt with on application.
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Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, £34
If you find that full coverage foundations normally dim your natural “glow”, this resilient yet radiant liquid will be quite the game changer. I find that it tones down redness with an ease that is rare to come across (you don’t need to build it up), and the flexible polymer technology within the formula makes it work with you rather than against you throughout the day- it doesn’t transfer, melt or gather where it’s not wanted. It’s buttery to blend, requires hardly any product to do the job and somehow makes skin look naturally rested and healthy. Cheesy but true- it’s picked up a lot of compliments for me in the past.
10 / 10
Kat Von D Lock It Foundation, £27
Trust a tattoo artist to come up with something opaque and unshakeable- if you need a base to survive humidity, high winds and high coloured skin flare-ups, Lock-It has you on lockdown. Barely-there fans look away now- at 21% pigment means business when it comes to taking down blemishes, pigmentation, rosacea and light scars. It can feel and look heavy, so go easy, or mix with your moisturiser to loosen it up, but if a clear canvas is your aim, this is your weapon. Just be sure to blend, blend, blend, but once settled in, it’s going nowhere.