The Gloss Report: 12 foundations reviewed

25 March 2015
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The Gloss Report: Foundation

As the canvas for all products that follow, getting your base right sets the intention for the rest of your makeup look. One of the most crowded beauty categories on the market, the confusing range of formulations and finishes makes finding the perfect foundation for your skin (and lifestyle) akin to finding a needle in the haystack. In order to help you with your quest and narrow that search we set about testing some of the beauty world’s favourites. Click through to see which ones lived up to the hype…

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Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer

Price: £25

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Feedback: “Being blessed with skin particularly prone to lingering acne scars, I was intrigued by the idea of a foundation/ concealer hybrid, but in the end not entirely convinced. Clinique promises that this foundation won’t block my pores, and after five days of testing I haven’t had any issues. The coverage is heavier than I’m used to, but it encouraged me to be a little more dramatic with my makeup in general. The trickiest part is applying it - the oversized doe foot wand applicator feels a bit clumsy, and I need to use a brush to apply it evenly. It goes on darker then adapts to your skin tone, which means you have a few minutes panicking that you suddenly look tangerine!

The look is admittedly pretty flawless once it settled, and lasts well throughout the day. I even wore it for a run to test the claim that it is sweat proof and it didn’t budge. It also claims to be immune to humidity, so if you refuse to relinquish the foundation on holiday or in the gym, this could be the product for you. I however will probably save it for evenings and special occasions, and stick to a lighter foundation or CC cream for every day."

Score: 6/10

Reviewer: IB

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Max Factor Skin Luminizer

Price: £11.99

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Feedback: “My usual foundation is serum based, so any rivals that I test usually have a hard time in matching up on texture but this luminous option passed with flying colours. A rich and velvety-smooth formula, it was more dense in pigment than I expected and therefore gave impressive medium to high coverage; one pump is actually too much in my opinion, so use sparingly else you do look a little caked in product. Living up to its name, this foundation leaves a flawless, bright complexion behind with no oily sheen, just a hint of radiance. I did need to moisturise fully beforehand (as I always would anyway) and noticed it set slightly into any dry patches I had missed; but with the right application and just a touch here and there for this season's fresh faced trend I felt positively glowing. My only gripe would be that though my face felt fresh and light under its silky texture, to the touch my skin actually felt quite loaded with product. That said, I shouldn’t be touching my face anyway if I want to avoid breakouts - and the glowing formula was more than enough for me to want to wear it again.”

Reviewer: JJ

Score: 7/10

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Diorskin Nude Air Ultra-Fluid Serum Foundation

Price: £33

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Feedback: "I’ll put my hands up and admit it; I’m not very adventurous when it comes to foundations. After a trip to a Clinique counter at the age of 17, I found something that suited me and have re-purchased it ever since. I was slightly scared of this Dior foundation, due to its accompanying pipette (what’s wrong with a good old fashioned pump?). I dispensed a couple of drops on to the back of my hand and realised that its watery texture was spreading fast. Taking a bit on a buffer brush, I started applying it to my face and dispensed more watery drops as needed. I have to say, I wasn’t bowled over by the finished result. Created with the intention of creating a natural healthy glow, I felt that my skin looked slightly cakey, which is odd, considering it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. Unfortunately, I won’t be ditching my trusty 8-year go-to just yet."

Score: 4/10

Reviewer: HI

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Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup Instant Natural Radiance SPF 15

Price: £33

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Feedback: "I’ve always been a fan of Chanel face makeup - it’s lighter than air, smells heaven scent and blends into the complexion like a second skin - and this Vitalumiere foundation was of no exception. Thinner than any foundation I’ve used previously, the almost water-like consistency feels as if it would give no coverage at all. However, once applied my skin was left perfectly even and with a soft ‘I just look like this naturally’ glow. The added bump of SPF15 means this product is protecting as well as perfecting. I’m in the process of bulk buying a years supply."

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: KR

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Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation SPF 15 PA+++

Price: £35

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Feedback: “This foundation is perfect for those looking for a shot of natural radiance combined with soft coverage to help gently diffuse dullness and blur imperfections. I normally prefer not to wear foundation all that often due to the fact that some can feel quite heavy, but this particular cover-up was refreshingly hydrating with a creamy formula that just melted into my skin. The best way to give hungover skin a quick dose of get-up-and-go when it’s well, gone (other than a good night’s sleep of course!) suffice to say, I will definitely be using this again to cover up the evidence the morning-after-the-night-before.”

Reviewer: AM

Score: 10/10

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Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

Price: £32

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Feedback: “Nars’ latest foundation offering sits in the silicone, water based foundation category and promises 16 hour oil-free flawless coverage. The foundation gives a medium to full matte coverage (don’t let the ‘luminous’ in the title confuse you) and somehow succesfully manages to counteract redness and uneven skin tone without looking like you are wearing a heavy face of makeup. It slightly blew my mind how little you needed for how much coverage it gave and this definitely helps warrant the spendy price. Plus, for blemishes or dark circles you can easily build up the coverage without it looking cakey and consequently you definitely use much less concealer.

So far so good but the problem I personally had with it was it did tend to stick to any dry or flaky patches so for combination skin it isn't the perfect match. When I applied a primer underneath this did really help address this problem but I won’t ever be the person who wears primer everyday so I think for me this foundation will be saved for evenings and special occasions.”

Reviewer: EB

Score: 8/10

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Dior Skin Nude Natural Glow Radiant Fluid Foundation SPF15

Price: £31

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Feedback: "This is definitely the foundation I'd pick for a night out as it gives really good coverage and is particularly good for covering up any red patches. It creates a more even skin tone, and has a lovely matte finish that still looks natural. I loved that it's incredibly long lasting, yet lightweight - and the pump bottle is ideal as a small amount goes a long way."

Reviewer: SM

Score: 9/10

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Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10

Price: £27.50

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Feedback: "I loved the colour of this foundation. I actually got "iMatched" for it at an Estee Lauder counter and I was impressed by the number of shades that were available. It spread evenly, controlled shine well (I have a very shiny nose) and it lasted brilliantly during a night out. Great for all ethnicities."

Reviewer: AM

Score: 10/10

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Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation

Price: £10.99

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Feedback: "This gel foundation is radiance in a bottle. It sinks into the skin like a moisturiser, leaving it so soft to the touch it's like you're walking around post-luxurious facial. It leaves a natural finish, with light coverage but enough to even out the skin tone so you look awake and glowing, even in winter - perfect for anyone who suffers with dry skin. To get full marks it'd just need to cut out the need for concealer, but it requires so little I still love it more than any others I've tried."

Reviewer: JJ

Score: 9/10

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Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15

Price £27

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Feedback "This foundation DOESN'T BUDGE and in fact looks like real skin, which is always a bonus and actually pretty rare. It gives you quite a good glow as well (it's not totally matte but definitely holds oil slicks at bay). They have a great range of colours - I went for one that's a shade warmer than my skin tone and it gives me a bit of colour without looking orange. All in all I'd give it full marks and it's perfect for the party season when most of us go from office to bar, and repeat."

Reviewer AH

Score 10/10

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Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation

Price: £36

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Feedback: "This is the best foundation I've ever tried. It blends in really easily, enhancing and evening out my skin tone without it looking like it's been caked on. The texture is lightweight and silky, so it doesn't feel like you're wearing any make-up at all. It gives a light natural coverage, so is perfect for a day time look or for a bit of a boost come party time."

Reviewer: SM

Score: 9/10

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Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation

Price: £28

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Feedback: "This lightweight formula blends into skin really easily and despite feeling rather weightless, it still gives great coverage. This truly is an illuminating yet natural-looking foundation."

Reviewer: KB

Score: 9/10