The “natural” look may well be a prevailing beauty aesthetic, but for all of our barefaced talk, us Brits can’t get enough of foundation. According to a survey of 2000 women by Look Fantastic , foundation was the one item of makeup that women generally wouldn’t leave the house without, and it seems that increasingly we can’t get enough of swanky bases- sales of prestige foundation have risen by 11 per cent in the past year according to British consumer market research analyst the NPD Group. This puts the UK foundation market at a worth of a whopping £206 million, with experts citing the surge of “foundations with benefits” as a key contributor to surging sales- moisturising foundations accounted for 50 per cent of growth in the last 12 months, and oil-control lines nudged things up by 25 per cent. Director of NPD UK Beauty June Jenson relates the spike to increased customer demand for longevity and staying power combined with innovative formulas:
“Women are seeking products with added benefits. This presents an exciting opportunity for brands who we expect will be enhancing their current long-wear technology, whilst developing new textures and light-weight formulations.”
Long-lasting makeup that doesn’t look or apply like clay? The brand labcoats are already on it. Here’s six summer bases with benefits…
The watery one
We say watery in the best sense- what could be fresher than an ultra-fluid formula comprised of a plumping, cooling gel based hyaluronic acid complex and flexible polymer wrapped pigments that melt into skin rather than settling on it? That’s the USP of the new addition to Estée Lauder’s Double Wear dynasty - deep breath- Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF 30, £32.50.
Traditional Double Wear devotees may get a shock on initial use- unlike the original, it rushes out of the glass jar at alarming speed- go easy. Otherwise, you’ve got the hallmarks of Double Wear in the large shade range (33) and stick-around-ability, although as you’d expect the coverage is more sheer than the high coverage bestseller. The gel element does mean that you can build up the colour intensity without it going ‘mask’-like, however, and I was surprised to find that it’s oil-free, as on initial contact it feels quick slick. This soon settles down to a more radiant finish than the classic Double Wear, and it looks impressively natural. That SPF whack is a selling point too, but you’ll have to wait until July to dip your brush in.
The powdery one
Another foundation throwback, the BareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15 , £26.50, is the Marmite of the makeup world in terms of texture, but the fact that sales of base powder have shot up by 41 per cent in the past year, not to mention that one BareMinerals Original Foundation is sold every three seconds globally, suggests that more and more of us are lightening up and going ‘dry’. When you think of powder foundation, BareMinerals immediately springs to mind, which is just as well considering that the brand has just expanded its Original Foundation shade range to 30 colours. If you love the five-ingredient mineral formula already, you may just discover a closer match to previously, and if you’re yet to be convinced perhaps a bang-on shade will swing you. If you like foundation to feel featherlight to the extent that you forget it’s there, this is the one, but try before you buy to make sure you’re happy with the texture and know how to blend it to achieve coverage where you need it- this is one product where a bit on-counter beauty expertise goes far. See my ‘no makeup’ masterclass here for tips.
The classy one
If three’s a trend, we declare that modern takes on iconic makeup staples are having a moment. See above, and also Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Le Cushion , £40, which launched at the end of April ready for the summer season. Twenty five years younger than its Touche Éclat older sister, Le Cushion is a clicky golden compact that has all of the glamour of the original pen, in light-reflective foundation form.
Given the radiance-giving properties of the original, this base sticks to the script- think subtle golden hued particles and plant oils- this isn’t the foundation for you if a matte-finish is a must. If, on the other hand, you crave an even summer glow and have previously wished you could paint a Touche Éclat pen all over, this cushion will become a handbag hero (do get it out in public- it would be a shame not to).
The freckle friendly one
If you’re a foundation phobe but would like a bit of evening out, dewiness and barely-there colour (it’s oh so sheer), Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Cushion Compact SPF 35 , £36, could tickle your fancy. A little like a lingerie slip, it applies easily and gives you base coverage while allowing freckles and your natural skin tone to shine through. The operative word is shine if you’re in the oily skin camp- Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15, £34, would be a better bet if you’re concerned about midday grease. For dry skin requiring a light summertime boost however, this portable foundation is a good find if you can afford it, and the skincare benefits are a compelling plus- think free radical fighting antioxidants with a shot of caffeine for energy. It does lose out as far as longevity goes, but as a temporary enhancer that takes seconds to apply (according to Look Fantastic 92% of us apply our makeup in a rush), it’s a handy helper.
The clever one
Clinique BIY™ Blend it Yourself Pigment Drop s, £25, doesn’t really qualify as a foundation per se, rather a customisable skin enhancer that serves your day to day needs by way of joining forces with your moisturiser. Add a drop to your day cream for sheer coverage, two for medium coverage and three for a more full coverage effect, and alter the finish depending on your moisturiser of choice- a juicy, creamy moisturiser will mingle with the pigment drops to result in a more luminous base, a matte moisturiser will create a velvety texture. The shade range runs from pale to deep, the bottle will last for yonks and for gym bags and business trips, it simplifies your get-ready routine and beauty kit no end. Given the summer brief, it does come off rather light even if you’re using multiple drops, so be aware that you’ll need a more heavy duty concealer to cover blemishes and dark spots. Otherwise, a great option for tailoring your desired foundation effect to your day (one drop for beach, three drops for boardroom), and the fragrance-free formula and wide scope of shades means that all skins can benefit from a little BIY™.
The high street one
High street foundations aren’t exactly known for their diverse shade ranges, despite lobbying from industry experts, customers, the media and celebrities alike, but brands such as 3ina are thankfully bringing a more inclusive shade palette to the £20 and under beauty market. 3ina 3 in 1 Foundation , £15.95, launched six new shades to sit alongside the original 18 at the end of May, and as well as spot-on undertones (the South-East Asians among you are particularly well served), the formula offers lovely creamy coverage that sets to a demi-matte finish and doesn’t budge. It’s not quite at Double Wear original levels of waterproof, but it’s not too far off, and the fact that it offers a little environmental protection by way of antioxidant vitamin C and SPF 14 is a bonus.
Want to make sure your foundation doesn’t go AWOL in the summer heat? Check our edit of the best makeup fixing and setting sprays
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