March 21st 2017
With party season in full flow, we need our makeup to last as long as possible - starting with our base.
With many foundations claiming to last all day, all night or even 24 hours or more, how do we know which ones actually do what they say on the tin?
We've tried, tested and given our honest reviews on the latest long lasting foundations to hit the market.
Click through the gallery to see which bases were hits and which were misses...
The promise: "Five years in the making, this is a new generation of anti-ageing, full coverage foundation that morphs to your face in a weightless texture, for a perfect looking second skin that lasts all day."
We give it: 8/10
Review: "I'm not one for wearing foundation generally. In fact, I can't actually remember the last time I did. I had imagined something super heavy and pore-clogging but when giving this Charlotte Tilbury foundation a go, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not heavy, nor pore-clogging and covers up imperfections as needed. It has a medium coverage and is definitely buildable if you want something a little fuller. I was really impressed with the finished look of my skin. It was on the matte side but my skin just looked radiant and full of life. The foundation lasted really well but as my skin is on the drier side, I did notice it had clung to dry patches a little by the end of the day. The colour match was great and the packaging is truly stunning with Charlotte Tilbury's signature rose gold lid."
The promise: "Tom Ford's first full-coverage, waterproof formula conceals flaws as both a comfortable, breathable foundation with a naturally radiant finish and an effective concealer that hides noticeable imperfections, from darkness under the eyes to blemishes on the skin."
We give it: 7/10
Review: "As I don't often use foundation in my daily beauty routine, the idea of spending this much on one was a little daunting. If you love a high coverage foundation then this really does hit the high notes. It covers all imperfections, evens out your skin tone and gives a naturally radiant finish. It does feel quite heavy on the skin and for someone who isn’t used to this kind of coverage it could be too much. But if it’s longevity that you’re after then this really does deliver. It lasted all night long and helped keep my blush/bronzer in place a lot longer too. I’ve deducted a couple of points, but that’s just down to the high price and my personal preference for a slightly lighter coverage."
The promise: “The Extra Rich Cream foundation contains 12 different plant-derived ingredients that leave the skin moisturised and glowing. Light and long-lasting, the smooth finish makes it the perfect choice for beauty fans.”
We give it: 7/10
Review: “I have pretty dry skin, so finding a foundation that can hydrate rather than cling to dry patches as well as stay on all day feels like a near-impossible task. I have super fair skin and prefer a lighter coverage foundation - so as you can probably tell, when it comes to bases, I’m a little on the picky side. This foundation hits the mark on the shade for me, though with very few shades in the range, I’m not sure how likely this will be for everyone, especially those with darker skin tones.
“It’s a super thick, cream-based foundation and feels as though you’re putting a thick moisturiser with a tint, which is great for hydration. It leaves a dewy and radiant finish to the skin and blends in easily. The finish is really lovely, but unfortunately wasn’t as long-lasting as its claimed. As it's so easy to apply however, reapplication wasn’t much of a problem and with its beautiful packaging, it was a pleasure to take to the bathroom for a touch up. I’ve knocked a few points off for the hefty price tag and lacking longevity but if it’s hydration and light coverage you’re after, then give this a go. ”
The promise: “Full coverage, a modern matte finish and a flawless-looking complexion for all-night wear”
We give it: 8/10
Review: “This was a difficult one to review because while it delivered on all of its promises, I didn’t love the product - though I think that’s largely down to my skin type and personal preferences when it comes to base. I’ll explain; firstly, great packaging - very edgy and oh so Urban Decay. Secondly, an impressive shade range, from the very fair to the very not and everything in between, it’s covered, and covered very well thanks to the super high pigment (you really do not need much so don’t be put off by the price). Importantly, it is a matte finish - though I see why they call it ‘modern’ as it’s not cakey, more of a light airbrush which slightly flattens your skin. But therein lies the problem - I don’t wear a heavy foundation and like my base to ‘glow’, so applying this felt quite unnatural both for me and in the effect it gave. That said, it gave great coverage (far better than my usual sheer and glowy choice) and it did indeed last all night - I barely needed a concealer top-up after a long day and after-work drinks. A word of warning, though; the matte effect and texture is unlikely to be your friend if you have dry skin like me - though it looked fine to the naked eye, to the touch it felt dry and a little powdery. Yes, it reduced shine, but also glow - and that’s something I don’t want to lose. Oily skins and matte fans will love it; personally, I think I’ll save it for those long summer nights as I know it won’t melt away.”
The promise: "An ultra lightweight formula which mimics the reflective glow of just lit candles."
We give it: 10/10
Review: "Laura Mercier is my absolute number one brand for foundation. It always looks incredible, gives excellent coverage, feels weightless on the face and catches the light so perfectly it makes my friends cry with envy over my skin (if only they knew…!).
"The Candleglow Soft Luminous foundation is an incredibly soft, creamy liquid that feels feather-light on the skin and with 24 different shades to choose from, you will have no difficulty in finding the perfect match.
"I had my doubts that this foundation would give the look of a candle-lit glow, but Laura Mercier really has achieved this. The effect is beautifully dewy. I have always felt I had quite oily skin, but that's really not an issue with Laura Mercier’s Candleglow foundation. The effect is long lasting and can easily take me from day through to night.
"If you don’t believe you have found the right foundation for you yet, then I urge you to try this. It's particularly eye-catching during the colder months of the year as it adds a real glow to your skin."
The promise: "Looks and feels naturally flawless, providing up to 24-hours wear, withstanding heat, sweat, transfer and touch."
We give it: 7/10
Review: "I was a non-believer in foundation for a very long time - so much so that I didn’t start wearing it until three years ago. Before then, the foundations within my budget (which was practically non-existent) always felt thick and unnatural, never quite matched the colour of my skin, and made my face feel caked and suffocated. Maybelline’s SuperStay 24H Foundation however, is a good example of a new wave of beauty brands closing the gap between budget and premium.
"The texture of this foundation is smooth, creamy and consistent; it's a little thicker than the foundation I am used to, but not in a way that makes it too dense to wear. I attained even coverage over areas of uneven skin tone without feeling like it had been spread on with a palette knife. The thickness and slight matte-ness of the foundation prevent the effect from being as flawless as with other foundations, but the overall look is still very good.
"Colour-wise, it was a little tricky finding the right one to best match my skin tone, but with only seven shades to choose from, there is always going to be a marginal difference for some people. No matter - a bit of blending and bronzing in the right areas and the colour difference was hardly noticeable.
"However, I defy any foundation that promises to remain put for 24 hours to actually do so without transferring on to my hands, clothes, phone or accompanying boyfriend or dissipate with the normal grease and grime of a working day. Maybelline is over-egging its 24-hour benefits here a little - unless they mean for me to lie very still with my head taped down for 24 hours. Nevertheless, the overall wear is pleasingly good and as long-lasting as any foundation is ever going to be on my face.
"If you are looking for budget foundation with a natural look, then I recommend Maybelline’s SuperStay™ 24HR Foundation."
The promise: "Instant coverage in a dot"
We give it: 9/10
"I am not a foundation lover, rather preferring a lightweight bb cream as I hate to feel anything heavy on my skin - and the words 'full coverage' foundation, give me the idea that it's going to be thick and cover my natural skin tone. This Marc Jacobs foundation however, is something rather special. Not only is it incredibly lightweight (big tick for me), it is also oil-free so doesn't leave you feeling as though you have rubbed a heavy or greasy foundation into every pore. The special magic behind this foundation is that you only need one 'dot' to cover the whole face - it's a complete full, skin-perfecting coverage and contains a whole lot of pigment. What I also loved is that it didn't slide off during the day and my skin was still as fresh by 3pm as it was that morning. It effortlessly blends leaving a matte finish, but my only negative point would be that it was a little tricky with my dry skin as it could make it look a little flakey. I would need greater hydration from my moisturiser when using this foundation for a more natural and even finish."
The promise: "A foundation stick with the coverage of a concealer."
We give it: 5/10
Review: "It has to be said I am a dyed in the wool Hourglass fan. I absolutely adore their shimmery palettes and sumptuous powders. If someone [husband] should, er, be reading this, I’d love the Ambient Lighting Blush pleasethankyouverymuch. But back to the product in question. This latest Hourglass vanish complexion stick aims to bridge the gap between a concealer and a foundation with double the amount of pigment to give full coverage. Furthermore, its triangular shape is designed to give you a more accurate application. My verdict? I’m not sure this really works for me! My initial thought was to use it as a concealer and there is no question that the coverage is full (very full!), but it doesn’t feel as though it would last very long if I used it as foundation stick and (for me) too heavy as a straightforward concealer under eye, so it’s not really one thing or the other. My skin (at this time of year) is also verging on the drier end, so this would be better for oily skin types.
The promise: “A natural-looking and long-wearing foundation with SPF.”
We give it: 7/10
Review: “I’m not usually a fan of liquid foundation, on the assumption that it will mean adding oil and grease to my already combination/oily skin. Not so with this Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation, however, which is light, with good coverage, while being distinctly non-greasy. It did take some perseverance to achieve an even finish, which I actually found worked best with my hands - sometimes skin-on-skin just can’t be beaten! My only complaint is that throughout the day it did start to dry out my skin a little, which could be part pregnancy hormones, part winter chill and office heating. Nonetheless, I did find myself reapplying during the day to smooth out the dry patches. Not sure I’m converted to liquid foundation just yet, but when I’m ready, this one will certainly be a contender.”
The promise: “Life-proof foundation for a naturally flawless complexion”
We give it: 8/10
Review: “My preference for a foundation is always lightweight and breathable. Personally, if I can feel the foundation sitting on my skin and creeping into my wrinkles, it hasn’t done its job. I was therefore pleasantly surprised by this No.7 Stay Perfect Foundation. This is my first time with the No.7 range and I found it easy to apply (with my fingertips as opposed to a sponge or brush), it gave a good even coverage and had a nice silky consistency. The other advantage for ol’ Alabaster Alecka is that it was a great match for my pale skin. I tried both 'Calico' (not the most glamorous name, it has to be said) and 'Cool Vanilla' and both seemed to suit my ghostly tones. The only point I am inherently skeptical about is its claims to last 'up to 24 hours'. Who came up with this idea that we would want to be plastered with makeup for [up to] 24 hours? I’m not sure any foundation can actually last this long, not even one from our beloved Boots, but to be fair, it would definitely give it a go. Having said all this, I’ll probably wake up on Boxing Day with a full face of makeup, perfectly intact from the night before...Now that IS “life proof”.”
The promise: “Apply this foundation in the morning and you're flawless outdoors, at work and after-hours—and we can prove it.”
We give it: 9/10
Review: “The hydrating element of this foundation might imply that the formula is tailored to dry skins, but my combination skin with oily patches fared well with this Smashbox base- it kept T-zone shine and grease at bay, all day long. Coverage wise it’s buildable, covering redness, and the shade and texture looked very ‘skinny’, which is the aim of the game really. The foundation blended out quickly and smoothly, and the fact that it’s fragrance-free offered peace of mind given that I was recovering from an allergic skin reaction and really didn’t want to go back there. My only qualm is that it’s not quite as sweat or exercise-proof as promised- it started wearing off mid-gym session, but then working out in makeup isn’t generally to be advised anyway. All in all, a flattering, if a tad expensive, buy with something for a good range of skintones.”
The promise: “Creamy and pigmented, it’s the only long-wear liquid formula we can count on to create a perfect canvas.”
We give it: 8/10
Review: “I’ll be honest - I’ve never worn a long-wear foundation in my life. I don’t like the idea of something that gives so much sticky coverage that it would last from the moment you put your underwear on in the morning right through to the last cotton wool pad at night. I associate ‘long wear’ with something very cakey and thick. However I really was pleasantly surprised with this Kat Von D foundation - since I have freckles I traditionally don’t apply foundation everywhere as I feel I look like I’m wearing a mask, so I used a bit mostly around the areas I feel I need more coverage (the nose, chin, a touch on the forehead) and blended it into the rest of my face. It gives a very smooth but quite invisible coverage, with a velvety finish and the colour (45 Light in case you wondered) was a perfect match. Did it last all day? I didn’t have to retouch my makeup at all apart from blusher and bronzer.”
The promise: "A waterproof formula that lasts for 24 hours and can be used as a foundation or concealer."
We give it: 8/10
Review: “As far as shade range goes, MAC never disappoints. And so when the prospect of waterproof longevity came to play with this particular 16 shade range, I was more than willing to put it to the test. First impressions? A slightly thicker texture than I’m used to, but that’s to be expected considering the added makeup moxy that this more heavyweight base promises. Easy to blend, it distributes smoothly and evenly over areas of slight unevenness and doesn’t look cakey in finish either. It was a little too heavy however to use under my eyes, but it did act as a useful concealer when it came to some old spot scars of mine. Did it last? It did indeed, through a full day and night and for the most part, through water too. A little too thick for me to wear comfortably on the regular, I’d probably reserve it for weddings or late nighters out, but when those times do come, this is the base I’ll depend on.”
The promise: “An oil-free gel foundation with an ultra lightweight, refreshing texture. The buildable formula provides adjustable coverage while light-reflecting pigments ease the appearance of imperfections for a naturally flawless finish.”
We give it: 8/10
Review: "That’s a big list of promises and I can vouch for the fact that it delivers on every one. I first came across this product a few weeks ago when Burberry’s Wendy Rowe recommended it in her piece for Get The Gloss on anti-ageing make-up, which was all the endorsement I needed from the pioneer of the ‘no makeup makeup look.’ The cream is super lightweight with 60 per cent water as well as aloe leaf and camellia sinensis extract help moisturise. The formulation feels fine and is buildable without looking in the least bit cakey.
"Even under the scrutiny of a magnifying mirror in daylight, my skin looked like skin but with imperfections blurred, an effect that lasted well all day. My skin felt and looked plumped and hydrated. Although it’s a foundation with moisture at its heart, it still provides a budge-proof base for makeup, possibly because it’s entirely oil-free. Given that my priority is anti-aging, this is worth the £60 price tag - a little goes a long way and makes whatever makeup you are wearing look instantly better. The 14 shades cover pale nudes through to olive and darker skin tones making this wonder pot score on the inclusivity front too."
The promise: "Instant perfect coverage that feels extra comfortable and lasts all day."
We give it: 7/10
Review: “For less than a tenner, this really was a pleasant surprise for my dry and not-so-youthful skin. It contains something called ‘comfort serum’ (no me neither) and does indeed feel more like a skincare product. It weathered my bike ride to work and kept me protected with SPF20 and seemed to hold in moisture for most of the day. The coverage was thorough and pretty dewy and it stayed - although I needed to reapply again when I went out in the evening. Scrutinising it closely in my bathroom mirror in bright sunlight, I noticed that it did leave a powderiness after a couple of hours, which emphasised wrinkles. For younger skins, this is a budget no brainer. However, for me, I’d rather spend more for that all important blur and a product that is paraben free. But if I ever need an emergency on-the-go purchase, this would be it.”