LUMINOUS SILK FOUNDATION by Giorgio Armani
An iconic product and my favourite foundation of all time: Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation has a reputation for being one of the best, and it truly deserves that title. With a natural radiant finish, it allows the skin to look and feel hydrated, and it lasts beautifully throughout the day. You can layer other products on top of it seamlessly, whether they’re cream, liquid or powder, and the formula offers a medium, buildable coverage. When applied with a brush, I personally don’t believe you get the best out of the product. However, with a damp beauty sponge you retain and add moisture, allowing the product to look as radiant and smooth as possible. Having combination skin myself, and once having more normal-to-dry skin, I think this foundation works for all skin types.
My Shade: 3 and 4 mixed (one pump of each).
SHEER GLOW FOUNDATION
Another industry-leading foundation: The NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is often said to be similar in formulation to Armani’s Luminous Silk with their radiant finishes and medium coverage. And while there are definite similarities, I don’t agree with the statement that one can be switched out for the other…
As someone with combination skin, I feel as though I can safely say that Sheer Glow works best for people with a dry skin type. While this foundation looks stunning upon application, with a super smooth and naturally luminous finish, it unfortunately broke up fairly badly across my forehead and chin, which are my most oily areas. On my cheeks, which are my most dry areas, it continued to look wonderful. So if you have dry skin, this is a great foundation to have in your collection. If you have combination or more oily skin, Luminous Silk is your best bet as I’ve never known this to break up on me, even on really hot days.
Also, bizarrely, Sheer Glow is the only foundation in the NARS range that requires you to buy a pump separately. While this is no big deal in reality, it’s worth considering.
My Shade: Gobi.
BACKSTAGE FACE & BODY FOUNDATION by Dior Beauty
If you’re after a foundation that allows your skin to truly look like you’re not wearing any makeup, but that evens out your complexion and adds some coverage, then the Dior Beauty Backstage Face & Body Foundation is a must-have. With a light-to-medium, buildable coverage, it’s my go-to for ‘no-makeup makeup’ days. The foundation layers beautifully, never feeling or looking thick on the skin. It has a gentle satin finish and lasts well throughout the day. I find that powder products, such as bronzers, blushes and highlighters, layer on top of this foundation better than cream or liquid alternatives.
My Shade: 0W.
AMBIENT SOFT GLOW FOUNDATION by Hourglass
One of my favourite foundations of all time: The Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation looks beautiful and silky on the skin with a medium-to-full coverage finish. One pump is plenty, and allows the skin to look even, covered and radiant without ever looking thick or dry. Compared to other foundations which are on the more full-coverage end of the spectrum, this is a hydrating and lightweight formula that is packed with skincare ingredients such as White Tea Extract and Vitamin E, which are both known for their anti-inflammatory and protective properties. The formula is long-wearing, with your skin looking more glowy throughout the day. If you’re after a foundation that has a radiant finish but with better oil control, the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation may be better for you. However, if you have dry skin, or are after that lit-from-within glow, the Ambient Soft Glow Foundation is a must-have product. It layers other products on top of it beautifully, and I know for certain it will remain in my makeup collection for years to come.
My Shade: 2.
NATURAL RADIANT LONGWEAR FOUNDATION by NARS
The NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation is my go-to for nights out or when I have a few breakouts that I want to cover effectively and fast. With a super smooth and radiant finish, this is a full-coverage foundation that requires a good shake before applying two-to-three pumps onto well moisturised skin. As a full-coverage foundation, it naturally has a higher viscosity as it contains more pigment. This also means it sets quicker on the skin, so by having your skin well moisturised and using a damp beauty sponge, application is seamless and provides a smooth and even layer of product that does not look thick or cakey, and has a gentle luminous finish. While this offers 16-hour wear, it does break-up the teeniest amount on my chin after a few hours, but nothing that anybody would notice, especially in the dark atmosphere of the bars on a night out. However, this isn’t a complaint that I’ve heard anybody else who has reviewed this foundation make, so it could just be my skin. Regardless, it’s still one of my favourites.
My Shade: Gobi.
FLAWLESS FINISH ULTRA-LONGWEAR FOUNDATION by Laura Mercier
Another full-coverage foundation, but this time with a matte finish. This foundation doesn’t feel or look dry on the skin, and lasts really well throughout the day. With a smooth finish, it covers breakouts and hyperpigmentation with ease, but like other full-coverage foundations it requires your skin to be well moisturised and a damp beauty sponge for the best application. It’s brilliant for hots days or for nights out – but, because it has a matte finish, it can look a little flat on the skin. However, if you have oily skin, it’s a great option, and you can add plenty of luminous products on top to achieve that glow while having the benefit of a matte finish for your t-zone.
My Shade: 1W1.
DIOR PRESTIGE LE MICRO-FLUIDE TEINT DE ROSE FOUNDATION by Dior Beauty
Another beautiful medium-to-full coverage foundation that stays looking amazing throughout the day. With an eye-watering price tag, this Dior foundation is packed full of skin-loving ingredients and a pearlescent quality to add as much natural radiance to the skin as possible. With an ultra-creamy consistency, it surprisingly doesn’t look thick or cakey whatsoever, and is my Mum and Nan’s go-to foundation. Personally, do I believe you have to own a £120 foundation to achieve brilliant results? No, I don’t. You can get beautiful foundations that perform fantastically for a much more affordable price. However, if you’re wanting to splurge on something super luxurious, this is a great product to choose. My favourite way to apply the Prestige Foundation is with a damp beauty sponge. This will give you the smoothest application and add an element of extra hydration to your skin. If you’d like to see my full review of this formula you can do so right now by reading by my article Review: Dior Prestige Le Micro-Fluide Teint de Rose Foundation.
My Shade: 0N Neutral.
FLAWLESS FINISH ULTRA-LONGWEAR CONCEALER by Laura Mercier
I personally think that base makeup looks the best when you apply a fine layer of liquid concealer over the top of your foundation. As concealer contains more pigment, it’s naturally more smooth than foundation, and with an abundance of creamy and luminous concealers available to choose from, this technique creates a beautiful, seamless and well-covered canvas that never looks thick or cakey. I don’t have the best skin, but I always get compliments when I use this method – and on days when I do this and skip my eye makeup altogether, I regularly get asked whether I’m wearing any makeup at all.
The Flawless Finish Ultra-Longwear Concealer is my go-to, and has been for years now. With a good amount of coverage and a luminous finish, it allows my complexion to look its best and make me feel super confident in my skin.
My Shade: 0.5N (for all over).
RADIANT CREAMY CONCEALER by NARS
The Radiant Creamy Concealer is one of the beauty industry’s most well-known and loved products. With a slightly mousse-like texture, it offers coverage, radiance and comes in an array of shades. It works amazingly on all skin types, however, if you have particularly dry skin, you may prefer the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer instead as it’s slightly more fluid in consistency.
NARS often promote the Radiant Creamy Concealer as multi-purpose. Given it’s large shade range, covering different depths and undertones, you can play around with highlighting shades as well as bronzing and contouring shades too. My closest and go-to shade is a smidgen too light for me as an all-over concealer, so I use it exclusively as a brightening concealer.
My Shade: Chantilly (for brightening).
SOFT MATTE COMPLETE CONCEALER by NARS
A holy grail product of mine: The Soft Matte Complete Concealer is my go-to for covering breakouts. With an intensely high-pigment and matte formula, the smallest amount covers spots no matter now inflamed they look. My favourite way to apply the product is by taking a small amount on a cotton bud, tapping the excess off on the back of my hand. With whatever’s left, using the cotton bud I gently press the product onto any area that needs extra coverage. It’s a brilliant way of obtaining maximum coverage with the smallest amount of product, and stops your base makeup from ever looking thick or uneven. Again, like the Radiant Creamy Concealer, my closest match is a little too fair for me, so I have to be careful to use just the smallest amount for an undetectable finish.
My Shade: Chantilly (for spot covering).
BACKSTAGE FACE & BODY FLASH PERFECTOR CONCEALER by Dior Beauty
With a more fluid consistency, the Backstage Concealer by Dior Beauty is a great option when applying the ‘concealer over foundation’ method I explained before. With a good amount of coverage, a little goes a long way and the formula offers a gentle luminous finish that looks very natural on the skin. However, the shade I picked up was much lighter than I expected it to be, so if you’re after an all-over concealer that matches your foundation rather than a brightening/highlighting concealer, just be careful when picking out your shade. It may be best going in-store to swatch, as I chose mine online, which is why I ended up with a much lighter shade than I needed.
My Shade: 0W (for under-eye brightening).
VANISH AIRBRUSH CONCEALER by Hourglass
The Vanish Airbrush Concealer is a beautiful full-coverage concealer that really smooths the skin and maintains radiance too. The formula is similar to that of the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion concealer (if not a little more creamy) and is brilliant for applying all over the face to achieve that ‘airbrushed’ finish to your makeup. I also love this product for under the eyes as a tiny amount goes a long way and never looks dry either.
My Shade: Cotton.