Disclaimer: I'm a real foundation fan. So much so that they're possibly the most tried-and-tested products that I own. No matter the brand, formulation or price point, when a new one lands on my desk, I always make sure I take it home to try it out. After all, you never know when you're going to discover a new favourite. From innovative foundation sticks and classic liquid bases to sheer coverage to high pigment, I've pretty much got a foundation for every occasion.
Yet despite being considered a makeup-bag staple, I've noticed a shift in the way both makeup artists and my fashion friends are approaching their skin makeup: High-coverage, matte foundations are undoubtedly a product of the past when it comes to most of our everyday beauty routines. In fact, Cult Beauty reported that searches for full-coverage foundation have dropped by 7% since the beginning of the year. Yes—it seems that many girls are shunning foundation entirely in favour of a new alternative.
It turns out that 2019 is the year of the skin tint, and it might just be killing off foundation entirely. Of course, lightweight base products aren't an entirely new thing. When Glossier launched back in 2014, its Perfecting Skin Tint (£20) was part of the brand's initial four-product lineup and was met with some pretty mixed messages.
In line with the brand's "skin first, makeup second" ethos, it made total sense that Glossier would forgo foundation in favour of a product that they describe as having "an imperceptible wash of colour" (if you ask me, I'd say it has little to no coverage). But while some people raved about the products skin-like finish, others were left decidedly underwhelmed with the lack of visible coverage.
Basically, if you don't naturally have the skin of a supermodel (hello!), are skin tints really worth it?
Well, in a word, yes. Despite being dubious about what a skin tint could really offer my complexion (particularly when I often look for products that can even out pigmentation and scarring caused by acne), I've found that the new wave of foundation alternatives really do deliver in terms of improving radiance, tone and texture.
Many of the skin tints that have landed on my desk over the past few months actually contain skincare benefits (meaning that they'll actually improve your skin with continued use) and have been formulated so that they can be worn alongside your other makeup products. Ideal if you do want to layer in concealers or a more traditional foundation in the areas that you want a bit more coverage.
Keep scrolling to shop the 10 best alternatives to foundation I've discovered in 2019 so far.
This gel-textured skin tint is a new launch from my favourite Scandi skincare brand this year. I was already a big fan of its tinted serum, but this pot provides slightly more coverage. I've found that applying it with my fingers gives a dewy, natural-skin look, but you can layer it up by applying with a sponge or brush too.
I discovered this innovative foundation alternative while testing out the best tinted moisturisers and couldn't have been more impressed. As the name suggests, it's an oil, but it genuinely feels like you aren't wearing anything on your skin. This does a great job of diminishing redness, minimising the appearance of blemishes and generally evening out your skin tone—without any hint of caking or creasing.
While this won't hide anything that you're hoping to cover, this luxurious tinted moisturiser can't be rivalled when it comes to glow. It blurs over fine lines and pores to deliver a lit-from-within radiance that will make it look like you do nothing but guzzle buckets of water all day.
Enriched with apricot, coconut and shea butter, this refreshing skin tint really delivers on that no-makeup makeup base. It feels so nourishing on the skin and is my go-to product on days that my complexion looks totally lacklustre. Bonus: It doubles up pretty well as a glowy primer if you want to layer foundation on top.
In terms of coverage, this alternative is probably the most foundation-like of the bunch. In fact, the whipped formula can be built up to a medium coverage. Particularly good for dry or more mature skin types, this is fortified with an advanced form of hyaluronic acid to really plump and firm the skin and pearlescent pigments to improve the brightness of your complexion. Even my oily skin loves this stuff.
Most well known for its cult cleanser rather than its makeup offering, Liz Earle is a brand that's totally beloved for skincare. It's no surprise then that this skin tint feels exactly like a moisturiser on the skin, but does an equally good job of imparting a natural dewiness to even the most tired-looking complexions.
Taking a skin-first approach, this tinted moisturiser from Lancôme promises to contain skincare that will continue working on your complexion even after you've washed it off. While I don't know about that, I do know that it has a beautiful, water-like texture that makes my skin look healthier.
One of the lightest formulations for coverage, Glossier re-released its skin tints last year to increase its offering of shades, but honestly, it's so sheer that you really don't have to be too precise with the hue you pick. If you're having a good skin day, you really can't go wrong with how smooth and toned this makes your skin look.
This is very similar to one of my favourite tinted moisturisers (the It Cosmetics CC Cream, £31), but with a more satin finish and for a third of the price. Bonus points go to the fact that it's noncomedogenic so it won't clog your pores if you're prone to spots.
This stuff is truly incredible. Containing honey extract and shea butter, it's really rich and hydrating, and can be worn as just a hint of coverage or really layered up for a silky, even complexion. I love the handy stick format and the fact that it doubles up as a pretty decent concealer.