Few things in life make me happier than good skin days. Waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror and being met with a flawless, glowing complexion sparks a feeling that can only be described as pure elation. The luxury of not having to slather my face in a greasy layer of pore-clogging foundation is the sort of stuff skin dreams are made of. But the reality is, such days are rare. Most of the time, I wake up to a drab complexion that features pigmentation, discolouration and the remnants of post-breakout scarring, and the only thing I can think about is how to cover it all up.
This is where my problem lies. I have spent my life desperately craving the results that a layer of glowy foundation promises, but simultaneously resenting the stuff. First of all, I like my skin to feel clean, and the heavy, rich sensation of foundation leaves my face feeling far from fresh. More pressingly, however, my main gripe with foundation is that more often than not, it makes my congested, spot-prone complexion look significantly worse for wear. Just looking at a bottle of full-coverage foundation makes me want to run to the bathroom to scrub my face silly.
Because of this love/hate relationship that I know so many of us have, I have mostly stayed away from foundation, instead opting for lightweight tinted moisturisers that prove more sympathetic to my skin’s needs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave more. For years I have been praying for a product that combines the kind-to-skin nature of a tinted moisturiser with the perfecting qualities of a foundation. And finally, it seems, my prayers have been answered.
Enter skincare foundations. Formulated with some of the most skin-loving ingredients out there, this new era of foundation means we can reap the perfecting qualities, without the risk of complexion upset. And the best bit is, the very act of combining the pros of both skincare and makeup means the finishes are seamless and more natural, too. So, despite the fact I am a self-proclaimed foundation-hater, keep scrolling for the formulas that I’m actually kind of loving.
If you're after a lightweight foundation that tackles dullness and discolouration, look no further. Not only does this new formula from Givenchy give skin next-level luminosity thanks to hydrating glycerine and a hefty dose of water, but it also contains four shades of colour-correcting pigment to even out tone. The result? Natural-looking coverage that leaves skin feeling hydrated and nourished without greasiness.
Proving that high-coverage foundations don't have to be heavy and tacky, this formula veils skin with a lightweight, velvety finish. It leaves skin looking airbrushed and does a nifty job as disguising my giant pores. Not only does it contain ingredients that allow the skin to breathe, but it also contains pre and probiotics to help keep the skin barrier healthy and strong.
Dewy skin-lovers, this one's for you. In all honesty, I have never, in all of my time as a beauty journalist, come across a foundation this hydrating. The coverage is still relatively full, but deeply nourishing marula oil helps deliver a natural-looking glow that, if you ask me, goes unrivalled.
For days when my skin is behaving itself a little more than normal, this buildable formula is becoming my go-to. It contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to plump and brighten, and is lightweight enough to leave my skin peeping through underneath.
If you have had the joy of experiencing It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, you'll know that It Cosmetics know a thing or two about creating great skin-loving bases. However, if you prefer your base to be a little lighter and more buildable, this long-lasting foundation could be better for you. Containing aloe vera extract combined with vitamins E and B5, it delivers a radiant finish without leaving skin with a tell-tale sheen.
This cult foundation has been on my radar for years, but I never really gave it enough airtime. Not only does the formula offer up impressive coverage that doesn't settle in fine lines, it is also infused with rose hip extract to boost glow, tackle blemishes and blur pores in the longterm.
Few brands nail skincare-infused makeup quite like Shiseido. With the Synchro Skin Concealer already a hot favourite amongst beauty editors, this foundation makes for the perfect accompaniment. The oil-free formula makes it great for those with breakout-prone complexions, and Shisedio's special technology has it working in tandem with skin to keep things look fresh all day long.
Weirdly, it took me a really long time to try this. Since it launched, I have heard beauty editors and experts raving about its flawless, natural-looking finish, but I didn't pick up a tube until a few weeks ago. Out of all of the new foundations in my collection, this is by far my most-used. Infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid and glycerine, the finish is lightweight, radiant and almost impossibly natural-looking. Plus, it's proved seriously hydrating for my stressed-out winter skin.
While most products on this list lean further towards foundation, this stuff is skincare first, foundation second. It contains neurophroline to help combat the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. It delivers a blendable, sheer finish that leaves skin looking good long after you've taken it off.
I have heard many U.S. beauty buffs rave about this stuff and I have finally ordered a bottle to try for myself. From what I have seen, it delivers a sheer, glowing coverage that smooths and blurs pores. A hefty dose of botanical extracts and actives help keep skin healthy and happy. I can't wait for it to arrive!
Despite the fact this formula is called a skin tint, I'd definitely consider it a foundation. Sure, it's very lightweight and sheer, but it can be built up to provide some impressive coverage. It contains a bunch of skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, but the best inclusion is butterfly bush flower extract, which helps to defend against skin-ageing blue light pollution from our screens. It's been my WFH sidekick.
When I first tried this on the back of my hand, it felt slightly too creamy to be something that promised a second-skin finish. But after applying it to my face, I fell in love. It sinks into the skin, taking the excess luminosity and shininess with it to leave a suitably radiant (but not oily-looking) complexion. Natural extracts help to soothe, calm and hydrate the skin while the pigment is busy delivering an airbrushed finish.
Besides the fact this is quite possibly the chicest foundation bottle in existence, the formula is a total winner, too. It blends like butter and plant-based glycerin works to keep skin hydrated and healthy throughout the day. When I could do with a few hours extra sleep, this is the first thing I reach for come morning.
It might be affordable, but these ingredients aren't here to mess around, and neither is the finish. Collagen and peptides work to plump and hydrate while niacinamide helps to smooth and reduce the appearance of pores and blemishes. Plus, it contains an impressive SPF 30 for extra sun protection. The result? A full-coverage that looks natural and radiant.
This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.