DE­SIGN DOU­BLES The hottest three­some of the year

The lat­est foun­da­tions prom­ise ev­ery­thing bar sav­ing the world from nu­clear dis­as­ter. But how can they pos­si­bly live up to their claims?

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents - Words INGEBORG VAN LOTRINGEN

They are matte, but ra­di­ant. They give full cov­er­age, but are un­de­tectable on the skin. They of­fer 24-hour wear, but won’t cake or feel heavy. Se­ri­ously? Given the amount of money and re­search spent cre­at­ing won­der foun­da­tions, it’s lit­tle sur­prise the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of bases all vie for your at­ten­tion by promis­ing to per­form small (and rather para­dox­i­cal) mir­a­cles. To work out how – and whether – they can, you might want to get a PhD in chem­istry. Or you could just read this…

THE PROM­ISE LONG-WEAR BUT WA­TER-LIGHT

Why we’re cyn­i­cal In or­der for a base to stick like glue, a blend of heavy waxes, thick­en­ing emul­si­fiers and sticky sil­i­cones has tra­di­tion­ally been re­quired. And that doesn’t sound very light­weight to us. What they’ve done The se­cret for­mula has changed since you bought your first foun­da­tion. Now, pig­ments can be sus­pended in a liq­uid base of slip­pery es­ters (or­ganic com­pounds formed by the re­ac­tion of

al­co­hol and car­boxylic acid) and light­weight, but hardy, sil­i­cones. That ‘film-form­ing’ base is what lets pig­ments slick evenly onto skin, af­ter which the es­ters evap­o­rate and sil­i­cones lock in place to cre­ate an in­vis­i­ble film. Re­sult: stay­ing power and weight­less cov­er­age that builds with­out turn­ing into cake mix. Does it work? Yes. But take note: with th­ese liq­ue­fied for­mu­las, long-wear need not equal full-cov­er­age or ul­tra-matte. Three to try are: Estée Lauder Dou­ble Wear Nude Wa­ter Fresh Makeup SPF 30,

£32.50 (the liq­uid ver­sion of Dou­ble Wear Stay-in-Place), which stays on and looks so fresh even I (a heavy foun­da­tion-phobe) like it. Ditto the more matte The Or­di­nary Colours Serum Foun­da­tion SPF 15,

£5.70, prov­ing qual­ity can come cheap. For se­ri­ous cover and oil con­trol, Laura Mercier Flaw­less Fu­sion Ul­tra Long-Wear Foun­da­tion, £35, is best – the matte for­mula is a no-brainer. Not full-on enough for you? Opt for cream for­mu­las (not ‘serum’ or ‘liq­uid’ ones) bran­dish­ing words like ‘cor­rec­tive,’ ‘air­brush’ and ‘full-cover.’

THE PROM­ISE HY­DRA­TION AND SHINE CON­TROL

Why we’re cyn­i­cal Com­bi­na­tion skin? There are new foun­da­tions that prom­ise to keep dry patches hy­drated and oily ones matte. A base with an ac­tual brain: that’ll be the day. What they’ve

done There is no one ap­proach here – it de­pends en­tirely on the foun­da­tion. One by Max Fac­tor de­ploys a mega­dose of glyc­er­ine (which at­tracts wa­ter to the skin but is non-oily) for hy­dra­tion. Pow­ders, which mat­tify but can po­ten­tially be dry­ing, are kept to a min­i­mum, thanks to a film-form­ing poly­mer that leaves an in­vis­i­ble top coat to pre­vent them rub­bing off. An­other, by BareMin­er­als, avoids mat­ti­fy­ing pow­ders and film for­m­ers al­to­gether. In­stead, it coats pig­ments in hy­drat­ing, non-oily lipids sim­i­lar to those in the skin, mak­ing them nat­u­rally fuse to your face. Sil­ica and bam­boo ex­tract do the mat­ti­fy­ing here – with­out the dry­ing side ef­fects.

Does it work? Yes, both suc­ceed in hy­drat­ing and mat­ti­fy­ing long-term.

Max Fac­tor Healthy Skin Har­mony Mir­a­cle Foun­da­tion SPF 20, £14.99, is per­haps the less so­phis­ti­cated for­mula, with a pow­dery­matte fin­ish.

BareMin­er­als BarePro Per­for­mance Wear Liq­uid Foun­da­tion

SPF 20, £29, doesn’t look flat or dull at all, and its side-step­ping of film-for­m­ers is a win­ner, as th­ese can block pores in oily ar­eas. Want an­other base for combo skin? As a rule, oil-free for­mu­las that have sodium hyaluronate or glyc­erin among the first four in­gre­di­ents are a good bet.

THE PROM­ISE SOLID TEX­TURE, CLOUD-LIKE FEEL

Why we’re cyn­i­cal De­mand for por­ta­ble com­pact and stick

foun­da­tions is in­creas­ing (who doesn’t do their face on the bus?), yet women don’t want to look like they’re au­di­tion­ing for Ron­ald McDon­ald The Movie. But how the hell can you get a solid tex­ture with­out an equally rigid fin­ish? What they’ve done

They’ve ba­si­cally so­lid­i­fied ul­tra-light in­gre­di­ents that melt when you put them on your skin. Gone are the dulling talc and thick waxes (them again), and in have come blends of su­per-fine oils and waxes, pearl pow­ders, and finely milled pig­ments with coat­ings that make them roll evenly over skin, flex

“Women don’t want to look like they’re au­di­tion­ing to play Ron­ald McDon­ald”

with its move­ments, and re­sist com­ing off. Does it work? To my sur­prise (eek – a solid) none of th­ese felt heavy at all.

Suqqu Frame Fix Mois­tur­iz­ing Solid Foun­da­tion, £49, leaves a glowy film of colour.

Nars Vel­vet Matte Foun­da­tion Stick,

£30, has the same melty qual­ity but a more satin fin­ish and airy feel, thanks to added flex­i­ble ‘matte re­bound pow­ders.’ The blend­ing sponge that’s part of the stick is a stroke of on-the-go ge­nius. Want full-on cov­er­age? Vichy Der­mablend Cor­rec­tive Com­pact Cream Foun­da­tion,

£23, has a re­mark­ably skin­like fin­ish for some­thing that cov­ers even scars, thanks to veg­e­tal lipids and mega-doses of fine pig­ments.

THE PROM­ISE GLOW AND OIL CON­TROL

Why we’re cyn­i­cal Thanks, we as­sume, to the global high­lighter ob­ses­sion, even the oily-skinned now want glowy foun­da­tions (de­mand has gone up by a whop­ping 100%). Cue bases that claim they can re­place an oily sheen with a cos­metic gleam. Sounds likely. Not. What they’ve done

Hmm… de­pends on the brand, but lots of lightre­flec­tive and lu­min­is­ing pow­ders and hy­dra­tors are

key. Then to tackle se­bum and con­trol spots and bumps, in come ‘in­tel­li­gent’ pow­ders and skin-clear­ing in­gre­di­ents like sal­i­cylic acid and en­zymes.

Does it work? Some bet­ter than oth­ers.

Shi­seido Syn­chro Glow Lu­miniz­ing Foun­da­tion, £34, has some­thing called ‘Time Match Pow­der.’ It es­sen­tially glows on dry skin, but when it ab­sorbs any se­bum it turns semi­trans­par­ent, con­trol­ling too much shine. Clin­ique Even Bet­ter Glow Light Re­flect­ing Makeup SPF 15,

£27, is bet­ter if you’re very oily: it has op­ti­cal lu­minis­ers, but is oil-free and packed with sal­i­cylic acid so ef­fi­cient it’s too dry­ing on my non-oily skin. Over­all, keep an eye out for bases that are oil-free, but men­tion mica, pearl or silk pow­ders for glowi­ness.

THE PROM­ISE A 100% SKIN COLOUR MATCH

Why we’re cyn­i­cal Sim­i­lar claims have tra­di­tion­ally come up short, and we don’t want to nit-pick, but if a foun­da­tion promises an ex­act match for ev­ery hu­man, that means it needs, oh, 7.5 bil­lion shades. What they’ve done

Lancôme’s ser­vice doesn’t try to match your skin with an ex­ist­ing shade (as some brands have done in the past), but em­ploys a ma­chine, based at Lon­don’s Har­rods, that scans your

skin, de­ter­mines its ex­act tone and then blends and pumps out a match on the spot, its cov­er­age and hy­dra­tion level de­ter­mined by your pref­er­ences. A good 72,000 op­tions are pos­si­ble, which is rather de­cent.

Does it work?

Lancôme Le Teint Par­ti­c­ulier Cus­tom Made Foun­da­tion, £90, is bril­liant for those who just can’t find their match. But what you can’t add is things like SPF, light-re­flec­tive pow­ders and skin con­di­tion­ers. You can do that with the Cos­met­ics à la Carte Foun­da­tion Match­ing Ser­vice, £55, in Chelsea. Here, spe­cial­ists de­ter­mine your tone with their ac­tual eyes, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion how and where you like to wear foun­da­tion. Then they mix up a base with the colour, tex­ture and fin­ish of your dreams.

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