Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Compact Foundation, €59 (Case €23 / Refill €36)
The bottled version of this foundation has won several international beauty awards but its dropper cap and thick, frosted glass aren’t great on the go. The new compact has a handy mirror and a brush hidden in the base. The make-up is the same: a lightweight blend of light-diffusing pigments and five oils that adapts to the tone and texture of your skin. The finish is matte with a healthy radiance. The formula contains factor 29, the strongest sun protection on this list, as well as skin-improving argan oil and vitamin E. It is so spreadable that you only really need a little for a fine, flawless canvas.
Guerlain Tenue de Perfection Timeproof Foundation, €49
Tenue de Perfection really does maintain and hydrate your face for the promised 16 hours. Like the Armani Maestro Fusion previously, this is a blend of nourishing oils and powder pigments that diffuse light to blur imperfections. Guerlain adds silica beads to reduce sebum, keeping make-up in place longer. The makeup provides broad-spectrum SPF20. If you shop online, I recommend testing this at a counter first as you are unlikely to colour-match your skin properly alone (even the lightest shades run surprisingly warm).
Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturising Treatment Foundation, €40
A precious few foundations give a luminous finish that doesn’t blanch out your skin’s texture. Still fewer do it with medium-to-full coverage, like this update on Bobbi Brown’s luminous moisturising foundation. Glycerin and muru-muru seed butter provide an instant moisture boost while milk thistle and natural collagen stimulants firm the skin over time. This make-up is SPF free, so should be used with an SPF primer or moisturiser.
Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation, €46
Francois Nars says this foundation combines the best aspects of his liquid and powder foundations and tinted moisturiser. In tests, the moisturising formula boosted skin hydration levels by 80% after 12 hours. The finish is velvety, like his powder makeup, while the coverage is as generous as a liquid. This foundation has the slimmest, lightest packaging. The choice of five shades for pale skin (all with different undertones) is great for super-accurate colour-matching. Again, this should be used with an SPF moisturiser or primer.
Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation, €35
Shiseido offers help for those fed up of layering concealers and colour-correctors under their foundation. Sheer and Perfect combines blue, white and yellow powders to counteract dark circles, large pores and spots and redness, respectively. The formula further contains peony extract, which inhibits lipase production that can cause excess sebum and breakouts. Ginger extract suppresses the enzyme activity that causes dullness, dark circles and uneven tone. My one issue with this makeup is the disappointingly low SPF18.
Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation, €43
For Clarins, extra comfort means extra creamy. This is the richest foundation I’ve ever tried, containing organic Argan oil and brown algae extract to both hydrate and lock in moisture. These ingredients plump the skin while collagen-boosting antsemby extract firms it up. Soft-focus and pearlescent pigments provide luminosity. The SPF15 is far too low, even with the additional mineral UV filters and especially for a foundation marketed as “age-controlling.” Don’t forget to layer sun protection underneath.