Get the look: The best of barely-there foundations

If they kind of look like make up and they don’t feel like make up, they’re this season’s best barely-there foundations. Rachel Marie Walsh helps you get the look.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation

Full coverage, concealing or colour that feels like naked skin? Who says you can’t have it all? Beauty brands are responding to our desire for less-but-more makeup with increasingly innovative formulas. Here are six of the best.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation SPF25, €55, available April 28

Chanel’s sun-kissed Les Beiges collection (main image, and below right) is back for 2017, this time with a water-based cushion foundation. 

Healthy Glow Gel Touch is a refreshing formula that gives skin a touch of colour and a complexion-enhancing shimmer. 

The best thing about this product is the no-effort application, it just melts onto skin without a mark. There are four shades of golden-beige, all with neutral, orange-free undertones. 

I still recommend testing before purchase and the formula contains enough fragrance to concern sensitive types.

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear SPF15, €41

Much as I love Lancôme (nobody does mascara better), the brand’s foundations rarely appear on this page. 

Behold Teint Idole Ultra Wear, its saviour and a light (-weight formula) to lighten the gentiles. 

This thoroughly modern makeup is serum-thin and very silky. The formula is free from fragrance and alcohol, though the oil-controlling perlite and silica mean it best suits normal-to-oily skin. 

The finish is a long-wearing and beautiful radiant-matte. Silicones and a nylon polymer keep your face comfortable. 

Coverage is substantial, though you will need to apply quite a bit of product to take full advantage of the SPF15. 

Foundation that does not match your complexion is never worth the money; it is ageing and diminishes your natural beauty. 

Teint Idole Ultra Wear is available in a whopping 40 shades. Swatch 2-3 on your jawline in daylight (beauty hall-lighting is deliberately flattering) for the perfect colour.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation SPF20, €48

Shiseido has a similarly filmy foundation for those who prefer long-lasting luminosity. 

This makeup blends beautifully and has a satiny finish that makes skin glow without too much shine. 

The formula glides over pores and fine lines but is neither oil-controlling nor especially hydrating. It best suits normal without sensitivity issues, as it is slightly fragranced. 

“Synchro Skin” refers to the brand’s promise of fluctuating radiance (when skin is dry) and mattification (in oily moments) throughout the day but there is nothing on the ingredients list that I think suggests such a customised response is possible. 

One of the 16 natural-look shades will likely sync with your complexion.

MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour, €32

This is the base for women who never wear makeup but always have concealer on them somewhere. “Face colour” is MAC-speak for a foundation-primer hybrid.

This product’s formula is hydrating without being greasy and best suits normal-to-dry skin. It is densely pigmented and contains light-reflecting particles that behave like a flaw-blurring filter. 

It creates the look of a medium-coverage makeup but feels like a barely-there tint. There are nine shades, which I think is too few for a product with noticeable colour impact, but if you find a match you’ll love this stuff.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Total Cover Foundation, €12.30

This bargain foundation is the makeup equivalent of 40 denier-tights: opaque, matte and durable. 

None of your original complexion is visible after applying your Infallible colour-match, the formula really does provide “total cover.”

I include it here because it is shrouds problem skin without the weight of comparable concealing foundations. The finish is a completely flat matte. 

Not the healthiest-looking product but a hero to those with chronic acne or rosacea. The formula is irritant-free and, though it feels comfortable on all skin types, best suits the normal-to-oily.

NYX Pro Foundation Mixer, €10.50

Lightweight makeup does not always come in a diverse shade range, which is annoying when you’re naturally fair. 

I also dislike ditching my favourite foundations in summertime, so view shade-adjusters as useful little things. 

The best—Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer, €45, and CoverFX Custon Cover Drops, €38.50—are expensive and I really like this affordable alternative by NYX. Pro Mixers alter the shade of liquid foundation of any density. 

They can also change the finish to luminous or matte without affecting your makeup’s coverage or consistency. The formula is perfume and alcohol-free and suits all skin types.

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