Beauty brands play the long-wear game this autumn with formulas that both look good and last. Rachel Marie Walsh picks those that won’t tax skin over time.
Morning makeup takes your time and care, so “long wear” might well be considered a basic requirement of foundations. Your skin, however, is alive and hours of exposure to the relevant ingredients (oil-controlling, water-proofing, film-forming) is not natural, even if some extracts are.
Make up is itself artifice, I know, but ideally we use it to enhance rather than suppress. Almost all of the big foundation launches for autumn are long-wear focused.
Such formulas can be economical, lessening the need for re-application or add-ons like powder or spray.
High-coverage options sustain peace of mind in those with problem skin, which is no trifling feat when you consider the pains they take for clearer faces (no one endures the side-effects of Tetracycline and Roaccutane out of pure vanity, for example).
The time reduction factor is also attractive. Touch-ups add to the minutes you’ve already spent preparing for the day and part of the point of wearing makeup to work is to make you more competitive.
This trend swells with the brand wars for millennial money (young people are more likely to be oily, which reduces wear-time, and to require day-to-night makeup), and there is less focus on the long-term effects of new formulas. A foundation’s immediate impact on your look is, of course, its function but an ingredient list-check ensures daily wear won’t sensitise skin over time.
YSL All Hours Encre de Peau Foundation, €42, available August 30, is an example of a pretty-looking makeup but the third most prevalent ingredient is denatured alcohol, which creates a thin, smooth texture but is also dehydrating for skin.
Such a high concentration will not make much of an impact if you limit application to special occasions but wearing it ‘All Hours,’ or all day every day, could encourage sensitivity and irritation.
The high concentration of fragrance in the mix has a comparable effect.
If you love YSL, Le Cushion Encre de Peau is a far nicer option: complexion-perfecting, alcohol-free and only very mildly fragranced.
A Collector’s Edition compact, €51.50, launched this month.
The following long-wear launches are worth a swatch this season.
BareMinerals BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation, €33, available
BareMinerals is still best known for its loose powder makeup, 23 this year, though I suppose if you called your lingerie company ’NakedMeshes,’ a line of comfort bras would be harder to brand.
Their (very comforting) liquid foundations are superior, in my view, both for skincare and in overall appearance. I like this new one very much.
The shade range is excellent, especially on the fair end, and though significant levels of plant oils would render this less long-wearing, the formula gets some antioxidant mojo from papaya extract.
Bamboo stem extract gives the matte finish a smooth, bright finish and I like that this there is added broad-spectrum SPF20, even though you have to apply a lot of product to take full advantage of this protection.
BarePro is irritant-free and, while not especially drying, the brand has really gone to town with the sweat-proofing, water-proofing, etc., so it does best suit normal to oily types in my view.
Dior Diorskin Forever Long Wear Foundation Mousse, €46, on counters August 30
Mousse is not my favourite foundation texture, as the filmy ingredients needed to both evenly distribute the colour and create the light texture tend to feel quite tacky.
An entirely silicone base infused with synthetic minerals makes this one feel more like buttercream. It contains lots of synthetic fluorphlogopite, a pearlescent mineral that imparts brightness and gives pore-blurring power to matte finishes.
Diorskin Forever is part of Dior Beauty’s permanent line in cushion compact (somewhat similar to this formula but with SPF50), cream compact (an excellent normal-to-dry skin foundation), and liquid (way too boozy to be cute) versions.
There is some fragrance in this formula but it falls very low on the ingredients list and is barely detectable, so should not bother sensitive types.
The price is too high for 30ml of product, especially as this foundation needs extra help in areas that require colour-correction.
NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick, €38, available September 1
Velvet Matte is best for normal-to-dry types in search of full coverage that lasts.
The look is radiant-matte and pore-less.
NARS debuted Velvet Matte and the Alexander Wang show in February and it certainly photographs well under overhead glare (a harsh test), but I like it even better in daylight.
Some women cannot look at stick foundations without thinking of cake and streaks but this one does reward careful blending at first instance.
It also comes with a touch-up blender that can be removed for cleaning.
The formula is not emollient, as none can be both emollient and truly long-wearing, but it won’t strip skin either. It is fragrance and alcohol free.
Note about shades:
NARS tends to carry the same shade names across foundation lines but formulas vary and the colours are not themselves identical, so it is important to swatch for your exact match even it your already a NARS junkie.
Stila Stay All Day Foundation&Concealer, €39.50
Stila’s latest makeup is a liquid base with a cream concealer palette in the cap.
The liquid is medium-coverage and feather-light and the concealer has flattering peach undertones.
There is a smattering of antioxidants in both formulas.
The liquid does require touch-ups and is not quite as long-wearing as the others mentioned here.
However, I think it is the best launch for extra-sensitive types, who are likely wary of high-tenacity formulas anyway.
The dish-dispenser top on the foundation bottle helps keep the skincare ingredients stable and makes you less likely to accidentally waste product.
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