“The days of having products with just one purpose are gone,” says Anne Salem, Clarins’ Head of Make-up Artistry. Today, the best foundations are formulated not only to give immaculate coverage, but also deliver hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and barrier-protecting squalene, to name just two.
They’re great for those of us who want to streamline our skin regimen, or anyone who’s feeling a little price-sensitive right now (and who isn’t, to be honest).
That said, I’ve learnt to be careful not to mix too many active ingredients, as my skin can be quite sensitive. In the past, I’ve tried action-packed formulas promising skin renewal and pore reduction, only to be rewarded with irritation or even a nasty rosacea flare up. So definitely pay attention to your skin type before deciding what to try.
On that note, how can you choose from all the thousands of products on the market? The answer: let us do the hard work for you. Here’s our pick of the latest and best foundations for your skin type.
Best for mature skin
Hydrating and illuminating cream or liquid foundations do wonders here, as their moisturising benefits leave skin looking fresh and dewy. Matte formulas exaggerate fine lines.
Try: Flower Light Illusion Foundation, $9.69 Light, glowy and won’t settle into lines. The perfect purse-friendly foundation for aging or dry skin.
Nars Light Reflecting Foundation, $73 With 70 per cent skincare ingredients, this formula cares for your skin, covers and gives a flawless finish.
Best for combination skin
If your skin is oily along your T-zone but dry elsewhere, then you’ve got combination skin. Rich or heavy foundations are not for you. Instead, look for both hydrating ingredients (hyaluronic acid, vitamin E) and oil-free, non-comedogenic options (that won’t clog pores) to control shine.
Try: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+, $65 The do-it-all of foundations, this cult CC cream colour corrects, hydrates, is packed full of anti-ageing goodies (peptides and collagen),doesn’t crease and is a favourite amongst derms. Sold yet?
Clarins Skin Velvet Foundation, $54 This clever mattifying formula is perfect for combination skin, containing hydrating ingredients to maintain the skin’s moisture barrier.
Best for sensitive skin
For those of us with fragile, easily irritated skin, avoiding harsh ingredients (especially hybrid foundations with skin-renewing actives) that clog pores and cause unnecessary redness is key. Consider clean formulas and options that contain anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce redness and inflammation in the skin.
Try: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint Foundation, $72 Infused with anti-inflammatory niacinamide, along with moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid, and skin barrier-supporting squalene. This gives a your-skin-but-better finish.
Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation, $49 A celebrity product that’s actually worth the hype! This serum-like foundation is free from nasties and gives an airbrushed, velvet skin-like finish without feeling or looking thick and heavy.
Best for a natural look
Sheer foundations, BB Creams, tints or serum-hybrids are perfect for more natural and breathable bases. They’re best for evening out skin tone without masking your skin, and often give a dewier effect.
Try: Mecca Max BB, $20 Just like a second skin. It provides light coverage, SPF protection and an effortless glow at a very affordable price.
Tarte SEA Hydroflex Serum Foundation, $60 Water-like texture and comfortable to wear, this serum foundation is packed full of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to hydrate and brighten the skin. Don’t forget to shake well before application.
Best for oily skin
Matte foundations that boast oil-control will keep you looking fresh-faced for longer. Don’t love the matte look? Then try a luminous primer, such as Holme Base Primer in ‘Boom’ for a lit-from-within glow.
Try: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation, $56 This oil-free soft matte foundation helps keep shine in check all day while offering a buildable medium to full coverage. And there are 50 shades.
RMS ‘Un’ Cover Up Cream Foundation, $78 A perfect balance of clean and nourishing ingredients. Made using RMS’ signature coconut oil and adaptogenic herbal blend, it will leave your skin calmed, covered and nourished. A little goes a long way with this creamy formula.
Main image shot by Georgina Egan and styled by PRIMER beauty editor Lucy Adams