It's time for the next instalment of my Most Reached-For products series and this time we're talking foundation... For reference I have combination skin, which is the most annoying thing in the world! I get oily around the t-zone but can also suffer from dry patches in cold weather or a lot of shine in the heat. I like a variety of coverages; it totally depends on the occasion, however staying power is a big deal-maker or deal-breaker for me because I generally have a long day and want to still look relatively fresh by the end of it! Most of these are high-end but that's not through lack of trying; I'd love to have more affordable options to talk to you about, however the drugstore in this country simply doesn't cater to my skin tone (just to get that out there in case people think I'm being 'snobby' towards cheaper products, because that's not the case at all!)
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation (Stromboli) | £31 | Apart from in the height of summer, this foundation is always in the mix for me. When nothing else seems to be doing the trick, I know I can always go back to this one. It has a smooth formula that's easy to blend and build on. It has a satin finish that's free of any kind of shine or dewiness (despite the name) but still gives this gorgeous matte radiance to the skin. It has a medium coverage (again, despite the name...) but can be built up to being quite full and has an amazing, flawless finish. I find this wears really well; I never worry about looking shiny when I use this product and it doesn't break up throughout the day around my usual problem areas. Apart from over summer when I have a tan (I don't reach for this during that time of the year anyway though), the shade is perfect for me and probably one of the best colour matches in my collection.
L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation (106 Sun Beige) | £16 | I actually have two shades of this; 104 and 106 which I mix and match depending on the time of year, but 106 is probably my closest fit (though it'd be perfect if there was a bit more yellow in it and less orange - story of my foundation life...) I initially picked these up because the UK shade range was so rubbish and the US had tons of options, however I personally also much prefer the formula. This is my weapon of choice for nights out but as it has a build-able coverage I sometimes wear it during the day, especially if I know I'm doing something after work. It's a medium coverage but you can get a fuller finish out of it as well. I'd say it's demi-matte; definitely more matte than Studio Fix Fluid (which we'll get to later) but it's slightly less so than Double Wear Light (another one that's made this list). It just looks so flawless on the skin without being heavy or smothering and it's matte without being dry or looking flat. In fact, the only negative is that it sets quite quickly, but I just ensure I blend as I go! It's incredibly long-wearing and I know I can trust it to last me all day, all night or (sometimes) both!
Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser (St. Moritz) | £29.50 | On to my current favourite! Every winter I seem to reach for this base and once again it's my 'every single day' product at the moment. It can be applied with a brush but this is one of the few bases I also like when I use my fingertips, which is handy when I'm in a rush. It isn't anything greasy or overly dewy (though I do powder any shine problem areas at the start of the day) but just gives this incredibly luminous look to the skin. It's lightweight but still gives a good amount of coverage and I just love the flawless finish; it's pretty much 'my skin but better'. It also lasts really well on my skin and doesn't make me look shiny throughout the day. Again, I was impressed at how many shades this comes in; St. Moritz is perfect for me at the moment.
Cover FX BB Gel Mattifying Anti-Blemish Treatment* (G Medium Deep) | £35 | This is basically my #1 during the summer months and I wish more people knew about it! I've often struggled in the heat with my face descending into a greasy, shiny mess and my foundation proceeding to slide right off the oil slick... However this is probably the only product I don't have that problem with! I often wear it on holiday in the baking sun and it honestly stays in place (albeit, not quite as matte as it does when first applied). I really like the texture and coverage this gives; it doesn't look flat or dry and is so lightweight yet evens out my skin tone and makes things look flawless but natural. This comes in so many shades for a light base, which I think justifies the slightly higher price tag. G (Golden) Medium Deep is pretty spot-on for me all year round and doesn't look too pale when I have a bit of a tan.
MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NC40) | £22 | This is such an old favourite for me! I think it was probably the first 'proper' foundation I ever got and I always felt super grown-up using it. It's a medium-full coverage though it's not really a product you can build up the coverage on; how it first applies is how it's going to look. One thing I don't love about this foundation is the smell - it stinks of chemically face paint to me! However I really like the finish, which I'd describe as 'satin' because it has a bit more luminosity to it than a matte foundation. I think it's one of those foundations that suits a lot of different skin types and it gives good coverage without ever looking heavy or unnatural. It's pretty long-wearing too, though on a hot day a bit of shine can peak through around my t-zone.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup (Intensity 3.5) | £31 | Although the original Double Wear is amazing for nights out, when I want a completely flawless look, I find myself reaching for the Light formula much more often. It's great for evenings and even sometimes the day, if I'm going somewhere special. It has that same amazing longevity as the original and still has a matte finish (though I'd say it's a tiny bit more on the satin side than the original). However this has more of a medium-full coverage instead of a complete, full coverage. I'm not sure why it doesn't have more hype because it's perfect if you want a matte base with good coverage but something that isn't at all heavy. I'd say my only negative is that it isn't build-able; once you apply it, that's kind of it; it's pretty one-note. The shades are a little more limited than with the other Double Wear foundations too. I have 3.5, which works well enough but it's slightly dark on my skin for this time of year and has a slightly more orange undertone, when a yellow base tends to suit me best.
Clinique Chubby in the Nude Stick Foundation (Grandest Golden Neutral) | £23 | Despite the last sentence of the opening paragraph, this is probably the least long-wearing product in this post! However I love the finish so much that I can kind-of forgive it. It's a stick formula so it's very quick and easy to apply on busy mornings and I often throw it in my handbag, even if I'm not already wearing it, because it's great for touching up my makeup when it's been a long day. The shade is perfect for my skin tone, which I wasn't expecting, and has the perfect yellow undertone. It has this natural, radiant finish that I'd say is a light-medium coverage. It isn't 'dewy' but has a very fresh look on the skin. It does need setting though and touching up because I definitely start to look shiny by around lunchtime. However it's a small price to pay for a product that looks so amazing once applied.
Which foundations do you find yourself reaching for time and again?