When did shopping for makeup turn into a science lesson? The secret to a flawless face used to be water, fresh air and eating apples while frolicking in the middle of a cornfield; now, there is a positive laboratory’s worth of fancy-pants formulas waiting to take our skin from nice to NASA-approved.
The upper end of the cosmetics market has long been home to mystifying science-baffle, with all their ‘nanotechnology’ this and ‘kelp minerals‘ that. But now the effect is leaking onto the humble high street, and one trip to Boots is like double A-level chemistry all over again.
So here at ShinyStyle, we’ve done your homework for you with a round-up of the new, space-age and downright fruity foundations on the market. There are ‘photochromatic pigments’ doing battle with blue sapphire and ginger extract in a bid to make us look like Zooey Daschanel. Textures are getting exciting too, with mousses, creams, minerals and ‘soufflés’ all competing with the traditional liquid as the best way to give good face. But does the most futuristic blurb necessarily mean the best results?
Revlon PhotoReady Makeup – £12.99 for 30ml – 6/10
They say: “Get poreless airbrushed skin in any light. Photochromatic pigments bend and reflect light to erase every flaw.”
We say: This has a nicer texture than most liquid foundations, but still felt a little sticky while drying. As for the ‘photochromatic pigments’, there was a radiant shimmer but the colour tended a little too dangerously towards the oompa loompa for our tastes.
Loreal Matte Morphose – £9.99 for 30ml – 8/10
They say: “A transformation you can see and feel, with a 12hour luminous matte finish. Pores and wrinkles look smoother.”
We say: Yum. With its lovely moussey texture, this self-proclaimed ‘soufflé foundation’ made us think of dessert (but be warned, it doesn’t taste as good as it looks). The colours all looked a little dark, but went on smoothly and blended beautifully well on the skin. Somewhere between foundation, powder, concealer and pudding, it gave particularly good coverage under the eyes.
Max Factor Second Skin – £13.99 for 30ml – 5/10
They say: “Now you can create a finish so flawless it’s virtually undetectable even to the professionals…Second Skin uses clever multi-tonal pigment technology to smooth over and blend flawlessly into your own natural complexion in seconds.”
We say: Now, we don’t know about you, but if we wanted our makeup to be ‘virtually undetectable’, we just wouldn’t bother buying any. More a tinted moisturiser than a foundation, this was beautifully silky and slipped on nicely, but the ultra-sheer ‘second skin’ effect was a little too much like our first skin (the one we’re trying to cover up in the first place). Only the flawless need apply.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation – £9.99 for 30ml – 4/10
They say: “Gives you 70% more radiance and a flawless complexion for up to 16 hours. With ‘fruit therapy’, including apricot for radiance, melon for hydration, apple for antioxidants and ginger for energy.”
We say: Hmm, does this count as one of our five a day? Despite all the science claims, the only fruity grounds this foundation delivered on was looking orange. It felt sticky going on, and the finish was powdery and unsubtle. Think we’ll keep the fruit for eating, thanks.
Boots 17 Hide and Chic Anti-Fatigue foundation – £5.99 for 30ml – 2/10
They say: “Energises and brightens your skin.”
We say: Sadly, the cheapest of the bunch was also the most disappointing. Far from brightening skin as promised, we found our pores looked clogged and cakey. There was even a worrying return of our old teenage nemesis, the tidemark. Best left on the 17 year olds.
Maybelline Dream Creamy foundation – £7.99 for 14g – 9/10
They say: “Our new cream-whipped foundation for 100% baby smooth perfection. The combination of rich hydration in a lightweight formula blends seamlessly for 100% smooth perfection for a foundation that stays looking fresh all day.
We say: Maybelline dish up baby-fresh beauty for those of us who maybe aren’t born with it. Like couture for your face, this was cool and lightweight but its creamy solid-to-liquid texture gave reassuringly good coverage. In short? Lush.
Rimmel Match Perfection – £8.99 for 30ml – 7/10
They say: “Adapts to your skin colour and texture, with blue sapphire pigments for true colour. Give a natural flawless finish.”
We say: Why do advertisers always think the way to sell to women is to tell us that there are jewels in our cosmetics? If we had a pound for every ‘pearl-infused’ conditioner and ‘diamond technology’ facial we’ve been offered, we’d have enough to buy some actual jewellery. But annoying faux-tech blurb aside, this was a pretty good performer. It was sheer but not too sheer, didn’t look powdery or orange on the skin, and gave lovely natural coverage.
Boots No.7 Essentially Natural Mineral foundation – £13.00 for 40ml – 8/10
They say: “Lightweight hydration for a healthy-looking finish.”
We say: Cool, nicely textured and lightweight to wear, this actually did what it said on the tin (or tube, whatever). Not the sheerest of coverage, but skin looked flawless and felt moisturised and peachy.