When it comes to complexion, I’m a tough nut to crack. I want my base to feel featherweight on the skin, but last all day. I want it to give even coverage, but not be cakey. I want it to be sheer enough to need minimal blending, but also be robust enough to not go patchy. I’m a veritable beauty Goldilocks, shunning anything too skimpy (I do want some coverage) and also rejecting anything too creamy (I can’t stand overly thick, unctuous formulas). Below, I’ve opened up my makeup bag to show you five bases that get my seal of approval. The criteria? Ease of blending, overall finish, radiance imparted, and longevity.
Vita Liberata is primarily a tanning brand, and while I love what they do in the world of bronzing, I was skeptical at first about their foray into cosmetics. Well I ate humble pie pretty quickly: essentially, they’ve used all the shade-shifting and colour-correcting pigments that make their tans so believable to make a lightweight base that visibly improves your skin tone. It’s genius – you need the smallest amount, and as you buff it in, it somehow adjusts to the undertones in your skin to give a soft, radiant finish. I’m on my fifth tube. It’s that good!
This is a great day-to-night option that’s truly buildable. If you prime properly, you could use a dime-size amount for your whole face, but you can easily layer it up for a fuller finish if you wanted. I love that the texture is super light, almost like water, and it lends the skin a really healthy glow. Plus, it’s fine to blend with a brush, sponge or fingers, and you don’t need to be super-precise. This is my daily go-to!
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue
If you’re looking for a base with added skincare benefits, this is a great option. It’s a gel cream texture that feels delicious and has a blend of mineral electrolytes that are like a sports drink for the skin – your face will be practically fizzing with hydration. It has SPF30, (though I’d still advise wearing a separate sunscreen underneath) and it’s cruelty-free. Win-win.
“The criteria? Ease of blending, overall finish, radiance imparted, and longevity.”
Sometimes you need a truly portable option, and for that it has to be a compact. Happily, modern compacts are nothing like what your grandmother might have used – powdery, chalky, messy things. Instead, we have cushion compacts: hailing from the beauty HQ that is South Korea, they give you liquid foundation delivered in a neat, controlled application. La Mer’s is my favourite, as you get their signature Miracle Broth infused into a sheer, glow-giving formula that you can blend with the included puff. It’s easy to layer up, and it delivers such a covetable, fresh finish. Get one for your purse and another for your glove box!
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
For bouncy, just-rolled-out-of-bed skin, it has to be Glossier. The sheerest of the bunch, this is the one to choose if you want just a hint of coverage. Formulated with mega-moisturizing glycerin, it gives a lovely filtered effect to the skin without masking anything underneath. Personally, I add a dab or two more of concealer with this one than any of the others, but it still makes for a really healthy-looking base.