8 best longwear foundations
We went from morning to night to find the products that will go the distance
It's not much good finding a foundation that gives the perfect glowy-but-not-oily, satin-but-not-chalky finish if it has melted off your face, sunk into your pores or transferred on to your clothes by lunchtime.
On the other hand, many long-wear foundations are heavy, caking and settle into dry patches and fine lines.
Enter our top eight, all of which made it through a full day at the office without needing a top-up before heading out in the evening, and boast light, smooth finishes.
We recommend applying a little at a time and blending into skin as quickly as possible, as these dry quickly if left to sit on the back of your hand.
YSL All Hours Liquid Foundation: £35, YSL
I have never had so many questions as to what foundation I'm wearing or how my skin looks so good as I had while wearing this liquid foundation, and for that alone, I am a total convert. It gives a satin, glowing but not shiny finish, good coverage on spot scarring and redness around the nose, and doesn't budge. It has the added benefit of SPF 20 protection, and is available in 22 shades.
Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation: £66, John Lewis
This creamy, highly pigmented foundation is a proper full-coverage formula, which gives a near-flawless finish covering discoloration such as age spots, redness and scarring. It's also virtually indestructible: it survived hot trains, heavy rain and even the gym (yes, we know it's bad for your skin, but in the name of IndyBest...). It might struggle on oily skin. Available in a range of 12 shades.
Mac Pro Longwear Foundation: £27.50, Mac Cosmetics
Mac Longwear is a classic that I've been using since my teens and that I have come back to again and again over the years. It has a satin finish – not dewy, not matte – that gives an airbrushed look (those who like a radiance boost may need to combine it with a highlighter). It lasts so well that it is my go-to for wedding make-up. It’s best avoided by those with dry patches, however. Available in 22 shades.
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick: £42, Space.NK
One of the lightest-feeling products we tried, this has all the staying power of a liquid foundation set with powder, but none of the heaviness or caking that combo often brings. It's particularly good at evening out redness around the nose and on cheeks. Draw dots across your face and then blend with a brush or your fingers – it's our go-to for mess-free application on the go. Available in 32 shades.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation: £30, Charlotte Tilbury
Our tester found that Charlotte Tilbury's “Magic” formula blends really well, not totally disappearing into skin but also not visibly sitting on top, and gives good coverage. Although it's not weightless on, it didn't cake and gave a dewy glow and natural highlighting effect. Though the coverage did last all day really easily, we did find it a little drying, so perhaps it’s not one for dry or winter skin. Available in 15 shades.
Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation: £35, Feel Unique
With one of the best shade ranges we found, with 33 in total and including good olive- and yellow-based tones, Nars' new Radiant Longwear was off to a promising start before we'd even opened the bottle. It is thinner and lighter than most longwear foundations, provides medium coverage, a dewy glow and held up pretty well from 10am until midnight. A little goes a long way, so start small on the amount you apply.
Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation: £31, Bobbi Brown
Oily skin has found its perfect match in this new formula from Bobbi Brown. Our tester finds that most foundations slip and sink into pores on her skin, but this still looked smooth and velvety by 6pm. It is easily buildable (you will likely need a little help from concealer on spots and stubborn redness) and has a good shade-range, too, with 30 options.
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Oil-Free Foundation Stick: £27, Lancome
Highly pigmented, smudge-proof and matte even on the oiliest of patches and yet feeling ultra-lightweight on the skin, this goes on creamy but dries fairly swiftly. It lasted eight hours without needing a touch-up and would suit almost all skin types. Our only niggle is that the shade range, even though it contains 20 options, isn't great for rosier tones.
The Verdict: Longwear foundation
For the sheer number of people who have asked me why my skin looks so good while wearing it, YSL All Hours gets our vote, with top marks for its finish, coverage and range of shades.
Have we missed any brands? Do you agree with our expert's choices? Drop us a line with any feedback or questions on firstname.lastname@example.org
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