The six foundations coveting my makeup case

Foundation, one of the most important makeup products you will ever own. It really is the base for which all other makeup will sit on. That is not to ignore the importance of a good primer but that is a whole other blog post. I see foundation as a pivotal step in any makeup routine because if you get it wrong, it could destroy your whole entire look. Get it right though and you can fake your way to beautiful, dewy, flawless looking skin. Ok, so how do you find the right foundation for you? Well I wish I could give you a simple answer but in my experience it is through simple trial and error. Oh and most importantly by trying out samples. I never commit to buying a foundation without first having tried out samples of it. I usually get colour matched and get a small sample of that shade along with one shade darker and one shade lighter, just so I can play around with what feels right for me.

Foundations (l-r) – YSL fusion ink cushion compact, Charlotte Tilbury magic, Mac studio fix fluid, Makeup forever ultra hd, Armani luminous silk and Ex1 invisiwear

There is nothing worse than seeing someone sporting the dreaded foundation line. For those of you that do not know what I am referring to, it is when a person wears a foundation too dark for their skin tone leaving an area that does not look seamless or blended. Another obvious feature of wearing the wrong shade of foundation, which you often notice on the tv, is a persons hands being a lighter tone to their face. The key to a good foundation is finding one that blends into the skin seamlessly whilst not really looking like you are wearing too much makeup. I am no makeup artist but I cannot emphasise enough the importance of wearing the right shade for your skin tone. Any foundation can be warmed up using bronzer and blusher or toned down by mixing in moisturising cream.

For those that know me well will know I have been pretty much wearing foundation since I was 12 years old. I was an Irish dancer when I was a child/teenager and was introduced to makeup during this time. I also found comfort in it for all the wrong reasons and used it as a safety blanket. There was a time I would not let anyone see me without my full face on and I even went as far to hide my lips with concealer. My lips had been plump and rosie but back then I did not appreciate that look. Now I wish I had them back! Anyway enough of my rambling. I have put together a list of six foundations that are coveting my makeup case. I would use the majority of these foundations on a daily basis but there are some of course that I would favour over another. Each has their own individual characteristics which I will discuss below.

Foundation swatches – not blended

YSL fusion ink cushion foundation – €45 (shade 60)

Ok you may be thinking what in god’s name is this contraption? I was a tad bit curious and confused myself upon first setting eyes on this compact foundation. Like a sponge full of foundation?? How is that hygienic? Anyway I reviewed it briefly over on the YSL beauty post a few months back but this is more of an updated review.

YSL fusion ink cushion compact foundation in shade 60

This extremely lightweight, fast drying foundation is great for topping up your foundation throughout the day or for nighttime wear. It is expensive and alluring with its beautiful packaging. Yes it is handy in terms of buying refills (€35) but for me personally I would go through this compact much quicker than a normal liquid foundation if I was to use it daily. It would prove too costly in the long run for me. I do like how it contains SPF 23 but it has quite a limited colour range housing only 6 shades. The shade I was matched to was shade 60. Shade 50 was that bit too light for me whereas shade 60 is a smidgen too dark for me. I suppose that is the limitations you face with such a small colour palette. It is a perfect match for when my skin is tanned during the summer. It has been my first and only cushion foundation to use and I am still in two minds whether I am sold on the whole cushion foundation trend. Maybe it is just me or I have not tried enough varieties of cushion foundations yet to give an accurate account. This to me is more of a carry in your handbag compact, handy for fixing your makeup on the go with its little sponge puff applicator and mirror. That is not to say I favour the sponge puff over a makeup brush but when you are tied for time and space it makes sense. I would also like to know how hygienic the sponge itself is. To me a warm moist environment is the ideal home for bacteria to grow but I could be wrong. It could have enough microbial agents built into the formula and packaging to prevent this from happening. I know the seal cap itself is quite secure. Jury’s still out on this one for me.

Charlotte Tilbury magic foundation – €40 (shade 7)

Charlotte Tilbury magic foundation in shade 7

I was very intrigued to try out this magic foundation from the queen of beauty herself Charlotte Tilbury. I purchased it when it was first released in Brown Thomas and did not waste any time getting stuck in. The light weight, moisturising formula with a medium coverage builds nicely to a fuller coverage if required. It is quite easy to work with and feels nice on the skin. What I really like about this formula is the addition of hyaluronic acid which helps keep the skin looking plump. It also does not sink into crevices (a nice word for wrinkles ha ha) and contains an SPF 15 which is better than nothing. A separate higher level SPF is required to protect the skin not only from sun damage but premature aging. It also boasts mushroom extract among its ingredients which is claimed to firm the skin and tighten pores. I honestly do not  know if these claims are warranted or just a clever marketing campaign to appear different. Anyway, I do not have enough knowledge regarding these fungal growths so I can not speculate on that one. The shade I tend to use is number 7 medium. It has a nice caramel colour that complements my skin tone nicely. It has decent staying power but I still suffer a little with the sweaty t-zone factor.

Mac studio fix fluid foundation – €32 (shade nc35)

Mac studio fix fluid in shade nc35

Mac’s studio fix fluid was one of the very first foundations that I fell in love with. I was first introduced to it in the early noughties and used it for a number of years especially in my late teens and early twenties. It combines a natural, matte medium coverage along with an SPF of 15. Being honest, SPF 15 is extremely low to use on your face but it is comforting to know that at least they are trying to protect the skin in some little way. It is advisable to wear a SPF of 30 to 50 to avoid damage from the suns rays. Even on a cloudy or winters day the sun will still penetrate through to your skin. It applies evenly and provides a nice finish but does not melt into the skin. With this product you will definitely know you are wearing foundation but I would highly recommend it for one of those days where you need that extra boost of confidence. It hides a multitude and can be built up to acquire a full coverage. Colour-wise it looks nice with a fantastic selection  for both warm and cool toned skin, the shade I wear is NC35 and it definitely does not leave an orange tinge upon application. Yes it is easy to work with and non-drying but my biggest peeve regarding this foundation is that it gives me a shiny t-zone, even after applying setting powder. I get the dreaded lip sweat with it too and it has been known to evaporate somewhat off my face although it claims to be oil free and sweat resistant. Overall it is a nice foundation but I have since discovered foundations that suit my skin a little better. Price wise it is reasonable and I love Mac’s recycling programme for empty containers (for every six empty mac containers returned to store you get a free lipstick of your choice).

Makeup forever ultra hd foundation – €43 (shade 123 y365)

Makeup forever ultra hd foundation in shade 123 y365

Makeup forever’s ultra hd foundation was one of the first foundations created to take into account the high-definition nature of cameras in the tv and film industry. These new cameras are so sharp that they can detect the tiniest detail so you can understand the need for actors to look flawless onscreen. Marketed to feel like a second skin (jury is still out on that one) this medium coverage foundation contains light-diffusing particles to create a flawless balanced look. The foundation is certainly lighter in texture and dries in quicker than Mac’s studio fix fluid but what really appeals to me is the soft texture it leaves on the skin. It is not as bad with regards the sweaty face factor for me and it certainly lasts somewhat longer on my skin than the studio fix fluid. There is a great selection of colours in this range to cater for those with fair skin all the way up to darker toned skin. The shade I wear is 123 y365 desert and it provides a more natural sun-kissed look to the skin. It does not contain any SPF or parabens.

Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation – €45 (shade 6.5)

Armani luminous silk foundation in shade 6.5

At this moment in time Armani’s luminous silk foundation is my go to foundation. I do not know why I have such a fondness of expensive things ha ha. It must be my inner magpie. I love its lightweight, natural-looking formula that dries into the skin quickly. Instead of sitting on the skin it absorbs in beautifully. What struck me most is that it is the first foundation I have used where my skin actually feels like it can still breathe whilst wearing it. It is buildable in coverage whilst also producing a delicate glow to the skin. This bad boy really lasts on my skin. I also do not suffer with sweating or makeup evaporation which is great. Colourwise I wear shade 6.5 which is a beautiful natural tan colouring. It is available in 21 different shades which covers the majority of most people’s skin tones. I have got to mention the price, it is expensive coming in at €13 dearer than Mac’s studio fix fluid. Personally, I refer to it as my “good wear makeup” wearing it only for special occasions as I would not be able to finance wearing it daily. It feels good to wear and I can relax whilst wearing it knowing I won’t look at my face hours later to see it all gone from my skin. There are two negatives for me with regards this foundation. One is that it contains parabens which does not sit easy with me and the other being its high alcohol content which can dry out the skin. It also does not contain an SPF.

Ex1 cosmetics invisiwear liquid foundation – €14.95 (shade 6.0)

Ex1 invisiwear liquid foundation in shade 6.0

If you have a warm skin tone like me, that is with yellow undertones and are looking for a cheap buildable coverage foundation then this is for you. It is slightly thicker than some of my foundations and would tend to sit on the skin rather than being absorbed. On other words you know you are wearing foundation with this one. It is fantastic for hiding imperfections but would not last the whole day on my face. You really need a good primer under this foundation and I picked up the handy tip of mixing in a few drops of vitamin e oil for ease of application. Even though it is purse friendly and has good pigmentation my vices lie with the addition of parabens and talc as listed in the ingredients*. It is available in 13 shades and is only suitable for warm yellow skin tones so if you have cool pink tones unfortunately it is not for you. It is a decent little foundation but does not blow me away.

So there is my round-up of foundations each different but similar in some ways. I do not think there will ever be a ‘perfect’ foundation but at least there is more types of foundations being introduced every season. I have also started using some more natural based foundations over the past few months which I will be reviewing shortly. What I still can not get my head around is why foundation is so expensive especially for such a small quantity (30 ml) of product but that is a whole different rant for another day.

The YSL, Mac and Armani foundations can be purchased in Brown Thomas. The Makeup forever foundation can be purchased from their Dublin store or online at The Ex1 cosmetics foundation can be purchased online at

* I have been alerted to a change of ingredients in the Ex1 invisiwear liquid foundation. In the newer batches of foundation with shades marked by numbers 1.0, 2.0 and so on, all parabens have been omitted from the list of ingredients. The list of ingredients on my bottle are true to this. I had referred to the listed ingredients on the website that have not been updated accordingly (Text amended on the 26/1/17). Every foundation bar the YSL cushion ink foundation was purchased by myself. I was gifted the YSL foundation upon attending a YSL product launch in L'Oréal headquarters.


  1. Emma
    24th January 2017 / 10:12 AM


    I’m pretty much a foundation expert (in the science sense of the “makeup” of the product – I hope you appreciate that pun!) and I LOVE reading what people think of foundations. I have to tell you though that you have some info wrong. The old EX1 foundations (F100, F200 etc) did have parabens in but they have since taken them out in the 1.0, 2.0, 2.0 etc. If you read the label you’ll notice that there aren’t any words such as “Methylparaben” or “Propylparaben”.
    Also just so you know talc really is harmless so I wouldn’t worry if that’s in your products – most face powders that you buy will be mostly composed of talc!
    Also probably the reason that the foundation sat wrong on your face was your use of oil. As oil and water don’t mix it can make foundations sit wrong on the face. Simply try washing your face and applying it will sit MUCH better and honestly you won’t feel it (I love beautyblenders personally too, maybe use an applicator).
    EX1 has also been made for “cool” tones really as its for people with olive skin who have Yellow/ Golden undertones and not “warm” skin, for people with pink undertones (apart from 3.5 which does have a few pink pigments).
    On a final note the quality of the Raw Materials of EX1 is actually the highest you will find in a foundation its just high street price because they want to make it affordable. Also they are totally cruelty free and vegan -bar beeswax in the concealer- and can trace back all materials to this claim (which most makeup companies can’t do).
    If you have any more questions feel free to email me!


    • apalershadeofbeauty
      24th January 2017 / 12:45 PM

      Hi Emma many thanks for taking the time out to read and respond to my review post. You certainly sound like you like your foundation . In response to your comments, I purchased my ex1 foundation from who state in the ingredient list section methyparaban, proylparaban and talc. It can be read here
      I also note it is not listed on the foundation bottle itself. I welcome the newer foundations excluding these parabens and thank you for letting me know. I will amend the post accordingly and maybe it’s something the company can contact lookfantastic about. Talc itself as an ingredient can be known to block pores and cause congestion so for some people this can cause breakouts. I know there is a lot of talk about talc in the media etc at the moment and feel more research needs to be done to look into its known/unknown effects on the body. I found the Ex1 inivisiwear foundation used on its own, with a primer underneath to be slightly more difficult to work with than my other foundations. This is merely my own personal opinion with regards using the foundation on my skin. The slight addition of vit e oil just helps it sit better on my combination skin especially on the drier patches of skin on my cheeks.

      A warm skin tone is referred to having yellow/olive undertones whereas a pink undertone refers to cool skin tones. I refer to the brand developing their products for those with warm undertones (yellow) as is states in their about me section on their website:

      Dedicated to those with yellow undertones

      I do not dispute the other ingredients contained in this product and find it extremely comforting knowing that it is cruelty free and can trace back all materials to this claim. I also appreciate its price point having questioned myself the high costs of foundations amongst other brands in the cosmetics industry. I really appreciate once again you spending the time to contact me and would love to keep in touch and maybe chat “all about makeup and its ingredients” someday as it’s something I’m very interested in. X

I would love to hear what you think by commenting below.